Don’t buy Intel CPUs and boards until they stop selling “pin bending” LGA 1155/1156 sockets!

We purchased a brand new $100 motherboard (socket LGA 1155) from Newegg for an Intel Core i5 desktop system, intended to replace the fully functional $50 motherboard we previously bought from them because the customer needed more PCIe x1 slots. We replaced a known good, burn-in tested, never-overclocked computer system’s motherboard with a better motherboard. Immediately upon powering up the brand new motherboard in the case with the Core i5 CPU properly installed (we’re not newbies to the PC building game), a voltage regulator on the motherboard fried. It was visibly charred and clearly the reason for the board not functioning; this component also killed the known-good power supply that was connected to it, requiring us to give the customer a free power supply. We immediately repackaged the board identically to how it shipped to us originally and performed an RMA of the board, and I just received this email about the RMA status:

Dear Customer,

My name is Carl and I am contacting you in regards to RMA [rma_number]. The RMA was placed on hold by our inspections department due to reported physical damage on the MB ASROCK|P67 PRO3 SE P67 LGA1155 R.

Normally when an item is received damaged or missing the retail box and/or accessories, it voids our return policy and the item becomes ineligible to be accepted by Newegg. When a motherboard, and other items, are returned back to Newegg, they are inspected under a magnifier and are supervised. We look to see if the board was ever installed and look for signs of end user damage, aside from testing the unit to check its functionality. Signs of installation include bent pins, missing CPU cover or thermal paste.

Our records reflect that when the motherboard was received under RMA# [rma_number] at the Newegg warehouse, an inspection was conducted based on the notes entered in the RMA as to the reason for the return. At that time, the inspection revealed that the motherboard had sustained physical damage to the CPU socket wherein bent pins were detected.

While the RMA does not fall within our return policy guidelines, Newegg has authorized an exception be made in this case and we agree to accept the item as is and process the RMA for a replacement.

At this time, the RMA will be processed, as originally requested and as soon as possible.

We want you to know we appreciate your relationship with us and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me directly and it will be my pleasure to assist you.

Thank you and have an EGGcellent day!

Best Regards,

CPU/Motherboard RMA Team
T. 800.390.1119
F. 626.271.9524 – Once You Know, You Newegg!

Although Newegg did the right thing in this instance (replacing a DOA motherboard that fried due to a catastrophic voltage regulator short) a cursory search reveals that most people who have problems with LGA 1155/1156 motherboards are rarely granted the right to a replacement under warranty, and the reason is always the same:

The LGA 1155 and 1156 sockets for the Core i3/i5/i7 and (Celeron/Pentium equivalents) represent a terrible and unnecessary engineering decision by Intel that effectively neuters any warranty you may have while risking that somewhere down the line a very minor mishap could easily destroy the socket on an expensive motherboard, rendering it worthless.

Despite having written articles about how AMD beats Intel if performance-per-dollar ratios are considered, I have built many Intel-based systems for customers, often due to factors such as availability of parts and motherboard features such as onboard video (or simply at the request of the customer.) I don’t have a problem with Intel processors, and I haven’t exactly been unhappy with them in computers I have previously owned such as my (sold) Core i7-2630QM laptop. After having the LGA 11xx socket pin issue personally bite me in the backside, though, I am beyond bitter on Intel processors, and I would strongly encourage anyone who is building a new computer system or rebuilding an existing one with a new motherboard and CPU to boycott Intel processors and matching motherboards until they return to a sane pin-on-chip CPU design and dump the spring-loaded fragile pin-in-socket design they currently use.

There is no valid excuse for this, Intel. You make excellent chips with crap socket physics, and in the end, your Haswell processors are garbage if the boards are so fragile that they break at every opportunity imaginable.

Vote with your dollars. Buy AMD. In all honesty, my AMD Phenom II X6 1035T has been the best desktop processor I’ve ever had; on software compilation tasks, it blows my Phenom II X4 965 out of the water, plus my AMD A8-4500M laptop can play Portal 2 in 2xMSAA graphics without a hiccup. Given my personal experiences, I have to say that I don’t know why anyone would continue to purchase Intel hardware, especially now that all Intel motherboard RMAs can be denied by bending up a few pins in the CPU socket and calling it “user error.”

2 thoughts on “Don’t buy Intel CPUs and boards until they stop selling “pin bending” LGA 1155/1156 sockets!

  1. It’s incredible how a big company can end up screwing up so big. I always imagine that before a decision is sealed in a corporation, it goes through 100 experts, reports, tests, marketers, and so on. Guess not.

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