NO products are a waste of money. I sacrificed myself on the pyre of pointlessness proving that in a thread here.
Pre-workout you can take a number of things. A pre-workout meal is usually in order but that isn't immediately beforehand.
Immediately prior try to keep the foods easily digested, such as BCAA powders, Whey Isolates, possibly some creatine, caffeine, and beta-alanine.
Personally I would drop dead from 3 servings - that's way too much since I'm pretty sensitive when it comes to these stimulants. I only need 1-1,5 - that's more than enough. My point is that maybe you should consider the fact that there exists non-responders vs responders to these products like creatine, instead of just writing it off just because it didn't help you since it obviously has an effect on a lot of other people (:
Also I am sure you're aware, but we should claify; the NO products may pep you up and give you a pump, but that doesn't actually result in muscle growth or a better workout. If you are lacking energy, something I was looking for, these products don't actually give you energy, they just give you a stimulant. So if you are feeling flat then a stimulant won't always pep you up. This means one of the benefits is going to be hit and miss. Add to this the lack of value in a pump in terms of muscle growth and recovery and it is rather useless.
Anabolicus, I saw your comment before and let it stand because it is true. But I'd ask you read my thread and you'll see I eventually got a response and pump from a higher dose.
I've yet to try any pre-workout supplements like NO. I have tried one that I got free with a magazine and it was horrible and the only thing I go from it was a headache and nausea. I was speaking to a guy at my gym and he's using the BSN one and says it's terrific! He's making me think about trying it more and more. I may look into it, but at the moment, I don't have money to waste if it will just give me negative effects.