Overdrive PC Review

by Andres Kello


Disclaimer: This review is based on my opinions and experiences.


The following is a review of, and details of my experience with, an Overdrive PC from www.overdrivepc.com.

Key Points:

  • Paid $4,600 for computer only (no monitors or peripherals) in January.
  • Computer was rushed to meet deadline after employee that took my order quit.
  • Computer crashed straight out of the box and would not load.
  • The restore DVD that was sent with the computer was faulty.  
  • In the course of several months, I had to:
    • Open my brand new computer at least 10 times. 
    • Spent at least 15 hours on the phone (long-distance, paid by me) with the company diagnosing the problems with my new computer.  
    • Was "advised" to get a $200 transformer that not only didn’t work, but actually damaged my computer further.  
    • Had to exchange parts inside my computer on numerous occasions, including fiddling with small plugs leading into the mother board.  
    • Exchanged over 100 e-mails with the company.
    • Wasted over 200 hours of my time. 

  • It took them months to diagnose the problem with my computer.
  • And, to add insult to injury, the company only refunded 80% of my money after not willing to exchange my computer for a brand new one.

 I expect all of the above from a $600 computer, not a $4,600 computer. 

In the end, this 9- month drama cost me $1,630 (return shipping + transformer + 20% they did not refund) and all I have to show for it is this page.

My $4,600 PC in action.


Verdict: I cannot stress enough how much I recommend you not buy an Overdrive PC. There are several more reputable Custom PC companies, including Alien Ware and HyperSonic, that don't treat their customers like this.


Here is the full story (it's a very long read):

After my dreadful experience buying a $4,600 computer (note: that does not include monitor, keyboard, or any peripherals), I felt compelled to warn potential customers about what they will be getting themselves into if they buy an OverdrivePC.

Towards the end of 2005, I was in the market for a new computer.  Having been a student previously, I was accustomed to buying laptops.  However, this time around, I wanted something a lot more powerful, so I decided to go for a desktop PC.  Since I was looking to make a long-term investment, I wanted to go with the best of the best.  After reading countless reviews about the benefits of custom-made PC’s, I decided to take a risk and purchase my first PC from a custom manufacturer (as opposed to one of the big players like Dell).  Since I had never heard of  any custom manufactuers, I had to do some reading, and read countless custom-PC review from magazines and users.different PC companies.  One company caught my attention with some very good reviews:  Overdrive PC.  They were expensive, but seemed to be the most powerful, and therefore my best investment.  After a month of researching, I finally made my decision and called Overdrive PC in mid January to order my computer.  I talked to “Ryan” on the phone who was very helpful in helping me design my custom PC.  Since I was aware that the custom-made PC’s by Overdrive took a full month to build, I stressed to Ryan on the phone that I would need the computer by no later than the 6th of march since I would be moving countries after then.  He confirmed and guaranteed to me that the delivery date would be met.  I paid half of the cost, $2300, and the building of my PC began.

Skip ahead a few weeks, and in mid-February I send OPC an e-mail to confirm everything is on schedule.  I’m informed that “Everything looks fine for your unit’s ship date “.

Skip ahead a few more weeks, and towards the end of February I shoot off an e-mail to OPC to again confirm that my PC will be delivered by March 6th and Mario, the owner of the company, to my complete surprise, tells me “as of right now, no”.  At this point I’m extremely concerned because if it arrives after March 6th, I have no way of taking it with me.

A few e-mails later and I find out that my deadline was “forgotten” because Ryan, the employee I had talked to, had quit in late February.  A few e-mails later, and Mario confirms that my computer will arrive on time, although it leaves me with an uneasy feeling that my computer will be “rushed” to meet the deadline.  A few days later I get an e-mail from Mario saying the computer has shipped with “110% perfect operation at 2700MHz”.  I’m relieved…

Skip ahead a few weeks…After having ordered my Overdrive PC in late February, receiving it in early March, moving down to Australia, moving in to a new apartment, setting up my home office, and once and for all opening the Overdrive PC box and taking out the computer and setting it up for the very first time, it was all working well, as expected.  But a few hours into the computers first breaths, I was testing out Battlefield 2 (a very cpu-intensive game) and my computer froze.  After forcing the computer off by holding down the power button (my only recourse), I restarted it and Windows would not load.  Doing a check disk warned me that “The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems.”  You cannot begin to imagine how distressed I was feeling that my brand new $4600 computer was broken the first day I took it out of the box.  At this point, I was obviously not very happy or satisfied with my OPC experience.  I quickly shoot off an e-mail to Mario, letting him know what happened….and this is where it all began…

After a few e-mails attempting to diagnose the problem (which is next to impossible via e-mail), I suggest to Mario that I call him.  He agree’s and I give him a long-distance call.

