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Good news if you own a Dell computer.

  1. Jun 30, 2010 #1
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/In-FaultyComputer-Suit-Window-nytimes-2375403564.html?x=0 [Broken]

    I'm a bit of a computer nerd. I often fix/build/take apart computers on a regular basis. It always irritates me when some who knows nothing about PCs tells me how awesome their Dell computer is and how I'm wrong about it being built with crap components waiting to fail and catch fire. Well, it turns out there is now documented proof open to the public that Dell computers do contain garbage hardware and Dell completely acknowledges it as well.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2010 #2


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    I wonder why you have specifically addressed Dell computers, why not


  4. Jun 30, 2010 #3
    That is odd. I have had a Dell 4600 since April of 2004, and it has ran like a champ for all of those years. The only problems it has had was software problems (me monkeying with it), and the sound card and graphics card were not up to snuff for me to play Star Wars Galaxies Ch. 5.

    Are we talking about the same Dell computers?
  5. Jun 30, 2010 #4


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    I have a Dimension 8400 that is about 7 years old, and it has been rock-solid. All PC-makers can put out crap - it all depends what kind of shoddy components their suppliers can slip by them. I had one of the first-generation Dell laptops years ago, and their power supplies/charging circuits/batteries never lasted much more than a week. They were prompt about overnighting replacements, but getting a refund was near impossible, though it was obvious that the laptops had serious problems.
  6. Jul 1, 2010 #5
    I do rag on HP and Apple (especially Apple) comps all the time but I have never known those manufacturers to know for a fact that their product was defective and still sold them. As far as I know the capacitor issues were an unknown problem to most manufacturers and when they found out about the problem that had recalls or measures in place to fix the problem. Dell on the other hand only promised to replace the defective parts with more defective parts.

    FYI, just because your comp doesn't fail doesn't mean its good. By the very nature of how computers function they should never fail within your lifetime with the exception of the hard drive. A "good" computer is a machine that gives you quality and features at a reasonable price. Something Dell PCs have never been able to do.
  7. Jul 1, 2010 #6


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    And here I am on my MacBook that I bought 2 years ago. With the exception of a few re-starts for software installation, it has never been shut off. (There have been power failures, but never long enough in duration to deplete the battery.)
    In similar fashion, my desktop and my tower Mac's were never shut off (except for power failure or software updates) until a few months ago when I realized that I don't use them enough to justify the addition to my power bill.
  8. Jul 1, 2010 #7


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    I've also had my MacBook for about 2 years without any issues whatsoever. The only time it's needed a reboot was for software updates, and the only time it's been powered off is when I've had it packed away during long trips. I've only had one program crash, and it was a third party gimmick. I wasn't surprised.

    We bought my wife a Toshiba about a year ago and it has been fine. I use a Toshiba at work and it has been pretty reliable. I'd recommend them to anyone who prefers a PC over a Mac. Just do a fresh OS install to remove all the pre-installed manufacturer's software; you can always go to their website and download the stuff you want.
  9. Jul 1, 2010 #8
    The capacitor failure plagued the electronic industry since the dawn of electromagnetism. That's because capacitors are usually the first electronics components that fail because of their chemical make up dries up quickly under heavy load rendering the capacitors useless. Most of the LCD TV, monitors, DVD players, computer power supplies etc failure, can be attributed to capacitors going bad, and ESD. One can get higher end capacitors, but they still die much quickly compared with other electronic components.

    This is fine utopian model, but it doesn't hold up under capitalism. Most people think when they are paying $800 for a laptop or an lcd tv they are getting a high end product simply because they paid so much. But the economics of it all are there is no other way around it. If you were to factor in what actually went into manufacturing the product, and the cost of good quality check, you are getting what you pay for. Good competition among companies will even this out, but sure, one may get lucky somewhere in between by getting something that lasts longer, but if you want a really high end laptop there are pretty nice ones going over 3 to 6 grand.
  10. Jul 1, 2010 #9


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    The Dell I owned is now a paperweight. I have no doubt it was made with crap components. Our university has a contract with Dell, and every single one of them runs like crap. It's not a Mac vs. PC thing. I have no problem with PCs in general. But, when the only PC I'm allowed to buy for work is a Dell, I use a Mac. I do use a Dell monitor (because I got it back when I got the PC and hasn't keeled over yet, so I keep using it), and that seems to be fairly solidly built, but the PCs themselves seem absolutely awful.

    Though, a funny story related to my Dell...it's a laptop and I loaned it to my department chair for a day maybe 6 or 9 months ago (I can't remember exactly when) because it has some software installed on it he needed to use and I didn't mind loaning it. He was using it and came back and told me "You really need a new computer." :rofl: In retrospect, I should have played dumb and let him order another new computer for me (wouldn't have minded a desktop for the office in addition to my Mac laptop), but I had my Mac less than a year at the time and just laughed and told him I already had a new computer, and just kept the cruddy old Dell for the few things that have to be run on a PC so I don't have to waste a lot of space on my Mac with a dual-boot system.
  11. Jul 1, 2010 #10


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    I'm posting from an 8 year old Dimension 8200 right now.
  12. Jul 1, 2010 #11


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    Good for you. I prefer to remain within the 4 dimensions that I live in. :biggrin:
  13. Jul 2, 2010 #12
    Dell's are cheap and you get what you pay for. My dimensions mobo just died, frankly I can't be bothered replacing it. I know Dell's are cheap and nasty so I'm never dissapointed with them (I've had about 4 years computing on 300 quid), the only thing that rages me beyond all belief is that OEM PC's all have the BIOS locked.

