Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Dell rant.

Dell has some issues. I have never said that they are a perfect company, but for businesses they do offer some things that are nice.


Like Gold technical support. When I have a problem, I talk to somebody in America, who has no accent. I talk to people who know a lot about computers, instead of just reading the script from a diagnostic program. And when I tell them what is wrong with a machine, the just say 'Okay, I will get a new part on the way.' No beating around the bush, not quadruple checking to make sure that this is indeed the problem, and no un-necessary time spent on the phone. I would say my average service call takes 10 minutes for most basic problems.


These are all good things! I also have to choice of whether I want a Dell technician to install new parts, or just have the part itself shipped to install myself. This is also nice, since most Dell technicians in my area are one small evolutionary step above baboons, and aren't qualified to work a microwave, let alone replace computer components.


But possibly the best part of Gold tech support, is the shipping. I get my parts the next day. No matter what. They do whatever they can to make me happy. One time, they shipped me the wrong part for a server that had gone down. When I informed them of this they had a courier in go to Phoenix, wait for the correct part at the Dell warehouse, and then DRIVE it up to Prescott for me. At 10:00PM! Yes, way.


One thing I do not like about Dell though, is their parts. We use Optiplex systems almost exclusively for our workstations here, and Dell ended up putting faulty capacitors in many Optiplex systems. What this means is that every time a machine won't boot up, I have to strip it down to the motherboard, look for leaking capacitors, and then call dell to get a replacement motherboard.


Now this isn't such a big deal. Matter of fact, I'm getting really good at replacing these things (I'm up to about 40 now).  I can take one of these (bare motherboard):


and, in just a tick over 5 minutes, turn it into one of these (a functioning machine):


What IS a big deal is that many of the motherboards that they ship me have issues when they arrive. The one picture above had a bent back-plane, so the side lid wouldn't stay in place, because all the tabs that hold it there were bent out of whack. 20 minutes of bending metal later and I finally got it to stay.


They sent me one motherboard that had bent processor socket pins. So not only did the machine not work, but it fried a perfectly good processor when I did try to turn it on. Thanks Dell!


I've had them arrive with thermal grease smeared all over the board.


But my all-time favorite thing wrong with a motherboard shipped? Gore. Yep, Dell shipped me a nicely-packaged motherboard that was smeared with blood. Not just on some capacitors or on the mounting plate. No, there was blood INSIDE the CPU socket, memory sockets, fan connector, and spattered throughout the rest of the entire thing. No, I am not even kidding.


Seriously? What technician cuts himself, shakes the resulting carnage all over an electronic device, then packages it up and calls it good-to-go for a customer? I opened that puppy up, took one look at it, and sent it right back to dell with a note that said "Abortion should be the customer's choice."  Okay, I didn't send the note, but I totally should have.


I would say that out of the 40 or so motherboards I have replaced, 10 have had a problem of some sort. 25% problem rate? Come on Dell, look at the freakin things before you ship them to me!! Otherwise you are wasting your postage money, and more importantly, MY TIME!

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