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Dell has issued a fix for overheating and underclocking issues on its Latitude line of notebooks.  (Source: Notebook Check)
Patches appear to solve many of the affected machines' crippling problems

Overheating problems in mobile electronics are hardly new territory, but they're always unpleasant to say the least.  Thus when news broke earlier this week that some users' Dell Latitude E6400 and E6500 (as well as select XPS notebooks) were overheating and underclocking, many were frustrated.

While Dell's initial tactics involved banning at least one vocal member of the support forum who was detailing the problem, the company also was hard at work on patches to try to fix it.  The fruits of that endeavor have now been realized, with Dell pushing out a plethora of patches according to users.

The patched BIOS seem to prevent the machines from experiencing their heating issues and from underclocking the CPU down to as low as 100 MHz.  They also remedy unpleasant noises coming from the Seagate hard drives installed in some units.  The hard drive issue appears to be a similar problem to the one MacBook Pro owners were complaining about earlier in the year.

While the Latitude series got some TLC, the Studio XPS 1645's issues still remain unsolved.  Dell is shipping users new AC power adapters if they call and complain.  It now appears the Alienware m15x may be having problems as well.

For now Dell has fixed the overheating problems for most, but some are still left to deal with the issues.

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Dell is the new Compaq
By AssBall on 12/3/2009 9:13:33 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, Why would a company's have decreasing quality products over time? Seems backwards.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By CrazyBernie on 12/3/2009 9:21:53 AM , Rating: 5
That's pretty normal when you expand beyond your capabilities, pay your corporate employees too much money, and scramble to keep your prices lower than the competition's.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By Janooo on 12/3/2009 9:50:22 AM , Rating: 5
Don't forget there is no money from Intel anymore.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By Dreamwalker on 12/3/2009 10:37:28 AM , Rating: 3
Heh, good one;)

But seriously, you believe that?

Well, since Dell's quality is prety much getting down the road I guess Intel will look for another "friendship with benefits" partner :p

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By frobizzle on 12/3/2009 4:16:06 PM , Rating: 5
Don't forget there is no money from Intel anymore.

But seriously, you believe that?

Yep! Very likely true! Back in the days when AMD was on top and Intel foundering, Michael Dell defied all logic announcing that he would never sell systems with AMD chips in them.

You could almost see the hand of Intel's CEO shoved up Michael's butt!

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By seamonkey79 on 12/4/2009 12:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
He did not defy all logic, he rather clearly stated that AMD did not have the ability to supply Dell with the number of CPU's that they needed, nor guarantee the required number of chipsets to use with such CPU's that they could not provide enough of. At the time AMD did not own ATI, and as such, nVidia was the only real choice. Only a complete and utter failure of a business person would say "yes, we know you can't supply enough CPU's, but we'll buy from you. Oh, chipsets, that's okay, we'll attempt to contract with a different company and hope we can get a good deal from them as well"

When AMD started being able to pump out more CPU's, you saw them in Dell's... and by the way, short supply in the white box market as well...

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By Ramos22 on 12/4/2009 4:53:14 AM , Rating: 2
LOL Dell was probably the first computer sales company to offer you the ability to specify the hardware in your pc..
so why would dell eliminate choice when it was what got them to be a leader in their market?

easy, they were coerced, bribed, paid off whatever by intel..
Oh and coincidence they started supplying amd based systems only when their business started going downhill which was like in 06 i believe

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By jonmcc33 on 12/4/2009 9:23:07 AM , Rating: 2
easy, they were coerced, bribed, paid off whatever by intel..

Posslbe, but it is also true at the time that AMD didn't have any really reliable chipsets compared to Intel. They went through a flux of VIA, SiS and nVIDIA's initial offerings during the time that Dell's sales took off. Intel made the CPUs and chipsets so it was an all-in-one bargain for Dell.

They made their business around it so I don't see it as a poor decision.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By Ramos22 on 12/4/2009 1:00:07 PM , Rating: 2
bs, it would have been extremely easy for dell to have a few amd based systems just to test the demand for them and evaluate whether it was worth providing these systems.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By The0ne on 12/4/2009 10:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
It was a partnership of Dell and Intel. Dell could say whatever the hell they wanted for excuses but it still came down to the fact that they both kissed each others behind. It wasn't until AMD starting gaining enthusiasm from the public and Dell started losing money that they offered any type of AMD PC configuration. By then I think some consumers were already hurt but their initial decisions.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By bennyg on 12/4/2009 11:51:03 PM , Rating: 2
and by those decisions, they bought products that contained inferior chips.

Since P4-M, AMD's mobile lines have been consistently trounced by Merom onwards in all aspects.

At least in desktop consumer CPUs they compete well in the budget and low-end-multicore segments but then only because they make way less margin than Intel.

That is why there are so few AMD CPUs in laptops aside from bribery, antitrust etc.. Why bother with R&D on a product noone's gonna buy?

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By Alexvrb on 12/5/2009 4:35:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah except that AMD is very competitive in budget laptops. Budget laptops don't have discrete graphics. Most of the cheaper Intel laptops use Intel chipsets. Therefore, a cheap AMD laptop is a better performer with regards to graphics. In the entry level laptop market, I'd take a Radeon 3100/4100 or 3200/4200 over the GMA4500 series any day. Even the GMA4500MHD falls significantly behind a 3100.

This is important if you're buying an inexpensive first laptop for a teen, who might be playing some games at low settings on it. Keeps them off the more powerful machine so you can hog it, anyway.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By marvdmartian on 12/3/2009 10:27:49 AM , Rating: 5
More likely, pay your management people too much, your real workers not enough, and skimp on research & development. Who cares about the end product, so long as the CEO gets a big bonus for Christmas??

