Ultra-X's first professional diagnostic card designed for MiniPCI slots is supposed to make identifying laptop errors a whole lot easier. We took a closer look to find out whether or not it lives up to the vendor's claims, and to see what else the device can tell you about your laptop.
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I think that the real users of this would be smaller shops that are tring to save there customers money. Larger businesses are more interested in cutting down time. Sometimes it is faster to replace a few suspect parts then take the time for diagnostics to complete. Now from a manufactures stand point, it would be great if field techs had something like this to reduce part consuption in which the returned part is later found to have no problem.
This hardware is interesting, but let me share my experience and point of view of hardware diagnostics. I work for a bay area engineering firm, and we have many workstations, laptops, and servers. First of all, to be able to troubleshoot PC issues, you have to have some experience under you belt. With PC's now'a days, its a lot simpler to troubleshoot a system. We dont live in the old days of many jumper settings, configuring boot files, etc.
Get at least 2 years of warranty on your laptop. And resolve any issues under warranty. If the system fails after the warranty period (most of the time its just the hard drive--and thats easy, the thing usually makes wierd noises when it fails) then just replace it. Any serious issues (outside of OS re-install or hard drive replacement) is going to be too costly to replace anyways. The system is over 2yrs old, move on and get a new one.
Desktops are a little different, because there are more individual components in most desktops. The desktop device I would think is more beneficial in this area. But some of the same rules apply to the laptop scenario I mentioned above. Most parts + time is going to outwiegh the cost than just replacing the system in most cases.
I've had experience with their desktop version.. I was working for an engineering company that built robotic calibration devices. Often, we were driving/controling the hardware for our robots via serial or parallel port, depending on the application... But I digress.
About the only thing that the program was able to really help with was detecing bad serial and parallel ports, bad network cards. Once I was able to catch a system instability caused by bad ram, another time, caught a bad HDD before it went completely T/U.
But $1200? No thanks. It's not that big of a time saver, and there are cheaper ways to test bad ports.