Hello everyone. I'd like to share my disheartening first venture into ASUS motherboards, and the ARS replacement service.
Jan 2017, I decided to, for once, go all out on a computer build, and spent an ungodly amount of cash on an X99 system. The motherboard I ended up choosing is an ASUS X99M WS, as it had pretty much almost everything I needed. For the record, NO OC of any kind, not even XMP was used on this system -not once- during it's service life.
Fast forward to about a month ago, and after leaving my computer on for the evening to transcode video, I found it turned off. It should've gone to sleep once done, but not actually turn off completely. Pushing the power button, the powersupply started cycling on-and-off. So first thing's first, I tossed in a new Corsair HX750i powersupply, only to get the same result, even after removing the vga, ram, and pretty much everything aside from the Motherboard and CPU. I found if I disconnected the 8pin CPU VRM, it would stay on. Clear sign of a short circuit.
I was hesitating in returning the board, as it was bought during my stay in Germany, and I would have to mail it back there (from Hungary). To my luck, I read the warranty label on the motherboard box, which said 3 years ARS Warranty as it is a workstation board. A quick google later, I was in contact with advance rma EU. Actually a very smooth process, I literally had the replacement motherboard delivered the next day! Great service right?
Well this is where the positives end, and the negatives start, because I had a look at the board I received, and found a ton of problems with the supposed working replacement board.
I will address things in order of the uploaded images.
(Pic 1&2) First thing I noticed, the board is filthy, and has multiple layered signs of tons of soldering paste having been applied and evaporated, along with plastic (styrofoam???) chips stuck to most of the board's underside. I have blown most of these off, thining nothing of it until I examined the board closer, so only a little was left to photograph. The solder paste varies from fresh, to so old it's just like little outlines of limestone from water. I have now read quite a few posts about boards arriving back coated in flux and dirty, so I am no longer surprised by this, but about 10 seconds and a splash of brake cleaner would stop complaints about this. But this is the least of my worries.
(Pic 3,4 & 5) The board is WARPED in multiple directions. I have not seen this bad warping since the P4 days. Except this is not from the tension of the cooler installed. Just look at the gap between the straight-edge and the board edge. A wave in one direction, a full-length bend in the other. There is only one explanation, the board has been reworked (possibly multiple times) with incorrect mounting-tooling/too high heat settings. With old TQFP or SOIC packaged chips, this would not be such a big problem, but with BGA SMD components, this virtually ensures the board will fail when it recieves any sort of thermal load, or just from the bare tension, since this is all unleaded solder and it WILL crack or tear up traces. This is NOT an acceptable repair, even if the board was working. It looks like maybe this was the practice job for the new intern? I'm not sure.
(PIC 6,7 & 2) The main ATX power connector has probably worked itself loose during reflow of the board, and noone bothered to put it back in place. Currently it is not 90° to the board, more like 96°. (Just adding insult to injury, the Bios reload button on the backplane, that you can see on pic 2 that it has been soldered, is way too soft compared to my original... it still probably could work, but this just reassures me this board has been through god knows how many rework sessions)
(PIC 😎 And this is the real kicker, the SOCKET IS DAMAGED. The board arrived with the protector installed, yet it already had a damaged pin.... If you cannot spot it, it is the second row from the top, pin 4 from the right. It cannot be photographed with a flash, but I managed to take an open-air pic where you can clearly see the bend in it.
I have spent a chunk of my life as a professional PC service tech in the P4-LGA775 period, but never once did I receive a warranty repaired board in such a pitiful state. The absolute worst part of this ordeal is the fact that, as I expected, this board does not boot either. I have tried all usual avenues of reseting the CMOS, tried virtually all jumper/switch settings. The board just shows 00 in the diag display as if it had no CPU (but the CPU diag LED stays off), and not even the motherboard connected fans spin up.
So I have two important questions I would like an honest answer to:
1, I can perfectly imagine this board booted on a test bench before shipping, as the damage to the socket is miniscule, and that pin might just make correct contact once the CPU is installed. Now If this board is indeed working, that can only mean my original board fried my CPU. If Intel refuses to RMA the CPU, does ASUS accept liability for a 630EUR processor killed by their faulty motherboard?
Note: Whether my CPU is actually dead or not, has no effect on the fact that this board is NOT acceptable for any form of professional use. Even if the socket were not damaged, the 'repair' done to this board is on such an unprofessional manner, it looks like a 'hobby-fix'.
2, The board is being piecked up on Monday to be returned to ASUS. The Asus contact person has offered to supply another board once this is returned. Can I expect to ever receive a motherboard from the service center that is in physically the same condition as my original? IE, like new.
I do not object to refurbished, but if the repair is of this quality, that is unacceptable. Even if I wanted to sell it and get something new, NOONE who looks at a board in this condition will buy it. It is effectively e-waste.
Please give me an honest answer. If I cannot expect to get a good condition board, I will immediately order something else and return it to the place of purchase and have the distributor deal with this mess in their own time. I can not afford to stay without my computer any longer.