View Full Version : Stupid Gateway...

04-09-2003, 17:20:40
Seven years ago I would have recommended Gateway to anyone.

Decent price, customizable, and fast customer service. I thought so.

A few years ago we had to replace our monitor - it fritzed, they replaced it within 24 hours, then a few months later we repeated the entire process. So they buy crap monitors, no biggie if they replace it by overnighting me a new one, I think.

The latest computer (our third desktop, and we have a laptop from them as well) had this irritating horizontal line problem - flashing black lines horizontally across the screen. Replaced monitor again, fast and no charge.

The problem continued. We ran some tests with customer service on the phone, they replaced our Geforce3 with a new one. The problem returns within a month of replacement, but its not bad, so we live with it. Last week it got worse, much worse.
Customer service can't figure out the problem (the helpful woman on the phone didn't even ask us to try reseating the card, just asked my wife to describe the problem and its history), and tells my wife to take the whole computer to a Gateway Country and see if they can figure it out. They decide to replace the video card again. Either the Geforce3's they install suck, or something else is cooking them off slowly.

My problem is the increasing lack of knowledge shown by Gateway Customer Service, and a whole pattern of bad video problems, that, although they're corrected quickly, they're either not corrected properly, or the replacement hardware sucks as well. (I'll skip the problems I had getting sound from my rear speakers to work!)

Add this to the fact that Gateway was advertising *free* carrrying cases for the laptop we were going to buy, and that a Gateway Country employee sold her the same laptop for sixty dollars less, sans carrying case (and when she asked, he flat out admitted Gateway was charging for the free cases).

I don't really expect it to be better with anyone else, but Gateway isn't getting any more chances.

Three desktops, six monitors, and five video cards.:rolleyes: It took me seven years to see the plain writing on the wall.

I may have to suck it up and build my own machine next time.

Sir Penguin
04-09-2003, 17:31:29
I didn't even know they were still in business.


04-09-2003, 17:34:39
Cool boxes, though. :p

Warranty is now purchased separately, so the price *seems* not to have changed, but its an extra chunk of dough if you want the same warranty they used to include in the price.

I'm also beginning to think they've farmed their customer service out to an outfit in India to save money, but I can't be sure.

04-09-2003, 18:08:52
India or Ireland. :)

Gateway pulled out of the UK/European market quite a few years ago. The only way is down really.

04-09-2003, 18:16:29
Same accent? :lol:

My brother in-law is from Cork, he'd be gutted if I couldn't tell the difference.

No longer Trippin
04-09-2003, 18:34:04
Gateway was a good company until the middle of the first Pentium's IIRC - I was rather young at the time. Now I lump them in below Dell but above Compaq. Not saying much there, but it shows that they aren't great. Hell, I even saw the current inards of a new alienware system, and well, it wasn't like it used to be. It's still neat and tidy, but not as neat and tidy - they also aren't willing to be flexible with you in terms of what you want. If it isn't in their stock or options for the comp - forget it. Before if you wanted SCSI Raid in a gaming machine, you could get it and exactly what you wanted early on. Now... fat chance. They are going downhill as well. Falcon Northwest still builds good comps for it's size and they have good performance, but your paying for that - though a bit less than alienware which is just an immensely bloated cost to begin with. So building your own from a great online reseller is probably the way to go.

My opinion, just build your next one. Need tips, Asher and I can fill you in on what to do and not to do. It isn't hard and it's a cheaper for the system itself. Where the OEM's come out ahead GENERALLY (on low and mid ranged systems) is with the OS, a monitor, and a printer. But you can use an old printer, might or might not want to use the monitor, and Gateways OS's look for their mobo before the CD can even be detected (as of 2000, see below). So your looking at the cost of an OS for most likely and maybe a monitor depending on how it runs on the freshly built system. But for the cost of a low end system you can build a mid to high end system, just missing a piece or two for a true high end system. Throw in another 100 or 150 and you'll have their high end system sans OS, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer. But all those minus OS can be pulled from old systems (Gateway uses a proprietary CD, your new system won't even detect it on bootup) if needed - which was what I did with my first homebuilt system. Then I replaced the rest as I got the cash or if needed down the line. Getting into building your own is the hardest part, after that your generally saving a lot more money on the next system or on upgrades as you don't have to replace the entire system for an upgrade.

