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Thread: Lifespan of Solid Caps

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    Some of the OST caps can last long if properly cooled and not excesivelly loaded. They are definitelly better than many no-name brands, but still not comparable to japanese caps or Samxon…

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    One thing I have found with OST is that when they fail, they often don't bulge or show any visible signs of it. I remember recapping an ASRock P4i65G which had OST. They all looked perfectly fine, yet the board was very unstable and would usually not POST. It worked fine after recapping it with Pannies and Rubies.
    No wonder it doesn't work! You installed the coils backwards

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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemot View Post
    Some of the OST caps can last long if properly cooled and not excesivelly loaded. They are definitelly better than many no-name brands, but still not comparable to japanese caps or Samxon…
    Yep, I just saw the color wrong, it was a very dark blue.

    I also found a page that identified this board as having mostly OST with a few G-Luxon caps. But the G-Luxon caps were small, and mostly around the memory and PCI slots, so all the larger ones were OST.

    Funny thing was, I purchased and returned 5 or 6 different $50 boards, because most of them wouldn't even POST out of the box. They accepted the return every time because it always turned out to be a design flaw. When I got this one, it just worked.

    I did leave the side off it most of the time, and had to have a huge box fan pointed at it to cool my Athlon XP 3200+. I also had a smaller, constant-running electric fan blowing away the air over the CPU fan, held in place by twist-ties, with the AC power routed out through an unused PCI slot.

    It never had a chance to accumulate dust because the huge box fan I had to use would have blown it away. I guess that helped a lot.

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    Some of the OST caps can last long if properly cooled and not excesivelly loaded.
    Unless there is a manufacturing defect or the device was physically damaged somewhere along the way, proper cooling plays a key role for all electronics, not just caps. And sadly, keeping the interiors of our PCs clean of heat trapping dust and dirt is not a high priority for most users. And in the case of notebooks, getting, let alone keeping the interior clean is a challenge even for advanced users, thanks to notebooks being so proprietary due to a lack of industry standards.

    And certainly, keeping demands well within the capacity of the device is critical too and I firmly believe this is, was, much of the problem for many caps that failed prematurely. That is, to keep costs down and profits up, motherboard makers selected caps with less capacity headroom - not just of lessor quality to start. I blame the bean counters, not the designers as it is typical for bean counters to change engineered designs to cut costs.

    So a less capable cap inside a case that may not be providing optimal cooling promotes, if not invites premature failures.

    Finally, I do not believe most cap makers are being deceitful when they encase wet caps in metal cases. Rather, it's an attempt to ensure the electrolyte remains contained (and functional) inside a stronger case - and not just to contain the electrolyte, but to prevent leaked electrolyte (which tends to be pretty corrosive) from creating [expensive] collateral damage to the boards they were mounted to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
    Unless there is a manufacturing defect or the device was physically damaged somewhere along the way, proper cooling plays a key role for all electronics, not just caps. And sadly, keeping the interiors of our PCs clean of heat trapping dust and dirt is not a high priority for most users. And in the case of notebooks, getting, let alone keeping the interior clean is a challenge even for advanced users, thanks to notebooks being so proprietary due to a lack of industry standards.

    And certainly, keeping demands well within the capacity of the device is critical too and I firmly believe this is, was, much of the problem for many caps that failed prematurely. That is, to keep costs down and profits up, motherboard makers selected caps with less capacity headroom - not just of lessor quality to start. I blame the bean counters, not the designers as it is typical for bean counters to change engineered designs to cut costs.

    So a less capable cap inside a case that may not be providing optimal cooling promotes, if not invites premature failures.

    Finally, I do not believe most cap makers are being deceitful when they encase wet caps in metal cases. Rather, it's an attempt to ensure the electrolyte remains contained (and functional) inside a stronger case - and not just to contain the electrolyte, but to prevent leaked electrolyte (which tends to be pretty corrosive) from creating [expensive] collateral damage to the boards they were mounted to.
    The way a lot of the cheap cases are designed, the computer would probably be better off on an anti-static bench with no case, and two box fans on either side of it passing a ton of air over the motherboard constantly. It wouldn't look pretty, but it would work better.

