Manufacturer Tech Support and RMA

With this review we are introducing a new addition to our individual motherboard reviews here on AnandTech - Manufacturer Tech Support & RMA. These sections will talk about a motherboard manufacturer's Technical Support and RMA processes.

The way it works is first we anonymously email the manufacturer's tech support address(es), obviously not using our AnandTech mail server to avoid any sort of preferential treatment. Our emails (we can and will send more than one just to make sure we're not getting the staff on an "off" day) all contain fixable problems that we've had with our motherboard. We then give the manufacturer up to 72 hours to respond over business days and will report not only whether they even responded within the time allotted but also if they were successful in fixing our problems. If we do eventually receive a response after the review is published, we will go back and amend the review with the total time it took for the manufacturer to respond to our requests. The idea here is to encourage manufacturers to improve their technical support as well as provide new criteria to base your motherboard purchasing decisions upon; with motherboards looking more and more alike every day, we have to help separate the boys from the men in as many ways as possible. As usual, we're interested in your feedback on this and other parts of our reviews so please do email us with your comments.

As far as Gigabyte's technical support is concerned, it wasn't exactly stellar, as we failed to get an answer back from their tech support within 72 hours. Initially, we had to send the email again as we had supposedly made a mistake in filling out Gigabyte's technical support form, which consists of listing your entire setup (CPU, memory, manufacturer, etc.). Gigabyte's technical support form is quite long and cumbersome, but we think it's a very good idea to dealing with a customer's technical issues, as it makes it easier for Gigabyte to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem and provide a more meaningful solution. The fact that we didn't receive a response in 72 hours is very disappointing, hopefully this won't continue with future attempts to contact Gigabyte using our new technical support evaluation procedure for other motherboard reviews.

The RMA section of our motherboard reviews is similar to the process we went through at technical support. The goal here is to figure out how painless (or painful) RMAing a dead motherboard is. As many of you will know, to "RMA" (Return Merchandise Authorization) a product means to ship a dead product back to the manufacturer (or vendor) and receive a working product in return; this all depends on the warranty policy of the manufacturer and how it applies to your product as well as the manufacturer's RMA policy. Some manufacturers will force you to RMA your board through your vendor, while others will go as far as to ship you a new board before you even send out your dead one.

How did Gigabyte handle our RMA test? Gigabyte responded to our email within 24 hours (much better than their tech support response rate) with the following automated message:

Giga-Byte offers a 1-3 year(depending on Model) manufacturer's Limited warranty. If you are experiencing difficulties in warranty service through your dealer or place of purchase, Giga-Byte may attempt to resolve this issue.

Please reply with:


Model number and Revision:
Serial number(10 digit): SN
Dealer(include contact info):
CPU type + size:
Memory type + size:

This policy isn't too bad, as some motherboard manufacturers leave it completely up to the vendor to deal with RMA and sometimes even technical support problems. But it's entirely up to you to deal with your vendor initially to obtain an RMA before you can contact Gigabyte regarding it.

Stress Testing the Gigabyte 7VAXP Content Creation & General Usage Performance
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