Dell XPS M1330 – A Year In

Product reviews are always a double edged sword. They are mostly written after a short amount of time (relative to the useful life) with the product, in order to inform interested early adopters. On the other hand, the short time also means there are things that can’t be thoroughly tested, like reliability. After over a year with the Dell XPS M1330, loving the laptop, blundering through a GPU failure, and having people tell me that my review should be updated with the developments of the NVIDIA GPU defect, it’s time to provide the entire ownership experience.

The M1330 was one of the most talked about Dell laptops pre-launch and even today, it remains quite popular. However, many discussions of the M1330 of late labour over the NVIDIA GPU die-packaging defect and its effect on the M1330. While Dell and NVIDIA are adamant that the defect is contained and relatively rare, my experience has indicated otherwise. Two friends own M1330’s with the 8400M GS and two friends own M1530’s with the 8600M GT. Over the past year, those two M1330’s, along with mine, have all had their mainboards replaced due to dead GPUs. The two M1530’s haven’t run into any problems thus far. I certainly don’t mean to imply that there is a 100% defect rate for 8400M GS equipped M1330’s. It simply points to some bad luck and coincidence, but also indicates a wider-ranging problem than Dell is letting on with the laptop. Statistics demands it.

When Dell first acknowledged the GPU defect via the Direct2Dell blog, it was towards the end of my summer university semester. Hoping to avoid any problems associated with the GPU, I preemptively called Dell support to see if I could purchase a warranty extension. After my explanation of the NVIDIA defect, and hoping I could get a cheap extension as a result, perhaps around $100 for a year, I was quoted $300 for a single year or a ‘promotional’ price of slightly over $550 for two years of standard coverage. Unable to control my laughter, I asked how much an out-of-warranty repair was: $250. I decided to take my chances.

My next step was to attempt a replacement of the possibly defective GPU with a defect-free one. Citing standard warranty procedures, technical support informed me that the GPU would only be replaced if it could be diagnosed as defective within the warranty period. No amount of explanation (or Direct2Dell references) was able to change their mind.

Now, fast forward to the middle of final exams, and literally two days after my warranty had expired. Poof. My M1330 boots to a screen filled with colorful vertical lines. Dell technical support forwarded me onto out of warranty repairs, despite pleas to make an exception, both due to the defect as well as being so close to the warranty window. But seeing as I was up the creek without a paddle, I decided to tough it out. I was in the middle of exams and I wouldn’t have the repair completed before they ended in any case. In the meantime, I found myself in a seriously awkward position. Being a computer engineering student, well, my computer was a priceless tool for my studies. I was fortunate enough that a friend had a laptop he could loan me, allowing me to continue studying. Clearly frustrated with Dell, I posted a stinging but professional comment at Direct2Dell, stating my displeasure.

As a result of the comment, I was contacted by a community liaison, who informed me that he would set me up with someone who could help me with my issue, despite being out of warranty. I was pleased by the turn of events and thanked him profusely.

That is, until a week passed and I had heard nothing back from anyone at Dell.

Shortly afterward, Direct2Dell posted some information about a 1 year warranty extension for systems affected by the NVIDIA defect. I was absolutely relieved that I hadn’t purchased the exorbitantly priced warranty extension and would soon have my laptop repaired through normal channels.

With warranty extension information in hand, I called technical support, and despite pointing out the Direct2Dell post, I was again denied warranty service. Technical support knew nothing about the warranty extension and would not repair the laptop under warranty. Some more emails to the community liaison turned up the fact that he’d been on vacation and hadn’t realized that nobody had contacted me yet. He assured me he’d ‘track down’ who was responsible. Then more silence.

I was seriously stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was nearly three weeks without a working laptop and I still had no indication that anyone was even willing to help, despite two potential solutions. It was at this point that I did something I promised myself I wouldn’t.

