First, we wanted to start off this article by thanking the guys at Puget Systems
for taking the time to compile these numbers and compiling their most reliable hardware of 2013
. I also wanted to start the article off by saying that they, as many system builders do, tend to gravitate towards certain hardware vendors over time and I wouldn't expect this list to be a completely accurate representation of the entire hardware industry and all its vendors. Also, remember that this most reliable hardware list is still designed as marketing material for Puget Systems and so that they can prove to you that you should build with them rather than build yourself or anyone else.
Now, with that said, we want to dive right into the numbers and start off with their assessments of the motherboard reliability. Here we can see that out of all the motherboards that they've qualified and used, two Intel-based ASUS boards made the cut as did two AMD-based boards, each from MSI and ASUS. They also noted that this was the first year that any AMD-based motherboards had made their most reliable list, which indicates that either motherboard manufacturers are getting more serious about building AMD boards or that AMD has elevated their requirements on manufacturers.
Moving on from motherboards, they talked about CPUs and since there are only really two CPU manufacturers for consumers it was obviously an Intel vs. AMD sort of situation. Although, for some reason Puget decided that they wouldn't disclose their failure rates of AMD versus Intel, but rather disclose their combined average failure rate. While I don't quite get why they did this, their numbers are still impressive nonetheless. Last year, the two CPU manufacturers had a combined failure rate of 0.47% (less than half a percent) and this year it came down to 0.39% a fairly significant reduction. What is great about this is that both companies are clearly capable of producing very reliable CPUs and are continually improving which makes things better for everyone.
After they talked about motherboards and CPUs, the next logical point of failure would be RAM. And by the looks of it, Puget is a very Kingston-heavy builder, only offering Kingston memory. All of the RAM that they included in their failure rates was Kingston and after looking at their numbers we totally see why. For their consumer-level desktop RAM list they offer two DIMMs, a HyperX 1600 MHz kit and a regular 1600 MHz kit even though they offer three different DIMMs, these two appear to be the most popular. Their HyperX low voltage kit had a failure rate of 0% while the non-HyperX kit had a failure rate of 0.11% which is almost as good as zero in my book.
In addition to consumer RAM, they also listed their Kingston ECC Ram, which we've had marvelous experience with and all 6 different modules they listed ALL had ZERO percent failure. This is in line with our recent server testing of Kingston's ECC memory which we will be reviewing shortly. Having 0% failure for server memory is a huge deal and is considered by many system builders (and other integrators) to be a valuable feature/service. Kingston's strenuous testing of their server memory is clearly illustrated by this zero percent failure rate and can only be a goal for every company to achieve.
They also included mobile memory, which also had similar failure rates of zero percent for one SODIMM and 0.49% for another, which they claim to be high. But Puget also disclosed that this 0.49% failure rate was the result of a single SODIMM failing, which means their sample size for that RAM isn't necessarily huge to begin with.
Once they covered RAM, they went on to SSDs and HDDs and once again Puget appears to prefer Samsung for SSDs and Western Digital for HDDs, so our sample sizes are going to be single manufacturer. Here, we see that they use 128 GB, 256 GB and 1TB Samsung SSDs for their numbers and got absolutely 0% failure, which is absolutely impressive. Similarly, for their WD hard drives, they got zero failures on the WD Blue and WD Green line of hard drives, which is yet another example of how good these companies have gotten at testing their own hardware and building quality products from the beginning.
Once those components were covered, they moved on to GPUs. Obviously, here, they claim to have a very broad offering and sales of GPUs and as a result they do not have very large figures for any one single model, but they gave notable mentioned to a few GPUs that had a zero percent failure rate. Which, if you know anything about the GPU vendor business, is purely a result of the vendor's rigorous testing and designs.
With the wide range of video cards we offer (including a mix of brands), naming the most reliable model is a bit tough as we don't sell large quantities of any one card. However, of the cards we sold enough of to have a good feel for their reliability, there are a few that stand out with a 0% failure rate.
Those cards were split among EVGA's GTX Titan and 780, ASUS' GTX Titan and 780, Zotac's GT 640 2GB and ASUS' HD 7850. What that indicates to me is that Nvidia's GTX Titan is a very well designed card in terms of failure rates and that the sole vendors of this card(EVGA and ASUS) did a very good job of testing before shipping them out. Also, from my own personal experience, I have yet to hear of a Titan or 780 going dead under normal usage, which is probably a very good testament to Nvidia's hardware design and GPU. Keep in mind that a GTX 780 is effectively physically identical to a GTX Titan, but simply a slower version as we found in our review
They also qualified that, "The list may look very NVIDIA heavy, but part of it is that we simply sell more NVIDIA cards than AMD cards, so there are more NVIDIA models that we have sold enough of to be confident in our data."
In addition to this fact, even though they sell more NVIDIA cards, the NVIDIA GeForce cards on a whole were much more reliable in 2013 than AMD Radeon cards. NVIDIA GeForce cards only had an overall failure rate of 3.3% versus AMD Radeon cards which had an overall failure rate of 10%. This marked an increase in AMD's GPU failure rate, which is definitely a step back for the company. They also mentioned that Nvidia's professional cards had a failure rate of 2.05% while AMD's had an almost identical 2.17%, which isn't surprising considering that professional cards are fundamentally designed and tested to have lower failure rates.
They also talked about PSUs, which they only stated had one model without a failure and that was Antec's CP-1000 PSU, which is already long out of production, but they still buy in special batches from Antec because of their price and reliability. They also gave an honorable mention to the Seasonic X series of PSUs due to the 1.75% failure rate and zero failure rate after shipping to customers.
Looking at these figures, we really found out some interesting things and got some quantifiable numbers to the arguments that people always seem to be having when it comes to what is more reliable hardware. Obviously, some of these numbers are skewed and certain brands like Corsair are underrepresented or not represented at all, but there are clearly some valuable numbers here. Hopefully these publicly posted numbers will encourage other companies to strive for 0% failure or to improve their existing failure rates to where their competitors' are.
Also, if you're curious, they compiled a table that compares the expected failure rate of a self-built system and one bought from them, which touts the overall benefit of buying a system versus building your own, which some people would rather do.
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