XPS 710... another motherboard bites the dust


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XPS 710... another motherboard bites the dust

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I've owned a dozen or so different Dell computers over the past 15 or so years. 

Without question, the XPS 710 (at least the one I bought almost 3 years ago at a premium PC price) is the only one I've had that lived up to the reputation that so many IT-types ascribe to Dell.  Basically, it was junk.... nothing more.  Over the past three years, I've had to reload my operating system and all installed software on 3 different occasions (e.g. lost hard drives), have had two motherboards and power supplies fail, replaced fans, the raid system never worked, and am now waiting on an 'exchange PC.'   Of course, every time a part can stopped functioning, I couldn't simply replace the junk parts with real and proven parts (e.g. a power supply and a motherboard with proven reliability) because the Dell parts are proprietary. I've lost days to this PC. I think it actually cost me more in a business sense, in time lost, than it costs me as an investment in a 'reliable' state-of-the-art computer system.

Interestingly enough, the 'exchange PC' solution which is ongoing is the 'last resort' for Dell since they no longer make the junk motherboard upon which this machine was built.  Moreover, the expensive one-day service that is a must-have warranty for a product as unreliable as the XPS 710, turns out to be a '21 day turnaround (that work days) for the 'exchange PC.'  I refer to solution as the 'exchange PC' since Dell is unwilling to share any details on the specs of the PC.  My machine failed again last week and Dell didn't have the manpower to build one over the past 7 days.  So, I'm simply supposed to go without a PC for 21 days in anticipation of the wonderful replacement for the lemon I've used for three years.  And, no matter what system they send, I'm less satisfied than I would have been had they simply told me what type of system they would build after they hired enough help or allocated the task to a Dell employee who  would make fixing my seemingly irrelevant problem a priority. 

In the end, before becoming the chagrined owner of an XPS 710, I never really understood why my higher tech-oriented friends always put Dell down.  Now, I fully understand. At this point, even if Dell sends a great PC, how can I can I put the time and frustration of the previous one behind me?  Will I ever buy a Dell again? 

The Alienware was a good solution, until Dell bought that. Now, I worry that Dell will turn it into the same set of problems it has build into its desktop line.  Why not make a PC with parts that Dell customers can replace when they need to get the machine up and running quickly?  It's just way too much down time to expect customer to accept without a solution.  I would have been fine with a PC from the outlet store shipped sooner, so I could get access to my hard drive back quicker. 

Note to Dell…. the length of computer down time matters to people who purchase the one-day service warranty.  In our minds, we’re not paying for a 21-day solution.  If that’s what you are selling, that’s what you should call it.  That way you don’t establish expectations that lead to unsatisfied customers.  Moreover, the last thing we want to hear is that the 21 day solution is in the ‘fine print’ of the warranty contract that we purchased. That’s good for covering your legal problems, but it won’t help you retain customers and the later is more important to your business success than is the former.  Ask someone in Customer Care, but not today.  Why?

Today, after talking with a Dell XPS customer rep, I was transferred to the Dell Customer Care group (it's not open on Saturdays, so I got a recorded message), I fully understand that I expect way too much from Dell.

Seriously, how would a customer service tech possibly know the Customer Care office hours?  Thanks for the transfer, but they don't work on Saturdays.  Please make a note of it—and, of course, I have your name, but have been polite enough to not post it.  I’ll pass it on to Customer Care when they come back to work.


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  • Does anyone know how long it takes to get an exchange computer?

    Dell will tell me nothing other than wait for 21 work days and then we'll tell you.  How do I even know if this system is on order or if they are doing anything?


  • Hello cyberspace,

    Still no working PC and no details on the exchange.    It's nice that Dell tells me I'll be getting a PC that is 'equivalent' to my old unit.

    I tried to explain what equivalent to my old unit means to the customer service rep.  My old unit cost about $2500 and fried a motherboard every year.  Additionally, it needed new harddrives (meaning replace/reload all software again... on my time).  They also replaced the RAM twice and the fan a couple of times. 

    This is all within the 3 year warranty. In addition to in-house service, the warranty includes the opportunity to spend hours with customer service reps who argue with any effot you made to try to get your PC fixed (I failed to pay extra for North American based service, so I am getting what one pays for... a lot of hassles and no solutions).  I don't even recall having the option to speak with North Americans who might actually care about whether or not they did anything other than cite company policy. 

    As an example of the warranty policy, on my call to Dell today, I had the opportunity of spending about 5 minutes reverifying the same information I've provided them every couple of days (e.g. phone number, email, etc.), only to be told the same stuff above (nothing meaningful or encouraging with respect to actually having a PC that works). 

     When I asked if I could talk to the customer service rep's team leader, she put me on hold for about 10 minutes.  When she returned, she explained how her team leader was busy (a man who's time means something as opposed to me, who in Dell's priorities, has time that meaningless).  She promised that he would call me within 2 hours and offered reassurances that she would make such promises if she wasn't going to keep them.  We checked our clocks and agreed what time 2 hours later meant.  Two hours later, no call.  Four hours later, no call.  Five hours later, well that's when I logged on here and started typing this message.  Dell used to have great customer service.  I know because I've been a customer for a long time.  But that is gone on the normal warranty--and I don't trust Dell enough to pay them a premium for the North American warranty (for all I know we're talking about work for the indigent populations in NYC and Dell reports hiring them as part of their goodwill for society efforts).  I don't think there's much skill required to cite policy. 

