I have been hesitant to post because I am so completely flummoxed with Dell and the tech support team, but hey after logging 10 + hours with them I finally realized the this can be soothing for the heart.
I purchased a Dell 2010 Refurb on July 9, 2009. I went through a myriad of problems that were misdiagnosed (replacing perfectly good hardware when the issue was clearly software etc.) In October 2009 I called in with a real hardware issue where the mean would give power good and then not move to BIOS. It sat with a blank black screen. None of the usual culprits identified themselves in the troubleshooting (Video Card, RAM, Processor, etc.) It just sat black and the conclusion was motherboard. However, while troubleshooting I notice a loose HDD and screws attaching the board. I tightened up all that I could find did a whoopty dance (you must spin around 3x in front of the machine while torn down and yell WHOOPTY). At the conclusion of the ceremony the machine booted and ran fine.
Until May 2010.
No whoopty dance and no MB replacement by the Dell CONTRACT Service Person would bring it back so I was offered a total rebuild of this machine (3-4 weeks downtime or an exchange). . .yep you guessed it a screaming M17x-R2 was sent to my home . . .
Even though I specifically asked for confirmation prior to shipping, and yes it is a no-brainer that the Alienware is far superior to the XPS hardware due to current technological advancements, Dell just shipped without following through with a phone call. My issue on this is that I ordered the 2010 because of the 20" monitor and detachable kb. The M17x-R2, eye candy and all, is still a 17" Laptop. But they shipped it and I start thinking about mobile presentations and teaching with this beast - perhaps buying a detachable kb and relying on a normal projector.
Of course that was before the problem over warranty transfer and problems with the hardware.
On Day 1: after a Windows update I lost the camera and microphone (bundled in the LCD). Tech Support removed the drivers and because Win7 Home Premium did not automatically reinstall on reboot concluded that it is surely h/w (BTW if you need the camera replaced/mike I am told now the the entire LCD gets replaced).
On Day 2: I manually reinstalled the drivers and cancelled the Service Request.
Next, I made the absurd request to have a brand new machine come with the 1 yr. manufacture warranty + my 2 year CompleteCare, Nights and Weekend On-Site extended warranty (which has yet to be used), Dell XPS tech support stated unequivocally that I cannot do that. I was told, as they tell everyone from what I have read here, that I have only the balance from original purchase. I offered to pay for the year but the system kicked up a ridiculous number of $600.00.
In the meantime, to offset this and make me happy Tech support offered to go with H/W upgrades of RAM and a dual video set-up on the ATI 5870.
Now for the real question (I hope somebody out there feels my pain) which is is the next post -
BTW Alienware concluded the the newest problem (described in my next post) is a H/W issue and I have been authorized another exchange. This causes me great concern in thinking that I can get 3 years out of this or any other Dell.
from XPS2010 --> to Alienware M17x-R2
CC OSD V_113
I7-720QM, 1.6, 6MB, Clarksfield, B1
8GB1333MHZ, 512X64, 8K, 200 DIMM
ATI 5870 CrossX
Dell 8.692.2.0 (2/3/2010)
ATI HD Audio
IDT HD Audio Codec
Seagate 320GB 7200
Dvd+/-Rw, 8X, Sony Nec Optiarc Inc
Keyboard or Mouse
Win7 Ultimate 64b (Anytime Upg from Alienware Win7 Home Premium)