This exact argument/discussion in this thread is the reason that I elected to purchase an AC/DC Premium game with the SAM system as my first machine since the early 90's. With just minimal research, it became obvious that Spike systems had issues that would require the user to purchase new node boards from Stern at a pretty high price and it seemed like it was not a rare event to need a new node board. The biggest problem noted for the SAM machines was the fluorescent light fixture needing some type of adjustment or replacement on the SAM machines. Now that I have the SAM machine, I have experienced zero problems at a board level which is the same thing that I read over and over from others. I have had minor problems with opto boards, switches, lights, coils, etc, etc, but they are serviceable by a guy with a normal soldering iron and a brain, so it is not like the entire machine shuts down as it is with these node board failures. I am so glad that I made that decision early on.