Print 13 comment(s) - last by hstewarth.. on Aug 17 at 1:59 PM

The Dell Inspiron 640m

Intel documentation showing the difference between the two CPUs
One letter spells trouble for Dell in China

Dell is finding itself in hot water over misleading its Chinese customers. One of Dell's Chinese customers ordered an Inspiron 640m notebook that was thought to have a Core Duo T2300 processor inside. Instead, the notebook was shipped with a Core Duo T2300E processor. For those of you who haven't been keeping up with Intel's flurry of new processor releases and model numbers, the T2300E is nearly identical to the T2300 save for one feature: the lack of Intel’s Virtualization Technology (VT). That one change is the reason why Dell is now facing a lawsuit from 19 customers in China.

A single customer voiced his concerns to an online message board and found hundreds of other Dell customers whom had been wrongly given a T2300E processor even though Dell's website, advertisements and customer invoices noted T2300 processors.  "I tried to negotiate with Dell and simply asked them to change the CPU, but they said there was no difference between the two and it was unnecessary to change. My lawyer sent them a letter, demanding compensation, which Dell chose to ignore, so we decided to sue," said Zhang Min, the first person to file the lawsuit.

DailyTech first brought you news of Intel’s T2300E processor back in February of this year. It was later discovered by Laptop Logic that the chips lacked Intel's VT. VT allows customers to more easily run multiple operating systems on a single machine. Because of this feature reduction, Intel was able to offer the T2300E at $209 versus $241 for the regular T2300. Dell knew the difference, but just decided not to inform its Chinese customers in a timely fashion.

For its part, Dell has responded to the legal mess on its Direct2Dell online blog, “We have acknowledged the issue, and we have corrected the error in all materials. We have directly apologized to Dell China customers who were affected, and also informed them of the difference between the two processors. For customers who were not satisfied with these actions, we offered full refunds for returned T2300E-based systems.”

Dell goes on to say that VT is aimed mainly at servers and workstations (even though Intel clearly states that it's beneficial to home and business users alike) and that by offering the T2300E they are able to provide their customers with better value. It's all well and good to try to justify a company's actions and cite that customers likely wouldn't miss the feature, but not informing customers before making the switcharoo is a big no-no in this business.

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By MercenaryForHire on 8/15/2006 11:44:07 AM , Rating: 0
But the first iteration of VT sucks. No page table or device virtualization - to put it bluntly, software is faster at this point for a lot of things.

See white paper:

Disclaimer - I don't work for VMWare, and this was published at a peer-reviewed conference.

By Soviet Robot on 8/15/2006 12:33:35 PM , Rating: 3
The quality of VT isn't the topic at hand, it's the fact that Dell mislead customers.

By Furen on 8/15/2006 12:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
Well, he did say that Dell was wrong, he was just pointing out how crappy VT is...

By osalcido on 8/15/2006 1:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
WTF ????//

1) dell doesnt ship what people are buying
2) the people sue

so its the lawyer's fault???????????

id be pretty pissed off if i had to take a gamble whenever buying from a well-established giant corporation.... hopefully the lawyers sue the shit out of dell and make them think twice before trying to steal a cheap buck

By bozilla on 8/15/2006 8:06:38 PM , Rating: 2
Completely agree. It's funny how they don't pay attention or don't want to help when they think you don't have a case and now when they got busted they are officially apologizing and all that crap. They should sue their asses to the full extent of the law and get all their malversations on public record. This is not the first time Dell did something like this (unfortunately in most previous cases, users were too weak financially to fight them).

By OrSin on 8/15/2006 1:56:26 PM , Rating: 3
Since when do you need a "legitmate" use to wnat something.
Even if VT is crap its something you paid for. I got a tow hitcch on my truck and have never used it, but I would makes fuss if i didn't get whatI paided for. Some people are are so closed-minded. If it doesn't effect me if should not effect you type attitude.

By MercenaryForHire on 8/15/2006 4:12:42 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. To take the truck analogy a step farther, it's like ordering the '22" Chrome Rims' option on your new Escalade. It might not serve any real practical purpose other than posturing, but you paid for it, and you'd be rightly upset if you got anything less.

Dell should have just given them all a copy of VMWare. :P

By hstewarth on 8/17/2006 1:59:41 PM , Rating: 2
what they did wrong? It just pick on Dell ( and Sony )

Dell could offer to exchange the cpu with T2400's.. or even better yet get actual T2300's

This would be better than having people calling lawsuit - probably just doing it because they want more than the notebook cost anyway.

I am curious how many people in China will use VT anyway - so its likely a mute issue.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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