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Dell Latitude E6400, one of Dell's "problem children"
Dell is aggressively trying to keep its hardware failures under wraps

Apparently Apple is not the only major OEM to have some serious quality control issues/BIOS issues.  Dell is facing what is being dubbed as "throttlegate" -- what boils down to a mess up performance problems on its popular E6400, E6500, and XPS laptops.  And to make matters worse for itself, Dell has begun to censor user posts -- a technique that seldom works on the internet world of vocal opinions and cached pages.

What appears to be happening on the select Dell models is that when the processor warms up slightly, a throttling mechanism kicks in, cutting the CPU performance by 95 percent or more.  Any running applications are thus slowed to a crawl -- the computer acts as if it is frozen.  The CPU slowly kicks back in, but even after regaining its composure slightly, only reaches about 50 percent of the initial clock speed.

Dell's users have been complaining about the problems on the company's support forums.  In what appears to be a desperate attempt to save face, the company has begun banning troublesome complainers and deleting their posts.  One prolific user that has been banned, "Tinkerdude", has actually release an extensive 59-page analysis of the problems dubbed "Performance loss during normal operation in a Dell Latitude E6500 laptop due to processor and bus clock throttling".  That document can be found here (PDF).

The issues affecting the Studio XPS 1645 appear to be similar, but less debilitating.  Its issues seem to center around an inadequate AC adapter, according to a forum thread.  While Dell hasn't respond to the E6400/E6500 problems, it is shipping beefier replacement adapters to XPS owners who call and complain.



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In tecnhical terms....
By cyberguyz on 12/1/2009 6:06:20 PM , Rating: 3
...It's called 'damage control'.

Which means when you screw up, you hush it up as fast as you can and try to put out the fires.

This kind of tactic worked a long time ago when the Internet wasn't quite so popular. Dell is now finding out just how difficult 'damage control' is in this age of instant bad press 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I find it particularly funny when companies such as Dell & Apple creates discussion groups and websites in an effort to enhance sales & provide support discussions for their products. Most promptly seem to forget that this efficiency of communication also makes it impossible to sweep their excrement under a rug. Pulling a stunt like this (banning users and deleting 'negative' threads) is like tossing a match into a large wheat field during a dry spell.

I'm waiting to see how Dell's spin doctors try to get them out of this one.




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