    As for this forum, I had never posted in it until I started this thread where I can write notes to myself and track my thoughts.  It could be that I posted this query in the wrong forum, but I'm not surprised that no one from Dell has responded.  I've become a 'trained customer' who expects such responses.

    If, by some chance there are any other trained customers out there who read notes posted in the wrong forum and you have any suggestions on how or when I might actually get some action from Dell, please do let me know.  All of my efforts have failed.  It's hard for me to believe I have four other functioning Dell computers in my posession right now.  What will I replace them with when their day is done?

    This is an odd place for a blog.   I've certainly paid enough for it over the years, but still thanks for allocating it to me Dell for giving me something to do in my spare time.

  • Hi Dell,

    Just another cyberspace diary entry/update.  Spoke with someone (name withheld) in customer service after using Google to find a number for help with how to get Dell to respond. 

    Of course, she wasn't in the right department to be able to help, so she transferred me to another department.  The man at that department suggested I log on to the Dell Community website and post my concerns there and someone would respond immediately.   Funny... huh?  I told him I had my own blog going there and started it about on February 20 (about 9 calendar days ago, but only 5 Dell work days).  Since I had already tried this solution and knew it was as much of a failure as is the rest of Dell customer service these days, the gentleman was kind enough to transfer me to another department who would surely resolve my issue. 

    The person at that department was friendly.  She explained how Dell allows themselves 7-10 to make a decision on an exchange PC.   Of course, that means Dell work days.  So, we counted the Dell work days.  When doing this, one starts the counting on the day the exchange was requested and not on the day the PC broke down.  There's a few work days difference, but since the person who figured out the problem was a motherboard completes a form to request the parts is a different person from the one who checks to see if they have the parts needed, those 3 work days don't count in the Dell system. 

    We counted together, what day the 10th day would be for the person who needs to make a decision on the exchage.  Guess what?  That is today!!  Yippee!  She filled out an expedite form that would make this happen very quickly and promised to send an email update to me later.  I told her I'd add her name to the other two names of Dell reps who plan to send an email to me some day.  If the decision is made today, as planned, it will only take Dell a few days to build the PC, if they have the parts.  If they don't have the parts, it could take a few more days.  Once they have the parts, it take a week or so to build a computer.  It must be a lot harder for someone who builds PC's to build one, since those of us who don't can do it in less than one day.  Of course, it wouldn't be 'professionally' built.

    After the PC is built, of course, the problem will be in UPS's hands.  I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, so I know they can do next day service on the mark and I can't even remember them failing to meet a delivery date.  But, Dell says they could be the delay in shipping, so I may need to wait another 7-10 days for them to do their job.

    Bottom line... I should have my exchange PC by March 16!  That means Dell's "one-day" service will have only taken "one-month."  Awsome!  Thanks Dell.  You're doing a great job with enouraging other companies to compete.  And, they are really talking a lot about how their service is US-based.  Wonder why they make such a big issue about that?


  • I don't know why you're really surprised. Dell uses lowest bidder component items in their computers. You have these sort of problems when you are trying to cut corners in hardware quality. Dell purchasing insufficient quantities of a build component at a time also contributes to their delays. Apparently, Dell prefers to have too little on hand than too much. You think they would reverse that mentality since buying more at a time can get you a lower price (the main thing they are interested in). If you are concerned in having a computer that will last, you should research it and build it yourself. Computer companies are out to make money and really don't care about the quality of product they provide you with. They charge quite a premium for something that is not even that hard to do anymore.

  • Dear JKHunter:

    I'm in the same boat. (4) Four bad motherboards in (4) four years on an XPS 710 using 4 monitors. I'm on the list for an exchange PC because Dell said the board is not available for warranty repair nor is the XPS 720 motherboard upgrade.

    Talking to India support personal is going nowhere.

    I bought the best and got the worst.

    Your ahead of me, so lets see how this pans out.

    Any thoughts or advise?




  • Hi Joe,

    Sorry to hear that, but I suspect there are a lot of XPS710 owners who have already been on our path or who are headed this way.  It was just a lousy machine that should have been recalled.  From what I've read the 720 isn't worth the hazzle either.  My son has a 730X and it is the machine in the line that actually worked.  It's built with real hardware that can be replaced and updated as it gets obsolete.  I believe it was built just before Dell bought Alienware who was eating their lunch by building machine like the 730x with upgradeable parts.  Dell made a good move to slow or shut down its XPS production and build its high end machines through Alienware. 

    As for the replacement, I'm still waiting.  I finally got a call this week (Wednesday) about 11 Dell work days after they made a decision to exchange the PC.  Actually time was close to 18 calendar days as my latest motherboard fried on Feb 13th. 