Since purchasing my M1330, I had been in contact with a product manager at Dell, who took interest in some things I’d written about the laptop. We built up a friendly relationship over the past year, which I valued. It was based on mutual respect and I didn’t want to jeopardize it by using him as a backdoor resource. Yet, given the situation, I saw little alternative. I contacted him in his official capacity as a Dell employee, voicing my displeasure.

Not expecting any less from a person of his character, I received a timely response. He had personally contacted some resources to see what was happening. Not long afterward, both the community liaison and an executive support representative contacted me regarding repairs.

There was still one more obstacle. Even several weeks after the acknowledgment of the GPU defect, it still wasn’t clear if the defective NVIDIA chips had worked their way out of Dell’s supply chain. Questions to that effect to Lionel Menchaca of Direct2Dell fame were either curiously sidestepped or simply brushed aside, with an explanation that the warranty extension would cover any issues with the GPU. The non-denial certainly sounded like the replacements would still be with possibly defective parts.

I attempted to ascertain from the support representative whether the replacement parts were defect free. All I got in response was some nonsensical explanation that GPU errata were common and that this one had been fixed. As a note, an erratum is a logic error within a computational device, something that is indeed fairly common, but causes only computational errors (which can lead to system instability and corruption). The weak die and substrate packaging material was a hardware defect that could cause physical, hardware failure, not an erratum. I was disappointed that even an executive support representative was either misinformed or thought they could slip one by the customer. Not having much choice regardless (I couldn’t even downgrade to the integrated Intel video if I wanted to), I went ahead with the repair.

Really the only bright spot of the experience was the surprisingly quick turnaround time for the return to depot repair service, which took less than a week, round trip, with both to and from shipping paid for by Dell. I’m now using the still functioning system to write this update. It’s held up okay so far and I’m crossing my fingers for the next year or so that I’ll use this laptop.

When everything is said and done, the main point here is that Dell is treating the situation as if everything were business as usual. Unfortunately with the defect, that’s simply not the case. I’d like to hear a confirmation that parts being used in new systems are defect-free. Otherwise, even with the warranty extension, the 8400M GS could still be a ticking time bomb in the M1330. I also would have liked to avoid the 4+ weeks without a laptop. I asked for a reasonably priced warranty extension due to the defect and was rejected. I asked for an in-warranty replacement of the stated defective GPU and was denied on the basis that it hadn’t yet showed symptoms. This would be acceptable under normal circumstances, but not when there’s an acknowledged manufacturing defect. Those 4 weeks without a working M1330 worked out to 8% of the ownership time of the laptop at that point. If a new car had to spend 8% of its first year with a mechanic, I’d be livid.

I’d like to see better communication between the different branches of Dell. While communications can be difficult in a large company, the disconnect between Direct2Dell, which is supposed to be an official voice of Dell, and technical support was simply unacceptable.

Finally, it’s time for Dell to stop hiding behind the problem. While there were numerous frantic bouts of finger pointing in NVIDIA’s general direction, the customer purchased the finished product from Dell. Dell needs to be responsible for the ups and downs of the product life cycle. I don’t go knocking on Synaptic’s door if the touch wheel on my iPod dies. I go to an Apple store. It’s the same thing here. One of the advantages of ordering a pre-built computer is that there’s a central point of contact for any problems. I expect that support system to be there when issues occur. Of course, it’s important to note that Dell isn’t the only manufacturer affected. HP and Apple have both acknowledged the issue as well.

The Dell XPS M1330 is a great laptop, unfortunately affected by the NVIDIA GPU defect. While I’d like to believe that the defective GPUs have worked their way out of inventory, there’s been no official confirmation either way. With the warranty extension well established at this point, you can be pretty certain that any issues will be resolved; however it doesn’t eliminate the fact that you could still run into hardware issues in the first place.

59 thoughts on “Dell XPS M1330 – A Year In”

  1. Impressive that your review and subsequent product analyses gains attention from the actual companies. I guess that’s a kudos to your writing style.