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By IcePickFreak on 12/3/2009 12:03:32 PM , Rating: 5
Sadly this is about it. A lot of companies are run totally by the sales portion of the company these days rather than the production/engineering half. The result being the only thing taken into consideration is the bottom line $. Engineering's only function becomes cost savings - no innovation, no build quality, etc.

I tend to look at sales guys as wanna-be senators & congressmen. The only thing they can do is BS, which in effect means they can do anything and everything - need a Space Shuttle by next week Friday? Not a problem!

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By arazok on 12/3/2009 10:31:28 AM , Rating: 5
Put another way. When companies are growing, profits keep rising, and shareholders are happy.

Eventually, you get so large, that there is no more room to grow. The market is saturated, and you are fighting with other companies to steal an extra 1-2% of the market share.

At this point, growth and profits become stagnant. Shareholders get cranky. The only way to increase profits is to cut costs. You can become more efficient, but Dell is legendary in its efficiency -- Not much room there. So, you decrease the quality of your product. A smaller fan here, a cheaper plastic there, and you can squeeze a few extra bucks out of each unit. After a few cycles of this, your product is now crap, customers begin to realize it, and they abandon you. This is where Dell is now. I stopped buying their machines about 3 years ago. They are pure junk. This company will continue to decline until they improve quality, and rebuild their reputation with consumers.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By chizow on 12/3/2009 12:11:55 PM , Rating: 3
Dell isn't alone, Apple had similar heat problems with their Macbooks as well. Don't see these issues being easily solved as consumers have come to demand aesthetics, size and performance without compromise. Not sure why this is a surprise to anyone though, this is what happens when you try to fit components with some 60-70% of the TDP of your typical performance desktop in a form factor no thicker than a pack of gum. The difference is those desktops have cavernous full ATX tower chassis with multiple towering heatsinks and fans to dissipate heat.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By Lerianis on 12/5/2009 10:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, but if they were just honest with the consumers and said "Okay, you can have one or two of these things, but not all three!", there wouldn't have been any problem.

Apple should have just been honest with people and said "We are going to have to put a less powerful chip in these computers if you want the extreme battery life and low-heat!"

They didn't do that.... instead, they tried to fool their customers into thinking that they could have an extremely powerful chip and the other two things, and are finding out differently.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By jonmcc33 on 12/3/2009 12:49:34 PM , Rating: 2
Look at Seagate. Once known for the most reliable hard drives on the market it's now one of the most unreliable. I myself have cleared out all the Seagates that used to be in my computer. I had 2 (out of 4) RMA within the past year of their 320GB and 500GB drives. Then the refurbished 500GB drive that I got as RMA replacement showed horrible SMART test results in a diagnostic. I had to get rid of it too.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By HrilL on 12/3/2009 4:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah Maxtor used to have the worst drives but then seagate bought them and they then turned into maxtor. Their drives seem to be crap now days unless you're getting a 300GB 15K SAS or fiber channel. For SATA Western digital is the only way to go imo. Have had 4 200GB I replaced about a year ago that ran for 5-6 years none stop without any problems. I just wanted more space and wanted to move to SATA from EIDE they did get louder over time but that's to be expected when they're running 24/7 for 5 years and they're not rated for 24/7 operation.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By jonmcc33 on 12/4/2009 9:44:09 AM , Rating: 1
I prefer Samsung myself. I had 3 Seagate 320GB drives that I replaced with a single 1TB Samsung F1. I was so pleased with that drive that I got another. The only Seagate left was a 500GB DB35 and it started showing some reliability issues and SMART errors. So I got a 1.5TB Samsung F2 to replace it.

If it wasn't for Samsung I would have went with Western Digital again.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By frobizzle on 12/3/2009 4:20:00 PM , Rating: 1
Look at Seagate. Once known for the most reliable hard drives on the market

When was that? In the days of the ST-225 drives?

Seagate has never had a great reputation for quality and it went totally down the toilet when they bought out Connor. Connor drives were truly scraping the bottom of the barrel!

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By Jedi2155 on 12/4/2009 2:24:05 AM , Rating: 2
The only thing different was that they had a 5 year warranty which doesn't necessarily mean its more reliable.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By jonmcc33 on 12/4/2009 9:29:05 AM , Rating: 2
During the days of the Barracuda IV and V series. Even their 7200.7 and 7200.8 drives seemed reliable. I never had issues with them. It was the 7200.9 series and since then that Seagate has gone downhill. The worst has been their 7200.11 series. Complete chaos and it has made many former Seagate owners (including myself) avoid their product line. The last Seagate I had was a 500GB DB35 that showed some nasty SMART errors before I replaced it. Everything since then has been Samsung. A pair of 1TB F1 drives and a 1.5TB F2. They are quieter, cooler, faster and so far have had no reliability issues.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By NicodemusMM on 12/3/2009 5:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
Just a thought.. Maybe because the E series is a rather large design change compared to the incremental changes made over the past few years. Example: The D620 and D630 are almost identical in dimensions, CPU, RAM type, etc. The D830 motherboard is the exact same board used in Precisions of that class. The E series is a completely different animal, though.

I don't know for sure, but I would assume that when the first D series Latitudes (and accompanying Precision mobiles) came out there were a few more problems than normal.

...or they could be trying the Faster, Better, Cheaper method that NASA attempted.

RE: Dell is the new Compaq
By TechIsGr8 on 12/3/2009 10:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
Seems that everything made today has a shorter lifespan and more bugs. The one common denominator is the shift to Chinese manufacturing across all consumer product types.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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