Our third desktop system from Puget Custom Computers is touted as a “quiet gaming computer.” Their technical support has been questionable in the past, but their build quality has garnered our praise. Once again we have to ask: Is this Puget sound?
As many of you might know by now, HardOCP doesn’t "review" systems; we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.
This process allows us to not only evaluate the system, but the OEM that builds it. Our goal is to give you the wide-angle lens view of the computer and the company so that you can make informed and educated decisions as to what you purchase or recommend to clients, friends, and family.
Our history with Puget has been short, interesting, and, to a certain degree, disappointing. The most recent article can be found here, and our first Puget article here. Also, be sure to check out Puget president Jon Bach's comments in our OEM Executives article. We evaluated our first Puget article nearly a year ago to the day. All in all, we’ve had mixed feelings about the company and its products. There is no doubt that Puget crafts a well-built system with appropriate attention to real-estate management (evidenced in their Small Form Factor systems), wire routing, and cooling solutions. They also have the best Web interface of any integrator we’ve seen, with impeccable detail given to updating their build process in real time. No one else does more for the consumer in this area. However, their technical support staff has frequently left something to be desired. We’ve been hung up on, not called back, and given answers that were just plain wrong. To be fair, they’re generally very responsive, their RMA process has been relatively smooth, and systems and components have been delivered to us in an efficient, timely manner.
This is our first experience with a so-called “quiet gaming” machine. Low-noise systems combine both active and passive cooling solutions. Traditional 120mm fans are strategically placed in heat-generating areas, but are then set to their lowest speeds for noise reduction. Passive cooling solutions are coupled to the appropriate components whenever possible, and their respective heatsinks are “aimed” so that the airflow generated by the active cooling solutions can pass over the heatsinks and keep the component cool. This is not a simple integration, so we were interested to see if Puget could pull it off.
We’re hoping to see Puget’s technical support live up to its great front end and wonderful build quality - which, of course, we’ll investigate again - and maybe recover from the black eyes they got during our last two outings. We’d like to see competent, friendly techs who know our particular system (hardware AND software), and are willing to spend the time it takes to resolve our issues. In the event that they don’t know the answers to our questions, we’d like for them to be willing to admit it, find our solution, and not try to blow us off.
We're also going to look into Puget's claims of being able to produce a quiet system. As we mentioned above, it's not exactly an easy task. We'll be looking to see what solutions they come up with to keep our system cool as well as quiet.
Here’s what we got: