|Computer Gripes||documenting the down side of computer stuff|
|HomeSearchMerchandiseAboutMichael HorowitzMy Computerworld Blog|
|Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ALL|
Velocity Micro Gripes
Velocity Micro makes PCs, mostly for gamers
September 27, 2006. Buying RAM for a Velocity Micro computer you already own seems, at first, to be impossible. Nowhere on Velocity's web site do they offer RAM without a computer attached. At crucial.com, they never heard of Velocity Micro. A Velocity Micro's web site it seems the computer I have uses RAM from Corsair, but at Corsair's web site there is nothing about buying RAM for Velocity Micro machines. Other computers, yes; Velocity Micro, no.
At first I though Velocity Micro was not responding to my questions. Turns
out that Gmail was flagging their responses as SPAM.
July 2006. At this point, I've dealt with technical support at Velocity Micro a lot. Much more than I ever wanted. It borders on being useless. I say this in addition to the gripe below about not helping their customers find updated drivers.
They are a hardware company and that shows through dramatically when trying to get answers on software problems. Questions about hardware were answered reasonably.
However, software problems were rarely responded with suggestions other than those that any High School student would offer. Their knee jerk reaction is to take two aspirin and call me in the morning (i.e. re-install Windows). Also, many problem symptoms were simply ignored by tech support. Should you need to contact Velocity Micro for tech support, be sure to only deal with one fact per contact. Writing them a long message is waste of time.
Details: The problems I have with my XP SP2 machine all involve a "0xc0000005" error. This happens both in Windows, which results in a Blue Screen Of Death and also in a whole host of application programs. The only thing that is obvious is that the problem is not limited to one application.
Microsoft's online dump analysis blames this on a bad driver (everyone passes the buck). This is what led to the below experience trying to get the latest hardware drivers for my machine. It could also be bad ram, but I tested the ram in the machine. It might be a hard drive problem, but my hard drive passed all the diagnostics from the vendor (Western Digital). A Google search turned up some references that this might be a RAM timing issue and to tinker with related variables in the BIOS. Considering my below experiences getting Velocity Micro to debug the BIOS, this won't happen.
On some days, things will crash a few times. One day I had two BSODs within an hour. At other times, I can go a few days without anything crashing.
At one point I asked about upgrading the BIOS on my machine. In response, I was given lots of bad information. At first I was told not to because it wouldn't speed up the machine. Shows the mind set of the company - they assume I want a faster machine rather than a more stable one. Then I was told not to upgrade the BIOS because if something goes wrong the machine becomes a paperweight. I then researched this on my own and found out it was not true. Intel makes the BIOS in my machine and they are able to back-out failed BIOS flashes.
There is so much more I could add . . .
May 6, 2006. Is it asking too much to enter a machine number or model number in the tech support section of Velocity Micro's web site and get back a list of current drivers?
Yes it is.
So, I asked Velocity Micro where to get updated drivers. They said
To update motherboard drivers, you will need to go to the Intel website. You have the Intel D 915G main board. Both sound and video are integrated, so those driver updates will be at the same site.
When did a motherboard become a "main board"? More importantly, Intel also wants no part of me. From their Support Services page.
Support Policy: Please check your Original Equipment Manufacturer's support web site for updated BIOS, drivers, and solutions to common problems. Hardware and software are customized by computer manufacturers and validated as an entire system. If you are experiencing issues with your computer, the system manufacturer is the best source of support.
Velocity's idea of help finding drivers is to simply point me to www.intel.com. I'm left to fend for myself at Intel's web site. Thanks for nothing Velocity Micro.
May 8, 2006. I had a software problem that I suspected was due to Intel software provided by Velocity Micro on their software CD. I asked tech support:
I installed the Intel desktop utilities from your software CD and later suspected it to be causing problems, so I uninstalled it. Now I get an error every day in the System Event Log:
The osaio service failed to start due to the following error:
The system cannot find the file specified.
A Google search turned up an item that said the osaio.sys file is from the Intel utilities - specifically their monitoring software. I searched intel.com for both "osaio" and "osaio.sys" but there is nothing on their site about this. Windows XP does not show a service with this name. There are no scheduled tasks on my system at all. The list of auto-started programs does not include anything about osaio. There is however, a registry entry for this:
I don't expect Velocity Micro to debug every software problem, but since they provided the Intel Desktop Utilities I expected they might be able to communicate with Intel to see if osaio.sys was, in fact, from them. Intel won't talk to me and you can't ask them a question without first specifying the product you're asking about.
Somewhere on the net it said this was the "OSA I/O Port Driver" from Avocent/OSA Technologies Inc. Sure enough, there is a company called OSA, that was "founded in 2000 by former Intel employees, under the name of Open Source Asia (OSA)" according to Yahoo Finance which also reports that Avocent purchased OSA in 2004.
This press release from OSA Technologies dated February 19, 2004 says "Intel has integrated OSA management building blocks into its Intel Desktop Utilities (IDU) application shipping in Q2 with next generation Intel desktop boards." There seems no doubt about it now, Intel has a bug in their un-install software that left a remnant in the Windows Registry that still looks for file osaio.sys after it has been un-installed.
