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Grrrr! Laptops!

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June 27, 2011 11:19:36 AM

Hi there all.

(Apologies in advance to the rant you shall bear if you continue...)

I bought a Dell XPS m1730 SLi 9800M GT laptop from a dell seller on eBay about 1-1/2 years ago. It has gone defunct. And from what I've read it is either my GPUs or mobo (and yes, I've done many tests to diagnose the problem, narrowing down the possibilities). The quality of manufacturing isn't great for a laptop that - when new - was worth over £2000. The electronics industries do have the inexorable tendencies to give you bad products. If I bought a guitar, or a car, or whatever else that was at the "top of the range" I would expect robustness, reliability and quality for my hard earned cash. But no. What I have received is a leech on my finances and a piece of engineering that would insult the use of John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley's invention - the transistor.

For a dell technician to even "diagnose" the problem it would cost me about £40. If I wanted to actually do anything about it (the mobo or GPUs) we're looking at over £150. My laptop hardware skills aren't great so I wouldn't be confident in doing a DIY jobby. Moreover, many people have sent out their m1730s and have it returned in a wreck. Scratch marks all over the keyboard panel and small starfish like scratches surrounding the screw holes beneath (due to the manual dexterity of a slug that the repair teams are clearly gifted with). Even more people have their laptops returned only to have it perform the same errors, needing to send it off again, get it diagnosed again, and have to pay £100+ for another mobo...again, which solves the problem most of the time, meanwhile a technician - unintentionally - scratches a work of art into the body work with his undersized screwdriver.

I am gravely disappointed with both Dell and the electronics industry in general having failed to repair my laptop at great expense to me, despite the emphasis on "quality" that they use as their main selling point. Unfortunately my warranty has expired now so I can't just claim a whole new lappy. In fact, that's quite the coincidence. Laptops seeming to expire just after their warranties, however I could be being unfair on the huge, billion pound multi-national corporations. Maybe we just don't hear about the people who actually get what they wanted because they have their problems solved and don't need to write tedious rants on an obscure (yet brilliant) internet forum...

I've lost faith in Computer manufacturers, electronics and large companies now. There is a vague and far-fetched point to this topic other than to indulge my good self though. I firstly wanted to know if it is actually practical to build your own laptop (I know it is with desktops, I've made several myself), and if not are there any laptop companies that ARE reliable, offer good service and produce QUALITY products. I am probably (definitely) bias against this view though. My brother has got to the point where he is saying that a laptop that lasts 3 years is good. It somehow doesn't seem overly just to the consumers that they need to dish out £200-£3000+ for laptops every 3-4 years. (In fact, laptop life span estimates average at about 2 years).

From hence forth I think I will simply make my own computers so I know exactly what goes wrong when things go awry. I would also be getting more "bang-for-my-buck" if I did this by quite a long distance. I hope more of you come and post your experiences on the thread so that others are aware of the dangers in the hostile, predator rich jungle that is the computer industry.

More about : grrrr laptops

a b D Laptop
June 27, 2011 2:38:06 PM

Zodeak said:
I've lost faith in Computer manufacturers, electronics and large companies now. There is a vague and far-fetched point to this topic other than to indulge my good self though. I firstly wanted to know if it is actually practical to build your own laptop (I know it is with desktops, I've made several myself), and if not are there any laptop companies that ARE reliable, offer good service and produce QUALITY products. I am probably (definitely) bias against this view though. My brother has got to the point where he is saying that a laptop that lasts 3 years is good. It somehow doesn't seem overly just to the consumers that they need to dish out £200-£3000+ for laptops every 3-4 years. (In fact, laptop life span estimates average at about 2 years).

From hence forth I think I will simply make my own computers so I know exactly what goes wrong when things go awry. I would also be getting more "bang-for-my-buck" if I did this by quite a long distance. I hope more of you come and post your experiences on the thread so that others are aware of the dangers in the hostile, predator rich jungle that is the computer industry.

well I'll pick your post apart and offer some of my opinions:
1. Lost faith in large companies - you are absolutely right, large companies nowadays are byproduct of capitalism, and the worst part about them is because they are so huge, there's so little consumers can do to them. I agree with this wholeheartedly, but there's little that can be done to alleviate the problem. Which is why I, personally, turned to smaller companies for better service.

