[conspire] curious as to why Seagate would offer a 1.5T external hard drive with only USB 2.0

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Apr 13 11:27:54 PDT 2009

Quoting Paul Zander (paulz at ieee.org):

> Long ago, I figured out that buying an electronics package was almost
> always less expensive than buying the individual parts to make
> it.   And that does not include any value for my time.   There
> are quantities of scale and inventory costs etc. that come into play.

Absolutely true.  Yet, I will often buy a separate component anyway,
just to get one that's good.  Or, I will buy a bundle with the advance
intention of replacing part of the bundle.  E.g., a classic scenario is
buying either a complete PC system or a case, and then yanking and
replacing the power supply unit (putting in something reliable that
isn't likely to spike under load, and fry other parts, notably hard

Also, bundles often offer only limited warranty rights, relative to
those of individual components.  Last, it's not unknown for bundled
components to have technical limitations, the classic example being a
particular model of IBM SCSI drive, many years ago, with a factory
limitation of being unable to support SCSI disconnect (which leads to
severe performance problems when the drive is used on a chain with other
SCSI devices).

I encountered that unit as a featured sale item at the unlamented
discount retailer NCA Computer Products's main store in Sunnyvale.
After hours of testing determined that disconnect didn't work, I called
up IBM Customer Service:  They said I'd need to call Tandem Computer, as
the drive had an OEM serial number.  (I.e., IBM would not warranty them
directly.) Turned out, they'd sold off a batch of drives unable to do
disconnect to Tandem, who didn't mind that limitation because they were
deploying the drives as single drives on a SCSI chain, and got them
cheaper as a result.  Tandem evidently had overstock, and resold those
as grey market items, which eventually got them to NCA Computer

Had I called Tandem (which had then been bought by Tandem), I'd probably
have heard that I could send back my entire Tandem minicomputer under
warranty, but not just a drive.  So, I did the obvious and took the unit
back to NCA, waited in the extremely long returns line, and exchanged
the unit for a different make (Maxtor, I think).

There was a mini-scandal a bit over a decade ago, about a Dell
workstation computer's bundled ATI video card:  An alert purchaser had 
picked the card out to examine it, and found that it was cut-rate
compared to the separate retail model Dell had claimed it to be.  Turned
out, ATI had done special production runs of an OEM _variant_ of one of
its flagship cards, cutting back the amount of video RAM and making
other cost-saving parts substitutions.  

There was a brief flap over Dell and ATI's misleading of purchasers,
and then it died down.  Those of us who were paying attention realised
that the only thing that was unusual about this particular OEM
substitution was that it had been _noticed_.

Cheers,              Híggledy-pìggledy / XML programmers
Rick Moen            Try to escape those / I-eighteen-N woes;
rick at linuxmafia.com  Incontrovertibly / What we need more of is
McQ!  (4x80)         Unicode weenies and / François Yergeaus.

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