Hardware Support

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  • SpinRite v6.1 Release #3
    The 3rd release of SpinRite v6.1 is published and may be obtained by all SpinRite v6.0 owners at the SpinRite v6.1 Pre-Release page. (SpinRite will shortly be officially updated to v6.1 so this page will be renamed.) The primary new feature, and the reason for this release, was the discovery of memory problems in some systems that were affecting SpinRite's operation. So SpinRite now incorporates a built-in test of the system's memory. For the full story, please see this page in the "Pre-Release Announcements & Feedback" forum.
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  • BootAble – FreeDOS boot testing freeware

    To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under a GRC-customized version of FreeDOS which has been modified to add compatibility with all file systems. In order to run SpinRite it must first be possible to boot FreeDOS.

    GRC's “BootAble” freeware allows anyone to easily create BIOS-bootable media in order to workout and confirm the details of getting a machine to boot FreeDOS through a BIOS. Once the means of doing that has been determined, the media created by SpinRite can be booted and run in the same way.

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After hearing about WD's NAS issue, I became more concerned about my primary PC's hardware support. For example, I'm considering building a new PC, but I'm reluctant to pay for nice specs if the motherboard will only get updates for three years. I'm even having a hard time finding disclaimers on manufactures' websites saying how long the support window will be. Gigabyte lists a warranty of three years. Will they only provide updates/patches for three years?
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One of the problems is that technology changes rapidly. However, if a motherboard is working, it is less likely to require upgrades. Sometimes a BIOS/UEFI upgrade is required to use a later CPU, but often moving to a new generation of CPU also requires a different socket or RAM, so cannot be done on an older board.

Just because a board is out of support, it will not stop working with components from the same era.
Don't worry too much about the updates. Still using an i7-4820k on a x79 LGA2011 (Gigabyte) motherboard here. I would put a RTX 3070 in it and continue on if I could get one.
Get what you want and update until you can't or don't want to anymore. Personally the only updates i get from the motherboard manufacturer is the BIOS and ONLY if the one that was shipped on the board isn't working out for me. The various makers of each component on the motherboard usually keep the updates rolling out. I just updated the LAN driver on that x79 motherboard last week.
Chipset drivers - directly from Intel or AMD.
LAN drivers - from whoever made the NIC.
Audio drivers - from whoever made the hardware.
SATA drivers - from whoever made the hardware.
motherboard will only get updates for three years
Motherboard manufacturers are barely more than a service that takes a chipset from the CPU manufacturer and figures out how to layout a circuit board in the most cost efficient way while having a customer pleasing list of features. You'll note that most of the motherboard manufacturers also manufacture video cards, and probably also PSUs and add-on cards. What this tells you is that, by the time you bought their product, they've already moved on to "designing" something else. They view BIOS/UEFI updates as a necessary evil and a cost, not a feature, and certainly not a revenue stream. (Would you pay them extra for updates? Well it appears maybe *you* might, but most people would not.)

The fact of the matter is that the CPU and motherboard are hardware... with some firmware update abilities, but those are meant as a "last resort". Ideally they're made once and done forever. The reality, being rather different, is that they're pretty complex and some updates will be necessary. After no more than two years, however, they will be as "done" as they are ever going to get. As this is, and has been, the case for all PCs already out there, it doesn't appear, so far, to have been a disaster worth worrying about. Buy safe in the knowledge you are getting the same level of "crap" that everyone else got.