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Dell woes

I recently upgraded my work laptop to a Dell Latitude D820, with an NVidia Quadro NVS 140M video card.  When connecting the laptop to Dell 2001FP LCD monitor at 1600x1200, the display was jittery - this occurred with two different monitors.  Additionally, 3D performance was sluggish, somewhere <1 frame per second.  Programs that utilized 3D graphics warned that the display drivers were out of date even though I had installed the latest drivers available.  So, I contacted Dell and asked for a replacement video card.  On this particular model, the video is integrated into the motherboard, so they sent a replacement motherboard instead.

The technician arrived this morning to swap out the motherboard, and when he was done, the system would not boot.  Dell's response was that I should call software support to troubleshoot the problem.  I looked on the box, and saw a *REFURBISHED* tag.  They sent out a refurbished motherboard, to fix a laptop that was 10 days old.  Homey don't play dat.  Now they're going to send out an entire replacement laptop, but it won't be here for another 10 days.  The technician had to go on another call, so he's coming back this afternoon to re-install the old motherboard.  Hope it works...


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hehe...and thats why you don't buy dell. Should by through me ;)
Oct. 19th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
This is why I went with HP.
Oct. 19th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
Next time you'll get a Macintosh.
Oct. 19th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
Doesn't surprise me at all. 90% of your replacement boards will be refurbished. Having worked in this particular sector, all I can say is it sucks.

And onboard graphics suck, too. Even the onboard GeForce 6200 on my motherboard with it's own dedicated memory wouldn't come close to the performance of an actual add-in card of the same type.
Oct. 20th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
So, to say the disks we installed on the servers were refurb, woul dmake you unhappy ?

I never understood how some stuff is refurbed... what do they do? they solder new shit to it ? or just clean the contacts and make it look prety?

anyway :)

Oct. 24th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
Actually, replacement parts from Dell (and most other computer companies) will ship with a refurbished sticker even though they are almost never actually refurbished. Any part that is removed from its original packaging before it gets to a customer must, by law, be marked as refurbished. Since we get our parts in bulk, then repackage them for shipment to customers a refurbished sticker must be used.

Regardless of whether the part has been previously used or not, it is going to have the same warranty coverage: 90 days or the warranty of the system, whichever is longer.

From what you describe it sounds like the proper steps were taken to get the problem resolved: sending out a replacement part, and when that did not fix the problem but instead made it worse, replacing all possible failed parts (in this case the entire system). While I can understand your frustration at the delay, the reason it will take 5 to 15 business days to get you the replacement computer is because it has to be built from scratch, just like the original it is replacing.

If you have any questions about this, or problems with the replacement once you get it, I will be more than happy to help you get things properly taken care of.

Dell Customer Advocate
Oct. 26th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
The replacement notebook has the exact same problem. I have now tried two laptops on three different monitors (with 3 different VGA cables), running at 1280x1024 and 1600x1200. All combinations have the problem. A D830 with the Quadro NVS 135M video adaptor (mine has the 140M) does not have the problem. This tells me there is a fundamental flaw in the chipset, driver, or motherboard integration for the 140M chipset.

I'm on the phone with a Dell technician right now, who is having me download Quadro NVS 140M drivers from an IBM web site (Dell's driver is older, NVidia doesn't offer ANY drivers for the 140M).

Any advice?
Oct. 26th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
If two computers are having the problem on three known good monitors then, unfortunately, I would have to agree that there is something with the video card or drivers, and possibly the motherboard. I don't think its the motherboard or you'd most likely see the problem at other resolutions.

Are you connecting the monitor directly to the notebook, or a docking station (I think its direct, but want to make sure)? Also, have you made any changes to the refresh rate settings on the notebook for the external monitor (Display Settings)?

After checking the latest drivers, I wanted to verify you have a D820 and not a D830. Per our support site, the D820 does not have the 135M or 140M option for Quadro cards, but the D830 does.

The latest 140M driver on the Dell support site is http://ftp.dell.com/video/R169704.EXE (v.156.65 WHQL, A03) dated 18 Oct 2007. The only other version on our site is A02 (http://ftp.dell.com/video/R157636.EXE) from June 2007.

Do you happen to have any other monitors that support 1280x1024 or 1600x1200 you can test the system on? While I don't think it is the monitors, there is a (very) small chance the problem is with the 140M not liking the 2001FP, although I doubt it.

Dell Customer Advocate
Oct. 26th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
The laptop has 157636 pre-installed. I tried re-installing, with no success. I will look for 169704 (and let the Dell technician who is assisting me with the issue know about that driver, since he was apparently unable to find it earlier this morning).

I am connecting directly to the VGA port on the laptop. When I connect to a docking station, the problem does not occur.

The problem occurs on two different Dell 2001FP monitors at 1600x1200 (native resolution), and I tried it on one Dell 1907FP at 1280x1024 (native resolution). The default refresh rate is 60Hz. If I increase the refresh rate to 70Hz or 75Hz, the problem gets worse.

I have a D830. My old laptop was a D820, and did not have the problem.

Oct. 26th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
No luck with R169704.exe (confirmed Windows shows driver version
Oct. 26th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Ephram from Dell tech support called me back. He said the issue had been escalated to level 3 support, then on to the level 3 tech's manager. This is apparently a known issue that Dell is working with NVidia to fix. They're sending me a CD with a new driver on it, likely the R169704 driver, otherwise I'm just going to have to wait until NVidia fixes it. :-/
Oct. 29th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
If the problem does not happen on the dock, then it might be something with the VGA port (since the dock has its own), however, I would have expected a system exchange or motherboard replacement to have been the fix in that case. Since two models of monitor have the problem that definitely rules out the monitors themselves in my mind, which leaves the computer (or software).

I pulled the link to both drivers from the Dell support website (http://support.dell.com, Downloads, pick through the menus for your D830, select the OS you are using, then Video drivers).

If there are level 3s looking at it then front line techs have already gotten the matter at least to my level of support. I'll see if I can find anything else you can try, although I'm also starting to think waiting for an update from nVidia may be the only solution at this point. If you have any questions for me while the L3s look at it I'll be happy to answer them.

Dell Customer Advocate
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )