Read this if you are about to buy a computer - buyer beware.

Submitted: Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 06:35
ThreadID: 130980 Views:3037 Replies:9 FollowUps:7
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Not much to do with travelling I know but.....

I recently bought a new laptop. I wanted an intel I7 processor with a few bells and whistles.

I ended up with one that had the I7 5700HQ processor. Great - Until I went to install Microsoft Office.
That resulted in the old Blue Screen of Death. Hours on the phone to Microsoft led to their conclusion that the PC was faulty. I took it back and got another, different type of PC, with the same processor. Exactly the same thing.

After hours on the phone again and internet searching, it turns out that Intel had problems with the 5th Gen processors called Broadwell, and released the 6th generation about 6 months later - skylake.

Unbelievably there is a bug in the Broadwell processors which causes the PC to crash with many programs including office. There is no fix on the horizon other than disable 'speed step' on the PC which makes a $2000 PC perform like a $1000 PC.

I was lucky enough to get my money back and will get a different processor. It seems inconceivable that Intel and Microsoft can't get something basic like this working. Also amazing that it is so common but Microsoft, the PC manufacturers and Intel pretend they don't know anything about it, wasting hours of my time.

My advice is stay well clear of any computer than has a 5th generation processor ( Broadwell). It affects I7 I5 and I think some I3 processors. It appears on windows, Linux etc etc apparently.

If you want more info google "I7 5700 Office 2016 BSOD" Thank god for google.

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 07:30

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 07:30
Thanks for the heads up Boobook!

I am considering replacing my laptop with a new one and have been a long term user of Outlook.
Will head your warning:-(

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Reply By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 08:00

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 08:00
Was that an MSI laptop? It looks like it might be an issue with overclocking of the laptop to get increased speed for gaming.
Computers and programs are incredibly complex. It is very very difficult for all the contributors to the various components that make up the chain of bits that eventually come together in our computer when running a program to test every possibility for every possible use of that machine. It always amazes me that there aren't more crashes than there are. Still a bummer though.
Love that signature photo of yours.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:39

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:39
The first one was then I steered clear of them but the second one wasn't. It has nothing to do with any of the following.

1)The brand, apparently many if not all are affected.
2)The operating system. Window 8.1, window 10 and Linux are all affected.

While it usually shows up on Office, it does appear in other programs too.

Both PC's were brand new out of the box. The only thing in common is 5th Gen CPUs. Unless all brands over clock out of the box, it has nothing to do with over clocking. But it apparently has something to do with Intel Speed Step. Though further reading shows restricting that only improves the PC, not fixes it. As I say a $2000 computer has to behave like a $1000 computer to work. Thanks for the feedback of the sig.

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Reply By: vk1dx - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 08:01

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 08:01
Well that's a pain. Thanks for the info. Intel have been pretty good over the years.

Try Dell equipment. Cost a bob more but if you are travelling they will help you no matter where you are.

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Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:40

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:40
After years of regularly experiencing the dreaded BSOD, I switched to AMD processors & haven't had a BSOD for years.

AnswerID: 593132

Reply By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:54

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:54
Sort of related. I went to buy a new laptop computer for travelling. Needed lots of grunt for photo processing but didn't necessarily need to be battery driven, just small. I discovered the Intel NUC. Quite incredible. About as big as a couple of packets of ciggies with a 256 SSd drive and a one terabyte hard drive inside. Handles 4k screens if required. Lots of USB 3.0 and 2.0 connections. All the power of my old desktop. Includes wi fi connection. Comes with a bracket that just bolts the thing to the back of the monitor of your choice to make a single unit if required. I decided this suited me better than a laptop and the all up cost was lower than a laptop with the same power. It runs very cool with tiny power consumption. Lightning fast with the operating system on the SSD. I have an I5 but you can get I3 and I7. Hasn't missed a beat (so far) in three months of heavy use.
AnswerID: 593133

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:24

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:24
Yes they are pretty cool but the hottest new windows PC IMHO is the PC on a stick. A little bigger than a USB dongle. There are lots of them, this is one example .

The skylake ones due out just after Xmas will support M2 processors and 4K graphics.

From about $140 up is very nice too.
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Reply By: TomH - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:22

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:22
It is probably unfair to bag Microsoft for a bug in an INTEL processor.

Office has been a very stable product for years and while it doesnt work with this processor its hardly the programs fault.
Obviously Intel realised this and brought out a new one.

Dell. I wouldnt have one on my a*** e for a wart. A friend has had two and had problems with both.

Alright till something fails and then they have mostly exclusive parts that are hard to get and expensive.

Also had a Medion laptop which had a motherboard with a crook Nvidia video chip in it Was famous for overheating. Nearly $500 to fix it In the bin it went
AnswerID: 593134

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:27

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:27
I agree about Dell. They used to be good but after HP bought them they are just a piece of crap, like HP computers.

Sad, HP used to make the best of the best equipment, now they are the junkiest of the junk. I would never buy either again.....

At my work by far the least reliable are HP, Dell and Acer ( who also have woeful tech support to make matters worse)
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Reply By: Member - Journey into Unknown - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:40

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 10:40
Try Apple!!!! They apparently make OK products or at least the $B in the bank account would indicate so - and I understand they also run office.....sorry for cynacism, every new generation released has similar disaster stories it would appear no matter which side of fence - Apple of Microsoft
Falling down is a part of life, staying down is a choice!

