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Ahhh Dell hardware support

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  • User profile image
    Tensor

    So, it takes about 2 hours to log a dell tech support call even if you know exactly what the problem is.

    A few months ago we got a batch of optiplex GX280's. After a couple of weeks, the fan on one of them started making lots of noise. After a long call an engineer was despatched with new fan and heatsink.
    He told us he'd had loads of these and he'd likely be back. He was right - back a few weeks later. So now we have tow more of them doing the same - including the one under my desk.

    The funny thing is it seems the fan speed on these things is tied directly to CPU usage. Crank up the CPU usage and the fan speed increases, and then the PC sounds like its about to take off. So we can make it do it by, say, opening an exporer window and r-clicking on a file or folder in the right pane but not clicking on anything in the contxt menu (locks cpu usage at 100%. Nice!)

    Anyway - we just reported the two that are doing it now including mine. We told them we'd had it before and they sent a guy to replae the 'sink and fan - but of course they have there list of things to go through so we had to plod through them. Then we had a new jem from them.

    They got us to open the box while it was running, and to verify that it was the fan making the noise, they asked us to stick a pencil in the fan - to see if the noise stopped. Seriously. I mean, when this thing is running at 100% it makes my trouser legs flutter - but we had to be sure.

    Afterwards, I wished I'd done this;

    "Ok - sticking the pencil in now... *AAAAAAAAARG! A bit of pencil hit me in the eye! I'm blind! You'll be hearing from my solicitor!"

    Maybe if I had done that, I could have made $35 out of it and sent it to Beer Smiley

  • User profile image
    Mike Dimmick

    Tensor wrote:
    The funny thing is it seems the fan speed on these things is tied directly to CPU usage. Crank up the CPU usage and the fan speed increases, and then the PC sounds like its about to take off. So we can make it do it by, say, opening an exporer window and r-clicking on a file or folder in the right pane but not clicking on anything in the contxt menu (locks cpu usage at 100%. Nice!)


    It's normally the case that the fan speed is related to CPU temperature, but that's related quite closely to CPU usage since the idle code halts the processor if there's no work for it to do. Therefore the CPU temperature generally goes up when it's busy.

    The XP Explorer-hits-100%-CPU problem is fairly well known. The thread that hits 100% CPU is the one which expands the task panes (e.g. "File and Folder Tasks") when you switch items. If you right-click an item that's already selected, the issue doesn't occur. Only bringing up a context menu on an item that isn't currently selected causes the problem.

    You don't normally see the issue on Server 2003 because Task Panes are off by default. To turn them off in XP go to Tools > Folder Options, General tab, select "Use Windows classic folders" instead of "Show common tasks in folders".

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    My CPU% also hits 100% whenever I resize regular windows as well.

    However it is my understanding that this thread has a low base priority, right?

  • User profile image
    Cairo

    Tensor wrote:
    A few months ago we got a batch of optiplex GX280's. 


    We got a bunch of SX270s and SX280s towards the end of last year. Nice, small form factor. The DVD-CD/RW drives seem to be flaky in them. Sometimes we'll have to eject the drive and re-insert for the it to work again. One of them had what appears to be a thermally-induced motherboard failure.


  • User profile image
    Tensor

    We've got some sx 260s' and sx 280's too. The 260s we've had probs with the motherboard on a couple of them. The 280's we havent had long enough to evaluate much yet but one was reported as having display probs - but its been sat in here running fine all day.

    To be honest this fan thing on the gx's is the only real problem we've had - and we have piles of dell kit. But phoning there support dept can be a painful, painful experience.

  • User profile image
    hensleyjh

    Get Dell Warranty Parts Direct certified and bypass phone support...

    $175 per year
    - pass the "open browser" exam
    - get access to website that allows you to order warranty parts
    - request a Dell Service Tech or install yourself

    https://warrantypartsdirect.dell.com/us/


  • User profile image
    Cairo

    hensleyjh wrote:

    Get Dell Warranty Parts Direct certified and bypass phone support...



    Good tip! Thanks. Arguing with Dell Tech Support is one of our least favorite activities...

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Cairo wrote:


    Good tip! Thanks. Arguing with Dell Tech Support is one of our least favorite activities...



    Know the feeling, sometimes it can be a trying experience - though on the whole they've always been better than most.

    Fortunately we now spend so much money with them that we get preferential service. And if tech support cause any hassle, one call to our rep will get us exactly what we want without question.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    I still say Electronic Arts has the worst help-desk in the world, no matter how detailed your first email is and even if you include the DxDiag file, they always ask you for it again next time round, and always give you patronising instructions: "Click the 'Start' button, it's usually in the lower-left corner of your screen and bright-green in color"

    My experience with Dell is 50-50...

    I had a hard-drive failure a few months ago on one of my Dell boxes, the help desk guy managed to get me sorted within a few minutes, but I wouldn't have had to call them if they fitted HDD coolers as standard in the first place (you'd be surprised how hot those things get).

