I hate you XFX.

Top 10 things that piss me off. Shitty tech support is number 2. Directly behind shitty drivers. I think it might have just become number 1.

This is just a warning/rant. To all of you who are thinking about getting a new graphics card, avoid the XFX 6600GT (AGP) like the black plague.

Two weeks ago I ordered one from NewEgg. During installation it became clear that there was something wrong with the card. The first time the computer booted with the new hardware it seemed fine. Windows found the hardware and I installed the latest drivers from Nvidia. I rebooted and things got weird. I was seeing “artifacts” on the screen. Little discolored left-over pixels. I had seen that before and figured it was driver issue. I upgraded DirectX to 9.0c as well as my Detonator drivers to the newer beta drivers that allegedly support the 6600 series better. This time I rebooted and nothing came back up. Once Windows started to load I got nothing, just a blank screen. I rebooted in safe mode, which thankfully worked, and uninstalled the drivers. Now I was back to “working” but incorrectly. I fired up Half-Life 2 to test the card out. Crash. The system hung hard when the game was starting it’s graphics engine. Reboot, this time again to a blank screen. After about 3 more hours of fooling with it I give up. I had double and triple checked everything from start to finish, the hardware itself, everything. That’s when I noticed that the heatsink/fan on the video card wasn’t actually attached to the chip on the card. It was attached to the board by 4 plastic locking screws and nothing else. The thermal pad/paste underneath was also not making contact. At this point I figured it was a factory defect and sent it back.

At least, that’s what I thought until last night. Last night I received the replacement card from NewEgg. I made sure to follow the horribly written, mangled English instructions step-by-step to make sure it wasn’t something I was doing. It was almost deja-vu. First boot was fine, drivers installed without a problem. I go to fire up a game and the system crashes. Reboot and I get nothing.

This time I’m angry. I called XFX tech support. I get walked through the first round of “moron questions”. “Did you install the card correctly?”, “Did you connect the power connector?”, “Did you install the drivers?”. I answer YES to everything and eventually get tired of the run around.

“Listen, just tell me if there’s any known issues with the card and my particular motherboard or power supply, I’m not a retard, I’ve done this sort of thing before.”

“Sir, I’m merely trying to determine if the problem is our card or your computer”

“Let me save you some time… it’s not me. My system is rock solid and has been since the day I built it. Your card is rated for a minimum 300W power supply. I have a 500W Antec TruePower. The power to the card is on its own separate power line and I’ve disconnected everything non-essential that could be drawing power.”

“Well, how old is the power supply?”

“Listen, it’s not the newest in the world, but up until 15 minutes ago it was running fine, and since you don’t have your tech support phone number in any of this brilliant documentation, I reinstalled my old video card so I could online and get the number to call you. Trust me, it’s not the power supply.”

“Do you have another power supply you could use to test?”

This went on for another twenty minutes, ending up with this…

“You know what, you’ve been the most unhelpful tech support person I’ve ever called, I’d like to speak to a manger”

*Gives me mangers extension but says he’s gone for the night* “Well, I’m sorry your upset, but I’m not sales, what would you like me to do? I can only have you return the card and we can test it here and send you a replacement”

“You know what, I just don’t care any more. I’m returning the card for a refund and I’m not going to buy anything from you again. I’m going to tell everyone I know to stay as far away from your products as possible. This is the SECOND card to fail. You realize that? This isn’t the first time your card has failed. TWO of them are complete crap. I’m willing to bet the rest of your product line also has problems.”

“I’m not sales, you’re not hurting me by getting a refund.”

“You’re right, not by getting a refund… but I will be calling your manager tomorrow.”


So, there you have it folks. Rude tech support from hell and shitty product to match. I wanted to believe that a 6600GT AGP would be the perfect card for me. It was at a decent price point, it’s AGP and not PCI-Express, and it’s not the power/resource hog of it’s bigger 6800 brothers. I was wrong. Shame on me for going “mid-range”. It’ll never happen again. I bought a 4600 for $400 when they were brand new and I’m going to do the same with the $6800. I’m going to wait for a deal on one, buy it, and upgrade the whole system. I done with messing around with sketchy companies just to save a few bucks. Screw you XFX, and the horse you rode in on.