Well I wouldn't be surprised if Gateway country is now India - Hindu's do revere cows. :)

04-09-2003, 18:53:45
Good point about the cows :)

Free time and a dog hair free workspace are all I'll really need. The old one will hold out until I finish this damned thesis. I won't live at the address that has the desktop system until I finish here, and won't have time to play cool new games until then, either.

CG would be my main tech support, and my wife's brother has put together a lot of Macs, so he may be of some help. I may have to see if I can get a student discounted OS on a CD they'll let me keep before I leave here.

It struck me out of the blue how bad things have gotten with Gateway, while I was reading the lastest chapter of the video card story my wife emailed me yesterday. Don't know why I didn't catch on quicker. I did a Drekkus.

04-09-2003, 23:38:58
You didn't catch on because you remember when they were the Bom! But, they have gone into cost cutting mode... cutting out the best for just good (and later, for just ok, etc)...

No longer Trippin
05-09-2003, 01:48:53
MDA: Then make sure you keep your current comp able to run if you decide to build your own. Honestly, I've actually helped or seen people help people who were having to make trips to the library or trying to put the old one back together to get advice on what's going wrong and whatnot. Seems silly, but it's true.

Builds Macs - he'll be of some use. They use basically the same parts, though there are some differences in how the build goes towards the end - mainly BIOS and windows setup stuff (if you want to optimize it - which would be smart - that's what alienware adds 1,000 dollars to the price for, as it just tweaks the bios settings instead of leaving them on defaults and sets a lot of services to manual along with taking some crap completely out with msconfig - not worth the extra price at all). He should be able to at least tell you what plugs into what - don't know if he can do anything else. :)

DS is right - about five odd years ago I REALLY noticed gateways were crap - in a span of two years went from good to garbage. They'd buy mostly name brand stuff - but the models they'd buy would be the cheapest ones, thus even if a good brand and you buy the cheapest stuff, your not getting the brands real quality in a lot of things. Now it's just whatever they can find that is the cheapest that they don't think will die during the standard warranty period it seems.

MDA: I recall asking you this before I think, were do you live, in the states or across the pond? As you'll need to find a good online reseller. Here it's newegg, in England, I'd have to ask a fellow overclocker for some good resellers as bad ones can make things a nightmare.

05-09-2003, 03:22:55
MDA = Ohio...Columbus that is!

No longer Trippin
05-09-2003, 04:24:58
Then he can use Newegg... I've ordered thousands from them just in parts for friends, family, and myself. Best service out there with great prices as well. They also aren't gimmicky and have a no hassle RMA. GoogleGear sometimes is picky from what some have told me with RMA experiences and TigerDirect is said to be absolutely horrible from nearly everyone whom I've talked to who build systems regularly.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
05-09-2003, 19:41:07
Trip, regarding ratings, I'd place Gateway above Dell - not far, but enough to count. They both beat Compaq hands down of course :)

Reason? The Dell's I work with crap out or are just plain nasty to begin with, wheras the Gateway's seem to be okay. We've (at work) bought 100 desktops (w/LCDs) and 350+ laptops from them in the past year and a half, and we've had no problems getting faulty stuff replaced (which has been less than 1% of all units purchased).

Of course, we're a large Gateway customer, so that might have some bearing on it :) Still, I wouldn't buy anything from an OEM for a home computer - I know I'll never get exactly what I want with that. But for business they're great, since you know you're going to get the same config. for each machine.

