Dell and Sony report mass hardware failures

Hardware is having a rough season.

After all the attention heaped on the iPhone 4 and its antenna and screen woes, two big PC manufacturers have come out today with bad news about their machines. According to Gizmodo, documents have been unsealed that show Dell shipping 11.8 million Optiplex computers in 2003-2005 with a 97% failure rate. Apparently, the capacitors built into those motherboards were almost always going to fail, and Dell was perfectly aware of the situation. It was a cost-cutting measure, one that they shockingly didn't expect to get stung by in the future. According to the NY Times investigation of the issue, employees were told to obfuscate the real reason for the failure from upset customers. In an email exchange uncovered by lawyers working on the ongoing case, one employee said, “We need to avoid all language indicating the boards were bad or had ‘issues’ per our discussion this morning.” Ira Winkler, a former NSA analyst and technology consultant, did not have good things to say about the venerable PC maker.

“They were fixing bad computers with bad computers and were misleading customers at the same time...They knew millions of computers would be out there causing inevitable damage and were not giving people an opportunity to fix that damage.”

The other fiasco was started by Sony, who is recalling 500,000 Vaio laptops today, citing temperature control issues that can distort the shape of the notebooks and cause actual burning of human skin, according to. There is a download that Sony is making available that will allegedly fix the defect, but Sony is offering free physical repairs to ameliorate the problem as well, according to Gizmodo. A commenter on Gizmodo's story reported that his Vaio actually comes with a bright yellow warning label that cautions the user to never use the computer while the laptop is touching your skin.

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We had 26 Optiplex workstations everyone failed atleast once with the capsitors that were right underneath the hard drive (some multiple times) with the following symptoms;
1) network lan adapter fail
2) intel 945GM graphics fail
3) random reboots
4) hard drive corruption (on a good drive)

I hope they come down on Dell for this

Class action lawsuit!! I have an Optiplex from that time span, it's yet to die but... I don't like getting screwed.

Every Dell computer I've come in contact with have all died one way or another. I've had to fix a lot of them after Dell themselves could not do it over the phone. I've never recommended a Dell to anyone and I never will.

likedamaster said,
Every Dell computer I've come in contact with have all died one way or another. I've had to fix a lot of them after Dell themselves could not do it over the phone. I've never recommended a Dell to anyone and I never will.
Are you remembering to consider the age of the PCs and the types of users?

I still have a Dell Dimension 8100 that was purchased in August of 2001 and still works well. Only a memory upgrade, new PSU (Dell supplied), hard drives and a GPU. It still has the same mobo. I don't use it as my main PC, but it runs everyday, all day (when not hibernated).

In generally, my experience has been that home models are fine (exception might be hard drives), but business class computers (both workstations and notebooks) do seem to have issues.

That's funny. They even told us back then that there were problems. We replaced some 500 GX270 motherboards because of the blown capacitors. It also didn't help due to the idiot(s) that came up with the design by putting the fan facing out the back of the case and onto them.

Never bought a DELL, Never bought a Sony )After this, never ever gonna think of buying them)

HP (even though CS sucks) and IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads are the way to go

dimithrak said,
Never bought a DELL, Never bought a Sony )After this, never ever gonna think of buying them)

HP (even though CS sucks) and IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads are the way to go

Agreed, I have been recommending Thinkpads for years (since the 2x series) My own laptops have always been TPs. X20, X30 and currently an X31, soon to be an X60..... 2nd hand X series FTW built like tanks...... Even the lenovo ones are better than anything else out there I'd love a X201i

and yep I had a client with 29 Dell OptiPlexs of which 29 failed and were had the boards replaced by Dell, but this was 4 years ago and dell gold support told me that the caps were known to be rubbish.......