    Just wanted to let you know an interesting tid bit surrounding the motherboard replacement. From start to finish, disassembling and reassembling the computer for a motherboard replacement took about 45 minutes to an hour. That’s like at most 10 laptops replaced (or 20 laptops assembled) per worker per day. Crazy…

    1. I’m another customer of Dell victimized by the problem with faulty NVIDIA video card in Dell’s XPS M1330 laptop . I’ve just emailed the two law firms Sam Wen mentions in his October 15, 2009 posting – let’s see how that goes.

      1. Please let me know if there is a lawsuit in this case. My motherboard on a xps m1330 purchased May 2009 just died. I had been experiencing some image problems in the weeks prior. Dell was well aware of these problems prior to my purchase and sold me a defective machine anyway.

  2. Impressive product analysis indeed.

    I have the same problem with my M1330 that I had purchased 11 months ago. Such a great laptop, though, but the vertical lines and the total failure of the M1330’s system left me with no recourse two months ago leaving me empty handed for my research project and after reading all the related posts regarding the graphics-motherboard problem and the constant same failure every after some time I decided not to be bothered of the warranty repair at all. Instead, I was hoping that Dell would be able to release a new and reliable replacement motherboard for it.

  3. Dell still didn’t fix the problem. I got my motherboard replaced twice with the latest revision (A06) and new heatsinks/fans and my graphics card is still overheating, although the heat may be because of another issue. Graphics card is idling at 60-65C and going as high as 105-110C when I am playing a game. Watching a flash video, it goes as high as 85-90C.

    I am also getting these random horizontal bars appear in 1 vertical section of the screen. Seems to happen when the laptop gets too hot.

    I am getting a new laptop from Dell and going to try and sell it off as soon as possible. I don’t want to continuously baby this thing.

  4. I had this exact problem back in Early Summer. Glad it got fixed then. I’ve also bout my Wife and my Mother in law one of these XPS’s. My wife’s computer has had chronic hard drive corruption issues since January, and mine had the GPU Issue. 66% failure rate is a little steep.

  5. It’s interesting that TSMC, the company which produced the faulty Nvidia GPUs, was also a partner in the xbox 360 project, and produces the notorious 360 ATI xenos gpu – which causes the 360 red ring of death.

    Interesting ? Humm.

  6. I write this on my near dead 1330 – I don’t dare shut it down. Add my sympathy to all of you. I got 7 months out of my refurbished computer before it started acting up. Purchased in April 2008, this was my 5th Dell, won’t buy another one.

    XPS 1330
    8400 GS
    4MB

  7. I have a XPS M1330
    10 months into the warrenty i had the lines and they sent an engineer out with new motherboard and fixed the problem.
    Then whilst using the laptop i noticed that the fan wasnt coming on and the laptop was getting hot so i undone the case and found the engineer didnt connect the fan back up…. lol

    Now 4 months out of warrenty and the harddrive has been corrupted and i replaced that myself, as well as that i replaced the memory for 2gb.

    Now the motherboard has the AC adapter problem to which i phoned dell and ordered another adapter to find the problem still exists. I wasnt happy after spending out on adapter to be told its the motherboard that i need to replace.

    I was told i would only get 90 warrenty on replacemnt parts and that i would have to purchase a new motherboard myself.

    Great, i have a laptop which continually fails and to top it off i am still paying for it for another year yet.

    I will never buy another dell laptop again.

  8. I bought 6 PCs / laptops from Dell over the last 5 years. Unfortunately, 3 of these units are XPS 1330s, which I bought in the space of 6 months. Since then, 2 of them have failed due to the Nvidia GPU issue described above. The 3rd one is a lesser version of the other 2. After going through the repair drill / some serious coaxing on my part, Dell replaced the 2 that failed with rehab units.

    Days ago, the first of these rehab units failed again, with the same symptoms / GPU-related issues. I know have the task of once again contacting Dell about this twice-failed unit. My time is invaluable to me and I have spent maybe a total of two weeks on the phone, with repair reresentatives, following up, etc. with Dell. My word is my deed and I always do my best to do the right thing.

