Custom PC Builder Puget Systems Details the Most Reliable PC Hardware of 2021
(Image: Puget Systems)Puget Systems is a custom PC builder from — where else? — the Puget Sound area, and in a new blog post it’s sharing some very interesting data about hardware failure rates over the past two years, both from its own labs and from systems in its customers’ hands. Like any boutique shop, Puget puts each system it assembles through a battery of tests before shipping it to the customer so it can make sure the hardware in question is working properly, which sometimes leads to failure. Also, a particular component will occasionally fail once it’s “in the field” so to speak, and Puget has collected all this data to summarize what it has found to be the most, and least, reliable hardware from the vendors it uses for its workstation systems. After combing through all the data, Puget has also awarded a single component as the most reliable product a PC builder can buy, and the winner will not come as a surprise to any savvy PC builder.
Intel and AMD CPUs
Since this is mostly workstation data, the bulk of the CPUs tested come from those product segments, but it still includes enthusiast chips from AMD and Intel. Puget notes that, “AMD CPUs in general had higher failure rates than Intel, but we did see an oddly high rate of failures with Intel’s consumer-oriented 11th Gen processors… which seems odd, especially next to the very low rates shown by the preceding 10th Gen.”
Intel’s 10th-gen chips were remarkably reliable, with the AMD Ryzen 5000 series hitting a two percent failure rate in the lab, with just 0.77 percent in the field. The winner is obviously Intel’s Xeon W-2200 series, which had zero failures both in-field and in the lab.
Without the impact of 11th Gen, Intel would be more reliable than AMD overall according to this graph. 11th Gen’s failure rate is high enough to push Intel into that position.
Puget only uses Nvidia cards, both enthusiast and workstation models, so there’s no news on AMD GPUs here. The only notable takeaway from its data, which is a bit surprising, is that Nvidia’s own Founder’s Edition cards are more reliable than those built by its partners. The delta isn’t massive, mind you, but it looks like Nvidia did some impressive engineering on the FE models, which naturally were the hardest to find for sale anywhere. Something also went seriously wrong with its RTX Quadro cards, which eventually had their name changed to Professional RTX A Series.
SSD and HDD
This is easily the most interesting chart so far as it provides very useful data, in our opinion at least. The most striking result is the 0.0 percent failure rate for the Samsung 870 EVO/QVO SSDs, which is quite astonishing, as it’s over a two year period. Not a single failure? Kudos to Samsung. Its 860 Pro and 980 Pro models were also practically failure-free too, so a very strong showing here from Samsung. It’s also notable, as Puget points out in its write-up, that both Western Digital HDD models it uses have nearly identical failure rates, despite being targeted at different audiences (NAS vs. Enterprise). And finally, while the Seagate Firecuda SSD did have a 0.65 percent failure rate in the lab, not a single one of them has ever died in a customer’s hands, which is good news. This chart also definitely indicates SSDs are more reliable than HDDs, at least among the products that were compared.
We have mixed data on this point overall. According to data released by Backblaze, HDD and SSD failure rates are similar. This distinction could be caused by several factors, including the different workload demands on end-user hardware, differences in testing criteria, and the length of time hardware was evaluated.
Puget only uses two brands of PSUs, Super Flower and EVGA, but its data shows a clear correlation between higher wattage and higher failure rates. As Puget puts it, “which makes sense, given that they are likely to be handling a lot larger and possibly more sustained power loads.” Overall though, none of the failure rates shown by any PSUs were troubling, leading to the conclusion that both brands are reliable overall. It also states that all of the PSUs above are modular, in case that is of interest to anyone.
The Most Reliable – Samsung SSDs
According to Puget systems, out of all the parts it has tested over the years, Samsung SSDs have shown themselves to be the most reliable component, bar none. The company notes in its blog post that it has sold over 35,000 Samsung SSDs over the years, and recorded only 100 failures total. Most if not all PC builders are aware of Samsung’s stellar reputation in the SSD world, not only for its drives’ performance but also for their reliability and excellent software. However, it is still interesting to see that reputation backed up by some real-world data that includes thousands of drives being used in the real world.
The full report is right here, and includes some categories we skipped over due to editorial discretion. We highly recommend you check it out.