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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