    While I had been told that I might get an Alienware as a sub, no one mentioned that they'd have to custom build it below any model they currently sell.  I suppose the idea is to replace the lemons we had we a PC that won't take us out of the market for too long.  The Dell reasoning must be that just because we were stuck with a lemon for a few years, that doesn't mean we deserve to have a PC that will last the next three without buying another one from them.  It's a little comical.  There costs to find and build a new Alienware with more obsolet parts than there base model must be higher than just building one from the models they have on the current production line.  I'm not really sure.  It's very, very hard for me to think like Dell. 

    My understanding is that the Alienware will have an i5 processor with the slowest speed they can find.  That probably means it will be built on an outdate motherboard as well and with a lower end power supply.  I assume the case will be useful, but the machine will not be a current gaming rig. 

    If you can somehow get credit for the lemon you bought years ago, so you could spend it on building a current rig, that would probably be your best option out, especially if you actually need your PC (as I did).   They can build from the current product line a lot faster than it takes them to build the obsolete machines as replacements. 

    I am glad they are not putting yet another motherboard in this piece of junk that's been sitting on my floor waiting to be shipped to Dell. 

    I salvaged my hard drive data by hooking it up to another PC.  The exchange PC will be Windows 7 operating system, so if you wanted to keep your old drives and plug them into the new machine that probalby won't work.  However, as a fellow XPS 710 owner, I'm sure you know the routines associated with reloading all your software.  It's an annual requirement.

    I'll let you know the specs on whatever ships, whenever it ships.   Of course, I'm assuming that Dell isn't just running out the warranty on my machine with a fabricated story about an exchange PC.  My warranty ends in 4 days.   They encourage me to buy a new warranty, but, for now, I don't feel good about spending any more money at Dell and I'm hoping they haven't owned Alienware too long to have started dumbing it down to XPS thinking.

    Good luck with your exchange, if there really is one.  If you need a new gaming rig, I hope it's a nice case that you can put retail parts in.

  • Looks like the forum deleted my words "Removed by Liaison"  and "Removed by Liaison",  I spelled them backwards to see if I can get them past the forum filters.

  • Looks like they deleted your entire post now.  It was great one!

    I don't blame you for buying the parts you need to build a PC.   You can do it without any training in a half day and Dell, one of the largest PC manufacturers on the planet, needs a month to do it.  I don't think Dell realizes that people actually use their PC's for work.  I tried to explain that people buying next day service contracts expected service the next day, but that wasn't what they meant.  They meant someone would answer the phone and explain what all they'd need to do and how long that would take, by the next day. 

    As for the tiuswal they really only got their handslapped with the last one, so I guess they're going to take even more advantage of us know.  They're losing a lot more business than they realize on such tactics.  It's not like we're not posting what Dell is actually doing right here on their site.  They just don't care.  Look around the forum.  Folks ask simply questions. Nobody responds.  It's not the Dell service that the company built its reputation upon.  That's long gone.

    You might try newegg or tiger direct.  They have kits with great hardware in them.  You can build far more for half the price. 

    Btw, I even told them I'd be happy to take a 730 off the outlet list, which would have been quicker for me to get back to work and less expensive than them having to build a Alienware with old parts, but they would have no part of that idea.  Beats me as to why. 

    I also need to buy a laptop and haven't figured that out. I have two Dell laptops representing sunk costs in both the D and E docks.  They'll probably have an F dock within a year of my buying an E, so the dock is clearly a sunk cost to ignore.  


  • Not_happy_joe,

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  • Day 24

    That's how long ago my PC broke down.

    Take a month off... why not?

  • The bad news: Dell emailed me today, I've been assigned one point of contact from India for the next 3 weeks while they find me a new PC to replace my XPS 710.

    The good news: I overnighted, YES, OVERNIGHTED, parts to build a new pc from ANOTHER supplier in MIAMI, FLORIDA,  who understands great customer service.






  • Wow! ---- More good news: I OVERNIGHTED all new PC parts and built a new PC IN 2 DAYS !!!!!!!!! and the bonus plan, I didn't even have to re-install all software because I used a similar chipset on the new motherboard.

    Not_happy_Joe -------- FIXED IN 1 DAY

    Dell ------------------ Still waiting, quoted 2 -3 weeks from a man in India to replace my XPS710.

    If Dell needs help running the company, please let this post serve as my resume.


  • Then go somewhere else if your not happy with Dell.  You wonder how they stay in business, it's because people like you complain but keep going back.  Why should they change how they operate, it works.  They are still getting your business.  Yes the customer support is hard to understand IF you get a hold of one but other than that I have had a pretty good experience with them.  It just takes a longer time to get the product. 

  • You make assumptions about my shopping habits, your incorrect; this is my first and last Dell purchase. 

    And yes, I did go somewhere else and they are no longer getting my business, and no, customer service is NOT hard to understand.

    And if you had a good experience with them, it's probably becuase their good at one thing, SELLING YOU SOMETHING.

    In the meantime, I share this post.

    Good luck to you. Stick out tongue


  • Oh, now I now why your so PRO-Dell, viewing your past posts, it appears you bought your first gaming computer and waiting for it to come. ...ahh