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Puget Releases Hardware Reliability Report: CPUs, GPUs and SSDs

When it’s time to buy new components for your gaming rig, or if you happen to buy a prebuilt system from an established brand or boutique company, you hope and pray that the hardware will last for the long haul. But, unfortunately, due to production defects, user error, bad luck, or a combination of all three, some hardware ends up failing prematurely. With this in mind, the folks at Puget Systems have amassed some rather intriguing data on what it found to be the most reliable hardware for the custom workstations/servers that it sold during 2021.

Before we even get started with the data, we should caution that companies like Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA (among others) don’t provide their failure rates to the public (for obvious reasons). So, we must look at this data through Puget’s lens and not make too many inferences on the entirety of the PC hardware market based on their analysis.

Puget also posits that its failure rates, in general, should be lower than the industry average due to its “comprehensive qualification process” and the high-quality components that it uses — granted, this is something that all systems builders strive to achieve. And this statement from the company is a big one that should set the tone for the accumulated data: “We are filtering out of this data any failures that we believe were caused accidentally by our employees or customers, as well as those related to damage in shipping.The goal here is to isolate problems from the hardware itself, rather than human error.”

(Image credit: Puget Systems)

With that said, Puget’s failure analysis (with data from shop and field failures) covers processors, memory, video cards, HDDs/SSDs, and power supplies. Regarding processors (which are lumped together based on series to simplify things), we see that Intel’s 11th generation Core processors lead the way with overall failures as a percentage of chips acquired. The shop failure rate, which means that Puget caught them in the lab before systems shipped to customers, was 5.28 percent (more than double the rate of the AMD Threadripper Pro). However, the failure rate in the field was still higher than the rest of the lot at 1.32 percent (the Threadripper 3000 was the next closest with a field failure rate of 0.80 percent).

GPU Failures

(Image credit: Puget Systems)

However, the 11th generation (Rocket Lake) Core failure rates were considered an extreme oddity given that the 10th-Gen Core, Core X, and Xeon W/Scalable processors were well below their AMD counterparts (less than 1%). We don’t know what the issue could be, although perhaps the high thermals of Rocket Lake processors were to blame. And as you might imagine, it’s simply too early to amass reliable data on new 12th-Gen Alder Lake processors.

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