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Re: Linux VIA Chipsets

On Wed, Jan 05, 2005 at 12:42:10PM -0800, Bryan J. Smith wrote:
> Which brings me to "brand loyalty."
> It's a joke to even try, you have to take products on a per-_model_
> and per-_revision_ basis. Because outside of packaging, marketing and
> servicing warranties, many products from dozens of vendors come from
> the same 4-5 factories. And vendors change their manufacturers
> _regularly_.

I completely agree.  All "brand loyalty" is good for these days is a
starting point...  Tying a significant amount of energy into it is

Recent example:  I have been using Lite-On optical drives since 12x
CD-R was fast.  I have had absolutely no issues with their CD-ROM,
CD-RW, DVD, or DVD/CD-RW drives.  In fact, I think they make just
about the best CD-RW drives you'll find, especially at the price.
When DVD+/-RW drives came out, we bought Lite-On, since we'd always
had such good luck with their drives.  It turns out that they *suck*,
so we've had to switch to other brands.  (My second favorite brand is
Samsung, and so far their DVD+/-RW drives seem to be fine.)

Recent-ish example:  Seagate has pretty much always made decent SCSI
hard drives, but their IDE drives have always tended to suck to one
degree or another.  A year or two ago, I heard that they were reliable
and ran cool, but I was skeptical.  Then recently they went to a
*5-year* warranty, which was enough to convince me to make them my
primary IDE drive brand for the time being.  (My fall-back is Samsung,
which was my primary drive brand until recently, since they are
inexpensive, cool, reliable, and have a 3-year warranty.  WD, Maxtor,
etc. all only offer a 1-year warranty on their desktop drives.)

Not so recent example:  In 1998, I started buying IBM hard drives
after hearing nothing but good things about them for around a year.
This was a rough change for me, since I've been working with computers
long enough to remember IBM as the Evil Empire.  After buying one of
their drives, I was hooked.  They were cheaper, faster, cooler, and
just generally better than everyone else.  (I seem to recall they had
a longer warranty too.)  From that point on, given the choice, I
*always* bought IBM drives.  In fact, that first drive I bought only
finally gave out on me (after running 24x7 *constantly*) in 2002, and
I have other IBM drives bought in 1999 and 2000 that are still in

So, after all that, many of you might recall the 2001 Deathstar issue,
where just about every IBM desktop drive ate itself after 3-6 months.
To say I got bit by that would be a monumental understatement...  I
had just started to build large-ish RAID boxes with 3ware cards around
that time.  In addition, the primary drive in my desktop was from
around that era (it died in January of 2003), and I have a drive from
around then that's been threatening to fail on me for a while now in
one of my servers (one of only two that is old enough that I don't
have mirrored drives in it, of course).

Anyway, after that mess, IBM sold off its storage division to Hitachi.
Since then, I've heard *nothing* bad about Hitachi drives (and a
couple of good things, the usual stuff I always heard/said about IBM
drives).  A couple of months ago, we were building a 2U rackmount with
12 250GB SATA drives, so we were faced with the choice of WD, Maxtor,
or Hitachi.  (Seagate tops out at 200GB, and Samsung only goes up to
160GB.)  I *detest* WD drives, and I don't like Maxtor much better, so
we went with Hitachi on that server.  It remains to be seen if that
was a wise choice, but we're planning on sticking with Hitachi for
large drives for now.

> I wouldn't have bought a nForce2 chipset years ago due to immaturity
> on Linux, but I'm eyeing several nForce2 (Athlon XP), nForce4 and even
> one nForce4+AMD8131 chipset mainboards now.

I've softened up on my "no nForce" stance of a couple of years ago,
but it still wouldn't be my first choice.  It seems that while
nForce-based boards are supported well these days, they still aren't
as stable as VIA-based boards for whatever reason.  Since VIA-based
boards tend to be significantly less expensive, I still recommend them
(even for the Windows users who come into our store).

I would definitely stay far, far away from any of the other chipset
brands right now, if for no other reason than they are such a small
percentage of the market that they are more likely to have bugs and
less likely to get quick fixes when there are bugs.

steve@silug.org           | Southern Illinois Linux Users Group
(618)398-3000             | See web site for meeting details.
Steven Pritchard          | http://www.silug.org/

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