Unsealed documents show Dell knew about faulty machines

unsealed documents show dell knew about faulty machines nichicon capacitors  source unknown

A federal district judge in North Carolina has unsealed hundreds of documents that are part of a lawsuit brought against computer maker Dell by Advanced Internet Technologies, which claims the company knowingly hide defects in Optiplex desktop PCs from its customers several years ago. The documents indicate that Dell knew about abnormally high failure rates with the Optiplex PCs, but that Dell failed to inform customers about problems with the systems, and even encouraged technicians and sales people to keep quiet about known problems with the systems.

The documents show that New York City purchased a batch of 5,000 computers during the 2003 to 2005 period, and filed incident reports with Dell regarding more than 20 percent of the machines. Similarly, Microsoft purchased some 2,800 of the systems and reported problems with over 10 percent of the systems, and similar large purchases from Denison University, General Electric, the William W. Backus Hospital, and other organizations reported similar failure rates. The documents also include an study from Dell conducted in 2004 that found at least 12 percent of the company’s SX270 Optiplex computers would generate incident reports within three years. By September of 2004, Dell raised the three-year minimum incident forecast for those machines to 45 percent, noting it might run as high as 97 percent.

The documents follow on a similar set unsealed earlier this year. As with the previous set, access to remaining sealed documents was sought (and first reported) by the New York Times.

The issue with the systems involved faulty capacitors used on the computer motherboards. Faulty capacitors attributed to Japanese supplier Nichicon beleaguered consumer electronics in those years, impacting everything from televisions to PCs as the capacitors overheated and failed. Other PC manufacturers impacted by the problem included HP and Apple, which tried to pull impacted systems from the market. However, the AIT suit alleged that Dell continued to receive and ship systems with faulty capacitors well into 2005—as well as mislead customers about the nature of the problem—after the problem had been identified. Internal Dell documents advised employes not mention the issue to customers, and to “emphasize uncertainty” if the matter came up.

Dell did not recall affected systems, but in 2005 took a $300 million charge related to repairing or replacing faulty systems. According to Dell, the company replaced motherboards on 22 percent of the 21 million Optiplex computers it shipped between 2003 and 2005.

Dell settled with Advanced Internet Technologies in September, Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Dell has repeatedly characterized the issues as old problems that have long-since been corrected.

Product Review

The MacBook Air plays the oldies we love, but the band is getting old

We’ve waited for a long time for an update to the MacBook Air, and Apple finally delivered one. With a lot of features ported over from the MacBook Pro, is this new laptop what Apple fans have always wanted?
Computing

Windows Update not working after October 2018 patch? Here’s how to fix it

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you, step by step.
Computing

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they've accumulated files and misconfigured settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Computing

Converting files from MKV to MP4 is quick and easy. Just follow these steps

MKV files have their place, but if you would rather convert your videos from MKV to MP4, there are two methods we consider the best and most efficient for getting it done. In this guide, we'll walk you through them step by step.
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Computing

Razer’s BlackWidow Lite is a mechanical keyboard designed for work and play

Razer's latest keyboard comes with a minimalist design that will appeal to professionals. But don't let the all-black aesthetics fool you, as the BlackWidow Lite comes with mechanical keys that makes it a great gaming companion.
Computing

Our 10 favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Computing

Windows 10 notifications driving you crazy? Here's how to get them under control

Are the notifications on Windows 10 annoying you? Here's our guide on how to turn off notifications in Windows, and how to manage alerts so that the important stuff still gets through.
Computing

Microsoft’s Always-Connected PCs gets more powerful with 64-bit app support

Microsoft announced that developers can start creating 64-bit apps for Always-Connected PCs powered by Snapdragon processors. The Windows Store will also begin to accept 64-bit app submissions for Microsoft's Windows on ARM.
Computing

The MacBook is smaller, the MacBook Air is faster, but which is better?

This year, Apple's MacBook Air got a powerful internal upgrade, but the redesign makes it slimmer and lighter. So should you get the MacBook Air over the MacBook? We'll compare both notebook's major features and help you decide.
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.