    I knew heat was bad for the processor, but apparently everything in a computer benefits from cooling.

    I do have my doubts about that Japanese cap thing. It seems strange to imply that Japanese capacitors are better just because they're Japanese. There are a ton of people online who fetishize Japan and Japanese culture, and I can't help but wonder if there's a psychological element.

    It may even be a self-perpetuating issue... the Japanese caps have a good reputation, so people pay more for them. They get more money and have an incentive to keep the quality up. Other companies get the clients looking for cheap stuff, and thus they have to cut costs in manufacturing. From a position like that, it's hard for them to establish a reputation for quality. They could hardly be expected to deliver the same quality if you're paying them less, and that's before you even account for the device manufacturers lowballing their requirements to start with.

    In any case, I think the solid caps are probably better on average than the electrolytic/wet stuff (assuming similar manufacturing quality). At the least, I think that they are less likely to fail in a way that damages things. Hopefully, leaking caps that damage motherboards will be a thing of the past one day.

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    Everything electrical requires cooling. Even the physical board itself changes electrical properties when heated.

    Solid caps are better in some cases, and not in others. Especially for higher current/voltages, you just can't get a solid that will perform the same as an electrolytic for anything like the same cost. A good designer will use the right cap in the right place to get the right results for the best price. And then the marketing people get involved and the engineers then often have to fight to stop them just covering the thing in crapX branded junk to lower the cost by $10...
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200
    I knew heat was bad for the processor, but apparently everything in a computer benefits from cooling.
    If it moves, it needs cooling. So of course that includes mechanical things like fans (which are self cooling) and hard drives with spinning motors. In electrical circuits and devices, electrons (which have "mass") are forced through conductors at near light-speed, banging into each other and the conductors they travel in. When things with mass bang into or rub against each other, they create friction, and thus heat.

    Sadly, there is a problem with naïve/newbie computer enthusiast who wish to overclock and/or use alternative cooling solutions for their CPUs who then totally ignore the cooling requirements of the remaining components - to include the motherboard's chipset, RAM, graphics, and more. And sadly, many, including advanced users fail to recognize it is the case's responsibility to provide an adequate supply of cool air "flow" through the case. So instead of adding a case fan, for example, they jump to conclusions that the CPU's dedicated OEM cooler is inadequate and swap in an aftermarket cooler designed for universal (Intel and AMD) applications - often voiding their warranties in the process! Oh well. That's for another discussion.

    I do have my doubts about that Japanese cap thing. It seems strange to imply that Japanese capacitors are better just because they're Japanese.
    You are 100% correct. The only reason Japanese (I think "Jap" is considered offensive, if not racist, BTW) caps are considered better is because the companies that just happened to make solid caps were Japanese and able to ramp up production to meet demands.

    The other makers were fully capable of making quality parts. The problem again is the board makers were trying to cut corners and costs by INTENTIALLY ordering the cheaper [read: less capable] parts. If YOU decide to put a tiny 4 cylinder Volkswagen in a big Ford pickup truck, it is not Volkswagen's fault if the engine fails prematurely.

    Quote Originally Posted by allikat
    A good designer will use the right cap in the right place to get the right results for the best price. And then the marketing people get involved and the engineers then often have to fight to stop them just covering the thing in crapX branded junk to lower the cost by $10...
    That's what I said above. But note that same argument may be over something as low as $1.00. And BTW, a good designer will generally "pad" the specifications/requirements to create at least a 10% overhead capacity so the device or circuit has a little wiggle room for hot days, "minor" power anomalies, short spikes in demands, and of course, component aging - which tends to affect some caps more than other components.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200
    They could hardly be expected to deliver the same quality if you're paying them less
    Sure they can! If I am buying 1 hard drive from Western Digital, I expect top quality. If am buying 10,000 hard drives from Western Digital, I expect not only the same top quality, but I expect a deep volume discount too. And if I don't get that discount, I will go to Seagate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
    Sure they can! If I am buying 1 hard drive from Western Digital, I expect top quality. If am buying 10,000 hard drives from Western Digital, I expect not only the same top quality, but I expect a deep volume discount too. And if I don't get that discount, I will go to Seagate.
    Volume discounts weren't exactly what I had in mind...

