I hope this is the correct forum for this. The product pages for some of the PCs in question have been removed and I can no longer post reviews.
In the past, I had purchased PowerSpec PCs finding them to be high quality, clean and reliable. However, recently I had 3 instances where PCs I had purchased and set up for my clients either had major problems upgrading memory or had system board failures. ALL the PCs in question had ASRock boards in them. The first (an ASRock A320M-HDV) would not accept additional RAM (8GB to 16GB). I reviewed the PC as "not recommended" and Microcenter was good enough to supply a replacement board free of charge. The other two--that just failed completely--had the same model board in them (ASRock H110M-HDV) and failed within a week of each other. These were purchased in October 2016 (B335) and July 2017 (B361) respectively.
As a result of these ongoing issues, I will NOT be recommending or purchasing any PowerSpec PCs that have this brand of board in them--or any at all for that matter. Last month, I had to return a PowerSpec B246 that simply would not boot (power on, but no video or drive activity). Until Microcenter chooses to address these quality issues with their PCs, I will have to go with other brands. I will be buying 3 more PCs in the near future, but they will, unfortunately, NOT be PowerSpecs, (at least until they stop using ASRock boards).
As you can tell, I am a bit disappointed in Microcenter. I have purchased tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of units and parts from them over the last 15 years. I like their in-store service, but their PC build quality has gone down, in my opinion.
Just a rant I had to get out there. Hopefully my experience matches up with others and may help them avoid similar problems.
I have been using PowerSpec PCs for years for home and business use and never had any issues until at least a couple years in. It's like a car or TV, etc. - stuff happens. I don't buy a car and expect to never change the oil. The computer could have Dell or HP slapped on it and have the same issues over time. My experience or expectations with PowerSpecs differ from this poster's
For the most part, I agree. However, explain to me the fact that I, also, have had no negative experiences with PowerSpec over the years--until recently-- AND with all the boxes having the SAME brand system board in them? And in the two cases of complete failure--the SAME model system board. I find this a very strange coincidence indeed! If you can explain this to me in a way that makes sense, I'm all ears. Just saying "stuff happen" is a cop out at best. Although, strange things DO happen, so maybe its all just coincidence after all. But I have my doubts! Thanks for the reply.
Welcome to the forum John, and thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I happen to work with the PowerSpec engineering team so I might be able to answer some of these questions for you or at the very least, help provide my thoughts on what may have happened with these systems.
First things first, most of our customers probably know by now that the configurations of our PowerSpec systems vary widely based on the designed intent of the system. You won't see a high-end, overclockable gaming motherboard in a value-based business system as those features would simply go unused and the increase in price would be less appealing towards that particular customer. That said, it doesn't mean the component selection used in our business models (denoted by the B in the beginning portion of the model name) are "cheaper" in terms of quality. We don't use boards where VRM quality is a concern for the workload of the system. We design the systems not only to the standards of their intended use, but we also subject them to testing conditions that go beyond what it's shipping configuration would accommodate. This includes testing business systems in gaming/high-computational environments despite the systems not being designed for those specific workloads. We like to anticipate how our customers may use these systems and to do so, we need to subject them to as many different use scenarios as possible. If the components do not survive our testing, they do not make it into our systems nor will they reach the hands of our customers.
On this subject, we also test upgrade configurations beyond their original shipping configuration. You've noted issues after upgrading memory in the B246 (ASRock A320M-HDV R4.0 board), though I am not entirely sure what would cause this board to behave as you've described. My only logical guesses would be either mixing memory of different internal IC's (Samsung, Hynix, Micron, etc) with one another or using DIMM's that are outright incompatible with the board. For that board in particular, it's picky with memory speed and the number of ranks on your DIMM's:
With this chart, you can see the 3400G (Picasso series APU) only accepts single rank DIMM's up to 2933mhz in both slots, but if you use dual rank DIMM's, you have to use 2667mhz DIMM's. If you can let me know the model of memory you tested in this system, I'd like to mock this model back up and test it to rule out any potential compatibility issues.
Every PowerSpec system is tested with a memory configuration beyond how we ship them. We don't just validate how we want to ship the system, we also validate that the advertised specifications of the components are accurate and that you, as a customer, can throw that memory or processor in without an issue if you choose to do so.
As for the failures of the B335 and B361, I'd have to know the environments in which they failed, the test/use conditions under which they failed and any errors/issues leading up to the failures in order to provide any objective insight here. As odd and as unlikely as it sounds, their use of an ASRock board might be entirely coincidental, given we use many ASRock boards across our entire product stacks (even in our highest-end gaming systems, such as the PowerSpec G466). We have quite a few of the B361's here in our office that are still around. I've even purchased that particular motherboard for my fathers Plex server and that thing is on 24/7 and has yet to fail me, so it's difficult to say why two different PowerSpec's with different system configurations (with that particular motherboard) failed. I'd be happy to take whatever information you have on how those systems were deployed and how they were used leading up to their failures in the field to help make that determination.
My personal (non-Microcenter affiliated) experience with ASRock has been pretty solid. I've used their boards almost exclusively back when I used Intel and have competed in several overclocking competitions with their boards simply because of their board trace topology and overall VRM quality. I also like the simplicity of their BIOS, though others prefer having more features in the BIOS than I personally like. I've not had any issues in my personal systems though I understand me not having issues doesn't discount the fact that others may very well encounter issues.
At the end of the day, I understand your reasoning and hesitance to use our ASRock-based systems given your personal experience with them. I'd simply ask that you give our systems another shot as not only am I confident you and your clients will be satisfied with their quality, we always take care of our products when it comes to warranty support. This includes over the phone or on this very community forum, should you or your clients find yourself too far away from our stores.
TSMichaelB, thanks for the reply. The RAM I attempted to use to upgrade the ASRock A320M-HDV R4.0 board is here: https://www.microcenter.com/product/626749/8GB_DDR4-2666_PC4-21300_CL19_Single_Channel_Desktop_Memory_Module_-_Green
I went by the specs posted on your product page, which said nothing about single or dual rank compatibility. Maybe this should be posted along with everything else that's listed? I've never had a problem like this upgrading RAM before over the 15 years in this business. But, there's a first time for everything I guess.
As to the two that failed outright--within a few days of each other-- they were purchased for residential clients. There were no errors or warnings prior to failure, that they reported to me.
One had a blank monitor at startup--it went to power saving mode within 15 seconds of power on. Monitor tested fine. Tried CMOS reset, reseated and tested RAM chips & slots, reseated and re-pasted CPU, tested PSU and tried an alternate PSU--all these repair attempts yielded the same result.
The second failure would boot to the PowerSpec BIOS slash screen and just hang there. Left it alone for over an hour-nothing happened. Tried all the usual fixes and they also yielded the same result.
ASRock are the only motherboards I've every had this experience with. There have been other failures before, of course--due to lightning strikes, liquid damage, etc. All to random brand and / or old boards. But these boards were not that old, nor were they in environments prone to damage from external sources. The clients were elderly people and the units had light to medium use--no gaming, kids, pets, etc. So you may understand my hesitancy in purchasing anything else containing these boards. I cannot account for other people's experience--just my own.
Lastly, I just discovered that my Chiropractor client I do work for has a PowerSpec B661 with one of these boards in it (B661). I had to convey my recent experiences to him and he and I agreed to buy a replacement and have it on stand-by should it fail in some way. The replacement I buy will NOT have an ASRock motherboard in it.
Thanks for your response to my post. Microcenter is my go to place for anything PC or electronics related. I will continue to buy there, but, at least for the next few years, ASRock will remain in my PC Dog House!!
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