The response from Velocity Micro: use System Restore to back-out. I can't because the Intel software was installed long ago and just recently un-installed. Due to crashes in a host of programs, I uninstalled many programs, the Intel Desktop Utilities among them. Since installing the Intel software, I have installed many programs which would all be impacted by restoring an old Restore Point. I responded to VM that I couldn't use System Restore and never heard back.
The extremely complete Autoruns program from Sysinternals.com found a reference to osaio.sys in a list of drivers and it also reported the file as not found. I deleted the reference to it using Autoruns which I suspect will fix the problem. No thanks to Velocity Micro.
May 2, 2006. I own a Velocity Micro machine, a Vector Pro Tower with an Intel Celeron processor.
The machine comes with a sticker that has their phone number and another number. What is this other number? They don't say. I asked Velocity Micro tech support what it is. They said it's "the technical support ID number". What is a technical support ID number? Does it identify me or the computer? I shouldn't have to ask. Also, when you make a tech support request you are asked for an order number or an invoice number, not a technical support ID number. How hard is it to get the terminology straight?
My new Velocity Micro machine had to have Windows XP activated with Microsoft - this is the first new machine I've run across that required that.
The back of the computer has no labels for any of the ports. This is especially annoying for the PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports as they look exactly the same. It's also annoying for the three audio ports.
They have a tech support FAQ that includes a question about how you open the case. But they don't answer the question. Is it too much to ask for instructions on each of their cases? Apparently so. They only have a handful of cases.
They used to offer technical support via firstname.lastname@example.org but this has been discontinued.
When I purchased the machine in the summer of 2005, my credit card was charged immediately, even though the computer was shipped three weeks later.
During the ordering process, their web site re-displayed my full credit card number twice. Granted, this was done on a secure web page, but most companies will simply display the last few digits which, to me, is preferable.
August 20, 2005.
The first time I turned the computer on - the absolute very first time - it failed to boot. The BIOS informed instructed me to:
Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device or Insert Boot Media in Selected Boot Device
I should have put the machine back in the cardboard box and returned it right then and there. I didn't. My bad.
Being a computer nerd, I went into the BIOS configuration and found an option about hard disk delay seconds at boot up time. Seemed like a likely suspect, so I changed the value (don't recall from what to what) and thereafter the machine booted to Windows just fine. Velocity Micro brags about their machines being first rate. Expletive deleted.
Update. June 2006. For many months thereafter it booted normally. However while trying to debug a rash of other problems, I restored the BIOS to all default values and this problem re-appeared again. Hitting Ctl-Alt-Delete to reboot works every time. The problem is restricted to the first boot after power-on.
Update. July 2006. I mentioned this problem to tech support at Velocity Micro. The response: it's "odd". No possible reasons were offered. No suggestions on fixing it were offered. Lucky for me that I figured out a work-around on my own. This shows, as do the responses detailed above, that there is no technical expertise at Velocity Micro. They are a small company and it seems they can't afford to hire real techies for tech support.
If you are considering buying a Velocity Micro machine, get it without Windows, then buy Windows at retail so that you can get tech support from Microsoft.
Adding insult to injury is that the machine I purchased was sold as a "stable" model. Most of their machines are sold as being fast. Not mine. It's claim to fame was supposed to be that it just works. Expletive deleted.
The lesson: Velocity Micro doesn't even turn on their machines to make sure
they can boot before shipping them. Their quality assurance is
January 16, 2005. Sunday. About 9PM. Velocity Micro had been recommended to me when I was looking to purchase a new desktop computer. They were said to be well made, quiet, made in the US and with technical support in the US. Sounds compelling.
If went to their web site and brought up the page for the Voyager - Slim Tower/Desktop.
Being very interested in the size of the machine, I clicked on the link for more
about the case. The page was not found.
Update: As of February 13, 2005 the link is still broken. I emailed them about it. There is a link on the page for this computer for a live chat. It worked! Even on a Sunday evening at 6PM Eastern Time. I was told they just changed the size of the case and that the new dimensions would be on the web site tomorrow.
The picture of the computer on this page is 193 pixels wide and 270 pixels high. This is small. Even worse, it is the only picture available. One their competitors, Alienware, in contrast, provides both many and larger pictures of their computers. Significant sections of this machine are black. Trying to make out the features of a black machine in a small picture is all but impossible.
Then I tried calling their toll-free 800 number. A person answered the phone, but it was an off-shift emergency number only. Not for sales questions. I understand that these things can't be available 24x7, but the web site did not give the hours of availability.
I also looked at the Vector Pro Intel Corporate Stable Platform, a desktop machine rather than a tower. Checking out the size of this machine, it says that it is 12.9 inches high. It's not, that's the width. It also says the machine is 5.3 inches wide. It's not, that's the height.
I purchased a computer from one of their competitors.
In the January 2007 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine they recommended a Velocity Micro computer for gaming, but said it came with "Sparse documentation" and that "Tech support and reliability are unknown for this brand".
December 28, 2005 Velocity Micro NOT! Author unknown.
|Page created: January 16, 2005||Page last updated: December 4, 2006|