    When I can afford it (life is just too expensive) i'll build my own.

    For now i'll just stick with my bulletproof ThinkPad that has never ever gone wrong. (I've jinxed it now and when I get home i'll find it on fire - such is my luck).
  14. Jul 2, 2010 #13


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    That's true, I was shocked (hee hee) that some larger capacitors were only rated for a few hundred hours of use (though I later learned that this was at their max temperature, and that you can, if I recall correctly, double the lifetime per 10C less than the maximum). I was then floored by the fact that certain connectors we were looking at could only be plugged into each other about a dozen times (though to be fair, I've only ever seen them in semi-permanent installations, and they're quite firmly attached), but that's a different story.

    However, they got EVEN worse because (this is apocryphal since I have yet to see it firmly sourced) somebody stole an incomplete electrolyte formula / process from one of the big Japanese passives firms, and sold it to a Taiwanese firm that was able to undercut them. As a result, they ended up in many computers from many manufacturers.

    The capacitor plague got pretty bad since nearly EVERY motherboard manufacturer was afflicted, even 'premium' brands like Abit and Asus. And the capacitors ALWAYS went bad within a year or so, and usually went slowly (so your computer's stability would just slowly go downhill). Sometimes it was pretty dramatic, as I had a friend power up a computer that hadn't been used in a few months, and caps just started popping off like a string of fire crackers in some sort of cascade failure.

    What's unique in Dell's case is that they replaced defective motherboards with other defective motherboards! Well, with other motherboards known to contain defective caps, and thus likely to fail in short order (someone at Slashdot speculated that they'd try to run out the warranty on you--and these were "professional class" Optiplexes being sold to businesses / institutions!) They also tried to hush things up despite knowing the exact cause ("Your computers are just being driven too hard!")
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  15. Jul 2, 2010 #14


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    Just got a replacement on daughter's going on 4 year old Dell Latitude D620. Long story condensed, the entire unit was replaced piece by piece, twice. I finally went up the food chain at Dell, 3 maybe 4 levels and got a division manager to replace the entire laptop for FREE. I was relentless, and she now has a new one, faster processors (dual intel) but the extended warranty we bought expires early in August. I will never own another Dell product as long as I live, said the same thing about Gateway years before that as well. Bought my Mom an ASUS laptop and that so far seems pretty reliable. I have a home grown PC (not laptop) at home, runs very well with exception of heat problems which was fixed by buying a larger case with massive heat/sink/fan. Runs very nice and been very reliable

    That's my story. To the uninitiated out there beware, and prepare to be patient once the problems start, but be persistent, and don't be afraid to elevate your claim as many levels as it takes to get some semblance of satisfaction. Take names and badge ID's too, that makes the workers just a wee bit uneasy and concerned that management will be coming down on them, even at the manager level. Trust me it works.

    Rhody... :uhh: :wink:
  16. Jul 2, 2010 #15


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    Now that's persistence! I don't know if many companies have outsourced the actual diagnostics / repair these days, but I know that many of them have, and that you have large repair facilities located adjacent to the hubs of various transport companies. So sometimes, it's not always just the fault of the company whose name is on the casing. What's sometimes galling with laptops is that a DIY-kinda guy like myself (who actually has some electronics background) has to put your faith in the hands of whoever is repairing your laptop.

    In my case (an eMachines laptop I had), I supplied the diagnostic (broken soldering under the video chip, resulting in intermittent contact, requires either reflow or just a straight motherboard replacement), the symptoms (usually crashes during boot-up, garbled graphics on startup when it does), and they kept my laptop for a month while they replaced the LCD. When I got it back, I turned it on, and it promptly crashed! When I restarted, it showed the corrupted graphics, and THEN crashed! Despite the name, this was a higher-end machine at the time, with attendant higher-end price tag.

    I bought my Macbook Pro because the servicing is usually done in the store you go to (assuming they have a service department). You know who you can ***** at when things go south :wink: Okay, so I'm being facetious, but at the very least, you can get an in-person response, and don't have to wait on shipping if you need to go back for persistent problems.

    I also figured that (for the price) they'd probably go for the higher-end components / testing package from the few OEMs that actually make laptops for most of the manufacturers in the world.
  17. Jul 2, 2010 #16


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    The bottom line with the repair snafu's was the main hub ordering the repair, using an independent dispatch agent, followed by an independent repair person, three lines of communication, point a -> b -> c, and back again, c -> b -> a, with Dell providing the parts from a regional hub. Most of the problems occur in this three way thread. Enough said, I told them they need to re-evaluate their process/business model, or that thousands if not millions would be running kicking and screaming away from them. They probably didn't pay attention, even though I relayed this info to the high level mgr I spoke with. I reminded him, I can refer 15 - 30 people towards Dell if they perform well, and perhaps 50 to avoid like the plague if they don't perform or attempt to correct their issues, and word of mouth is still a powerfull voice.

    Rhody... :wink:
  18. Jul 2, 2010 #17
    Why anyone would buy a prebuilt computer with set components is beyond me. I cherry-picked the components of my computer and had a store put it together for me.
  19. Jul 2, 2010 #18
    Because if you let them use the 'supplier of the week' components you can get a PC stupidly cheap.

    My last one cost £280 and that was with the larger monitor. It was **** (games were out of the question) but it served me well for Uni work.
  20. Jul 2, 2010 #19
    Well, I guess if you only want it for office work it's reasonable.
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