In my personal experience with dell, I too had a xps 1210m, it lasted me a good 5 years, thankfully the little problem I had with the keyboard happened while the thing was on warranty, so even though it took 3 tech visits at my residence and then shipping the laptop off to the service center anyway, I did get pretty much a whole new laptop out of it (they replaced the hand rest and motherboard + cooling system, which accounts for pretty much 90% of the insides of that laptop). So, I can tell you I'm not impressed with dell's finish quality, or the technician's aptitude at diagnosing the problem over 3 bloody visits. But overall, I got $2k worth out of that laptop and it's still working to this day, although it doesn't look as pleasing as I would like it to look, but such is wear and tear. And don't get me wrong, I'd keep using it if I didn't want to play newer games like dragon age 2 or COD:black ops. (I know those aren't the latest games, but they couldn't run on the xps) So I switched because of the fact that I needed a better GPU, but if I continued to use the laptop for regular media, internet and office applications, hell it could probably last me another 2-3 years easily, and consider that this wasn't a gaming laptop to begin with anyway, so the fact that it lasted as long as it did and it was able to satisfy my gaming needs through its lifetime, I think it was a fairly decent purchase on my part. Although, I will have to consider that I purchased the xps before dell bought out alienware, so at the time, xps was their top of the line, which it is no longer.

2. As far as I know, it is not practical to build a laptop on your own, as opposed to desktop market, sadly you won't save much money on putting the thing toghether yourself. Reason being is that it's bloody hard to get the actual parts that you want for it, and when you do manage to find them you will have to pay arm and leg to get it shipped to you. Biggest issue is probably with the chassis though, there are very few starter kits available out there and a major manufacturer won't just sell one of their cases to you on a retail basis.
More bang for your buck, well yes, you can probably save some money on build services, as far as bang for your buck, unless you get parts significantly cheaper than major resellers, I doubt you'll save much here, after all you are still purchasing from the same companies the same parts that some company would purchase and then resell it to you.
So, summary: can you do it? yes you can. is it worth it? not worth the time you'll spend.

3. It doesn't seem overly just to dish out $2k every 2-3 years? Absolutely not, question is, why are you dishing out that much for a non-gaming laptop? From my experience, those cheaper ass models for $600 or so, do last only about 3-4 years. But if you spend $2k+ for a laptop it better last at least 4 years. I don't know exactly what befell your machine, but when purchasing an expensive piece of equipment I make sure that I get quality parts on the inside. and this comes right into the 4th point I'd like to make

4. When shopping for quality PC and you're looking to spend upwards of $1.5k, I think, this is where boutique custom vendors come into play. There's quite a few advantages that I see in using them:
- they are a smaller company, so when you wish to place an order you can call them up, speak to a live person who is able to speak proper english and ask them in depth questions that they won't struggle to answer.
- smaller company also means their tech support is local and speaks proper english, listens to your problem when you call them, instead of asking questions from a script
- this is the best part, very good customization options on the laptop system you're looking to purchase. You get to pick exactly what goes into your laptop, you get to see ahead of time what the casing looks like from all sides. Some of these companies even have videos that show you the laptop's features.
So to answer your questions if there are quality companies out there? yes there are boat loads of companies, all of them use the parts from major manufacturers like intel, nvidia, amd, WD, etc, etc. you get the idea, the companies that you get the best quality from are the ones that make sure their hardware works properly before they ship it to you.

5. "...so that others are aware of the dangers in the hostile, predator rich jungle that is the computer industry"
this made me smile a little, the same thing can be said about ANY industry in this world, not just computer. Every day there are people you interact with that are just looking to rip you off, free market capitalism basically results in a pool of sharks you have to swim through. And the funniest thing, the less money you got the more chances to get ripped off.
June 27, 2011 3:08:05 PM

Re 1. It's good to hear that there are smaller businesses about, competing with the big names. Unfortunately, whether through my own ignorance or the large corporations bottle-necking the smaller companies, I haven't really heard of many. Where I live, UK, Devon, there is a company called Novatech which is fantastic, but they don't really specialise in selling custom made laptops - they're more a component vendor for desktops. I mean they DO sell laptops just not the sort I
would need or want.

Re 2. It's a shame that laptops aren't as....uhhhh....customisable via buying its key constituents - compared to desktops.

Quote:
3. It doesn't seem overly just to dish out $2k every 2-3 years? Absolutely not, question is, why are you dishing out that much for a non-gaming laptop? From my experience, those cheaper ass models for $600 or so, do last only about 3-4 years. But if you spend $2k+ for a laptop it better last at least 4 years. I don't know exactly what befell your machine, but when purchasing an expensive piece of equipment I make sure that I get quality parts on the inside. and this comes right into the 4th point I'd like to make


Yeah I see your point, I mean why would someone continuously buy a laptop like that every few years? But my point was that my laptop WAS worth over £2000 but still failed. I always do stacks of research before i buy anything of real value, but I clearly didn't do enough. If I did more I would have realised that the M1730 is a very unreliable model at a high price (implying greater quality, and, reliability). I think I will use your advice in the future and research each compartment WITHIN the laptop, and not the whole thing in one review or on a few forums.

And for your final point I thank you. I did try to make the post at least a little amusing, despite the fairly serious issues. But you are completely right come to think of it, I guess I always knew this though, I mean I have first hand experience at car-boot sales and the sheer number of scamming, traitorous, back-stabbing, lousy, lying con-artists is unbelievable. In those situations I have learned to just figure out the chaff from the wheat. Thanks for the lengthy reply btw ;) 


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