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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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HP just as bad
By UMUJU on 12/2/2009 8:04:27 AM , Rating: 2
HP has been doing similar things when the nvidia chips started frying their motherboards. They did a warranty extension for some of the models from 1yr to 2yrs, but not all models with those chips were included. Mine was one of the unlucky that died right b4 the 2yr mark, but wasn't eligible for free repair. The "fix" HP came up with.... turn the fan on 100% to hopefully extend the life a little so it didn't look so bad. Now they're rated with a 25% failure within 3yrs of ownership. I went all the way to corporate and the BBB and all I got was an offer for $200 off a new system $400 or more. Sure, so I can replace that again in 2yrs. Their $200 doesn't even cover the extended warranty if I wanted to guarantee it a 3yr lifespan.




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