One of the first things he tells me is that I do not need to remind him that I paid $4,600 for the computer because he knows how much his computers are worth, which, he claims, has also earned him the right to be arrogant because he knows how good his computers are.  None of this really mattered to me at the time because I had a $4,600 box that didn’t do anything.  Anyway, we run a couple of diagnostics (which took a couple of hours), and Mario is concerned with the Voltage difference in Australia and how it’s affecting the Overclocking of the CPU, and he tells me I need to restore the system using a Backup DVD (using Norton Ghost) that came with the computer and to go into the BIOS to turn off the Overclocking and return to Stock speeds to try and isolate the problem.  By now I’m feeling like I’m a tech support guy in Bangalore and Mario jokes that I know enough about this computer to be one of their tech support guys.  I laugh uneasily still remembering the $4600 I paid for this Ferrari that is giving me problems straight out of the box.  Anyway, the computer loads with a fresh restore and at stock speeds.  I’m simplifying all of this of course, this all took several hours.  Once the system is restored, he asks me to run some PRIME torture tests on the CPU to make sure everything is OK.  I comply, and everything passes and he tells me to continue using the computer to see if it crashes at stock speeds.

Skip to the next day…

The computer crashes a second time and it won’t start again.  I do another restore from the image on the other drive, and windows won’t load, I get the dreaded blue screen of death.  I try another restore from the master backup DVD, running at STOCK cpu speed, and I get the same blue screen saying how windows won’t load to avoid damaging the hardware.  (Note:  Each of these restores takes a pain-staking amount of time). My mine is going crazy at this point, I’m thinking I just wasted $4,600 because there’s obviously something more serious going on.

I tell Mario I’m going to call him about this and considering how he kept telling about how voltage, hertz, and currency differences can affect the “delicate” system, I decide, on Mario’s advice, to shell out $200 for a massive 1000W 220 to 110 converter to eliminate that as an issue and hope that is the magic fix.

I call up Mario and after a few more hours of diagnosing and testing, he seems to think the TV tuner card is the problem (which I never got to work even when the computer did manage to boot the very first time before doing any Restore, so this made sense).  He asks for my address and tells me he’s going to send me the tuner card free of charge (which is the least I’d expect considering I paid an extra $300 for a 3 year warranty).  Anyway, after some hard drive testing and swapping and restoring and removing the TV tuner card, I am able to boot the computer again, and run more diagnostic and torture tests and everything seems ok now at the full overclooked 2700 speed, so it must have been the TV tuner card all along.  I’m relieved again.

Skip ahead about 4 days, and boom, another crash.  The computer crashed while watching a video in Windows Media Player. Hours of BF2 testing didn't crash it, but a video in WMP did.  I restarted after the crash, and it got as far as windows, but a high-pitched shriek was coming from the speakers and it froze up again.  After restarting it a 2nd time, I got an error that windows was missing a critical file.  So I decreased the speeds to 2640 and re-installed the backup from Ghost successfully. I guess it just can't handle 2700.  I will keep testing it at 2640 and see what happens.  I should get the transformer this week, so that will hopefully help.  Also, in BF2, when I try to select the X-fi sound card in the Sound options menu, the game just quits to the desktop, so their may be an issue with the Sound card as well.  At this point I’m just completely immune to any more problems with this computer as I’ve come to expect a crash every few days.  I’m not even upset anymore, I’ve just stopped caring and wrote of the $4,600 investment a long time ago.  Mario tells me to reduce the speed to the lowest overclocked spped, which is 2640, and conveniently adds that this is well within their guaranteed speed increase.  Funny how I don’t remember seeing that on their website, it must be hidden somewhere, but like I said, at this point I din’t even want a fast computer, I just wanted a computer that would turn on and stay on.  He tells me to continue testing at this reduced speed and things appear to go smoothly…in the meantime, I’m awaiting my transformer which I am hoping is the holy grail…ignoring the fact that if changes in voltage and stuff can be so detrimental to an Overdrive PC’s health, why do they sell their computer internationally and why don’t they warn about this at all on their webstie?

