Dell Offers Refunds On Intel Sandy Bridge PCs - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

Dell Offers Refunds On Intel Sandy Bridge PCs

Customers who bought computers with the defective Series 6 chipset can return them or wait until April for a motherboard replacement.

Dell customers who bought PCs running Intel's flawed chipset that shipped with its second-generation Core processors have the option of returning the computers or having the motherboard replaced in April.

Dell made the announcement Wednesday in the company's blog. The computer maker had said earlier that four products were sold with the defective technology: the XPS 8300, Vostro 460, Alienware M17x R3, and Alienware Aurora R3. All four PCs have been removed from Dell's Web site.

Intel announced Monday that the 6 Series chipset that supports its latest Core CPUs, called Sandy Bridge, contained a design flaw that could cause the performance of a PC's hard disk drive or DVD player to degrade over time. Intel says it shipped 8 million of the chipsets and is currently ramping up production of replacements, which the company plans to start shipping late this month. The company expects to be in full-production mode in April.

Dell expects to have the replacement chipsets from Intel in early April, when it will start shipping the new motherboards. Customers will be able to take their PCs to an authorized service provider to have the motherboard replaced at no charge. Customers also have the option of returning the PC.

Dell is not the only PC maker contending with the fallout from Intel's snafu. Rival HP says it is "reevaluating" the scheduled release dates of its Sandy Bridge-based PCs. HP customers have the option of returning affected PCs for a comparable product or refund. Samsung Electronics is also offering refunds and NEC has delayed the release of four new models, according to media reports.

Intel says the design flaw will cost the company $1 billion in lost revenue and higher expenditures in fixing the problem. The last time Intel suffered a serious setback from a faulty product was in 1994, when a flaw discovered in its Pentium processor led to a pre-tax charge of $475 million against earnings. Critics at the time accused Intel of playing down the problem and not moving fast enough to fix it.


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