Dell sucks. Dell lies. Continued and continued and…

Dell sucks. Dell lies. Continued and continued and…

: I just got my Dell back. They replaced the system board, the CPU, the memory, the palmrest assembly, the keyboard, and the wireless NIC.

Within a half hour, it’s proving not to work. The heat, according to an ap my son found, is up to 154 degrees. The machine is overheating. The fan is on high. And the CPU is running at 100 percent. Dell sucks. Dell lies.

Dell makes lemons. No lemonade.

Dell sucks.

  • Mitch

    You of all people! Buy a Mac.

  • http://punditdrome.com Scott Ferguson

    Most notebooks are built by one or two companies in Taiwan who are moving their manufacturing facilities to China. Buying one is such a crapshoot.
    First notebook was an HP that overheated constantly. I gave it to my cousin on the rez.
    Second notebook was an Apple iBook G4 which I still have. Cute little box, but has a totally crappy keyboard. I bought a replacement on eBay and installed it myself.
    I just took delivery on my third notebook, a WinBook (Micro Center house brand) that I’m using to learn ASP.NET programming while commuting to and from work on the train. It’s got a 15.4″ WXGA screen that’s HUGE — a lot of fun. But I bought it without an extended warranty; and the one it comes with expires in 90 days. I’m going to take the chance.

  • http://dfriedman.typepad.com Dave

    If the fan is on high, it likely is obstructed with dust.
    Got to Staples, buy some canned air and spray it in the fan. Dust should blow out.
    The fan should be able to cool off the laptop.
    I’ve done this with dozens of laptops, including Dells.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Dave: The machine is BRAND new and they opened it up and changed all kinds of stuff and I can see the grid. It’s not dust. Something is essentially wrong with the machine. That also doesn’t explain 100 percent flatline cpu usage. Thanks but this is a lemon.

  • rick gregory

    Jeff,
    Maybe a lemon, but if the CPU is at 100% something’s causing that. Have you brought up the Windows Task Manager and looked at the process tab? You can sort processes by CPU usage. I’m wondering if there’s an indexing process or something… anyway, if you haven’t done so, try that. Oh, and, if there is a process that’s hogging CPU, make a note of it here and kill the process (End Process button) to see if that’s OK.
    As for the temp, either the fan is unserspecced or they have a CPU in there that they shouldn’t

  • Jim S

    Jeff,
    Does the design make for a clearance, however slight, between the bottom of the laptop and the surface you sit it on? Never sit a laptop on a soft surface that’s solid. Even a simple flat table often won’t leave enough space for air flow from the fan. You can buy small “platforms” to partially lift the laptop up to allow for better air flow. I use one all of the time. Do a web search on the model number (Didn’t you say it was an m600?) and overheat or overheating. See if there’s some widely known problem and push them on it. Do what I do and if the first things they do don’t fix it make them push you up past Tier One tech support.

  • Adam

    Soooo, never set a laptop on a … lap? hmm.

  • chuckR

    Jeff
    Sorry to hear about your continuing troubles. Not what you want to hear, but – I wouldn’t use a laptop for anything important. I really like the one I’m on now because I can use it anywhere – but truly this isn’t important – pays no bills. I’ve worked on vibration and thermal issues in electronics off and on for years. When you prop your laptop on your legs or plunk it on a carpet, you block that stupid little fan. You get away with it because you mostly don’t use the CPU anywhere near 100% and the CPU generates heat in proportion to utilization. But even then you don’t really get away with it – the rule of thumb is you halve the life for every 10C temp rise – 70C has often been a max target in what I’ve worked on – you are about there. What does a blogger run that takes 100% of the CPU?
    FWIW – my laptop is an Dell Inspiron 1100, 2.2GHz P4 CPU – (not a low power mobile pentium jobbie) and has had no problems except for that beer spill in the keyboard (oops). I’ve dropped it a couple of times but the HD has survived so far.
    If I just had to have one for something important, I’d buy the slowest one that did the job and it wouldn’t be a slim and elegant one either – size and weight are your friends when it comes to heat.
    As for your machine, send it back for another exorcism. Good luck.
    chuckR

