Dell Responds To Lawsuit, Capacitor Problem In OptiPlex Computers

In what I found to be an interesting read, Dell has responded on their blog, to the capacitor problem they had experienced in their OptiPlex computers. The company stated that this was an industry wide problem involving capacitors from one the leading suppliers for all computer companies. The faulty capacitors were made by Nichicon between 2003 to 2005, and not all computers that had the capacitors failed. It seems that according to Dell, it was an issue of how many of the faulty capacitors were used on a particular motherboard that determined how soon the board would fail;

Dell states these points:

  • This is an issue we addressed with customers some years ago. The Advanced Internet Technologies lawsuit is three years old and does not involve any current Dell products.
  • Dell did not knowingly ship faulty motherboards, and we worked directly with customers in situations where the issue occurred.
  • This was not a Dell-specific issue, but an industry-wide problem.
  • Dell extended the warranty for up to five years for customers who had affected machines.
  • This is not a safety issue.

The blog post goes on to state further evidence from Dell that they took the proper actions and repaired the faulty computers in a timely manner. But not everyone who read the blog post agreed:

The quote “Emphasize uncertainty” is the most troubling. Dell knew there was a problem and rather than be open and forthcoming about potential issues, they chose to leave their customers in the dark. It’s not like the failure rate was 5 or 10%, we’re talking about problems occurring in 97% of the Optiplex machines containing the effected capacitors over a 3 year time span. This number comes straight from a Dell study.

Another reader posted this comment:

Dell “addressed with customers” the problem?

It did not. I am sure there are many, many customers who had no idea there were any such problems until reading this article, or probably still do not know there were any problems. I had a desktop in the time period completely melt down due to overheating, never happened before on over a dozen Dell machines.

Never heard once about a recall, any faulty parts, or any steps I should have taken to fix it.

You can check out what Dell also had to say in their defense. I have no opinion whether good or bad about the situation since I personally had no issues with Dell systems failing. These machines were usually used by government and businesses.

Comments welcome.

Source – Dell Blog

Hair Pulling USB Hassles

Not too long back I talked about some USB related frustrations. Well, it looks like this issue is not clearly defined as being OS related. I am seeing growing indications that this could be something related to the USB ports on the board or possibly even with the ports being poorly powered.

It’s even more frustrating as this is not my own computer — rather, one that belongs to a family friend. So every time it has a problem, I must either deal with it at his location or bring it back to my own home. Honestly, I am to the point where I’m ready to simply buy him a new one.

Having gone through every possibility known to man to make this work, at the OS level down to a clean installation on a new partition, I about at my wits’ end. I am now looking to add a new USB PCI card for the PC, then doubling up with a powered USB hub, just so I know that the ports are all being well powered.

If this doesn’t work, I can only conclude that something might be up with the motherboard or even the PSU. Have any non-software suggestions? I have proven that this is not a Windows/software solution. So I am definitely open to any suggestions on the hardware level… especially if you’ve dealt with a similar set of circumstances.

[awsbullet:USB Gadget Mini Display]

MMORPG Turbo Cloud


Everywhere you turn, there’s someone talking about cloud computing lately. Let’s face it — it’s a hot concept. However, there is a large difference of opinion as to what cloud computing even means, much as there is with “Web 2.0.” To some, cloud computing is simply another term for virtually anything you do on the Internet. To others, it’s more specifically virtual servers. It gets fuzzy when you try to nail down a full description of what cloud computing really is.

To me, cloud computing is simply anything I can do online, instead of having to rely on software on my computer. There are full applications available now that cover everything from picture editing to paper writing to handling your taxes… and it’s all done from within your browser. How much easier can it get to simply go to a Web site and do what you need to do, instead of having to buy and install software, make sure it’s compatible with your system and other software, launch the program every time… you get where I’m going. Cloud computing, by my definition at least, just makes life so much simpler.

How do you define cloud computing, and what are your thoughts on the whole thing?

Windows 7 — should you wait to upgrade?

The Microsoft and Digital River upgrades are causing much customer confusion.

Even geeks need healthy skin and hair.

Everyone loves clothes from The Gap… they’re so comfy, and affordable!

Are you looking for an easy way to come up with a great new (and available for purchase) domain name?

Outlook has opened up to the world.

What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?

Warren Etheredge — The Art of the Interview (or How to Grill a Star).

What happened when The Blade took the plunge and upgraded his laptop to Windows 7?

GoToAssist can help you provide instant support to clients, friends, or family members.

Could open source bring transparency to the White House?

How do you eat a hamburger?

Are normal commercials turning into infomercials?

If you’re an MMORPG fan, you’ll likely love the new Aion.

Check out the hottest new apps — shareware and freeware!

Recover and restore your deleted emails… at no cost!