No longer Trippin
05-09-2003, 19:51:35
Where I worked we actually used Dell's for the most part - had very little trouble with them. Though for the home user, your going to get screwed with any large manufacturer. They are going to give you worse shit than corporate customers and not tell you - nor tell the company that they are getting something better - as it isn't like the CEO knows anything other than the commercials. So if they have all these nice working comps at work, that encourages those users to buy them for home PC's and that is where you see most of the trouble. Even if you scratch out user error (which corporate networks tend to minimize a great deal) you still have a lot more hardware failures in my knowledge of them at least.

05-09-2003, 21:54:19
The great thing about DIY is that you can keep most things with bad tendencies out of you box.

No longer Trippin
06-09-2003, 17:09:32
Yeah - that I have to say is the best part... Quality parts and also no arguing with customer support, at least with newegg... just stick it in a box after getting an auomatic RMA number and boom done. May take a little while - that's the only downside - but that's what school networks are for then - use only when necessary. Generally though from the systems I've built I've used quality components so RMA's aren't common (as I do build for others more than myself). The only thing that fails is the HDD generally, so buying a second one later on and installing even an old crap OS on it along with everything you need to run your system without too much of a headache on it and that covers your main failure item, when not using it, unplug it from the IDE cable and power connector - no use having it spinning and XP can get damned picky if it sees another OS on the system. So you can put quality components in your system to minimize the chance of them going down. Granted they still can, but when you see a 3 year warranty on an HDD instead of one, you know the tolerances are a bit better - hence it most likely isn't gonna fail before your ready to pitch it.

07-09-2003, 02:30:30
Everything is going down hill. That is what happens when an industry that is modelled on a $3000 price tag is selling things for $300 to $1000.

08-09-2003, 02:10:14
Yeppers. They got to make enough money to afford giving the CEO 500 Million dollar bonuses SOMEHOW.

No longer Trippin
09-09-2003, 00:49:21
It isn't as if the parts cost all that much. If I can build a system for the same price as Dell - and I'm certainly not buying in 1,000 to 10,000 quantity lots, I think it has to do with fatten the upper managements paychecks or gross imcompentence.

09-09-2003, 04:40:43
But CEOs add so much value... :D

09-09-2003, 13:50:41
Yes, the teeming metropolis of Columbus. I'll be graduating and moving to Germantown, Maryland by the end of this year <knocks wood>.

By taking the comp to the Gateway country (because the woman on the phone wouldn't deal with her directly) , my wife doesn't have to plug the new card in herself (she's done it at least as often as I have over the years), and gets to add 4 days to the one it normally takes to get the computer fixed :shoot:. I bet she'll have to update the driver herself when she gets it home. :lol:

I have to laugh, otherwise I'd cry.

Thanks for the tips, everyone. I've been paying attention to the talk over the years, since building my own system has always been in the back of my mind, but its nice to have the important stuff all in one thread.

What are your opinions on "deals" to be found on parts at computer discount fairs/expos? Are there really "deals" to be found at those things? Is it just too difficult to return faulty stuff?
Is it all stolen merchandise? :p

09-09-2003, 14:08:37
You can get a good deal on an operating system there ;) and probably a case. I don't know about the legality. ;)
But until you are comfy with build your own don't buy any electrical bits there. Use New Egg or Googlegear or some other reputable source. Sometimes too you can get a great deal on things like hard drives and mice at Office Depot ...hard to believe. :)

No longer Trippin
09-09-2003, 17:36:43
Don't buy an OS from a fair, or any other source than a vendor, as if you get screwed with a copy that someone else has registered, especially with XP, you'll be pulling your hair out trying to deal with them as the legality becomes awfully wishywashy and depending on how badly you've been screwed if it happens will likely determine whether or not you just pissed money down the drain.

