I’ve written about the troubles running Direct X based games I’ve been having with my video card here before and the saga just keeps on growing. Last time I wrote about it I mentioned that I had done some more digging and discovered that if I downgraded my drivers to a really ancient version I could get the card to run Direct X games again.
Well, that turns out to be only partially true. My card will run them for at least 20 minutes or so before crashing, but at least I can actually get some play time in. My well-thought out emails to Hercules tech support garnered exactly two replies and each reply was no more than two sentences in length. In the first they asked which version of the VIA 4-in-1 drivers I was using (the most recent) and in the second they declared that all Hercules cards work perfectly fine with all versions of the drivers and so the problem MUST be in my Windows installation ignoring the fact that I had already told them that I had re-staged my machine and from a clean install and the latest drivers I still had problems running anything Direct X. My last email to them reminding them of my lengthy story on how I went about diagnosing the problem has yet to be responded to.
Since then I’ve determined that it’s definitely a fault my card has developed at some point and not just the drivers being incompatible with this particular version of the GeForce 3. Accordingly I’ve shifted my plans to trying to get the card replaced under the 3 year warranty it has. Deciding that the email route wasn’t going to be overly effective seeing as I had already asked twice for details on how to go about doing a warranty replacement if they thought it was necessary without getting so much as a hint of how to do it, I thought it would be more effective to call them directly.
Man, I don’t know when I got this over-developed sense of optimism.
Calls to their tech support number, which is not toll-free according to their official website even though I did find a toll-free number that does connect to the same apparent location, resulted in a friendly voice recording telling me I had contacted Hercules tech support and their offices were currently closed and the hours of operation are between 8AM and 7:30PM EST Monday through Friday but they are closed for lunch between 11AM and 12PM EST and please call back later.
I glanced at my watch. It was 12:44PM. Today. OK, maybe they’re taking a long lunch. I call back again around 2:15PM. Then around 3:45PM. Is it some holiday today in Quebec that I’m just not aware of? Today is Thursday, right? There are absolutely no other telephone numbers I could locate on their official website, though I did manage to find a non-tech support phone number listed elsewhere which I called to see if perhaps they could tell me why their tech support line was currently closed. Once again I got a friendly recording telling me their hours of operation and to press * to access their directory or just dial 0 or wait on the line to speak with an operator. Pressing 0 got me a digitized voice speaking in a Canadian accent saying “I’m sowry, but I don’t understand that command. Please try ahgane.” I boggled at the fact that the synthetic voice had a Canadian accent and figured this time I’d just “hold on the line” as I had been told was an option to get to the operator. Brief pause and the synth-voice once again told me how “sowry” it was, but it didn’t understand the command. Not that I had given it one.
I can only conclude that the main offices were likely open, but had disabled the one way anyone not already familiar with a particular extension could have any hope of speaking to a real-live human being. It shouldn’t be this hard to get help with a product. The irony of it all is I came home last night and yanked the Hercules GeForce 3 card I had in anticipation of sending it back soon and replaced it with a really old Asus 16MB TNT card. It’s running Dungeon Siege without issue, albeit not quite as smooth and not quite as pretty. I think it’ll also probably run Medal of Honor without too much fuss. My other games all require hardware T&L so it won’t run those, but at least I can use it for awhile until I get the GF3 replaced. That poor old TNT is probably the second video card I’ve ever purchased, but the damned thing is still going strong and it’s older brother, a TNT2 I bought, is still working hard in Anne’s PC. Whatever my next video card purchase is, it won’t be from the folks at Hercules, that’s for damned sure.