Skid ahead a few days…I was testing BF2 and it crashed again...and then Windows wouldn’t start again.  I’ve heard of games crashing all the time, but I’ve never heard of a game crashing and taking the whole system with it every time.  So I’m thinking there is still something up with the system.  At this point, I haven’t been able to run any other type of software because I’m waiting for a router to network my laptop so I can copy over all the files, so I don’t know if other software programs (ie. MS Office) will have this same problem.  And there is obviously no way I will settle into this computer and risk losing work.  Anyway, I do a Ghost restore from the other 2 hard drives, annoyed that I have to keep doing this every few days…it becomes too high maintenance and time-consuming and I’m trying to break a world record and settle into a new country.

This seems to be getting worse every time and by this point I don’t know what else to do.  I’ve wasted so much time with this computer (at least 30 hours of reinstalling, diagnosing, test, etc. by this point) so I hope my frustration is understood.

A few days later I get the transformer that cost me $200 and I’m amazed at the 20 pound beast, but it makes me feel confident this heavy duty equipment will do the trick and have the computer running smoothly with the right voltage.  I connect the computer directly to the wall outlet, change the voltage back to 110 on the computer, hook it up to the transformer, beef up the speed to 2700, but, low and behold, it crashes as soon as I started loading a level in BF2, which is fully updated with the latest patch.  Great, it crashes even with the transformer…my dreams and hopes are shattered…I just want a PC that DOESN’T crash, is that TOO much to ask for $4,600 ???  Actually, make that $4,800 with the wasted transformer…Clearly, it is not a voltage issue and I just wasted another $200. The Hyperclocking on this computer has to be flawed to some extent, but at this point I’m happy if the computer runs at 2640 without ANY problems.  Mario tell me to lower the hyperclocking to 2640.  I tell him I will keep testing at 2640 with the Transformer.  I also tell him that if this computer fails even once at 2640, then we're going to have to start talking about an exchange or refund because I cannot work on a faulty/flawed system, as I'm sure anyone can appreciate, but they illicit no response from Mario…I find that disturbing.  With all the problems I've been having, I feel like I have a used computer, and I'm not happy about that   I also still do not understand how they were able to successfully test at 2700 before shipping, because ever since I took it out of the box,  it just won't do that speed...even with the faulty TV tuner out and the voltage at 110v.   By the way, this entire time the computers have been running witht eh RAID not configured because that was causing another problem that had me literally inside the computer plugging and unplugging the smallest of cables, something I had never done before.  Obviously, all of this has made it impossible for me to settle in with my computer.

Next day….my computer doesn’t turn on.  That’s the last thing I needed at this point.  Long story short, it seems that the transformer blew a fuse in the computer. After a few more hours of phone diagnostics, Mario decides to send me another internal Power Supply for the computer, free of charge (again, the least I expect).  For the next few days, my computer is completely unusable, which I, strangely enough, find somewhat relieving because I get to ignore this massive headache for a few days.

Skip ahead to April 20, by now I have the new power supply and tv tuner card.  Mario tells me over the phone how to install the power supply.  After a few more hours, the computer turns on, so it must’ve been something with the power supply.  By now I have the new TV tuner card which Mario asks me to install….thinking that that will finally fix my computer, although not really since it wasn’t working 100% even without any tv tuner card, but at this point I’m delirious anyway. 

I installed the new TV Tuner and restored the computer to the clean original and I get the same “exclamation” symbol on the PCI-to-PCI bridge in Device Manager.  When I double-click on it, I get a window that says,

“This device cannot find enough free resources it can use (Code 12).

If you want to use this device, you will need to disable one of the other devices on this system.”

So we’re not at the finish line yet.  I just want go get this over and done with so I can get to work.  What do we do next?