Been busy

Sorry about the lack of updates there guys. Been sorta busy around here. There was Thanksgiving, then the pageant, then Christmas shopping, etc. You the idea. When I’m not super busy there’s obviously a game or two that’s been soaking up my free time. Our Battlefield clan is on a roll. We’re number 2 on the SquadGame ladder and we just took number 2 on the Team Warefare ladder. We’re going to challenge for number 1 on both ladders this week.

I’ve also decided to join the TCC Tank Division and give a little 2 on 2 tank action a try. Oh, btw, we’re only #3 on that ladder.

And as if Battlefield wasn’t enough, killing people with toilets in HL2DM is probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Seriously, you guys have got to try this.

My biggest (and only) complaint about HL2DM is that there’s only two official maps. How can you “release” a game with only two maps? Not to mention that after releasing the SDK this week, the first thing everyone did was convert all the old maps. That goes for CS as well. No, I’m sorry, playing cs_rats all over again is NOT acceptable. What part of “new engine” don’t you map makers get? You can set things on fire, have things float in water, make movable objects, have realistic glass and metal. Playing dm_iceworld or cs_assault with all the old textures simply isn’t going to fly any more fellas. I beg the map community to make just a handful of good maps again.

I would, but I fired up “Hammer”, the level editor, and it looked like a scary combination of 3DStudio Max and Auto-CAD. I’ll see if my wife can make sense of any of it, I know I sure as hell can’t.

Other than that there’s not a lot going on. Lauren and I are going to be doing the holiday decoration thing tonight and I’m going to try and finish up my Christmas shopping on Monday. I’m also considering a new CPU and mobo with the left-over from my bonus this year. If I can get all my shopping done for under $250, I’ll be golden. I haven’t done anything nice for myself in a while.

Changing gears, I’d also like to send a big fat “screw you” to the city of Houston, it’s crappy roads and it’s even crappier drivers. In the space of 2 days, I now have THREE new holes, cracks and/or chips in my windshield. It’s ridiculous. I can’t drive anywhere without some sort of debris hitting my car. I’m either behind a dump truck without a cover on it, a beat up old pickup truck that have lawn and landscaping debris in the back of it, or someone coming back from shopping somewhere with so much stuff in their pickup bed that they of course forgot to tie down.

Lastly, I’m working on a few icons for Chris. I’ve gotten the sketches done, now I’ve just got to find time to scan them into Adobe Illustrator and color them. They’re gonna look slick.

I’m out.

Just my luck

3 guesses at what doesn’t work.

And all three of them are “graphics card”

Yeah. Oh… I’m pleased as punch. Because sending back a dead card and waiting another week to get another one is just what I wanted.

As I went to install it, I noticed the fan and heatsink were a little “wiggly”. I didn’t think anything of it, most things have a little give in them. So, the card installs fine, the drivers load up, everything is cool. I fire up Battlefield… blank screen with music running before the system hangs. Reboot. It gets to the windows logon on screen. I logon and *bam*, black screen. Ok, must be a driver problem. I boot in safe mode, reinstall old drivers. Nothing. I do this five or six times. Nothing. Then I start thinking it’s lack of power. I have a 400W (it only needs 350W) but I start unplugging everything else. Nothing. Then I take the card out and look at it…. the heatsink and fan AREN’T ATTACHED to the GPU! They’re just kind of hanging there. I’m surprised there wasn’t smoke. They’re loose, floppy, unattached. The sticky part of the thermal pad had obviously become unsticky and wasn’t holding the heatsink/fan on, and when you turned it upside down, gravity was pulling the fan away from the chip.

I considered squirting some Arctic Silver in there, but you know what, this really isn’t something I should have to waste good paste on. That and they’d think I modded it or something if I didn’t work and I tried to return it.

So, on Monday, back it goes. And I’ll be waiting for a replacement.


What horse shit!

No one EVER order anything from Buy.com. Screw’em. If they treat their customers like this they deserve to be beaten into submission by stronger more customer oriented businesses like NewEgg.

