cost of the whitebox


  • Service Provider

    I just sent out an invoice with a $500 bill for troubleshooting a white box computer. The call came in with the end user saying his monitors were going black. In the end we found out someone had installed an old gaming video card that was running at 90o C at idle and then when it would go over 95o C, would black out the monitors. The case simply wasn't designed for the card.

    On one hand I feel bad that it took us so long to narrow down the problem and figure out what it was. On the other hand he told us his computer was running fine for years and only started doing this recently and didn't mention that he had a local computer shop install this card when he wanted dual monitors - and the problem has been happening since then.

    I had another client in town where we swapped in a SSD drive and the computer wouldn't activate. Found out later that a local guy pirated OEM licenses of Windows from his day job and was building and selling computers with them.

    Anyone else run in to these issues where white boxes end up costing way more than a name brand machine in the long run?



  • @mike-davis said in cost of the whitebox:

    I just sent out an invoice with a $500 bill for troubleshooting a white box computer. The call came in with the end user saying his monitors were going black. In the end we found out someone had installed an old gaming video card that was running at 90o C at idle and then when it would go over 95o C, would black out the monitors. The case simply wasn't designed for the card.

    On one hand I feel bad that it took us so long to narrow down the problem and figure out what it was. On the other hand he told us his computer was running fine for years and only started doing this recently and didn't mention that he had a local computer shop install this card when he wanted dual monitors - and the problem has been happening since then.

    I had another client in town where we swapped in a SSD drive and the computer wouldn't activate. Found out later that a local guy pirated OEM licenses of Windows from his day job and was building and selling computers with them.

    Anyone else run in to these issues where white boxes end up costing way more than a name brand machine in the long run?

    I fully expect this any time I work on a stranger's computer.



  • @dafyre said in cost of the whitebox:

    Anyone else run in to these issues where white boxes end up costing way more than a name brand machine in the long run?

    I fully expect this any time I work on a stranger's computer.

    Yeah - I tell most people - please realize that this bill will likely be more than you buying a new computer. Now, of course when you buy a new computer, unless you can do it yourself, you're still going to have to pay someone like me to transfer you stuff over - or at least educate you on using cloud services so you don't have that issue going forward, either way, be ready for some pain (in the wallet).


  • Service Provider

    @mike-davis said in cost of the whitebox:

    Anyone else run in to these issues where white boxes end up costing way more than a name brand machine in the long run?

    That wasn't the issue here, though. This issue was: user modified a working machine in a way that didn't work and user lied or withheld the critical troubleshooting information to drive up the cost.

    That it was a whitebox was incidental to the story and not part of the cost or the problem.


  • Service Provider

    @dashrender said in cost of the whitebox:

    Yeah - I tell most people - please realize that this bill will likely be more than you buying a new computer. Now, of course when you buy a new computer, unless you can do it yourself, you're still going to have to pay someone like me to transfer you stuff over - or at least educate you on using cloud services so you don't have that issue going forward, either way, be ready for some pain (in the wallet).

    I tell people the same thing. I also tell them don't wait until the computer dies to replace it. That way they can replace it on their schedule. Downtime is expensive.

    That said I still have some businesses that try to run computers until they won't power on anymore. I've been telling those clients I'm too busy to work on their stuff. It's just painful to work on a computer that slow.


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller said in cost of the whitebox:

    That wasn't the issue here, though. This issue was: user modified a working machine in a way that didn't work and user lied or withheld the critical troubleshooting information to drive up the cost.

    True. The only thing I could say is that with Dell/HP, we can look up the original build.


  • Service Provider

    @mike-davis said in cost of the whitebox:

    @scottalanmiller said in cost of the whitebox:

    That wasn't the issue here, though. This issue was: user modified a working machine in a way that didn't work and user lied or withheld the critical troubleshooting information to drive up the cost.

    True. The only thing I could say is that with Dell/HP, we can look up the original build.

    And/or would notice pretty quickly that the card was not a stock part.



  • @mike-davis said in cost of the whitebox:

    @dashrender said in cost of the whitebox:

    Yeah - I tell most people - please realize that this bill will likely be more than you buying a new computer. Now, of course when you buy a new computer, unless you can do it yourself, you're still going to have to pay someone like me to transfer you stuff over - or at least educate you on using cloud services so you don't have that issue going forward, either way, be ready for some pain (in the wallet).

    I tell people the same thing. I also tell them don't wait until the computer dies to replace it. That way they can replace it on their schedule. Downtime is expensive.

    That said I still have some businesses that try to run computers until they won't power on anymore. I've been telling those clients I'm too busy to work on their stuff. It's just painful to work on a computer that slow.

    The more painful it is for me, the more painful it is for their wallet / purse / bank account -- especially if I have warned them about it before.



  • Yes, I do the same. I charge by the hour so it will be difficult not to go over that if I spend more than 2-3 hours.

    Abour the OEM licensing, I have ran into it multiple times but not recently as some home users and small client buy what they see on TV or their technical friend recommended (which is not always the best for then).



  • @mike-davis said in cost of the whitebox:

    That said I still have some businesses that try to run computers until they won't power on anymore. I've been telling those clients I'm too busy to work on their stuff. It's just painful to work on a computer that slow.

    These are the best to work on - you get paid for just sitting there waiting. Yeah it really does suck to see your time wasted this way - but you are in the business of making money - you informed them of the best IT solution, if they still want to pay you to maintain the machine - take the money to the bank!.


  • Service Provider

    @dashrender said in cost of the whitebox:

    @mike-davis said in cost of the whitebox:

    That said I still have some businesses that try to run computers until they won't power on anymore. I've been telling those clients I'm too busy to work on their stuff. It's just painful to work on a computer that slow.

    These are the best to work on - you get paid for just sitting there waiting. Yeah it really does suck to see your time wasted this way - but you are in the business of making money - you informed them of the best IT solution, if they still want to pay you to maintain the machine - take the money to the bank!.

    I'm with Dash. You did all the right things, they didn't, it's not a tragic amount of money, just an annoyance for them, and good work for you. Rejoice in having paid work with low stress and something that can be definitely fixed at the end of the day.


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