Mario tells me he will have to look into Nvidia about this, and I tell him that I want this $4,600 computer functional once and for all so that I finally get to work!  Mario asks me in a somewhat patronizing way if I need the TV tuner card to do my work.  Obviously I don’t, but I inform  him that I am afraid of settling into this new computer, installing all the programs I use, configuring everything for my exact taste, and setting everything up just the way I like it, only to have to do another restore for, literally, the 20th time (I’m not exaggerating, by now that’s how many restores I had done on this computer…20 give or take 1)  He tells me we’ll work on it over the next few days and that I CAN SETTLE INTO THE NEW COMPUTER BECAUSE THE REMAINING FIX'S WON’T REQUIRE A FULL RESTORE.  With this green light in my head, I finally feel relieved that I can settle into my new computer, copy over all the files from my laptop and begin configuring everything just the way I like it…mind you that this is over 4 months after I paid for this computer.

Skip ahead to April 24, and Mario wants to see what devices I have in the Device Manager, a few screenshots later and hel tells me “I know what to do but I have to try and get you to call me in a few hours when I am back at the shop. I will e-mail you shortly.”  At this point I obviously don’t believe him because he’s said this at least 15 times before with a promise of the next “real fix”…but whatever, I just want this stupid computer to work so I don’t feel like I completely wasted $4,600….

Let it be known that by now there has been about 20 hours of long-distance phone conversation, ALL PAID FOR BY ME….Mario never once called me, I had to call him every time.

Skip ahead to early March and still no fix for the TV tuner card (no surprise), so I begin to focus on the sound card issue and why I cannot select it’s maximum features when in BF2 fox exmpale…what’s the point of a top of the line sound card if you can’t use it’s top features?  (hmmm…I should be asking that about the computer itself….actually, I have…several times….and of course, there is no point).  Mario sends me a link to a patch he thinks should fix the sound card issue (hey, at least he searched for one)….i install it and….of course, It doesn’t fix anything…because I don’t think the issue is software anyway, but hey, that’s just me.

Skip ahead a few days and Mario tells me on May 6 that he has replicated my system setup and will now attempt to work backwards to find the problem with the TV tuner card and sound card.  I’m done settling into my new computer have start using it as my main computer, with all new work being done on it.

On May 7, I get this e-mail from Mario:

I have no idea how to uninstall the patch. We cannot support the game itself as we have no knowledge of its inner workings. That was just a patch that stated to resolve issues similar to yours. As far as the Media Center TV Tuner issue, it appears that something (in the Ghost backup process) was corrupted and burned into the DVD. What appears to have been corrupted was a shared file required to resolve those PCI issues and I think I am getting close to tracking it down. I’ll keep you posted. I am on my way to Florida for a convention and returning late Tuesday night.

OK, so were’ close to fixing the TV tuner at least…or I hope….but I casually and curiously ask Mario that if the problem was with the Ghost backup that I was using to restore my system, how was this not caught BEFORE my system was shipped?  I beging to wonder back about whether my PC was indeed rushed to meet the deadline….in this first instance, Mario ignores this question.  In all honesty, I don’t even believe this because the TV tuner did not work even BEFORE I installed the first Ghost backup…this just seems like a convient excuse to say “the computer shipped fine, the problem was only with the BACKUP DVD”….in reality, I know that the system was shipped and that this was overlooked…but Mario would dare never admit that, he’s to proud and arrogant to admit that.

Skip ahead to May 16, and I get an e-mail from Mario with the following subject link:  FOUND IT !!!!

At this point, I’m not expecting anything, really, I’m not.  I’ve had my hope’s with this computer dashed so many times already that I’m not expecting diddly squat.  In the e-mail Mario tells me:

My God I have never been so puzzled over an issue but I have solved it on my end. I think it will work fine for you.

Try this:

Go to Control, System, Hardware, Device manager

Find the (FIRST) instance of “Standard PCI to PCI-Bridge” and right click it. Choose uninstall.

Do not reboot!

Go back to control panel and choose “Add Hardware.”

Hit Next and it should redetect a lot of onboard devices (as well as NVTV).

Please let me know if this resolves as it did on my end.”

Low and behold….I do EXACTLY that, and NOTHING changes…in fact, Now I have 5 exclamation marks in Device Manager, the 2 new ones are from “Unknown Devices”…this stupid  computer will not allow the TV tuner to work.