    At the risk of sounding naive, I do not believe Dell always tries to do so. I believe in corporate responsibility and I intend to call Dell and ask for my money back on at least the two units that have failed. If they continue to ignore / downplay / softsoap this issue, I would suggest that all of us who have dealt with their corporate hijinks in good faith consider filing a class Action suit.

  9. I support the idea of a class action lawsuit. At this point I have read over one hundred complaints about this issue that I have just now experienced myself. I have had the computer since May 08 and got the vertical bars of death in December. I will go ahead and pay for the repair but I think this is really terrible behavior from a major corporation.

    We all can accept that mistakes happen, but it looks like it will take legal action for Dell to be held accountable. A shame as there are so many easier solutions.

    Question . . . how does one initiate such a lawsuit?

  10. I am also facing the 3rd motherboard replacement for this issue in 15months. I also support the idea of a class action. If anyone else is interested please email me at dellxpslawsuitATgmailDOTcom

    Afraid I am in Australia, so not sure if this action can be taken internationally, but I am investigated.

    XPS owners need to stand up and insist on a refund or replacement with a system that is fault free.

  11. Since my post about 3 answers up i have done the following.

    Since having the AC adapter problem I have since renewed my dell warrentee, replacing the AC adapter did cure the problem but only for 2 weeks.

    Just a few minutes after renewing my warrentee i phoned tell and got them to put my system as 100% on their records, to which i was praised for phoning them several times for this feedback. My laptop was now working 100% again.
    This was cheaper than buying a new mobo from dell @ £250.
    So with them thinking the machine was working ok the next day i phoned in with a gpu problem and they sent out an engineer with a new mobo. He was useless, he never even done a diagnostics check to see if the machine would flaw under pressure.

    So after he left I put the machine through a stress test and the GPU crashed within 3 minutes.
    I left it like this for for over a week until the wife phoned and told me the laptop had totally died with smoke coming out the AC adapter hole.

    Again i was on the pjhone to Dell, they said they would send an engineer out to fix it, but i put my foot down hard and spoke to the tech guys managers manager 2 ^. I told them i want a new pc as i still had 2 years payments on this laptop to go and already it had blown up several times.

    I actually won and today it turned up.
    A quick swop of the HDD and here i am on the new M1330.
    So a quick note to those whos machines are out of warrentee, its worth the small amount to put a year on it and get it replaced. I had no questions asked or that i had only just renewed and howcome its conveniently blown up just after the renewall..

    this worked for me so i thought i would let you know.
    Of course I will keep you updated in this thread of any problems with the new M1330.

    thanks

  12. I’m waiting to send my 1330 in for the second time to replace the motherboard. The new one won’t shut down, it keeps restarting.

  13. I would get behind a lawsuit. I feel like they stole $1300 from me. I bought it at a time that they new it was full of design flaws.

    Not sure if there were enough sold to have a big enough class to get a lawyer interested.

    But the thing to do is to start posting on all the forums and collect as many names as you can.

    $1250 per unit x 50,000 units(?)= $62.5million

    Probably have to be at least that big to interest somebody. Just a guess.

  14. Rae–sorry to hear that.

    I see that Shalov Stone is suing Nvidia–but I think more on behalf of shareholders than on purchasers of product.

    Would be great to see someone suing Dell on behalf of purchasers.

    I don’t have Nvidia but my machine still fried, so I think I am probably out of luck. Suing Dell for Nvidia-based M1330’s would be the low hanging fruit.

    Good luck.

  15. A class action suit? Sounds like a good idea. I will have my first Mobo replaced next week on my M1330. But, I really like the idea of Dell taking back this laptop and either giving me a:

    * refund
    * a different model that does not have a known defect

  16. from what I have seen, even after a lawsuit all Dell has to do is extend the warranty or replace parts

    so until there was lawsuit i wouldn’t expect them to offer to replace product

    unless they were worried about their reputation, but they don’t appear to care

  17. I live in Indonesia,I have the same problem with XPS 1330, when I turn on the laptop the screen turns green with vertical lines ,then freeze, I contacted Dell service but told to contact the distributor instead.