  • david

    Just because your computer doesn’t work properly doesn’t mean that every computer that Dell sells is a lemon.
    Get back to “citizen journalism” instead of “citizen bitching and moaning” because his new toy doesn’t work perfectly.
    Why do I have the feeling you are just hammering this topic over and over again in hopes of Dell noticing your blog and then sending you a letter which you can then post on your blog and show how powerful blogging is?
    It’s a darn MACHINE. Machines break down. DEAL WITH IT.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Rick:
    Great advice. Thanks. I’m on the track of CPU hoggage. I tried killing suspects before but now I did some research on the aps I was running and I see in support forums that Feeddemon is a suspect. I’ll try that, detective.

  • Storm

    I can not believe that instead of people joining together to fight these damn companies there are the few that feel like telling you what a jerk you are for trying to stand up for yourself. Lets see how they feel when they have finally had it with new products not working like advertised and/or breaking right out of the box. Then they will be the ones wondering why no one will help them. In todays world there really is no help for the consumer. The BBB is a joke, the Attorney General is a joke and tech support is hell with hold music. Years ago my partner and I went through a similar issue with Compaq. After 7 months and the use of a website telling our story we finally received a refund from Compaq. My advise is to keep fighting and in the meantime find a local shop and have a system custom built or if you think you can handle it yourself buy the parts and build your own. It really isnt as hard as people might think. I sincerely wish the best. Dont let these self righteous morons pull you down.

  • Johnny Lipon

    David,
    J. Jarvis is doing exactly what you say he’s doing. And it’s exactly what he should be doing. The machine is brand new and has already been “fixed” once, supposedly.
    If, because of his blog, J. Jarvis can hold Dell’s feet to the fire, God bless him. I wish I could have done it.

  • B. B.

    chuckR wrote: “I wouldn’t use a laptop for anything important. I really like the one I’m on now because I can use it anywhere – but truly this isn’t important – pays no bills. ”
    It might be time to consider a different laptop if you feel you can’t trust yours and wish you could.
    I run our company with an Apple PowerBook G4. Most of the tight-deadline mission-critical production is done on Apple Powerbooks, and the sales team uses Apple Powerbooks. Only the receptionist uses a tethered machine, a hand-me-down from pre-Powerbook G4 days. The ‘Books are protected with passwords, confidential files are protected with passwords, the wireless network is protected, and we do regular backups (common sense). Pays the bills, and they are trouble-free, too.
    Good luck.

  • fpn

    While it’s true that some things (cars, computers, etc…) are lemons, there’s always a reason for that.
    If the processor is at 100%, you’ve got programs running that shouldn’t be. If the processor is seriously overheating, then it’s not making a good connection with its heatsink. Or another problem. If it were me, I’d pop the thing open and look inside. But, I’m a technically inclined person who doesn’t usually bother with warrantees and would never have bought a Dell in the first place.
    I highly doubt that the system board, CPU, memory, palmrest, keyboard, and wireless of your computer were all bad. Dell basically gave you a new computer, slapped your old hard drive in it, and hoped you would go away.

  • http://healthy-elements.com Lynn

    Off topic: Jeff, the link you have to your son’s blog, does not seem to go there anymore, but gets redirected to a weight loss product site. What happened to his blog? (Sorry for asking here….can’t find an email link.)