Mario tells me he will continue working on a fix.

Next day, on May 17, I get the following e-mail from Mario:

“I am preparing a new master image DVD for you that will resolve this issue but will require a complete fresh start. I have a feeling that the fix for you (on your end) is not going to fall into place as it did for me here. So, I am racing a disc out as fast as I can. I would remove the TV Tuner and redetect hardware to get your sound card back.

Is he joking me????  He specifically told me this wouldn’t happen so I had been working on this computer for weeks, spent several DAYS setting up, installing, and configuring it for all my needs, and now I’m going to have to do all of that all over again?  I tell him bluntly, “I’ve been using the computer as my main computer for several weeks now, with all the new data and programs installed on it.  At this point, a fresh start is no longer an option. Too much productivity will be lost, which I can no longer afford.  We will have to fix this as-is.  Let me know when you would like me to call you.”

He tells me he will continue looking into it.

Over a week goes by and I don’t here form him.  At this point, I’m fed up.  So I write him a long and deserved e-mail:

I don’t know if the problems with my computer have ceased to be a priority for you, but I’m finding it necessary to remind you that I paid $4,600 for my computer back in January, and it is now almost June and it is still not fully-functional.

I had reserved my review of your company and computer for after these issues had been resolved, but I’m starting to think that that’s never going to happen.

What’s the point of me running (and paying for) Windows XP Media Edition if my TV Tuner does not work?  What’s the point of having (and paying for) a top-of-the-line X-fi Sound Card if I can’t use it with one of the most popular games in the world?  What’s the point of spending $4,600 on a custom-made PC, if I’m not going to be able to run it at full-speed and it will give me as many problems from the get-go as this computer has?

Don’t get me wrong, Mario, you’ve been extremely courteous and diligent with your support, but all that is meaningless if the problems do not get resolved in a timely manner.  Having said that, I’m setting a 2 week deadline (from today) for my computer to be 100% functional, or I will have to request a full refund.  I cannot have a functionally-limited computer indefinitely, especially considering how much I paid and how your company sells itself.  To be quite honest, even if we were to resolve these 2 issues, I’m still not going to feel satisfied that I have a perfect system due to all the problems I have had, so I will leave it up to you as to how to compensate for my dissatisfaction and inconvenience.

I look forward to hearing from you on this and I apologize if this e-mail sounds a bit harsh, but I believe I have been patient and understanding enough.

Thanks as always,

Andres Kello

To which he replies,

Let me explain that your need to prevent a full system restore is what is hurting the time-line on this project as I explained earlier. If I could send you a new restore DVD it would resolve this issue with the tuner. I am unsure why you are having any problems at all with the EAX. I can test the EAX here on a known-good card before shipping a new DVD as well. This way, if we find your issue still persists, we know there is a bad sound card and this can be expedited to you as well.

If you want the tuner issue resolves much sooner, I need to send a new DVD that has a completely new install created with no corruptions which has all of the latest updates, drivers, patches, etc. If you need me to continue to search for ways of 'patching' this issue without a restore, then the wait is unpredictable at this point as this is what I have been doing for two weeks now. Also, you will need this new DVD at some point in time as eventually you will (want) to perform a full clean new install using a known-good OS restore image.

Please let me know if you can allow me to send a new (working) restore DVD to rebuild from as this is the surest way to resolve this. I still have an exact duplicate of your machine running live on a test bench that I have been working from so I can create the DVD through the weekend and move ahead with a resolve.

Thanks again Andres.


This back and forth continues, with my reply:


Thanks for getting back to me.

The problem with a full restore at this point is that I will lose an incredible amount of time and work.  Backing up everything, including 6 years worth of e-mails which I had already restored to this computer, plus all specific settings for all the programs I run, including Dreamweaver where I run 10 different websites, re-installing the 25 programs I have installed that I use regularly and reconfiguring them for my specific use, etc., is an incredible nightmare at this point.  I run 9 different online businesses from my computer, so dealing with this all over again is going to be literally a greater loss of money to me than this already has been.  To make matters more difficult, there really is no guarantee that I will be able to solve 100% of the problems with this full restore, as all the other fixes you said would work, did not, so I may end up losing all that valuable time for nothing.  If you consider the days (and money) I have already literally lost fixing and dealing with this supposed brand-new computer, I simply cannot afford to lose any more time on it, as it stands.  The reason I only buy a computer every 3 years is because of the time it takes me to back everything up and re install the new computer with everything.  I have already done that with my OPC once and now you’re asking me to do it again, not even 2 months later.