    It seems that the problem of overheating is worldwide for this particular model.

    I wonder if replacing the mobo will solve the problem,mine is still under warranty.

  18. After one week sending to the local DELL distributor,they said the problem is in the mainboard,and they will ask DELL representative ,and told to wait 2 or 3 days.

    It seems in this part of the world DELL service is not as good as in the US ?

  19. Well, I’ve just had my XPS1330 returned for a second time from Dell after GPU related problems.

    Despite being reassured by a Dell representative that this design flaw had been “resolved” properly, the battery life on my laptop has now decreased dramatically and the fan is most certainly running more frequently than before. Ergo, they’ve just patched the BIOS as a workaround to delay the GPU fault as many XPS users have suggested. This motherboard is inevitably going to fry again.

    So here we are, in January 2009, and this problem has not gone away.

    This is completely unacceptable. If I don’t receive a satisfactory response from Dell soon I will be pushing for a refund.

    I should have bought a Mac after all.

    chris

  20. I got a refund from Dell last week minus a factory return fee. I would recommend all customers seek a refund.

    The BIOS update stressed my battery and ruined it and then still fried the motherboard. Good luck everyone!!!

  21. I contacted Dell distributor yesterday and they told me that they have identified the problem which is the motherboard,but still waiting for the parts to come.
    This is my first purchased of Dell and I am disappointed.

  22. Today I received my XPS 1330 after being repaired, I noticed they have install new BIOS A 13.I hope this will solve the inherent problem of overheating of the GPU.

    1. Just last week the battery of my Dell XPS M 1330 died,trying to find the original Dell replacement without success( I live in Indonesia,they said have to wait 3 months from Malaysia).

      So, I bought compatible battery ,but yesterday I also found that the charger also died.
      I notice after they installed BIOS A 13.1 in February 2009.The fan is running more frequent than before.

      Maybe this cause the premature malfunction of the battery and charger.

  23. Chris how long did you have your 1330 for when you returned it. I have had mine for just over a year and the motherboard has been replaced 3 times. All i want to do is return it or get enough out of it for a macbook. So how did you get them to take it back. And has anyone else had any luck returning there Dell XPS 1330.

  24. Dell will not honour warranty on a warranty transfer.
    Sequence of events –
    purchased an XPS m1330 from a friend of a friend.
    prior to purchasing, I checked the laptop and service tag #s and copied the warranty info [good till 2011].
    seller transferred ownership to us and 4 days later we received an email confirmation from Dell confirming a successful ownership transfer.
    Laptop video display starts to glitch [as noted on many forums discussing this known problem].
    Checked the service tag #s online to follow the procedure to contact Dell on this issue.
    Now, after the ownership transfer the warranty info on the service tag # doesnt exist. Nowhere to be found on the search.
    Called Dell on more than a dozen occasions and just kept getting the runaround from Dell reps in Canada, USA and India. Managers wouldnt even assist us. This was ongoing since middle of December 2008 to this date.

    Finally got someone live last week at a higher level at Dell Canada. Forwarded them our email copy of the successful ownership transfer.
    In summary here’s what they said – “sorry, we can’t help you.”

    Dell sends us a confirmed email notifying us of a successful ownership transfer on the service tag # given, and we have all the warranty documents for that service tag #. The computer video display glitches [no longer working] and you tell us:
    (1) we are not the owners – yet we have your email from your Dell Registration confirming ownership transfer,
    (2) we can’t help….

    Despite all the correct warranty documentation we have from Dell, this is all they have to say.

    A lawsuit is pending against Dell at this time.

  25. I purchased my XPS 700 from a reseller 18 months ago and it’s dead with IRQ13. Tried contacting Dell Canada without success. This is going to hurt them all around. Gamers will definitely think twice before buying a high end Dell.
    I’ve built PC’s with NVIDIA motherboards and they are still going strong. This was suppose to be the gaming box.

