DELL XPS M1710 to go in for a test workshop

Yeps, that’s right, my Dell XPS M1710 is now going to go in for a 3-4 day test at a Dell workshop. Since i got my motherboard, heatsinks, fans and graphics card replaced it’s been a dogs breakfast for performance.

I finally had enough – while playing COD4 i’d get bad pixilation, shapes and forms (models?) not rendered properly and either just going black (eg. a car would be a black car shaped box) or flicker in an out of colour and black.

On other occasions Vista Aero would be extremely sluggish and i’d get a massive CPU spike whenever i did anything, such as simple thing like opening a windows explorer window. Other times the drivers would fail, crash and burn.

Then the other day, Dreamscene Content Pack 4 was released and i got hold of it via windows update – and wouldn’t you know, it kept failing on me too with graphics card errors.

Normally i’d put it down to driver errors, so i swapped drivers and tried again. No luck, same issue with both the Microsoft driver and Dell’s own driver.

Playing any game on Dell’s own driver was pointless – FPS would drop to 25 and within 1-2 minutes the fan would kick into overdrive on the laptop (doing their job??) then throttle back as if nothing was happening, all the time the laptop keyboard’s right hand side would just keep getting warmer (that’s where the graphics card sits).

Yesterday morning i called Dell Technical Support, to be told that all technicians was currently busy but i’d get a call later on in the day – yeah, right!!! but what could i do??? I give them my mobile number to ensure I am within reach all day long. Come 5pm, still no call????

So i call back and end up being on hold for a total of 57mins without getting through – they must be REAL busy.

Having been told, yet again, that they’ll call me back on that day i was naturally getting very angry with these “promises” being broken constantly. So i decide to get into contact with Dell’s Customer Service. I do that this morning.

Spoke to a guy after having been put through to technical support twice??? c’mon, my opening line, after being asked what they could do for me, was “I want to put a formal complaint forward”.

Anyways, i explain my situation and i’m naturally getting a bit annoyed with the whole thing. First thing first, he brings in a technical support technician to help him out. Not only where this technician extremely rude – kept asking me questions, then when i started to answer he’d interrupt me. He does this 5-6 times and finally i had enough and told him to back off and if he wanted an answer he should stop interrupting me. Peace, and quiet..nice. So i explain my situation again and he goes “your operating system is faulty”..

I was litterally blown away by this very direct assumption – so i inform him that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my operating system. Nothing at all. Next step was that he wanted to know when i’d at last formatted it? again, i told him there was nothing wrong with my operating system – Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit has been extremely stable to me and have had to recover from multiple problems with the graphics card. He then continues to give me two options – me?? i’d just given the customer service guy two options, which was either to refund me the total cost of the laptop seeing as they’d tried to fix it twice without any luck or to get me a new laptop, either the same model or the new model.

So i explain to the technician that he weren’t in a position to give me options. period. I knew my rights.

Further to that i explained to the technician what my rights were – after that i was told that they’d rather prefer me not going to the Ministry of Fair Trading with my issue, but of course couldn’t stop me.

I also explain to the technician that i did not want a “refurbished” part in my laptop – i wanted it replaced with a NEW part and not a second hand part. The technician tells me that it isn’t a second hand part, that it’d at one point been replaced in a laptop, sent back to the factory to get fixed and then returned to them. I tell him that this is exactly what a second hand part is. If i smash up my car, get it fixed and then sell it, it’s a second hand car. period. He argues that it isn’t.

Regardless, i was at this stage getting into Viking mode and told him i wanted it fixed – for the last time i want it FIXED. The customer service representative then tells me it will be because they didn’t really want to give me a full refund. or rather, they couldn’t…i was like??? WTF??? i don’t care what you can and cannot do – it’s within my rights to demand it seeing as you can’t fix it.

Lastly, i tell the customer service representative that if he was going to get it fixed again, that he’d better extend my warranty on the laptop – period. He agrees, finally, to extend it.

Now i have to pull my hard drive out of the laptop as i’m certainly not giving them my data. period. Oh, and i’ll get a call from a technician to arrange for them to pick my laptop up.

It’s going in for a 3-4 day test at their workshops.

The outcome with either be:

1) my laptop will be fixed, period, and returned to me

2) i’ll get a new laptop of the same model and same specs

3) i’ll get a newer model laptop of the same specs

Now i can live with all three of those solutions, even though it does inconvenience me for nearly a week.

Since the diagnostics on the laptop itself (built in diagnostics which can be booted into by pressing F12 when it boots) passes all tests with flying colours – however, there’s no tests in there that puts load on the graphics card. none. it’ll test memory and hard drive by writing and deleting data on it and cycle through the two cores on the cpu as well – but nothing will test the graphics card under load.

The most frustrating part of this is that i’ve had two technicians out whom has both been explaining to me that there’s been a LOT of problems with this model. Great, Dell technician tells me there’s been a lot of problems, but on the other hand they’ll just keep on playing dumb.

Am i angry? yes!!! Should i be more angry? I don’t know. Should i take this further? if it isn’t fixed you can be sure i will.

  2 comments for “DELL XPS M1710 to go in for a test workshop

  1. October 15, 2008 at 05:17

    I’ve recently had a laptop be incompatible with it’s own power supply. Running of the power supply CPU shoots up to 100% and stays there until you unplug it. Doesn’t happen with the docking station one.

    Got a new laptop anyway, but it was wierd and annoying.

  2. BrianMadsen
    October 15, 2008 at 18:18

    that’s an odd one Colin. was it a replaced power supply or the one that came with the laptop?

    should definitely be able to get a replacement power supply for it.

    out of curiosity – what brand was it? HP?

    as an update to my very long post, Dell has picked up my laptop – technician came out yesterday afternoon.

    since nearly all components in the laptop has been replaced so far – motherboard, graphics card, heat sinks, fans – that only leaves cpu, ram and hard drive to be swapped out.

    I’ve run tests on my HD and it’s not reporting any errors nor do i think this would influence the graphics card performance to the extent that it did.

    ram and cpu are the last two components i can think of which could be faulty.

    since the fan’s died on my before i wonder if some of the problem isn’t simply the cpu – overheating the cpu is notoriosly bad for its lifespan as well as performance. Not sure if this would affect ram tho.

    so now we’ll wait and see – the technician will try to get the laptop to me before the weekend (that is, by tomorrow) which means that the test would only have run for a max of two days, rather than the first 3-4 days estimated.

    1) i’d be very happy to have it back by friday, as long as its fixed
    2) since my laptop is now under an extended warranty (dell extended it after i requested it) i’m not going to be gentle with it. I’m going to put it under a lot of load straight away, rather than wait 2-3 weeks, to ensure that there isn’t any problems.

    I also ran 3DMark06 on it and its score was 5000 (roughly) – that’s bad in comparison to the newer cards out there but i guess its to be expected.

    i’ve spoken to other XPS owners about their benchmarks and it’s been ranging from 3500 and up to 9000, with two having had 10000-11000.

    the same hardware shouldn’t really be having such a flux in performance and benchmarking but i guess there’s a lot of aspects within it that could cause the lower performance (bad drivers etc).

    So lets wait and see what happens – Dell is willing to fix it. But this is probably the last chance i’m going to give them before i take it further.

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