Is someone stealing your child’s identity?

What brand of motherboard do you recommend, and why?

San Francisco is set to host the Academy Awards of Clean Technology.

If you don’t have a fast Internet connection, why not check out Opera Turbo? 3 million others are using it.

Rediscover your computer’s true potential and performance by running a regular scan with Optimize 3.0! This little piece of software will now do more than ever before to boost your speed, increase your stability, and enhance your security.

Intel’s New Mobos – Featuring Atom Processor

Intel will be introducing two new mini motherboards after the first half of the year. Both of the new boards will feature the Atom processor and have passive cooling. The new form factor is intended for home entertainment use and other computing needs where space is a factor. The boards also will incorporate both DVI dual graphics and VGA, wireless and horizontal SO-Dimm. This cuts down on the overall height of the new boards.

In addition the article states that:

Those who buy it would have to build a custom board for their own needs, according to Norman Cheng, product line manager within Intel’s desktop group.

Johnstown will be available towards the end of the first half of this year. The second board, the DG41MJ (codenamed Misty Lake), was expected to have wider appeal and will be available to the broader channel.

The board is intended for small form factor PCs for home entertainment and daily computing. Misty Lake was Intel’s answer to requests to make a cheaper version of its other options. The small board, which supports Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors, has legacy features such as a parallel port, integrated VGA and DVI, Intel High Definition Audio and an integrated 10/100/1000 network connection.

The board is now available for PC manufacturers and system builders to order from Intel distributors. The company was unable to say when it would be more broadly available at the time of publication.

Intel boards have traditionally cost more than boards from other companies. It should be interesting to see if Intel continues this pricing policy.

Comments welcome.


To Upgrade Or Not

It’s something that has been on my mind for some time now. I want to upgrade my current desktop system to something with a bit more kick to it. But alas, there is a problem. Due to the OS I use and the fact that it was a substantial system for its time, even while multi-tasking, this current system is still meeting my needs just fine.

Granted, the idea of new monitors, faster CPU, and more hard drive space is appealing. But considering that I recently bumped up the latter of the stuff listed above leaves me wondering what is my driving force for needing to upgrade? After some soul searching, I finally realized it is merely my belief that I need something faster and better.

Yes, there are indeed instances where being able to upgrade something like a mobile phone or notebook makes a lot of sense. But if your OS allows you to stick with otherwise perfectly functional and otherwise speedy computing, what is the hurry? My current system is running with:

  • AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3700+
  • ASUS Motherboard (forget which one)
  • GeForce 6800 GS w/256 MB of memory (AGP)
  • 2 GBs of DDRAM
  • 2 x 500 GBs of hard drive(s)
  • 2 x DVD Burners
  • 1 external DVD Burner (USB)
  • 2 x external USB 2.0 500 GB hard drives

Once again, the greatest system that I built new all those years ago… not really. But considering that, it still runs like a champ. What’s comical is that my Intel dual-core notebook provides me with 3 Gigs of RAM and is significantly faster both in the CPU and bus speeds. Yet in the end, even with stuff like video editing, massive multi-tasking, etc., I really have never had too much problem with the older desktop in comparison.

I think at this point my only reason for upgrading is to gain more throughput with my motherboard, a faster (Intel based) CPU just for the sake of it, and maybe a newer case. You know, it’s kind of funny, but lately I am finding it harder and harder to sell myself on a brand new system. Have you ever had this kind of experience?


BEWARE! Fake Newegg Order Emails

For the past three days running, I have been receiving fake Newegg notification messages which look like the one below:

GreetingsGood day,

Thanks for you order.

BFG Tech GeForce GTX 280 BFGEGTX2801024OCE Video Card – Retail – $58

You can check you order status at the folowing link:

Best regards,
NewEgg Shop Support.

So far the messages have stated that I have bought a video card, a motherboard and a cpu. What is fortunate for me is that I know that I have not ordered these items. On the flip side it is disturbing since I am receiving these messages at my home email address and not my gmail throw away, which is used for ordering, including ordering from Newegg.

I thought I would pass this on just as a precaution.

Comments welcome.

Note: The address above has been changed.

Top 5 List On How To Pick The Right Motherboard

Hey Chris! This Is Fabiocrow07770 from the chat room. I decided to make a top five list on motherboards because, in building a computer, it’s the hardest component to pick. It’s pretty much the nervous system of the PC, so proper selection is crucial to ensure your new computer performs as well or better than expected. Anyway, on with the top five!

