I had been meaning to post about this, but it happened right before I left for Burning Man and I let it slip. Nevertheless, do NOT buy an EFiX. Art Studios is a horribly managed company that has screwed me, all early adopters (most of their userbase), and they will eventually screw you too.

Last September, I bought an EFiX directly from their USA store. And then I waited, and waited. It took nearly a month to receive it, during which I was unable to get a response from them. The forums were useless too, with them saying that “EFiX USA” was an unrelated 3rd party reseller that they had no control over. Uh huh. I was literally just about to call my credit card company to dispute the charges when it arrived.

For the most part, the hardware just worked. The biggest annoyance was the firmware updates. The firmware must be updated through a control panel application which transparently contacts their download server… and the download server was down half the time. Occasionally I’d have to update the firmware before I could install an OS X point release (10.5.3 to 10.5.4, for example), but if you did that, pretty much everything Just Worked.

The official EFiX forums, on the other hand, are a lesson in extreme pain. ASEM employees and moderators were unhelpful, abusive and quick to lock posts dealing with “forbidden” topics, such as any hardware that hasn’t been explicitly blessed by them. Now, I appreciate the sales pitch: “Buy an EFiX, one of these motherboards, one of these video cards, and you will have the best experience.” But they made any “unauthorized” posts a punishable offense.

But again, the hardware pretty much Just Worked, so I tolerated their utter lack of any sort of customer service.

A few months ago, they released the EFiX v1.1. It was billed as simply having hardware reliability improvements (they mentioned “better RF shielding” an oddly high number of times). They explicitly stated that the v1 and v1.1 would be backwards and forwards compatible with each other, and that they would both continue to support future versions of OS X.

They lied.

Snow Leopard came out (which was previously a banned topic on the forums), and lo and behold, they announced that only v1.1 would work with it. Of course, any previous mention of compatibility between v1 and v1.1 was scrubbed. Mind you, at least 95% of the userbase owns a v1. A firestorm erupted on the forums (even to this day), and though oddly they didn’t continue their M.O. of simply locking critical threads; instead they simply ignored the users.

They did eventually come out with a “solution”. For a mere $130, you could send in your v1, wait a month, get ignored by ASEM when inquiring where your replacement was, and eventually, maybe, receive a v1.1.

I still have my OS X 10.5 installation, and it works well (until it becomes obsolete by ASEM’s design), but that will be the last purchase I make from ASEM. They screwed their own early adopters, and will not be rewarded for it.