I ordered my new graphics card yesterday at about 8am. The order was accepted, processed and my card was charged by about noon. I paid extra to have it shipped “next morning” because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get it over the holiday weekend. So, I check my tracking this morning and it says “sent to warehouse”. I found that a bit odd and not finding a satisfactory answer on their website I decided to call them. First off, the guy spoke NO english whatsoever, which while I’m not holding it against him, would have certainly made the process a bit smoother. Apparently “sent to warehouse” is secret asshat code lingo for “out of stock”. I said that their website said it was in stock when I ordered it. The reply I received was something along the lines of “Da website, it diz upgraded once daily to be updated. Sold out before updated it might have been…”


Who the fuck is this guy? Yoda? That’s horse shit. At this day in age, you’re telling me that they can’t have an up to date inventory system? Bullshit they can’t. They’re fucking lazy more likely.

So, of course my options were to wait for it to be restocked or to cancel my order. 3 guesses what I chose…

So, I’ll be wait the 10 DAYS (!!!) for my refund so that I can order it from NewEgg. That, again, is horse shit. What sort of banking system do these morons use? 10 Days? Shit, personal checks clear in less. Seriously. I could write a personal check, mail it to someone, have them deposit it and SPEND it in 10 days.

They said the order cancellation itself could take 1-2 business days… which means NEXT MONDAY before the 10 days start.

I’m livid (in case you couldn’t tell).

I’m NEVER ordering from those fucks again. It’s NewEgg all the way baby. Not only do they have a normal inventory system, but 99% of my orders from them shipped out the same day AND got to me early.

The ONLY reason I didn’t order it from NewEgg is because they were out of stock. So… the single reason I chose Buy.com is because they said it was in fact in stock.

Oh, the irony.

The weirdest thing

I was checking my email this morning when the phone rang. I have a phone here in the computer room so I picked it up. There was a lady on the other end who sounded like a tele-marketer, only there was no “click” before she started talking and no sounds of other people in the background. What’s weird is that this is what she said:

Lady – Hello, I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m calling long distance and I’m trying to reach a friend, can you tell me if this is *insert Matt’s address*
Matt – Kind of, it’s the address for a whole complex of buildings.
Lady – Oh I see, well, her name is __________ and she’s in apartment ###, is that near you?
Matt – no
Lady – Could you possible get to that building from yours?
Matt – no
Lady – (obviously not hearing me) …Could you possibly take a message and leave it on her door for me?
Matt – I doubt it. There’s a main office here, try them, they could help you
Lady – Oh, whats the number?
Matt – I have no idea, it’s in the book.
Lady – (very tele-marketer-ish) Thanks *click*.

I don’t know what kind of information this lady was trying to pass on. Maybe she was trying to get information from ME. I don’t know. Either way I didn’t give her anything. Not my number, not my apartment number, nothing. She already knew the address, so she can look up the number to the office with that. “Can you go put a note on her door?” Fuck no. I’m not your lackey. And if you didn’t sound so incredibly sketchy on the phone MAYBE, after hearing the message, I would have considered helping you. But you acted weird, so you get nothing.

I probably over reacted, she was probably just someones friend, trying to reconnect after years and years… but there’s so many sketchy tele-marketing schemes out there that I just don’t feel like dealing with them. If you call my house and you’re selling ANYTHING, save yourself the call. If you call and ask for someone thats not me, I instantly loose interest and hang-up. If you call and it’s a recorded message, oh sweet jebus, you’d better believe that I’m going to wait until the message is over and I get connected to a real person so I can chew them out. AT&T has stopped calling because I’ve harassed those morons so much in the past. I hate telemarketers with a passion. If it’s you job to call people, find a different job, because after we tackle spam, you people are next. You’re all my enemy and you’re going down.

More of the same

It was a good weekend.

See great movie – Check!
Play old school video game and feel good about it – Check!
Get out of speeding ticket – Check!

Stand in line at midnight to get my hands on Halo 2. Hella Check! Gotta love it when the receipt says “Time of purchase 00:02”. Yeah baby. I already played through the first level. I’ll put a more serious dent in it tonight.

Which brings me to a question. Any XBox owner out there remember how to force Hi-Res textures? It was something like “hold every button and hit select” or something equally insane. I remember having to do it with Fable and it worked rather well. I also need to remember to display mode on my TV. I usually have it in “Cinema” to play games and watch movies (a darker mode with saturated color) and “Normal” to watch TV. I tired it on “Vivid” last night however and it looked sweet.

Also, big news for you desktop mod fans… oh wait, that’s just me. At any rate, Konfabulator is out for the PC. Its the “widget” program for OSX that every Windows program tries to be. Now we can all share 🙂

Check it out.

Matt out.