Dell claims Latitude E4300 glitches 'fixed'
Technical issue now resolved, we're told
Dell is on a collision course with some disgruntled customers after it insisted problems with a components shortage in the vendor's Latitude E4300 models had now been resolved.
The computer maker added the issues with the laptop, which was hit by lengthy shipping delays of up to three months in January, had been fixed and that customers who had ordered the E4300 model could expect delivery soon.
"Dell recently experienced delays in shipping the Latitude 4300 through a technical issue," a company spokesman told The Register.
"This problem has now been resolved and we are experiencing standard lead times, in terms of the amount of time it takes from the time of order to delivery. As always, we encourage any customers having issues with their systems to contact Dell directly for assistance."
However, the firm, once again, remained tight-lipped on what technical glitch it has been experiencing when manufacturing the laptop.
Separate sources have told us that the faulty component could only be fixed by replacing the entire motherboard.
"The E series has been quite a challenge as they are already in the 11th revision of their BIOS for the E6X00 series due to a good number of problems," one anonymous tipster told El Reg.
Senior notebook contracts manager at the University of London, Mike Kilner, told us just last week that the uni had been hit hard by the delays to Dell's shipments.
"Never mind the delays, that buried forum link with a proposed BIOS fix at the time has developed into full blown major motherboard surgery required for the Dell E4300 across nine pages (130 replies) and counting," he said.
"Customers at some sites appear to find it easier to tally up the machines that work than don't out of their total E4300 pool."
He said that one faulty machine was looked at twice by a Dell engineer who replaced every component on the laptop, with the exception of the memory, and still couldn't get the machine to work.
"This one could run and run. Which is more than can be said for their present range of expensive paperweights," said Kilner.
However, Dell continues to insist that the manufacturing glitch has been dealt with. It also declined to comment on what component caused the shipping delay to its Latitude E4300 laptop. ®
Not entirely sure you know what you're doing from reading your post!
Also it was very nice of you to sell it to the kid rather than give it to him, even though it got hot enough to bend memory sticks and probably untold unseen damage rendering it worthless!
Where were you using it, in a sauna???
> The few E-4300s we do have all showed erratic behavior when using the touch pad
I thought all touchpads were like that? I've never seen one yet that didn't make the pointer jump around as if it were possessed. Apple or Dell, makes no difference. They're all crap.
No complaints hee
Seems whoever you're hardware supplier is, sometimes you'll have a bad run of luck. Our company has had precisely two hardware problems I'm aware of with Dell laptops in two years (that weren't user-generated - thanks for fixing my keyboard under warranty, Dell guy). That's in about five years of exclusively buying Dell.
My D830, keyboard-knack aside, hasn't had a problem in the 18 months or so I've had it, and the Inspiron it replaced really took some abuse, what with having demonstration versions of Domino, Websphere Portal and WAS, and DB2, plus some desktop apps all running at the same time. In half a gig of memory.
But then my registry's pretty clean, no SE Asian shopping mall software, and there's no games on it.
I take the point that if there's dodgy components, there's dodgy components, but I really can't see that any major manufacturer is going to be more immune from that than another.
I work at a University in the US. We are a Dell shop because of agreements with Dell to buy at a lower cost. So far we have had interesting issues with the E Series laptops - almost all revolved around the touch pad. The few E-4300s we do have all showed erratic behavior when using the touch pad with the Dell driver (even the latest one). In 50% of them reverting to the MS generic mouse driver solved the problem. In the rest, the touch pad and the motherboard had to be replaced. We seem to also be having similar problems with the 6400s. The 6500 have been ok so far, but we do not have many of them at this time.
The Dell techs that come to repair the things have all been complaining. Not about the failures but that the E Series is the hardest to take apart and service. Takes them hours to do a board replacement which on the older D series would have taken 20 minutes.
I'm sure once the issues have all been solved the E series will be just as reliable as the old Ds, but until that point is reached it is going to be painful.
build to order
Dell's "build to order" business model often amounted to "buy the cheapest parts and adjust product specs to meet the incoming parts stream" plus "sell the price point then use the cheapest parts to complete the order". It's no surprise to see different internals from unit to unit with the same model number.
Dell would say their volumes are so large that it's not possible to meet demand from a single source of supply. Precisely; greed trumps integrity?
In the old days they made so much profit out of this that they could easily resolve problems that customers actually noticed. But not today.