The work PC died this weekend preventing me from updating some important documents and getting stuff done. I had the latest iteration on my desktop and I don’t have the same version of Office on my Mac and although I could have worked with the documents on iPad (after a rigmarole of connecting to the server over VPN, grabbing the outdated doc, adding the bits I’d added and then adding the new stuff), I just left it until Monday morning.
So, the PC now boots, hangs with a graphics driver problem, the screen goes like the picture below and then slowly everything fades to white before it reboots automatically. I’ve called DELL and they inform me that the machine was bought on 27th July 2008 and the warranty expired on 27th July 2009. They did have an extended warranty for an additional year because of a known graphics card issue with the machine but I’m 13 days over that so I’m not going to get any joy from that (I have called to complain about the potential £440 bill to have the motherboard replaced on a two-year old out-of-warranty machine) but it really leaves me looking at a different manufacturer for a replacement laptop.
I am awaiting a callback from DELL as I think they should cover this under the extended warranty for the known fault especially as they replaced the motherboards on two other identical laptops in the office during the last 4 weeks. All of them had the same fault.
I’ve had a few other suggestions. £440 goes a long way towards buying a new machine rather than repairing an old one. One suggestion was to construct my own frankenlaptop with an Atom 330 motherboard which apparently costs around €90. And then the rest. And the cost of your time to assemble it. So that works out if your time is worth nothing or, if like many geeks, you enjoy the jigsaw puzzle of putting hardware together and then getting software to work on it. I do not. Then there’s the issue that the Atom330 puts out about 3300 MIPS per core and the current machine (which I still feel is a bit pokey) puts out 16549 MIPS. I know MIPS isn’t a great benchmark but it’s one of many benchmarks. Atom machines just feel sluggish. Your needs may vary.
So I’m left wondering what to do. If DELL won’t honour their extended warranty then I’ll be in the market for something fast.