Did Your Parents Buy A Dell PC A Few Years Ago?

We know you wouldn't buy an off-the-shelf Dell PC. You have gaming needs. But others aren't as savvy as you. They bought off-the-shelf Dell PCs. And many of those people got shafted.

Some documents related to a lawsuit against Dell have recently been unsealed, and reveal the company may have knowingly shipped faulty computers to customers over a number of years.

How many customers? Over 11 million customers.

The faults were down to dodgy motherboard capacitors, and while this was an issue that plagued many companies - including Hewlett-Packard and Apple - those were limited problems affecting only a small number of models.

Dell, on the other hand, found that 11.8 million computers it sold between 2003 and 2005 were busted because of this flaw. In its defence, the company maintains that it did not know about the problems before the computers were sold (and that this does not affect any current units), but North Carolina firm Advanced Internet Technologies claim otherwise, and are after $US40 million in damages.

"The funny thing was that every one of them went bad at the same time," says Greg Barry, of PointSolve, one of many companies burnt by the broken PCs. "It's unheard-of, but Dell didn't seem to recognise this as a problem at the time."

Before you ask, the faulty components affected Dell's Optiplex desktop computers, and not any Alienware gaming PCs (Dell did not acquire the gaming specialists until 2006).

Suit Over Faulty Computers Highlights Dell's Decline [New York Times]


    "They bought off-the-shelf Dell PCs. And many of those people got shafted."

    Sorry, but if you buy an off-the-shelf ANY PC, you got shafted, it's much cheaper to buy the parts separately and even pay someone to build it for you.

    When I originally built this PC (for $900, mind you), I saw the exact same PC (same specs) on shelf for about 2.5 grand.

      Unless its a laptop, not many options for self building there.

      That said my dell netbook has been brilliant, way better than my furnace of a HP laptop that melted itself

        Companies like acer are starting to offer that service now but your still stuck with an ify brand.

      Buying components separately wouldn't necessarily have saved you here. These dodgy capacitors were all over the place at the time:


      I'm a bit surprised that there are still unsettled cases about this though.

      Not to mention that the majority of people are not capable of assembling their own PC's. The process is not particularly complex, of course, but that doesn't make it common knowledge. In addition, many people, and more commonly businesses, would feel uncomfortable doing so or require the warranties and service plans that come with off-the-shelf solutions.

        Hence why you pay for an in-town computer shop to do it for you, will still end up muchos cheaper than buying it off the shelf.

          Kyle_Katarn is right computer specialist stores in your local city will build it for you if you buy the parts i.e. you select what parts you want in your pc and they then assemble it for you for about $50.

          the pc is still covered by the computer specialist store you got to assemble the rig (for about a year is the norm) and the individual parts have there manufactures warranty's as standard.

          there is zero risk doing it this way and in many ways there is advantages. if something goes wrong you can take it directly back to the place who built it for you and they will fix it, you should have it back within a couple of days depending on work loads.

          the alternative is you buy it from a shop like harvey norman and pay three times the price for it and when it breaks down they send it away for you so you can be without your pc for 6 weeks.

      It's also cheaper to build your own car (kit cars are a fraction of the price of the real thing), but most people wouldn't want to do that, either.

        Where can you find someone to assemble a car for you for $50?

    Piled up like that they almost look like faulty xbox 360s.

    AGH! We had those dells at work for years! The memories are flooding back! NO!!!!!

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