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 11:12

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 11:12
Yes correct. Given Apple are still selling 3rd and early 4th gen CPU's released 3 years ago it wont affect them till about 2017 - 2018.

Good point.

( BTW did you read that it is not related to Microsoft operating system it's intel and yes Apple are an intel PC just lke all the others..)


FollowupID: 861338

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 12:11

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 12:11
A couple of thing from this site

"Furthermore, I have never had any problems with any other programs. I had Office 2013 installed prior to the update on Sept 22. I ran everything perfectly up until I installed the update through my Office 365 Small Business subscription.

"Now, as soon as I launch Outlook 2016, the system freezes. Several seconds later, I get the BSOD with the only error code listed as "MACHINE_CHECK _EXCEPTION." No crash dump file is created. The Windows Error Reporting gets to 100%, then never resets. I have to manually hold the power button to reset my PC.

"Even if I do not run any office apps, merely allowing Office to run in the background after startup causes the same crash in 1-3 minutes. The only way to stop the crashes was to completely uninstall Office from my desktop PC. Now, no more crashes."

An answer here may be to get rid of M$ Office and use LibreOffice I have not purchased any M$ Office suite this century and have not missed it. It's what you get used to. Prior to LibreOffice I used

Further down the page I first quoted is this

"I suggest giving up now and saving yourself many wasted hours. I have replaced my i5-5675c with an i5-4690s and, as expected, the problem disappeared. Good news is that it is not Office 2016's fault, bad news is that it is a problem with the processor itself. In the 30+ hours I spent reading online and troubleshooting this problem, it is apparent that there is a design flaw that affects at least the i5-5675c, the i7-5775c, and the i7 5700HQ. According to the various posts online, it affects (1) linux virtual box setups (2) source engine games and (3) Office 2016."
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 12:22

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 12:22
Peter, there are many many threads like the one you quote. Unfortunately it isn't as simple as avoiding Office 2016 as it is a symptom not the issue. There are reports of other programs doing exactly the same thing, games, databases etc. it even happens with Linux, it is just that office is th emost common program. Given the current fix is to downgrade the CPU clock, which may or may not work I just recommend avoiding the 5th generation. It has apparently been a headache for Intel from the start.

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Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Nov 27, 2015 at 12:34

Friday, Nov 27, 2015 at 12:34
Lucky me! I'm only using 3rd Generation i7 processors - i7-3770 at this stage.

I have a fairly strict policy of only purchasing new products that have been on the market for a couple of years - where all the bugs have been found and sorted - or you know to keep away from them, because they are dogs.

That applies to everything I buy - from machinery to vehicles to electronic stuff. The policy has stood me in good stead since the late 1960's.

The problem today is - and it's getting worse - is that manufacturers are doing less and less thorough "in-house" testing of their new products, and letting the consumers be the test bed.
It's not helped by the intrinsic complexity of the new products of today.

I'm quite happy to let other mugs rush in and buy the "latest and greatest", the instant it hits the market - and let them find find to their cost, that the product was poorly tested, and is full of faults.

What galls you even more, is that there's usually a premium on the price, or a "no discounts" policy on that faulty product, when it's fresh on the market!

I prefer to wait until the product is fully proven, and discounts are available, because the initial sales rush is over.

What I have found is the performance gains made by the latest processors, are nothing like the performance gains made by the previous improved processors.
The performance gains are now becoming incremental, and the products being rushed onto the market contain more sales hype, rather than real, substantive performance gains.

I build my own desktop computers from individual selected components, and have done for 15 years. This way I can select the best matched components for my requirements, by way of motherboard, processor, video card, hard drive, RAM, and any other desirable peripherals.
Unfortunately, that's not really an option with laptops, you have to just carefully examine the model you're looking at, and see if all the components are a good match.

Most laptop manufacturers have a very wide model range with a big choice of components - the problem is retailers only want to sell the models where they can get the highest margin.

I've got a 2009 Toshiba L-300 laptop that has been very good, but it's time to upgrade soon to something lighter and faster. You really need to update every 3-4 yrs, or 5-6 yrs at the latest, when it comes to computers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Saturday, Nov 28, 2015 at 03:57

Saturday, Nov 28, 2015 at 03:57
What I have found is the performance gains made by the latest processors, are nothing like the performance gains made by the previous improved processors.

Ron, you stated the above in your thread.
When I had a Commodore 64, I made a data base up and it had 2500 records in it. I used it to measure the speed to index these files. It used to take 24 hours to do, written to a 5 1/4 " floppy
Next I bought a Commodore 128 with a 3 1/2 floppy and it took 15.5 hours to index. Next was a very early IBM 286 40 Meg hard drive, cut it down to 36 minutes. A few years later I got a Pentium 486 it took a minute and 10 seconds. The latest one I have now does 25,000 in a blink. It is not possible to achieve much more with out going to a machine that no one could afford.

I have two laptops here side by side, one is 5 years old, the other 1 year, one takes 6 minutes plus to start up, the other 25 seconds. They have improved a little over time.

As far as building your own, it is good if you have that knowledge, but 99% of computer users would not have that knowledge to do so.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Nov 28, 2015 at 06:35

Saturday, Nov 28, 2015 at 06:35
Thank you Ron, that is an excellent insight into your buying habits.
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