We all seem to like our products with lots of features, especially when it comes to computers. After all, the personal computer is supposed to be the most versatile piece of electronics that you own, right? How can it be versatile without a long list of features? When it comes down to deciding what product to buy, one of the first things we do is put the features side by side, and see which gives us more capabilities for the dollar. What are we missing?
The fact is, many features are a liability. They add more things that can go wrong. Of course, if your need for a particular feature outweighs the liability it carries, then it makes sense to pursue that feature. However, often times you are forced to buy more than you need in the process. Again, motherboards are a great illustration. The charts below show the failure rates for various motherboards we've sold in the past, with varying amounts of features onboard (the "Deluxe" and "Premium" boards have more features). The pattern is clear.
You may be thinking that these failure rates are shockingly high. The key is our definition of "failure." If ANYTHING is out of the ordinary with a product, we call it a failure. It may be a simple cosmetic scratch. Or a chip that shows hotter than it should on our thermal imaging. Or it benchmarks more than 5% out of spec with what we've seen in the past. Or maybe one SATA port doesn't work. Many of these things you would probably just choose to live with if you were building your own computer. We send it back to the manufacturer until it is right (and they grumble plenty). A vast majority of failures are caught in our factory -- that's our job!
There was a time when the call for more features enticed even us at Puget Systems. Under strong demand, we once sold the Asus Striker and Maximus series of motherboards -- models known well in the enthusiast community for their exhaustive list of features. The results speak for themselves in the chart above. We quickly realized our error and corrected our product line. From that point on, we embraced simplicity. We understand that one of the big advantages of being a custom computer builder is about what we DON'T sell you. By simplifying our products, we can not only save you money, but we can create a dramatically more reliable product. Are there things you need? By all means, meet those needs! By going custom, you are better equipped to do that without paying for and exposing yourself to the risk of features you don't need.