  • http://www.cleverhack.com joy

    I agree with fpn. If the system replacement didn’t solve the issue (and yeah, I am assuming that your system *was* replaced), there’s gotta be something on your hard drive that is causing the problem. I think your best bet is to go through task manager and check what’s
    running in the background. First thing I would do on the laptop would be to disconnect from the Internet and disable whatever virus scan you’ve got working.
    For reference, I use a mac powerbook at home and a dell (as heavy as all heck inspirion) for work. On occassion, both laptops will go 100% CPU, but that’s only because of certain programs. For instance, Photoshop for mac makes my PB work harder. The programs that give me the most problems on my windows machine include virus scan and a proprietary database program I use for work.
    Jeff, you haven’t had any sorts of onscreen errors, correct?
    Also, as for using the laptop on a flat surface, you really don’t want to do that, you’ll want air to flow around the laptop…what I use is a cool pad to keep my powerbook elevated. and yeah, it’s actually quite comfortable to use too.

  • Jesse

    Told you to get a Mac months ago. You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink…
    Most likely the system has been plagued by adware/spyware/malware, etc, which commonly happens when using Internet Explorer for more than 10 minutes on a Wintel machine. Programs have installed themselves on the system that are jackin up your CPU useage, and probably causing the heat issues.

  • http://www.12sides.blogspot.com Horatio

    You get what you pay for. Get a Mac.

  • dmac

    Jeff –
    Keep bashing these guys, Dell has the absolute worst customer service I’ve ever experienced. I had an Inspiron that continually blew up on me, despite having to spend days on the phone with tech support, replacing chips and the like. And of course, I had to eventually mail in the thing each time, without any replacement available (yeah, that was with one of their premium warranty packages).
    Hopefully you won’t have to deal with some of the outsourced tech support they offer presently, they’re even worse than before. I don’t understand why they insist on this policy of repairing originally defective units over and over, and not just admitting you got a lemon and giving you a new unit. Gives new meaning to the phrase “death by a thousand cuts.”
    DMAC

  • freddie

    My two cenbts worthg. I can not use a laptop or notebook–I am too old to chage whre hands and fingers go to type (I am very fast typist but 76 years old)…I have a Dell standup that is now 6 years old and it functions like a charm..I post daily and get lots of traffic at my site, and also have another site I post to daily…bought Dell laptop for my two kids…now over a year old and they have never yet had a problem…so sorry I can not agree with you and make you happy in your assessment.
    Are Macs more reliable? I had two in the past. Loved them. But gave up for pc because of game interest my kids had…next machine probably a Mac. And I can give no solid reason.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    the president sucks and lies and i never heard you protest in such a way. can we expect such candor to continue?
    :)
    jk, im sorry that you’re going through such frustration.
    will you make the switch to apple?

  • http://www.bilerico.com/ Jerame

    All Dell “home” PCs are slapped together in a willy-nilly fashion. Testing consists of barely more than making sure the lights come on before it’s boxed and ready to ship. If you’re buying their “home” models, you are getting screwed…Even if you only paid $499 for it.
    Their business class systems are mostly solid. They use the same parts in those and actually do some testing…As your previous post indicated, the “home” units get a different this or that in each one…Almost the opposite of mass production as every one is unique rather than carbon copies. That’s why the failure rate is so high…There is no consistency and no real care for what goes in as long as it is the cheapest part available at the time. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. Dell PCs are commodities, not products.
    If you want quality and craftsmanship as well as top-notch customer support, buy a Mac. Better OS, better hardware, better design, and simply a smarter and more secure choice.

  • http://kinrowan.net cori schlegel

    Actually, I really like the Dell that I have. It’s a D600, one of the “corporate” machines, but it suits everything I need to do. It does get a little hot at times, but nowhere near what you’re seeing, Jeff.
    You should obviously keep beating on them until they fix it, but I woudn’t view a single episode (over several customer service events) as an indictment of the company as a whole – sometimes it takes large companies a few tries to get it right (not a great fact, but a fact of life nonetheless), and sometimes a particular machine displays difficult to trace problems.
    Or buy a Mac.

  • Jim S

    Adam,
    A lap is not a solid soft surface. There are two legs which often are or can be placed so the fan isn’t obstructed.