    Suppose there are two 8MB buffered, 7200 RPM drives that are about 1TB.

    Say the Seagate is $50 individually, and the Western Digital one is around $80 individually. With generous volume discounts, maybe you get the Seagate ones for $250,000 and the WD drives for $400,000.

    What I would mean, in that case... is that it wouldn't be reasonable to assume the cheaper Seagate component would be of the same quality as the more expensive WD component. Maybe they use cheaper, slower RAM in the buffers. Maybe they reuse salvaged components from RMAed drives rather than manufacturing new ones. Maybe fewer layers in the PCB, inferior solder, thinner metal casing, etc. In order to get that cheaper price, they probably had to cut a few corners.

    If this went on for a few decades, it would be hard for Seagate to turn things around and gain a reputation for quality, because people would only go to them when they wanted cheap, disposable drives... and then go to WD when they wanted a reliable product and wanted to pay more.

    I'm not saying you couldn't expect quality from a volume discount, I'm saying that if two companies make the same thing and one of them makes it a lot cheaper... either the one company is really overcharging/wasting money, or the second company is having to cut corners to make a competitively-priced (but inferior) product.

    Ultimately, the whole point of the analogy is that the Japanese parts already have a proven reputation, thus they can command a premium the other parts can't, and thus giving them the resources to stay ahead. This leaves the other companies only able to compete in the low-end of the market. Due to the reputation, no company would ever pay the same price for a Chinese/Taiwanese capacitor as they would for a Japanese one. The idea of the Japanese stuff being inherently better then becomes a self-fulfilling, self-sustaining prophecy.

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    I'm saying that if two companies make the same thing and one of them makes it a lot cheaper... either the one company is really overcharging/wasting money, or the second company is having to cut corners to make a competitively-priced (but inferior) product.
    NO! That is not a valid conclusion. Or rather, those are not, by far, the only logical conclusions.

    Labor costs, costs of raw materials, facilities, transportation, location location location, taxes, manufacturing techniques and many more things can cause price differences.

    Also, not sure I agree with your Seagate/WD comments either because clearly a $50 drive would not be of the same quality or have the same features as an $80 drive. And the fact that Seagate (and WD) sells several models of 1Tb drives with "similar" specs but at widely different price points illustrates my point.

    These bad caps were purposely selected by the makers. Surely these cap makers could have (and probably do) make better caps - if the motherboard makers asked for them, and were willing to pay any differences. But they didn't - at least not until they (the motherboard and computer makers) got tired of consumers yelling at them for their motherboard failures.

    I do agree with your comment that companies with a proven reputation may have additional resources to stay ahead - IF management does not get cocky like Intel did. Intel sat on their laurels while tiny AMD zipped passed them. It took Intel nearly 10 years to leapfrog ahead again, and they were only able to do that because they already had deep pockets.

    BUT, if a proven reputation was a requirement, there would be no start-up companies that come out with something better and cheaper.

    My point is, the fact a capacitor, car, TV, or sushi comes from Japan does not automatically make the product superior. And consumers should not get tied up in that fact either. Yet you will see marketing weenies tout the fact their caps are Japanese. As I look at the box my Gigabyte motherboard came in, it clearly says "All Japanese Solid Caps" as if that guarantees they will not fail. That is wrong. The fact they are "quality solid caps" is what matters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
    These bad caps were purposely selected by the makers. Surely these cap makers could have (and probably do) make better caps - if the motherboard makers asked for them, and were willing to pay any differences. But they didn't - at least not until they (the motherboard and computer makers) got tired of consumers yelling at them for their motherboard failures.
    Ah, I see where you're coming from now. That makes sense.

    My point is, the fact a capacitor, car, TV, or sushi comes from Japan does not automatically make the product superior. And consumers should not get tied up in that fact either. Yet you will see marketing weenies tout the fact their caps are Japanese. As I look at the box my Gigabyte motherboard came in, it clearly says "All Japanese Solid Caps" as if that guarantees they will not fail. That is wrong. The fact they are "quality solid caps" is what matters.
    Yeah, I would completely agree with that. Those marketing types are probably bringing out some of the worst instincts in people. Instead of making it about the quality of an individual company's stuff, they make it about nationality.

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