    Hope someone keeps me posted on this lawsuit.

  26. Does anybody know if the latest upgrades to the motherboard BIOS (which I believe is A15) have helped this issue? The representative I spoke to was categorically saying that their R&D department have *resolved* this issue properly, I believe through a combination of better heat-sink design and GPU. As for my XpS1330, it does seem “ok” now – although I’m still not convinced about the battery life. I’m getting about 2.5 – 3 hours in general use.

    Any other Xps1330 users have anything positive to report?

    chris

  27. Alright. So I also have an XPS M1330 which is less than a year old (purchased in June 2008). So far, I’ve been through three mainboard changes.

    First change: the standard defective GPU issue. Second change: the battery charger circuit on the mainboard failed and the battery was no longer charging. Third change: the whole power block on the mainboard failed.

    The only good thing about it is I have a 4 year on-cite extended warranty. I have to admit Dell has been good in sending a technician the next bussiness day to replace my mainboards.

  28. OK, I see the problem the video card fails and now it’s all Dell’s fault, if your system has a warranty call them, that is the reason I purchase my computers from Dell, yeah I spoke with people in India or wherever and they have no clue at times but 3 or 4 calls later one guy will get it, if you think you have a problem ask a friend or relative but ask someone who knows not just someone who plays WoW, listen if your video card fails get it replaced just as simple as that what’s the big deal! In the end we all have a choice so next time before purchasing a computer think twice, do you want to pay Apple for an overpriced computer with a 90 day warranty that is not compatible with any games or would you rather go with all the hundreds of options out there including building your own system? besides Dell sells good machines, the Nvidia GPU fluke it’s caused by Nvidia’s faulty product, they are the ones to blame.

    1. This is some ignorant comment. This comptuer cost over 1000 dollars. An apple comes with a one year warranty, and is a hell of a lot more reliable than this crap. And, tech support? Go to an apple store. If they see glitches like this, the computer will be replaced immediately.

      I’m by no means an Apple fan boy, but your comment is just ignorant. The complaint of this particular computer is valid, and I’m going through my own hell with it. I want Dell to refund me or replace it, so I can sell it and buy an Apple or a Thinkpad. Sure, they are overpriced, but I have guarantees that it can handle the “stress” of playing a flash video, or of running MS word.

  29. I bought Dell for the reliability and have found them unwilling to stand by their product. It is not that there was a problem with the video card that upsets me, it is that Dell knows it and will not replace the product. Next time I will probably buy an Asus or Lenovo (or Toshiba or HP or Sony or Panasonic . . . there are plenty of options outside of Apple). Plenty of companies make nicer machines and the warranty/support could be no worse. Most companies sell good machines . . . its how a company handles the flukes that is the true test. I bought Dell because I thought a company of its stature would stand by its products, big mistake.

  30. XPS M1330
    Purchased Jan 2008

    Wanting a laptop that would be good for at least 4 years I supersized everything, cost = AU$ 3,400.

    What did I get? A lemon!

    Motherboard replaced twice and still get’s very hot.
    I would sell it but no one wants it < AU$1000 on ebay I don't expect Dell will do anything more than they've done and that is fine as long as they don't expect anyone to buy a Dell. I don't blame them for the mistake, but I do blame them for the responce. Never will I buy another Dell, and working in IT friends and family ask me what to buy... not a Dell. If anyone has any good news please share it.

  31. My M1330 has been upgraded to the latest A15 BIOS. Much like the A12 I was using before, the fan seems to come on way too often, many times even when the system is barely warm.

    The replacement 6 cell battery I have charges up to less than 70% of design capacity now, which is probably reasonable given it’s been used for over a year. Battery life is all over the place though, sometimes in the range of 3 hours, but often less than 2.5. I’ve seen an extraordinarily wide range of idle power consumptions – anywhere from 10Whr to 15Whr. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason.