  1. Make Sure you pick the right size motherboard for the case you have chosen to use. If you have a micro at ATX case then your motherboard cannot be an ATX. Larger cases sometimes allow you to have smaller motherboards. Check the specs on the case before you continue looking for a motherboard.
  2. Count how many SATA or IDE connections are available. I learned the hard way — I bought a CD drive and a hard drive — both IDE — and I only had one IDE connection and six SATA connections on the board I bought. I had To send the hard drive back and get a SATA.
  3. Price isn’t everything! a motherboard that costs $80 can just as easily run as well if not better than a motherboard that costs $1000. Check the specs for features you want and also that you don’t need. If you’re not a gamer, chances are you don’t need something like SLI.
  4. Do your research! Check and see what other people are saying about the motherboard. Again, just because the motherboard is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a beacon of quality!
  5. Never buy from a third party like a flea market, a friend, or a guy in a van.


Intel Has A Dual-Core Atom Chip

No surprise but Intel does have a dual core Atom chip hiding in the wings. The only thing is that the dual core does not have a mobile cousin as of yet. But observers have noted that the dual core also has a new Intel motherboard as well. If and when a dual core mobile will become available is unknown.

According to this source:

Much depends on how it’s implemented. If Intel stays true to form, the 330 will comprise two 230s in a single package. That would make for a largish chip, which could explain why there’s no mention of a mobile version.

The 330 will come soldered onto Intel’s new D945GCLF2 mobo, a mini-ITX board based on the 945GC chipset and GMA 950 integrated graphics. The board can take up to 2GB of 533MHz or 667MHz DDR 2 memory in a single slot.

And when does it hit the streets? Best guess is September. Plus a mobile chip could also be available at the same time. This could spell the start of real under $200 desktop PC’s.

Comments welcome.


Intel Announces Wake-Up On Demand For The PC

Intel is introducing a new addition to its lines of motherboards, that will allow a incoming phone call to remotely wake up a computer from sleep mode. The chips will be incorporated in future offerings from companies that have opted to use the new chip. According to Intel the chip will:

The technology does what it says – it enables the home PC to ‘wake up’ for incoming VoIP calls, and remote media access to photos, videos and music over the internet.

What makes the Remote Wake capable motherboard beneficial is the ability for it to save energy, by not having to have the computer system fully on all of the time to receive VoIP calls.

More and more future computer systems will employ this new technology.

Comments welcome.


Intel Turbo Memory – Will It Work?

Over the years I would venture to guess, that many of us have tried a multitude of software or hardware devices that promised improved speeds on our systems. As much as we hate to admit it, most of these products provided limited improvement to our system performance. So when I read about Intel’s Turbo Memory, I went to their site to take a look. What Intel promises is this:

Intel® Turbo Memory with User PinningEnhancing system performance through memory innovation

Intel® Turbo Memory Intel® Turbo Memory with User Pinning brings mobile and desktop systems performance to new heights through the innovative extension of Flash Memory architectures into computing platforms. User Pinning offers more options to the user to improve system applications launch time and responsiveness.

For those who wish to view the entire specifications and Intel hype, you can download a .pdf copy here.

Included in the hardware is a dashboard in which the user can fine tune the applications and files that the user wishes to take advantage of the turbo memory hardware.  The hardware can be used on systems that have a PCIe slot [desktop] available, while the mobile comes in half and full mini modules for [laptop] computer systems.

OK. I must admit on paper it sounds really good. But like any hardware the proof is in the pudding.

Oh, one other thing. Isn’t this something that should be built onto the motherboard and that Microsoft Windows can take advantage of, mainly Vista?

Let me know what you think.

Comments welcome.


Dell Inspiron Notebook – Adapter Problem Solved With New Motherboard

There has been a running thread of comments here, referencing problems with that AC adapter for the Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop computers. Seems there have been many with this issue. But one reader seems to have found a fix which required a motherboard replacement. Reader Keith originally posted the following:

Keith – March 23, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

I’ve had the same issues with the power adapter, but have worked around by just not moving while the adapter is in place….:-/ sucks, but anyway, I was going to let it go. So last night I reinstalled my system to it’s original state, and after doing so and reinstalling all of the drivers I ran into a seperate issue where the wireless network would not connect. I contacted tech support through online chat and after a quick chat session and allowing the tech to controll access to my laptop and reinstalling drivers and making sure all the settings were appropriate, which I have to say was really interesting to watch while he attacked the problem with a vengeance, we found out the settings in the router were wrong so I had to call the router co for that, but at the same time I had found this site listing the same complaint about the adapter, so I told the tech guy, and he said he will ship a new adapter, and also a box for my lappy in case the adapter does not fix the problem. So all in all, I’m pretty pleased thus far with Dell’s customer service, and will remain a customer. )

 Keith than followed up with this posting today:

