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March 13th, 2024 15:57

x14 R1, Advice Needed

Really frustrated with my Dell Alienware x14 (r1) 32 GB RAM, i7, 1 TB, 3060. Are they all lemons? What is your experience?

It's a little less than a year old with premium support and has been to the depot 3 times for a new mainboard after Dell diagnosis, plus other issues along the way (just to keep me guessing, I suppose). Just got my x14 lemon back this past weekend and it had one new heat sink and one new fan as well but wouldn't install (Dell) software, so more troubleshooting and Windows 11 was "corrupt" but couldn't reinstall it because the Dell Depot had not put a recovery partition on after the wipe and the BIOS was set up incorrectly for this laptop, so that was 14 hours of my time and 4 hours of dell time on the phone and remote into my x14 that I will never get back or get paid for.

These "send to the Depot" events take over a week and require tens of hours of my time removing data and reinstalling data and applications, and has required follow-up support time with Dell online. I have the tech support records (and three of the boxes they send the computer back in). It's a drain, a time drain, a money drain, I can't do work ... well, about a month outage at this point.

And, yes, they do have in-home service. My experience with home service has not been great on previous computers. Those guys were great to talk to about setting up home networks, experience with UNIX and Linux, and good old-time computing fun. But, they were not so great at repairing consumer-level electronics. I had a technician lose two laptop screws. Another broke two tabs for putting the laptop back together. One of them significantly overused the paste coolant they use on the processor and gummed up a lot of the inside of my mainboard. And, when I called the first time on this x14, the Dell technician strongly recommended and urged me to not use at-home service and to use the Depot. Plus, I want the best work done.

What happens when my warranty expires? Is the quarterly replacement of the mainboard then on my dime? What does that cost?

I've had a bunch of Dells since the 90s. I am not in a position to bankroll this lemon of a laptop. Are mainboard failures, the replacement of 3 mainboards, and such issues, common in the Alienware x14? Are they just replacing my current mainboard with the one they took out last time? Is the entire model just prone to critical failures? And, support will keep replacing mainboards (happily) but won't do anything else. What have you all done?

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