What I still do not understand, and which you have not made clear to me, is that if you guys test systems for 72 hours straight before shipping, how did you not find these problems before sending me a faulty computer?  It would have avoided this nightmare.  A customer who spend $4,600 on a computer alone, is expecting to have not just the best, but everything working absolutely smoothly right out of the box.  My experience has been anything but that.  In fact, I still don’t have that and thus am not satisfied with my OPC.

I will wait 2 weeks for you to fix the current configuration.  I’m traveling to Europe for a month in late June and want this whole issue with my computer 100% resolved before then, because I will not be dealing with this during and after my trip.  If you are unable to fix it in the next 2 weeks, I will request either an exchange for a brand new computer or a full refund, because I will not continue to use this $4,600 faulty computer.  At this point, I’m leaning towards the latter because if I need to go through the trouble of setting up a whole new system, I rather it be a brand new computer from a maker I know from previous experience won’t give me any problems.

To be fair, I will also wait to review your company and computer on the sites that lead me to buy an OPC until after these 2 weeks.

Let me know how you go.


Andres Kello

He instists on having the last word, to which he replies,

Andres, first off I honestly can't believe you compared a 9 pound laptop to a 70 lb box with parts that have huge momentum potential when dropped. That couldn't be a better example of apples and oranges. It does not apply here.

Now, the ghost image that your system was created with was re-imaged back to the system before shipping to validate it. This is standard on all systems. how else can we test an image if we do not perform it? This is where the problem occurred. The (good, tested) O/S was wiped our right after the image capture by re-imaging back to the hard drive. That should explain the issue very clearly. My error was not re-checking behind ourselves after re-imaging and going right to packing as we were (again) rushed to meet a deadline of yours to deliver the box by a certain date before you left the country.

I need you to leave me with the two week deadline you have again posed on me and let me see if I can meet it. I will do my best and if I cannot meet it I will gladly refund 80% of your money as this is our return policy of 7 years. We have a re-stocking fee as any custom PC manufacturer has. It is our job (and written responsibility) to resolve your issues. I already have with a new repaired image but you have declined it. We are not (not) resolving your issue and giving you the run around. You have declined our resolve. Let's be very clear on that.

Let us leave off for this two week window and let me continue to work at this. It is and has been a priority.


At this point, I’m completely pissed off, and shoot back,


Give me a little credit, you provided me with about 10 different fixes in the last 2 months that you thought would “fix” my computer for good, including spending $200 on a transformer that solved nothing, and none of them worked, so allow me to have my reservations about implementing the “magic” fix that will require a full restore.

The deadline was rushed because of errors on your company’s side, not mine.  My deadline was guaranteed in January when I paid for my computer, but after you fired your employee, your company forgot about my deadline, and that’s when it had to be rushed after I e-mailed to confirm my delivery date a few days prior to the deadline.  So this had nothing to do with me, let’s be clear about that.

Regarding your refund policy, I find it unreasonable in this case, so I really do hope you are able to find a fix to this problem.  If you think your company performed on par with its reputation in the service and product provided to me, then we will have to let others judge for themselves when the full scope of my case is laid out in a full review, which again, I will wait 2 weeks to write, to give you enough time to leave me a satisfied OPC customer.

So to recapitulate, 1) the error was on your part as you admitted, 2) the final fix was provided too late in the game, and 3) your refund policy is unreasonable in my case, if it comes to that.  Therefore, I am hoping that, for both our sakes, a fix is found soon.  My imposed deadline of 2 weeks is so that this does not drag on any longer than it already has.  I think any consumer would agree that I have been patient enough.

Keep me posted and, for the record, I’m really cheering for you to find a fix as I want to resolve this ASAP.


Andres Kello

He finally get’s the point, and replies with just

I will do all I can to resolve your issues within your deadline. Please feel free to tell your story as you see fit.

