I’ve mentioned in recent Weekly Rewinds about intermittent problems with my trusty (now not so trusty) Dell XPS m1330 laptop. It seems I’ve fallen foul of the known defect in some of the Nvidia cards shipped by Dell. I’ve had my machine just about 18 months now and I’ve always loved it. In recent weeks though the screen started flickering randomly, I got funky blue lines all over the place that make you think you’re having an acid flashback, and finally it packed in completely. Dell released BIOS updates last year to try and limit the damage this problem would cause, I upgraded to them quickly but it seems it hasn’t saved me. Now when you turn on the power the display doesn’t really show anything, after a few mins you just get weird vertical lines on the screen. It can’t be used at all sadly. I thought about making a video of what it does but then I found there were already videos all over Youtube of the same thing. I’m naturally lazy and I’m not going to duplicate the effort, so you can see what happens in the video below.
Having read up a lot on the problem and seen many other people complaining on the net, I was confident Dell would fix it. They’ve extended the warranty on all machines affected by this problem for an extra year, which is just as well because being cheap I only paid for the basic 1 year warranty, and that ran out months ago. The free extended cover only applies to this one issue but I don’t think you can complain at that, and it’s a good response from Dell. So today I rang up their technical support to see what they could do. I was expecting to be kept on the line for hours at a premium rate while they established if I was smart enough to “press the big red power button” or something equally mind numbing. I was pleasantly surprised by the response I got. I simply explained that I knew it was the Nvidia defect, I’d done research and also knew about the extended warranty.
Dell Tech Support: “Ok, how about we send an engineer to replace the parts for you on Friday?”
Me: “Great, thanks… for free though?”
Dell Tech Support: “Yes, for this Nvidia issue. Any other problems won’t be covered free”
Me: “No I understand that, it’s out of warranty. Thanks very much”
That was it. I was on the phone about 5 minutes and this was virtually the first thing the girl said to me. It was quite late when I rang (about 6pm) and if I’d rung earlier they could have sent someone to my house the next day probably. I just wanted to share my experience quickly because many of us are quick to criticise companies (myself included) and call them out, but we don’t take the time to mention when they get things right. I was really impressed with the service and while the machine isn’t fixed yet – I’m not counting any chickens – I certainly can’t complain. I’ll report back with how I get on after Friday but I hope to have a fully working laptop again soon, then I can get back to distro hopping and writing ASAP.
Normal service will be resumed shortly…