How to deal with high hardware failure rate

Over the past couple years I have been purchasing about 35 laptops a year for our company. We have had the worst failure rate with them; between 60-90% depending on the batch we purchase. I've just been purchasing most them off of newegg or amazon in batches of 10 or 15. Though I have gone through some mainstream vendors, CDW and PC Connections and not had any better luck. I've tried many brands; Lenovo, HP, Acer, and Asus. They all have an incredibly high failure rate. Most crap out within a month of purchase.

Am I doing something wrong? How can I purchase reliable laptops for our emloyees?
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David11011Asked:
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Greg HejlPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Lease your laptops directly from Dell or another lease provider.  Purchase the support contract.  Buy laptop bags or backpacks.
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rindiCommented:
What is it that fails most often? Or is there no general pattern there? The answer to that may give you an idea on creating a guideline for your users so they handle the laptops properly.

It may also be a good idea to get business type laptops, and not the consumer versions. Business laptops are usually built more sturdily, might be a little heavier, and probably don't have all the newest nick-nacks built-in. But they will usually last longer.
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nobusCommented:
i also recommend the business line laptops

it is odd that you have so much problems -  can you tell us if they fail in the same way - or all different issues?  what happens most?

and how are the laptops used - in an office  (climate controlled) environmennt, or what?
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jhyieslaCommented:
We have purchased HP business level laptops for years and have had a zero failure rate at least in the first year or two.  It's not that none of them have never failed, but it's always been at least a couple of years out and then only one or two.

Adding onto the questions from above, do your users understand how to use a laptop?  I know this sounds silly, but I've seen some really stupid things that users do to their laptops and it's a wonder we haven't had more issues.

Apple laptops are also very robust.  The "downside" is that if you have to have Windows you have to license it separately, but the hardware is first rate.  Still, if the user are doing stupid things, even Macs might die as well.
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David11011Author Commented:
It's almost always the wireless cards. If it were poor handling I would expect to see hard drives going bad but not wireless cards.
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rindiCommented:
I haven't seen many problems yet with wireless NIC's. In what way do the problems show up? Is it a certain model of wireless NIC?
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David11011Author Commented:
I haven't been able to tie it back to any specific model. They are all Intel nics though. They often drop a lot of packets; 10-50%. Some won't pass wireless traffic at all. I thought it might be our router so I bought a Cisco Aironet router but the problem persists. Some of the laptops work flawlessly and others don't work at all. I've taken many of them home and tried them to see if it is a problem with out network but they don't work at my house either.
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jhyieslaCommented:
I agree with Rindi, Wireless NIC failures are almost non-existent in my world. What specifically is happening?
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jhyieslaCommented:
Do you have a lot of cordless phones in your environment and at home?  I've seen those interfere before.
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jhyieslaCommented:
You wouldn't also be attempting to connect with a cellular dongle?  We've seen issues trying to connect with cellular dongles and having WIFI on at the same time.
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rindiCommented:
The only cause I can think of are the aerials. The wires used as aerials go from the wireless module to the display, maybe sometimes if the display is opened and closed lots of times that might cause the cables to break, or maybe sometimes the cables aren't properly connected to the socket.
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nobusCommented:
or are you located in an aerea with transmitting facily nearby?
that could also be a cause
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serialbandCommented:
Are they still under warranty when they fail?  If they are, then just call the vendor and have them repair or replace it.  If they're out of warranty, then buy new laptops.  That's the easiest way.

It might be the wifi card rather than the antenna.  Those are mostly still detachable to allow for different Wifi configurations.  Get one laptop with a working Wifi card and one without.  Open them up and swap cards.  See if the working card makes the nonworking laptop functional.  If you're not hardware savvy, then send it in for warranty repair.  If that works, I suggest buying replacement cards or external wifi's as a "fix" until your next purchase cycle.

I'm concur with the others here about your laptops.  Go straight to the vendor's sites to find the business models.  Get the models with the 3 year warranty, or purchase additional warranties to get it to 3 years.

You've been purchasing cheap consumer line products.  Don't do that for business use.  You need to purchase the Business or Pro laptops for the next round.  They should cost nearly as much as a Macbook Pro, depending on the specific configurations.  Those typically have better warranty support and overnight shipping with 1 week turnaround for quick replacement.

If you're spending less than $1000 in the US for a laptop, you're not getting a good Business laptop.  The cost of a cheap consumer laptop is frequent replacement, costing you down time and productivity.  Nothing less than $800 is worth buying unless you're using it as mostly as desktop replacement connected to an external monitor and keyboard.  If it's immobile, it's not going to give you as much trouble.

My experience with business and pro laptops match the others here.  I've hardly had any failures.  The failed laptops are mostly personal purchases of cheap consumer level models.  That 60%-90% is far to high and too much of a loss in productivity.
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nobusCommented:
i'm worried about the fact it is mostly the wi-fi cards...very strange
seems to point to a problem in his environment
maybe Xray scanners, as used on airfields, and harbours?
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