Keith – April 9, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

Ok, here’s is my fantastic update!!! I received the new adapter about a week after my original post here and still it did not correct the falling out issue, so I sent the laptop off finally this past Friday and just received my laptop, with new motherboard installed which DOES hold the adapter in place properly!!! Woohoo!!! Now, first I’d like to say, Dell has done everything in their power to satisfy me without me pitching any kind of a fit. All I did was contact Dell tech support via online chat and they rapidly sent me the new adapter and a box for my laptop just in case the new adapter could not resolve the issue. Then, being paranoid about shipping my lappy off to some strange place, I finally sent it last Friday, and today is now Wednesday so it took a whole 6 days total to have the adapter issue fixed! All of you that have the same problem, take care of it while it’s under warranty. It takes less than a week, and you pay nothing whatsoever, not even shipping via DHL. -) I hope you all the best with your Dell lappy’s and seriously, get it fixed, it really is easy and fast!

I hope that this may help someone else who is having this adapter problem as well.

Comments welcome.

[tags]dell, inspiron, 1501, laptop, adapter, new, motherboard, fix, problem, support, repair, [/tags]

It Is Eating Power Supplies For Breakfast

Today Linda,

My computer keeps burning up power supplies. I’m going on my 4th one in 3 months. The really weird thing is that the computer that I replaced this one with did the same thing. I’ve had an electrician to my house to check things twice – the house is only 4 years old – and I’ve run extension cords to other rooms in the house to be sure it wasn’t the outlet the computer was plugged into. I bought a brand new ups power back up approx 2 months ago to make sure the power was clean. Me and my tech guy are at our wits ends trying to figure out what’s going on. I have two other computers in my house in different rooms and no problems with them. Anybody got any ideas?

That is odd, as you did have an electrician check things out. If it was me, I would get a new motherboard myself as  clearly this is the only culprit coming to my mind without actually seeing what is taking place. It sure seems to be the common denominator in this instance.

If you think about it, there is a certain logic to it. All PCs in the home  are fine, it is only this one having problems. The wiring has been checked and the only thing coming to my mind is a short along the way someplace. I must admit, it is a lot more common to see a power supply causing damage vs the other way around. Maybe the community has some additional thoughts for you?

Do you have an IT-related question? Perhaps you are just burnt out on writing on the walls with crayons? Whatever the comments may be, drop me a line, and you too can “Just Ask Matt!”

Build Your Own gOS Linux Box

Just a quick note:

If you are interested in building your own gOS Linux back, you can start with getting a Via motherboard for $59.99. Over at ClubIT they have the gOS Via board and also 1 G of RAM at $21.99 [after rebate]. This is the same motherboard that is being used in the Everex Linux PC’s being sold at Wal-Mart.

FWIW – these systems are mainly for light computer work. :-)

Also the gOS is not affiliated with Google.

ClubIT information here.

[tags]clubit, motherboard, via, everex, ram, [/tags]

Notebook XP Installation Woes

Today, Dave asks:

I am having a problem installing win xp on my laptop. It gets as far as the blue screen saying to install on the selected drive press enter, to repair existing windows press R. When I press any of these the laptop just keeps rebooting hope you can help, it’s driving me crazy.

My first stop, assuming your BIOS are set properly, would be to download and burn the Ultimate Boot CD ISO to a CD for immediate use. I would then start off with running a memory test with the already installed on the CD, Memtest86 program. If this turns up nothing, bearing in mind it will take many hours to run most likely, then it is time to move onto the next tool. Depending on which brand of hard drive you have installed (see manual for type), I would test things out with one of the hard drive diagnostic tools found here. If SMART is not tossing any errors at you, then it is most likely a memory error.

And finally, I toss this out to the community for some ideas. Any other thoughts as to what might be happening? Hit the comments, share your thoughts on the matter.

Do you have an IT-related question? Perhaps you are just burnt out on writing on the walls with crayons? Whatever the comments may be, drop me a line, and you too can “Just Ask Matt!”

[tags]notebook, motherboard, hard drive, ram[/tags]

HP & Compaq Laptop Wireless Problems

If you own a HP or Compaq Laptop purchased during the past year or so, and have been experiencing wireless connection problems, you may wish to take a look at the HP thread for guidance in resolving the issue. From what I read it appears that the best solution is to return your laptop to HP for a motherboard replacement. It seems that the other suggestions of updating the BIOS, updating wireless drivers or trying a replacement wireless card are not working.

Some of the models mention in the postings are:

dv6000z , DV6449us, dv6646us ,dv6000, dv6225, dv6500t, V6133CL, dv9205us, DV 9000, DV6105us, DV6040ca , dv6105us and many more models.

It seems the issue may be with the broadcom wireless hardware.

Anyway you can read all of the dirt here on the HP forum.

Comments welcome.

[tags]hp, compaq, wireless, problem, hardware, replacement, motherboard, [/tags]