I don't know why people are upset. Companies exist to make a profit, and the PC industry the only way to do this is to cut costs wherever you can. How else can you get to a $300 PC? This kind of failure rate is really normal for this industry, and we should be happy to have the variety of companies competing to constantly lower prices on our computers. Hey, if you don't like it go spend all your extra money on an expensive computer like an Apple, sure they don't fail as much but you're out hundreds of dollars at the outset.

heroinsmoker said,
This kind of failure rate is really normal for this industry

LOL, wow. Can you please cite the source for that poo-poo-bomb? I've been in the industry for nearly 20 years and these failure rates are nowhere near what is "normal." I smell a troll.

ir0nw0lf said,

LOL, wow. Can you please cite the source for that poo-poo-bomb? I've been in the industry for nearly 20 years and these failure rates are nowhere near what is "normal." I smell a troll.
Agreed. I'd like to see those stats myself. I hardly think this is normal.

heroinsmoker said,
I don't know why people are upset. Companies exist to make a profit, and the PC industry the only way to do this is to cut costs wherever you can. How else can you get to a $300 PC? This kind of failure rate is really normal for this industry, and we should be happy to have the variety of companies competing to constantly lower prices on our computers. Hey, if you don't like it go spend all your extra money on an expensive computer like an Apple, sure they don't fail as much but you're out hundreds of dollars at the outset.

Really? I had a B&W die, a graphite G4 die, two of my iMacs are paperweights, their notebooks are a mess, and don't even get me started on when I worked in the computer lab on campus servicing Apple products. We used to often have failures right out of the box or within two weeks. Apple products are anything but reliable... unless you have a good Apple Care plan... and the person you are talking to is in a really good mood.

I think you pretty much pulled those figures on so-called commodity PCs out of your ***.

First of all this has been open knowledge for at least a couple years, we have many of these bad computers from Dell and I was about to find out where the capacitors came from and why they are all suddenly going bad. I am very skeptical about Dell knowing about this and selling them anyways, the company truly responsible is the capacitor manufacture not Dell, and I am not sure how Dell could have possibly known about this since the capacitors take several years of run time before they pop. The hardware itself is also not bad, and the capacitors can be replaced for less than $20. As usual with our society people would rather learn who to point a finger at so they can play the blame game rather than learning some simple soldering and how to fix something. I have been able to fix 15 of these computers infected with bad capacitors.

Check out this site if you have some of these bad capacitors in your computers.
http://www.badcaps.net/

Yes they can be fixed for cheap but I don't think it's easy enough for the average person (or even average IT person) to be able to do it. Semi-precision soldering is not easy. Even if Dell didn't predict the cheap parts would fail they shouldn't cover it up and play dumb. Take some responsibility and make sure it doesn't happen again.

They also had a an issue with their chipset heat sink clips coming loose. The part that was stuck into the motherboard would always pop out.

Having known about this for years in the field, this has meant wonderful job security. Yes, it sucks that people got bad computers from Dell. In the corporate and home desktop fields it meant I got a lot more work due to their mistake which my wallet happy even though it made their customers unhappy to have to repair their computer many times since purchase in essence making the unit cost almost double if not more than.

sigh, that's why I went with Toshiba. thus far I've been VERY pleased with my laptop. I always recommend Toshiba to everyone from experience

Dell hype. Let's buy a dell crap! Every moron who buys just for the brand name deserves this. I'd never touch a dell if it was the last maker on the globe. Rubbish products, expensive products and guarantee services. If you want screwed, buy a dell! That should be their marketing slogan.

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Our firm owns several Dell Optiplex computers, which have suffered capacitor failures. We're currently investigating complaints regarding Dell's capacitor failures.

A NY Times article revealed that Dell systematically concealed the known defects of the capacitors in its Optiplex computers. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06...wanted=1&ref=technology

We'd like to hear from anyone who owns, or previously owned, a Dell Optiplex computer. In addition, if you're interested in pursuing legal action against Dell, please contact us.

Ryan Keane
rkeane@simonlawpc.com
The Simon Law Firm, P.C.
http://www.simonlawpc.com

[Please disregard this solicitation if you have already engaged a lawyer in connection with the legal matter referred to in this solicitation. You may wish to consult your lawyer or another lawyer instead of me (us). The exact nature of your legal situation will depend on many facts not known to me (us) at this time. You should understand that the advice and information in this solicitation is general and that your own situation may vary. This statement is required by the rule of the Supreme Court of Missouri.]

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