I started off last week with what looked like a dying hard drive. I wasn’t happy about it, especially since it would be my second Western Digital Caviar Black drive to die on me in one year. These are premium drives, not cheap, and I expected to have no trouble for five years at least. The first drive died due to an absolute moron packaging it for shipping, and I came to find out the second is just fine. Okay, WD your reputation is safe for now.
Which leads me to ASUS. They made the motherboard I’m using with Ubuntu Linux, and it has a SATA port that is malfunctioning. I can plug different hard drives into it, start a 10GB+ file copy, and it will fail each attempt at about the 8-10GB mark.
Any drive is connected to that particular SATA port spontaneously unmounts, then re-mounts as read-only. I tried a few drives, cables, and a few different apps to write to the target drive, and I’m confident I’ve isolated the problem to that port. There is a similar issue for some motherboards for which Intel paid for replacements, since they made an error in their design. This wasn’t one of that batch, but the symptoms are the same.
On to the ASUS website for help. I complete a mind-numbing, unnecessarily complex technical inquiry form asking for help (Talk about a dark pattern, the website design guarantees most will give up in frustration before successfully making your inquiry). This is an example of CRM which is business-speak for “keep your customers at a distance while still acting like you care”. The somewhat comical reply from them:
Dear Valued Customer,
Thank you for contacting ASUS Customer Service.
My name is Stacey and it’s my pleasure to help you with your problem.
Please do not use Linux on our motherboard.
The motherboard doesn’t support it formally.
It did give me a laugh. ASUS Linux support is good, and I’ll likely buy another ASUS motherboard when I build my next computer. Do a search online for “ASUS Linux Support” and the top result is another blog commending them for it.
This point is largely irrelevant though. I have a hardware problem, changing operating systems won’t fix it. This is just a stalling tactic used to slow down stupid customers.
The worst part of all this has been communicating with them. They first refer me to a help forum, useless for a broken hardware issue. They then follow up twice with a link to a survey, but they can’t get this right either. I’ve taken the time to fill it out, once in Firefox and once in Chrome. Same result both times:
Their own website is unable to process completed surveys correctly. I only get this error page when I finish. I haven’t a clue why, and I’m not wasting my time looking into it further. I have an easier solution to dealing with their survey requests now.
That’s right, a good old GMail filter. I love these. I hope there aren’t limits on GMail filtering because I use loads of them, and add more each week. I can even send their automated reply my own automated reply. Petty, but satisfying.
So, if you are reading this wondering if you should buy an ASUS motherboard, go ahead and buy one. They are pretty good. Don’t expect any support from ASUS though. Order it through Amazon or NewEgg, or anyone else with good customer service, and let them deal with this stuff on your behalf. That’s what I’m doing.