Two weeks go by and I get this e-mail from Mario:

After about 20+ hours of bench time, I see no way to ‘patch’ the corruption back together without preventing a new install. I’ve tried anything and everything I could think of and even passed it off to a second tech to work on at home after hours. You will have to let me know how to proceed from here. As I said before, I ‘have’ a fix, but it will require a fresh start using a repaired DVD.”

This is going nowhere, so I tell him:


What assurances will I have that the repaired DVD will fix my computer 100%?

If it does not fix it, are you prepared to exchange my computer for a brand new one at your expense?

If I have to go through setting up my computer all over again, which takes me days to complete, then I do not expect to have to waste any more time on this computer after that.  Therefore, if this fails, I need assurances that my computer will be exchanged for a brand new and fully tested computer at your expense entirely.  Furthermore, I remind you that it was your instructions a little more than a month ago that I continue with the full set up of my computer and not wait any longer, and it is those very instructions which are now going to force me to lose invaluable time on my part, something I am extremely dissatisfied about.

Please let me know on the above.

Andres Kello

Note:  What I am asking for is completely reasonable; I think anyone would agree with me.

But it’s not reasonable for Mario, to which he replies:

I will send you a new restore DVD based on an (exact) duplicate of your hardware down to the very last component and setting so that I feel very confident it will be a flawless transition and resolve. There is nothing in your machine that is defective whatsoever so exchanging the machine is not an option nor a better path to a resolve. We have never 'swapped out' a machine because of a support issue. We 'fix' the issues as we are committed to do.

Remember, you can easily make a Ghost backup of your current setup before the new restore so if I prove wrong, you can immediately go back to a functional setup for the time being while we take another look. I really don't think this will be the case.

I know you do not want to settle back in but I have exhausted myself within your deadline for a resolve and simply could not find the source of the corruption. I surely wish I could have.

I'll let you know when to expect the DVD. I will generate it this week and put it through much-testing before I ship.



I feel compelled to dissect his last e-mail and do whatever is in my power (read this e-mail carefully):

“I feel very confident it will be a flawless transition and resolve. “

>>  If so, then provide me some kind of guarantee before I pour more hours into the latest “fix”.

“There is nothing in your machine that is defective whatsoever “

>>  If this were true, then we wouldn’t have exchanged about 50 e-mails so far and 15 hours worth of phone calls.

“so exchanging the machine is not an option nor a better path to a resolve.”

>>  I strongly disagree.  Exchanging it for a problem-free OPC would leave me with the confidence, assurance, and satisfaction of owning a brand new, problem-free, fully-functional computer, which is what I paid for.  You need to see this from my point of view, not yours.

“We have never 'swapped out' a machine because of a support issue.”

>>  That is your company’s number one mistake.  A reputable company like Dell would make an immediate replacement in these circumstances, no questions asked.

“We 'fix' the issues as we are committed to do.”

>>  This is very convenient for your company and very inconvenient for your customer, especially considering your refund policy.

“you can easily make a Ghost backup of your current setup before the new restore so if I prove wrong, you can immediately go back to a functional setup”

>>  If I go through the countless hours of setting up this computer all over again, and it fails again, I will not be reverting it back to a faulty state, so this is pointless.

Having said all of that, I am traveling for a month on June 29.  I need this DVD well before then so that I can resolve this issue before I travel.

I will continue this wild goose chase because I don’t have much choice.  However, let me add that I have never encountered such a cavalier attitude with any business, and I strongly believe that your self-proclaimed arrogance clouds your ability to offer appropriate customer service.  You have failed to accommodate any of my requests on a number of occasions, and this complete lack of professionalism and reason will end up hurting your company in the long run.

When I publish our exchange of e-mails and phone conversations together with my entire OPC experience on my website and in PC review sites in the coming weeks, I can assure you that every PC consumer that reads it will think 5 times before spending thousands on an Overdrive PC.  At the end of the day, customer service is what differentiates a business, and OPC falls shorter than any consumer products company I have ever dealt with.  So short, in fact, that I will be filing a complaint with your local Better Business Bureau to leave a permanent record of my dissatisfaction and complaint with regards to my very expensive purchase.

