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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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uh ohz
By Armorize on 8/15/2006 5:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
dell probably didnt want them to have the VT as a secret order from the us government to help stop the chinese hackers! OR they thought they could rip them off and get in trouble lying instead, and in terms of lawsuits, dell will probably just end up settling with them out of court to avoid bad PR in china.




RE: uh ohz
By ltcommanderdata on 8/15/2006 8:47:03 PM , Rating: 3
It's probably neither. Dell simply forgot to update the documentation to indicate that it includes the T2300E. The fact is that the T2300E is an official product from Intel and is not some cost-cutting reject part like the T2050 or T2250. In the May round of price cuts the T2400 was dropped down to the T2300's price point and the T2300E was added below the T2400/T2300 price point and VT support dropped to differentiate the products and encourage continued sales in the T2400 price point.


RE: uh ohz
By ac3star on 8/16/2006 11:52:03 AM , Rating: 2
That's part of it but I bet too that what happened was that it went through customer support and the customers were given the work around. The support personnel probably didn't want to have to deal with all the junk of getting the laptop returned or the cpu changed out in the first place. Most customers just get annoyed at this but these people stepped it up a notch and got legal.


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