Specializing in Razer laptops, enthusiast repairman aims to fix what Razer can't
Razer's notebooks are known for pushing the envelope in not only portability, power, and design, but also heat. While the company does offer a limited 1-year hardware warranty, their less-than-stellar reputation for their quality control, support, and repair services has frustrated some customers and left others with laptops that have failed out of the warranty period and are being quoted US$700 and up and up to fix the issues. Thus, many users suggest buying through Amazon, Microsoft, or other retailers with their own warranties. However, if you don't have a third-party warranty (or your machine has gone out of it) and you aren't willing to pay out the nose for an out-of-warranty repair, there is at least one shop in the US which offers a mail-in repair program and specifically caters to issues found on Razer laptops.
Brenden Henry, the man behind Techworks repair, is a tech-enthusiast who first did component-level repair at the age of 5, when he started working on cellphone boards with his father. "I studied computer science for a little over a year at a community level college, which was great, but what they never taught was actual repair." Henry explains. "If you had a board die on you, they would just suggest replacing the board. This notion just seemed really silly to me, and I ended up dropping out after my first year and continued studying on my own." He practiced on laptop components by trying to revive old, bricked laptops. According to Henry, that's where it began. He studied basic electronics, and shortly after, ordered a broken Razer laptop from eBay. Using his existing knowledge of Macbook boards and experimenting on the broken notebook, he was eventually able to figure out what all the components were—even without schematics.
Since then, Techworks has been specializing in the repair of Razer laptops and Macbooks. Their most frequent patients are the 14-inch 2014 Razer Blade and 17-inch 2016 Razer Blade Pro. According to Henry, the 2014 Razer Blade has one of the highest failure rates he's seen, and he believes this is due to a number of issues stemming from heat: The AC IN and battery MOSFETS (transistors) are the most frequent component failures, followed by 3.3v power circuit rail (power IC), the voltage regulator module (VRM), and the clock chip. Henry believes most of these failures are caused by "incredible heat and inadequate cooling", as the components used are operating near or at their maximum heat specifications (for the 2014 model at least; he has yet to look at the 2015/2016 Razer Blade). The clock chip, for example, is rated for a maximum temperature of 85C, yet is located directly under the heatsink.
Henry notes that although he can fix many hardware failures with Razer laptops, he can't always repair them 100% of the time. For these cases he notes he has a "no fix, no fee" policy.
Personal corespondance with Techworks
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