Dell begs gamers for forgiveness with free boards
Tell your friends
In "the very near future," an army of Dell technicians will descend upon customers who last year purchased the Dell XPS 700 gaming rig. Their mission will be to upgrade the XPS 700 systems for free with a new XPS gaming motherboard and to offer customers the choice of an even better future motherboard with a quad-core chip at a 25 per cent discount.
Dell hopes the free service and hardware upgrade will assuage its disgruntled, demanding and prized gaming customers.
"We really wanted to show that we're serious about the gaming segment," said Dell spokeswoman Anne Camden. "They are very sophisticated and enthusiastic, and we want them as customers.
"They are the people that a lot of friends and family call when they want systems. If we can't develop a top of the line product experience, how can we count on them to say, 'You should look at Dell?'"
Of course, all this goodwill arrives via a Dell gaffe.
The vendor started taking orders for the impressive XPS 700 - 3.73GHz Pentium Extreme Edition CPU and dual Nvidia GeForce 7900 GS SLI graphics cards - last May. Unfortunately, a variety of technical issues prevented Dell from actually shipping the systems for months. That shipping delay forced Dell to offer a free chip upgrade last July.
Once those systems shipped, a number of customers were disappointed by the discovery that some of the latest and greatest tools from both Intel and Nvidia were unsupported on the boxes. For example, customers griped about missing 64-bit software support, missing Intel virtualization technology and missing EPP memory support.
Dell has already fixed the first two issues via a BIOS update and will fix the remaining problems with a new BIOS update that will ship within the week, Camden said. All of the new BIOS features and the exchange program are documented here.
Customers who decide to go with the motherboard upgrade will receive the same board that slots into Dell's new 720 H2C system.
Dell used to have an online survey posted that let customers discuss the XPS 700 and then sign up to receive a notice when the XPS 700 upgrade program would start. That survey, however, closed on May 30.
It would seem that you have to fend for yourself now, although we'll help by keeping an eye out for the new boards. ®
Re: MS OEM License breach
Dell's OEM license is WAY different than "our" OEM licenses. Tier-1's (and certain tier-2's) will often negotiate their own license agreements with Microsoft. These "custom" license agreements result in Dell-only COAs that work only with Dell-only disks and only on Dell PCs with Dell BIOS. The OEM license is a contract governing the behavior of the manufacturer (which actually doesn't even EXIST when you buy an "OEM" copy off Newegg or whatever beyond "Don't pirate this!") whereas the EULA governs the behavior of the End User. Why is this? Because the common-distribution OEM copies are actually sold DIRECTLY to whomever Microsoft considers the end-user. The license is in turn TRANSFERRED when the computer is sold.
Therefore, if it appears in the EULA (which the "upgrade" terminology does), that doesn't always mean that the manufacturer can't do it in accordance with their own license. You, as an end user, cannot, however.
Also, even if this is in violation of their license, Dell can easily afford to eat the pittance they pay for a Windows license ESPECIALLY if they're eating a substantial part of the hardware cost as they are in this case.
This is no different than Dell giving away a couple hundred computers to charities. It's free advertising. The difference here is that the people are way more vocal about their brand loyalties, and you get an INFINITELY better return than you would to a charity.
MS OEM License breach
"I believe that this only applies to the system builder licenses. The OEM copies sold by Dell will work just fine and legally so with the new mainboard, as it is a 'replacement part' for an existing machine, also provided by the OEM, therefore not breaching the license whatsoever.
If I'm wrong, let me know, but..."
The system builder licenses are OEM licenses. The fact that the OS may work fine does not mean it has not breached the licensing conditions.
Err, Tim, Reread your post
From the bottom of your post Tim:
"If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created and the license of new operating system software is required.”
Sounds like a defect to me. Therefore, its covered by the license.