    I don't think Dell can get away with only having one fan per case anymore.

  • User profile image
    Jaz

    no one fits HD coolers as standard.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    By "HD Coolers" I mean any mechanism intended for the cooling of a HDD.

    For instance, now even the budget PC OEMs are putting HDD cage fans (or front-case intake fans) in their cases now.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    W3bbo wrote:
    I still say Electronic Arts has the worst help-desk in the world, no matter how detailed your first email is and even if you include the DxDiag file, they always ask you for it again next time round, and always give you patronising instructions: "Click the 'Start' button, it's usually in the lower-left corner of your screen and bright-green in color"

    I think it needs to be said that the best helpdesk I've ever dealt with was Avantis, at least the telephone support. We were having trouble using their Avantis CDServe+ Client on anything newer than Windows 2000 SP2. The old version caused me hours of grief when Win2k SP3 came out, which was partly my fault because it actually said on the Avantis site that the two were incompatible. It took them a long time, around six months, to get an updated version out, but when they did they sent it to us. But although the new client worked, we could no longer load new CDs with it. When we mailed them, they said to use a SCSI CD-ROM drive instead. Now I don't know about elsewhere, but I've never seen a SCSI CD-ROM on sale anywhere in the Netherlands. Besides which, the only systems we have with SCSI support are the servers, and Avantis specifically recommends not to install the CDServe client on a server system. So we mailed them again (especially since I found it hard to believe that all the IDE drives I had tested were incompatible with the new version, while they worked fine with the old version). This e-mail was ignored. I tried again a few more times, but they kept ignoring me.

    So I called their support line, an international call to the UK. It took us more than an hour of trying things, different authorization keys, installing/reinstalling, until we discovered that they had sent us a beta version of the new client! I was quickly pointed to the correct download link, and our troubles were resolved. In total I spent 90 minutes on the phone, but they returned the call after 45 minutes so I didn't have to pay the charges after that.

    The real good thing about it however is that the guy at the helpdesk gave us a new authorization key at the end, one that unlocked the full hard disk capacity of the server, an upgrade worth at least €100, to compensate for the trouble they had caused us.

    Very nice indeed.

  • User profile image
    Mike Dimmick

    Beer28 wrote:
    only about 2 weeks from the time I ordered it...


    This is normal for Dell. They burn-in systems and perform assembled-system tests before shipping. This doesn't always mean that systems work fine out-of-the-box, but there's usually a greater chance.

    Over the last year we've ordered quite a few systems from Dell, since our MD decided not to buy any of the sales and admin staff's PCs when going through the management buyout of our division. Ten laptops, some of which are Pentium M/Centrino and some Celeron M; six desktop machines which are relatively low spec (Celerons, I think), plus my Dimension 8400 which was bought last December to replace the rather underpowered system I'd had before (admittedly it was about four years old at that point).

    AFAIK there was only one problem with any of the systems OOB - the Bluetooth hardware didn't work on one of the laptops. After going through the usual outsourced call centre they did send out an engineer to replace the Bluetooth module which as I recall has been fine.

    I've had a few system hangs recently on my machine but I think they can be traced squarely back to Symbol's USB firmware update driver for the MC3000 terminal, since the hangs usually occur when the device cold boots at the end of the upgrade process.

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    SWITCH TO HP!

  • User profile image
    Tensor

    Steve411 wrote:
    SWITCH TO HP!


    I'd rather deal with dell HW support every day for the rest of my life than a HP reseller once.

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    Tensor wrote:
    Steve411 wrote: SWITCH TO HP!


    I'd rather deal with dell HW support every day for the rest of my life than a HP reseller once.

    You don't have to deal with either. Do what they suggested, stick a pencil in there, send the sucker back with your warranty and bam, new PC at your door in less than a year? Wink HP Support does suck, last time i called them to send me my backup CD's, ... 'ahh, that will be 9 dollars, and shipping and handling please'. Kiss a monkeys bootay HP!

  • User profile image
    Tensor

    Steve411 wrote:
    send the sucker back with your warranty and bam, new PC at your door


    Clearly, you have never had to deal with corporate support. They will happily send an engineer 10 times with a different single part each time - even if you an the engineer know full well the part wont fix it, rather than replace the item.

    Anyway the engineer has been - my machine is back to a quiet hum rather than an unpleasent roar, and my pencil is only mildly chipped.

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    Tensor wrote:
    Steve411 wrote: send the sucker back with your warranty and bam, new PC at your door


    Clearly, you have never had to deal with corporate support. They will happily send an engineer 10 times with a different single part each time - even if you an the engineer know full well the part wont fix it, rather than replace the item.

    Anyway the engineer has been - my machine is back to a quiet hum rather than an unpleasent roar, and my pencil is only mildly chipped.

    My machine is humming like a bee. zzZzzZzzz

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