I have ordered from Dobies before, so logged in to place an order for seed potatoes, onion sets and seeds from them. All went well until I came to check out. The website remembered my card details and I clicked on this option before remembering that my card had been reissued due to fraudulent use. The order failed- not surprisingly- but there was no option to use another card. Despite all the items appearing in my order history when I phoned to seek help I was told I would have to re-enter them all again to place an order. Surely the site can be more user friendly than this!
In January 2013 I bought a Chillblast Fusion Stealth and this is my second Chillblast computer in five years. So I am happy with the make. My experience with the Stealth for nearly three weeks has been positive. But there are some issues I'd like to mention.
The Fusion Stealth was listed as one of Chillblast's 'Silent Systems'. When I got it the PC was fairly noisy. To cut a longish story short it transpired that the BIOS settings for the fans were incorrectly set at Chillblast. There are four BIOS fan settings and they all should be on 'silent' but in my case they were all on 'standard'. Changing these to 'silent' quietened the PC down considerably but it is not silent: there is a continuous albeit low fan noise.
Chillblast apologised profusely for the incorrect BIOS settings but went on to say:
"The Stealth system is not designed to be truly ‘silent’; only the Fusion Vacuum series are truly silent as they feature no moving parts. The Stealth and our other low noise systems all have fans inside which need to be running during normal use. The advantage is that you can have a much more powerful PC than you can with the Fusion Vacuum series."
I decided in the end that my Stealth was quiet enough and Chillblast kindly paid me £50 compensation.
I suggested to Chillblast that it might be misleading to list the Stealth on the website at the head of their 'Silent Systems' when it isn't silent. Chillblast agreed and they have changed the main heading from 'silent systems' to 'silent and ultra quiet'. In addition the individual headings for each PC in this category has been revised to show whether it is silent or ultra quiet.
It remains true that the buyer of any PC can't be sure it will be set up correctly. Unless the noise level is given in decibels and you have some way of measuring the PC you are never going to know how the thing will sound or whether your example is working properly. However, Chillblast are very good at responding to complaints and dealing with them quickly.
WINDOWS 8 SLEEP REMOVED
My Stealth was supplied with Windows 8 Standard. My old PC had Windows 8 PRO which I downloaded when it was on special offer. I particularly like the 'Sleep' feature which Microsoft recommend as the default method when shutting down, rather than completely turning off. But I couldn't find the Sleep option on the Stealth and spent much time fruitlessly searching for it and Googling for answers. Chillblast told me that they remove Sleep from overclocked PCs (as the Stealth is) because it may make the system unstable.
Chillblast also pointed out that their general terms and conditions include a warning that they don't recommend sleep mode because of stability issues and that, specifically, overclocked PCs may have sleep removed. So I admit I only have myself to blame for failing to plough through the lengthy small print! I suggested to Chillblast that terms and conditions usually deal with commercial matters like warranties, refunds etc and not technical choices. Hence I felt it would be better if they had more specific warnings for each PC. This is Chillblast's response:
"I agree that in a perfect world this sleep issue would be more boldly advertised, however please understand that have to carefully tread a middle ground between being as helpful and informative as possible, without putting off potential purchasers by scaring them away. If we stipulated every possible issue in terms of OS compatibility problems, and the steps we take to minimise the likelihood of their manifestation, then we would driving away sales where none of our competitors provide the same courtesy. After all, the sleep mode bug affects all manufacturers of overclocked machines, yet to my knowledge we are the only ones who inform our customers of the potential pitfalls of using it."
Finally, Chillblast came to the view that because the Stealth is not aggressively overclocked it was likely that sleep would in fact work. They gave helpful guidance on how to restore sleep and the Stealth has now worked fine with it for 3 days.
I chose to have the Chillblast optimise my system for an extra £30. This turned out to include the installation of a shell which puts back the old Start button. I did not want this and Chillblast explained how to remove it. They have also revised the options so that optimisation is a separate option from the Start shell.
Chillblast quote 7 - 10 working days. My Stealth took nearly 15 working days to arrive. Admittedly snow disrupted supplies and Chillblast were also moving to larger premises during the build period. My beef is that they were poor at keeping me informed about progress. If delivery time is important to you I'd recommend trying to pin them down in advance, which I didn't.
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