Nvidia GTX 980 reference card’s packaging is so…FIRM!!!

After about a month since its release and after being passed through known and not-so-known reviewers/feature writers, your source for PC hardware reviews, news, previews and recommendations finally gets to review the card. This is a reference version of its flagship model GTX 980 that’s based on Maxwell architecture. The rest you’ll know once I post the review on the site (or if you want, you can click here for more information). My attention is towards the packaging.

Just a disclaimer- this card is made by Nvidia and it’s given to reviewers and other guys for review/promo purchase. That’s why Nvidia probably made a good looking cooling unit and its been working for a while. But apart from all that, what caught my attention is the packaging. Those who read my reviews in Hardware BBQ (and during the infamous days when I used to post in multiple tech forums for the greater good) would know that I give equal importance to packaging.

Your stuff travels a lot by the time it leaves the factory to your house, and plus one more added if your dealer is shipping it to your place. Some people behind the scenes didn’t like it. Corsair India’s PR agency made a minor fuss (before a major fuss) for highlighting the aftermath of the packaging once it was delivered to my place for reviewing. Heck, there was a time when Corsair India had a ‘Dream PC’ concept where their highest model is valued for Rs. 2 lakhs (US$ 3,254 at the time of writing). We got the review sample of it but the way it came and the contents were very shocking.

As you can see, the condition of the product is horrible. Nothing other than foam and foam blocks from the Corsair 800D case’s packaging was used to protect the system. Did they really think that the packaging meant to protect the case can protect a fully built system? Yikes! Out of concern, the email was sent to their PR directly and a question was asked (IIRC) if this is how they plan to sell the system. I didn’t get an appropriate response, other than that they’re going to get it collected. So, out of concern a mail was sent to Corsair Taiwan because two of their APAC folks came here and flew people to Delhi just to cover the Dream PC– but this is how the end product turned out to be. This was when Corsair India started having bitter taste towards Hardware BBQ, and didn’t like the feedbacks that was given which was beneficial for them in the first place. The last straw was when they requested to hide the cons in the middle of the pages so that the company’s executives will not read it and made a fuss about ‘the way we write reviews’. Situation escalated where they told another client of theirs which has somewhat similar product lineups as Corsair that we’re brand bashers and mischief mongers. Really now??

They didn’t like the natural response and made obvious indirect remarks that I was favouring ‘other brands’. Best of luck to them! Later on, an Ethics Policy was made public to avoid such issues in advance.

Unlike Nvidia India’s ‘Battlebox’ concept, Corsair India’s plans didn’t takeoff- at the very least it was not promoted openly. It was not spoken about since and was not even promoted via anyways. I was being told by someone that a second unit was sent to someone in Delhi during that particular time frame, and it shared the same fate. If that’s true, as a PC hardware fan, my heart aches for those amazing components back then. It should be noted that one of the specifications for the ‘Corsair Dream PC’ involved a motherboard with three PCIe x16 slots, whose third slot was running is x4 mode but it had a third card in it for the Lulz. I cannot recall the model of the graphic card, but I do recall that the system was kept turned off for some reason. I can’t even help but wonder if that card can work with triple-SLI setup. You’ll never know! 

I hope anyone from any companies who is reading this takes this as a valuable lesson, rather than conveniently thinking that I am taking pot shots at Corsair’s expense. A loss of such an expensive system (and maybe even the second one) is not a laughing matter even if you’re a rival brand. Because mistakes like this, anyone can make it anytime due to oversight or pure ignorance. I understand that some folks do this for promotional purposes to show that they’re making an effort to promote their brand and products, but this is not really the way.

This was back in 2011, the roses were actually red and the violets were actually violet. Hardware BBQ was younger, unsure of its future and prosperity- but I am still having a good time all things and problems, losses in investment and other stuffs are concerned. Our readers are the source of encouragement!

Some products did get a thumbs up for packaging, some products did not! Especially for a product where you pay a lot of money, you would at the vest expect that the manufacturer made sure that the packaging has taken enough efforts to ensure the packaging protects the product. Something that many don’t take a look at it or consider it while reviewing. Hence the name- Hardware BBQ!

Which is why I am highlighting the promo pack. Its nice, clean, no BS or cheesy marketing hoo-haa. But it has excellent packaging on the internals that it will do a very good job in protecting a graphic card that is worth between US$500- $900 (for non-reference versions with factory-overclocked cores). Some graphic cards have good packaging. Some graphic cards are wrapped in bubble wraps. Some are kept under a cardboard tray, with nothing more than an anti-static bag to protect it.

In many cases and irrespective of the country and the situation, delivery from the dealer to you can be the most notorious and abusive experience for the product in comparison to its previous adventures. If something is mis-handled. it can lead to a dent, chip and even permanent damage. Some people may consider it and give you a new piece, some dealers may back down on giving you a replacement, especially when it’s expensive and people that he handles with will not take it back and deem it as ‘physically damaged by the user’. Its a very rare scenario (depending on where you live) where you can check the physical condition of the product before you can formally accept it from the delivery man. If that happens, you can always refuse it and contact the dealer. But since this novel concept is not practical in many situations, you’re in a soup.

With a packaging like how Nvidia has for GTX 980, I wonder if its feasible for manufacturers of any components to have such a firm packaging- depending on the product, its actual value and the sensitivity of the device (weak casing, mediocre built quality- that kind of stuff). It’s something that they should seriously give a look towards it. Even in situations where you buy an aluminum case, a dent is a serious matter and depending on the damage, it may not allow certain components to be seated properly. Packaging is important. For AiB makers- irrespective of AMD or Nvidia-powered cores- they can always take a closer look and maybe implement this at least for some of their mid-end to high-end graphic cards.

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