Generally you can get a good deal on an HDD at Office Depot and the like. You get the retail box to boot, which is great after the one year warranty from the seller is up as the manufacturers won't accept an RMA without the proper packing (and shipping an empty one cost you thirty bucks, then you have to ship that box with your HDD in it to them :rolleyes:). Though that is only if you get a drive with a 3 year warranty (8mb cache IDE's have this generally - at least for WD and Maxtor), otherwise it doesn't matter. I use Newegg exclusively for my parts, though I have a couple HDD boxes anyhow so the OEM packaging doesn't matter to me - so you may want to go that route with the HDD. Just the mail in rebates generally take 6 months to "process" many times. So don't count on it paying next months electricity bill. :) Everything else for you (other than keyboard and mouse as you want to be able to try them out so to speak - and speakers possibly) I'd get from Newegg or Googlegear as I know some who use them if Newegg is out of stock on an item - never hear any complaints worth paying attention to other than user idiocy on an install.

Don't skimp on a case (I've seen cheap ones which will ground your motherboard, thus it won't turn on, thus you have to take the mobo out and stick electrical tape ove the spacers, a real pain in the ass) - good ones are fairly cheap anyhow (you can get a good case from Antec with a good PSU in it and case fans preinstalled for cheaper than the individual components, I use them often - though you have to order direct from them)... else get a Chenming (metal or aluminum makes no difference in cooling - just in lugging it around) as they have good airflow, if you can get one with a side intake, all the better for those new hot graphics cards on the market. Chenming is also used by a couple other case manufacturers. Mount all fan mounts as it helps with stability as heat and shitty PSU's are the main things which cause crashes now that everything is on the NT kernel... front / side intake, rear exhaust if you plan on having a fairly decent setup.

Oh, and no, XP Pro is not worth any extra cost unless you plan on doing some MAJOR networking, otherwise Home will do just as well.

09-09-2003, 19:25:43
I can get XP home with office in a bundle from Ohio State pretty cheaply -IF- I do it while I'm still a student. I just need to make sure its not one of those rotten deals where they let you take it home and install it, and then return the disc to the uni bookstore or Office of IT.

The Buckeye Bundle includes these products:

Microsoft Office XP Pro with Front Page (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, FrontPage, Outlook, all products version 2002)
Microsoft Office 2000 Professional for Windows (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher)
Microsoft Office 10 for Macintosh (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage) -- MacOS X only
Microsoft Office 2001 for Macintosh (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage)
Microsoft Office 98 for Macintosh (Word 98, Excel 98, PowerPoint 98)
Visual Studio .NET Professional for Windows
Front Page 2000 for Windows (FrontPage 2002 integrated into Office XP)
Front Page for Macintosh
Windows 32-bit operating system upgrades (Windows 98, Millennium Edition, NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP Pro, and successor operating systems)
Back Office Client Access License
Servers (available only to OSU departments and for a fee; contact Cop-ez at 292-2219 for details):
Windows NT Standard and Enterprise Server
Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server
Microsoft SQL Standard and Enterprise Server
Microsoft Exchange Standard and Enterprise Server

that's obviously way more than I need...

09-09-2003, 20:01:40
How much?

No longer Trippin
09-09-2003, 20:33:48
MDA: They can't really do that - well they can with certain license options, but you'll be given an individual key - keep that, return the CD AFTER using cloneCD on it. If it is a copy, forget even using cloneCD, but if it's an actual MS CD then you can clone it to a blank CD (700 meg). Office XP you will have to do this as well. Nero and Roxio are notorious for setting off copy protection stuff - thus if you need the CD and run it, your looking at seriously FUBARing the system as the version of CDILLA it releases resides not only in the system bios but in your HDD's mini bios and it copies the instructions of the drive to the drive. Thus you have to toss the mobo and the hard drives out (as you can't flash the EPROM on them without it being reinfected from the drive itself - I had a friend spend a good two days trying to get around it, he didn't, and it was a backup of a CD he owned - just when office cost a shitload you tend to not want to take those CD's out for anything). He had industry formatting machines which couldn't wipe the drive as you have to flash the eprom on a comp. Soon as the drive is connected to a comp, it infects the bios, soon as you flash it, the bios is set to reinfect the eprom. So becareful there.