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 Post subject: Need advice - should I keep this system?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:41 pm 
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I recently purchased a Stealth Level-4 UltraQuiet PC from ARM Systems, including Asus K8VSE Deluxe motherboard, Athlon 3200+ w/512K l2 cache, 2 sticks of 512MB 400DDR CL3 stock SDRAM, 160GB SATA/150 Samsung SpinPoint hard drive, 400W factory modified UltraQuiet PS, 128MB DDR ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video card, Creative Labs SB Audigy-2 ZS sound card, my own Lite-On 16X DVD reader, NEC ND2500A 8X DVD rewriter, Mitsumi floppy drive, generic 56K modem (back-up for my cable modem) and my own WindowsXP Pro OS. I also bought the ARM Gold 3 Year Parts/3 Year Depot Labor/1 Year Onsite Service Warranty, used once so far.

Let me say right out front it is quiet as advertised, it is fast and powerful and it is very attractive inside and out. Plus, all the folks at ARM, including owners Roy and Steve, Mark, Brian and Patrick in tech support, and Julio from the service company have all been very cooperative. That's all the good news.

Right now I'm on my second motherboard, the first one having died a quick death (only the motherboard LED and the fans running, no video, no boot) on the first day I had the system up and running with Windows XP installed. The second motherboard has already exhibited strange symptoms of freezing after the first BIOS screen with a string of garbled characters and a flashing cursor on the upper left side of the screen, 4 times on the night it was installed (not booting at all) and 1 time a day later. The system is now running fine (I hope).

I want to love this system because it has everything I was looking for but I am worried as to its long-term stability and life. Roy already offered me a refund and Steve even offered to allow me to leave my Windows installation and hardware in the computer while they check it out at ARM to make sure it's OK. In addition, Roy extended the return period without restocking fee for a couple of weeks because of the problems.

Unfortunately, I must leave the country for a few weeks starting Sept. 5 so I have to decide whether to return to ARM for refund or service sometime next week before I go. What should I do? Hang in there and hope my problems are over or return the PC? What would you do? Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Last edited by dac10012 on Thu Aug 26, 2004 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Need advice - should I keep this system?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:10 pm
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Location: AB, Canada
dac10012 wrote:
and Steve even offered to allow me to leave my Windows installation and hardware in the computer while they check it out at ARM to make sure it's OK... I must leave the country for a few weeks starting Sept. 5


why not do that, if you aren't gonna be using it anyways?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 5:19 am 
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I'd send it to ARM for diagnostics while you're out of the country.

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 Post subject: Taking your advice
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 11:46 am 
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I have decided to take Straker and Ralf's advice and ship the PC to ARM so they can check it out while I'm in China. They are paying the cost of shipping both ways because I bought the service contract. The only anomaly I have encountered since the initial crashes into a corrupt BIOS screen is that a Roxio Easy CD/DVD Creator update file corrupted the installation but I re-installed without the file and it works. Still bothers me because the update works on another machine but I can live without it.

When I get the computer back I will give my overall assessment of ARM's product and service. Thanks for your help so far!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:08 am
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in my experience, roxio is inferior to nero and often causes very haphazard problems. It certianly shouldnt affect the bios though, sending it back is certainly your best bet.


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 Post subject: Roxio
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 2:17 pm 
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I have Nero and I agree that it is better at certain things, especially burning images. I didn't mean to imply that CD/DVD Creator would harm the BIOS (how could a piece of software do that?) only that there was an anomaly on a machine that I'm a little worried about. I have a few more days to test other programs and hardware. If nothing else too weird happens I won't ask for a refund.


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 Post subject: I think it's refund time
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:25 pm 
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More anomalies tonight. My iPod kept charging for over 8 hours last night without ever saying "Charged", way more than it should and had been since I got it a few weeks ago. Tonight Windows would not detect it with either a USB 2.0 or firewire connection, so I downloaded the latest iPod software and iTunes update. Then it was detected but it would disappear after iTunes does its automatic synching and updates the iPod's contents.

Things went steadily downhill after that. After a reboot I got the infamous garbled BIOS screen I was getting previously and after a keystroke this weird message in the BIOS: "Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key." Say what?

So I rebooted, this time into Windows and checked out my iPod again. When I clicked on the iPod in Windows Explorer I got the message "Please insert a disk into drive F." Say what?

I have XPlay installed and when I ran it I got this message "No disk in drive. Please insert a disk into drive\Device\Harddisk1\DR2" Say what again?

I'm leaning toward asking for a refund instead of my original plan to let ARM check out the PC. I'm afraid they won't be able to duplicate all these problems and will deduce that the machine is OK.

What do you think? Thanks again, guys.


Last edited by dac10012 on Wed Sep 01, 2004 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I think it's refund time
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 5:04 am 
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dac10012 wrote:

I'm leaning toward asking for a refund instead of my original plan to let ARM check out the PC. I'm afraid they won't be able to duplicate all these problems and will deduce that the machine is OK.

What do you think? Thanks again, guys.


I'd let them check it out and wait for their report before you make that decision.

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 Post subject: Denouement - I'm returning the PC for a refund
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 11:47 am 
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I just got off the phone with Roy, one of the owners of ARM, and told him I would be returning the computer for a refund. He had offered to test the unit and suggested that the garbled BIOS screen may be due to a bad chip on the video card but he had no explanation for my iPod troubles, other than to say Windows service pack 2 has had USB 2.0 issues - I have 1A installed, however. I am particularly concerned because the iPod was being recognized in Windows for two weeks with no problems and now this. Of course, it may be a problem with my iPod but since I tried both USB 2.0 AND firewire connections with the same poor results, I'm leaning toward a system hardware problem.

Roy is refunding my purchase price plus shipping. I am paying for shipping back. I think this is fair. Actually, I regret the fact that I will be losing this system because it was everything I was looking for - fast and quiet. But, even after replacing the dead motherboard, the system was unstable. So, even though I have service contract and ARM has been very cooperative, I think returning the PC is the right thing to do.

I am still looking for a quiet computer. I was looking at three other companies, EndPCNoise, FrontierPC and Ambient. Does anyone have any experience with either and would you recommend buying from them? Thanks.


Last edited by dac10012 on Fri Sep 03, 2004 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 1:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 4:31 pm
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Location: Vancouver BC
Have you considered asking to get a band new system from ARM, but in the exact same configuration? There is nothing wrong with their combination of parts. You were just unlucky.


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 Post subject: Unlucky
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2004 1:47 pm 
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Could be, but one bad motherboard, possibly two and/or a possibly bad video card add up to a lot of trouble. I am not knocking ARM in the least because they have been great with me, but I think I have gone as far as I'm willing to go with their product. I already lost a half day at work because of the service call plus I've wasted almost a month with this system. It's time to move on. Thanks for everyone's help. This is a great site.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:24 am 
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I had a similar experience (everything burnt up twice and then they replaced HDD with very noisy "upgrade" HDD and left me to spend an hour and half locating and reinstalling drivers and windows) with a Dell; it happens I guess. Heh, I called and said "the HDD is too noisy", but that wasn't under warranty. This was waay before I found SPCR.


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