Let me recapitulate what has happened here.  You sold me a computer that was dead on arrival.  You included a restore DVD that was faulty.  You made me open my computer 10 times.  You made me spend 15 hours on the phone with you diagnosing the problems with my new computer.  You made me get a $200 transformer that not only didn’t work, but actually damaged my computer further.  You made me exchange parts inside my computer.  You made me fiddle around with the inside of my computer.  You made me exchange approximately 100 e-mails with you.  You have wasted approximately 200 hours of my time.  It took you months to diagnose the problem with my computer.  It is now almost half a year since I paid for my computer and it is still not fully functional.  And, to add insult to injury, you tell me you will keep 20% of my money if I decide to return my computer and that an exchange is “not an option”.  I expect all of that from a $600 computer, not a $4,600 computer.  Like I said before, this only makes your company look really unprofessional and it will hurt you in the end.

Please send me the fixed DVD restore as soon as you’re confident it is flawless, but such that I receive it no later than June 22 (my time) so that I have a week to fix my computer before I travel.

Andres Kello

He’s not in any mood to argue (thankfully) and simply replies:  “You will have your DVD before the 22nd.”  This was on June 8, almost HALF A YEAR after paying for my computer.

But the story continues...

I get another e-mail from Mario telling me he's found a quick-fix that won't require me to restore the computer and re-install everything. I travel for about a month and when I get, my computer crashes approximately 2-3 times a day. Half the time it crashes when it is in standby mode after a period of inactivity (it won’t turn back on, so I have to turn it off and back on again), and the other half the computer simply freezes while I’m working on it (no particular program) and I have to restart. I do not know the cause of these new crashes since the computer was not used for over a month, but I’m hoping the fix Mario will resolve them as well.

I finally install the fix and...it makes things worse. It fixes the TV tuner problem but created several new problems with the Ethernet Controller, Packet Scheduler Miniport, among others, and it continued to have severe and violent crashes with major distortion coming from the speakers. At one point I managed to record one of these crashes, check out this crude recording:

My $4,600 PC in action.

Enough was enough. I told him I didn't want this thing anymore and that I wanted a full refund for all the trouble this had caused and the time I wasted on it. He wouldn't back down from the 80% refund policy after several more e-mail exchanges. And to add insult to injury, I had to pay for the shipping as well.

Long story short, I filed a complaint with the BBB and shipped the computer back to him on September 19, 2006 at a cost to me of about US$500. The computer case was damaged during shipping, so he said he wouldn't refund me for the case (luckily I had insured it). Believe it or not, this saga continues. Even though Mario had specifically told me the refund would take 1 week to process and that he would do everything in his power to get it to me ASAP, they kept delaying my refund, which only enfuriated me more, and even stooping so low as to blaiming the delay on "waiting for recent CC charges to clear our account still". I shot back asking what the heck someone else's payment had to do with my refund? Even then, he took a full month to refund me my money, which I guess I should have seen coming considering the past behaviour of this company.

All in all, this miserable experience cost me the 20% I did not get refunded ($930) plus the shipping (another $500) plus the transformer (another $200), for a total of $1,630. You read that correctly, this whole nightmare COST ME $1,630 and I have NOTHING to show for it except this page.

And do you know what the funniest part is, I had actually asked Mario way back in January before buying my computer, if he was willing to sponsor my record attempt by “donating" one of his Overdrive PC's, which he declined since they don’t do sponsorships.  But here’s the real kicker, even if I had gotten this damn computer for FREE, I still wouldn’t have wanted it knowing what I know now…

If you have any questions about this, let me know.  Whatever you do, and I mean this, do not buy a computer from Overdrive PC.  The fact that I took my time to write this should be a clear signal.  If I had been in the US, I would have filed a lawsuit against OPC, but I’m pretty powerless here in Australia, except for my website, of course.  I cannot begin to explain how much time I wasted on this computer.  The fact that other people have e-mailed me with similar experiences shows that I'm not the only one who's had an experience like this. If you've had a similar experience, I suggest filing a complaint with their local BBB. The fact that the company claims they only experience about 2 out of 1000 complaints like this, makes me wonder why they don't do Full Refunds. But the worst part is that they made off with $930 of MY dollars for putting ME through this. 

I have since purchased a Dell Dimension 9200 and it's working flawlessly.

Let’s leave it at that.


-Andres Kello

December, 2006