Nine Months of Faulty Dell Notebooks

BOSTON (03/08/2000) - A problem with memory cards in Dell Computer Corp. notebooks that were sold for nine months, from February to November 1999, was discovered only two weeks ago. Since then Dell has been sending letters to customers acknowledging the problem and offering help.

The Dell notebooks affected include the Latitude CPiA, CPiR, CPt, CPx and CS models, as well as the Inspiron 3500, 3700, 7000 and 7500 models.

As one of the world's largest PC vendors, with annual revenue of US$25.3 billion, Dell claims to be the market-share leader for notebooks. But there is no way of knowing how many flawed machines have been sold, said Rob Crawley, a spokesman at Dell's headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.

The flawed memory cards are of the RAM (random access memory) type and they can cause data to be corrupted or lost, and the computer to crash.

"I cannot say who the supplier of the memory card is, but I can say that they do not supply exclusively to Dell," said Crawley. In other words, there may be other corrupt memory cards out on the market.

When a notebook goes into suspend or sleep mode, it either suspends to memory or suspends to disk. When it suspends to memory, the flaw in these cards causes the machine to crash when the user wakes it to resume working.

Dell has developed an application that can test notebooks for the affected memory. The application can be downloaded from Dell's customer support Web site and Dell will deliver new RAM modules to affected users.

Dell showed record figures for their notebook sales today, with a 57 percent growth year-over-year, according to a press release. Dell also extended its lead in the U.S. market for portable PC sales to medium-size and large businesses, growing its market share to 30.3 percent, according to the same release. Dell declined to specify the dollar figure for the sales.

Dell Corp., in Round Rock, Texas, can be reached at +1-512-723-5512 on the Web at http://www.dell.com.

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