  32. Bought M1330 in October 2008. Since then had to replace HD twice due to failure (preceeded by the clicking and scraping noise), then the Disc Drive failed to recognise disks.Had that replaced Engineer tells me there is nothing wrong!!! Third HD now clicking. Do DELL make any decent machine which I can replace this with, as I presume they do not give refunds.

  33. I too have suffered from a video card failure and luckily was within the warranty period with a week to elapse…anyway the Dell Rep came home about 2 days later to change the motherboard. That was about a month ago, today I have a new problem, my 65W AC Adapter (UK/Ireland) version suddenly has become incompatible or insufficient to charge my battery. The message I get is ‘Please plug in a 65W adapter or more, or unplug the adapter and reseat adapter…sometimes I tried reseating the adapter with success and at other times it wouldnt do it at all…subsequently my battery died within a week and now has completely malfunctioned. The laptop powers up fine but the message keeps coming up at startup. Ive now purchased and waiting for my new battery to arrive. Meanwhile the Dell Rep has said I should upgrade my BIOS from A14 to A15 and this should be resolving the problem. however this cant be done cos when I double click the installable file for A15, I get a message saying the battery needs to be charged above 10%…and my battery has less than that…how do I upgrade my BIOS now ! my new battery wont be charged and probably wont be charged without a new BIOS being installed. Any suggestions / Advise would be appreciated a lot. Thanks

  34. Hi, my Laptop had the GPU problrm after one year, the service repaired it in one business day and forgot to connect the fan, but that was no problem to do it for them…
    On the new mainboard stood Rev A06 and Bios A14. Do you think, this solves the problem? Thank god, I bought the 4 year warranty option from the start. My friend had the same failure with his 1330. So 100% of people, who I know…

  35. Dec 07 bought 2 dell 1330, both have broken twice so i’ve had a total of 6 motherboards! Ouch someones paying for that! This one broke in Feb 09 and the call centre was great, it was out of Warrenty but fixed it as per XPS next day onsite (UK) sitting in bed with my laptop now, its running quite hot!!

  36. My Dell XPS M1330 had it hard disk replaced at 4months old. And OMG it ran soooo hot.
    Then with 2 weeks until the original warranty ran out (Feb 2009), the first display card complete failure – Dell support replace the motherboard and graphics card and heat sink.
    Thank goodness I shelled out for extended warrenty because:
    Four (4) weeks later (Mar 2009) – gone again. This time I asked for a replacement laptop as I knew by then by all the reports on the internet that this is a serious problem that will not go away. The Support Manager said they wanted to replace the part again and if the problem continued, then I could have a replacement machine. This time they replaced the motherboard and graphics card and heat sink.
    Four (4) weeks later (Apr 2009) – the display goes again and this time it is making a screaming noise. The Dell support says turn it off NOW! I ask for my replacement machine – but NO they apparently only do that if a major component needs replacing. The technician turns up and they replace – the motherboard, the display card, the heat sink, 4 GB of RAM. How does this not constitute a major component ???? There wasn’t much left that hasn’t been replace.
    And now it is May 2009 and ooops the webcam, speakers, microphone and touchpad don’t work. The technician comes again and replaces all these, installs new drivers but It still doesn’t work.
    The solutions – A new Motherboard is to be installed !!!!
    This will be 4 new motherboards and still no guarantee of the beastly thing working.
    I paid for a premium laptop. It is rubbish.
    We are now going to take legal actions – I am so over this.

    DO NOT BUY DELL – Tell everyone they do not produce reliable machines.

  37. I have also gone through 2 motherboards and the last one happened within 4 months of the first one being replaced. Now out of warranty Dell won’t touch it quoting 500 to fix. I filed a complaint with the BB in Canada and Dell still won’t do anything and consequently blocked my Dell financial revolving account. I would love to join a class action suit if there is one in Canada please let me know.

  38. And I want to join a class action suit (against Dell or Nvidia) if there’s one in the UK?

    Just had my mobo replaced but it’s running hot again already (a day later) and will surely fail soon.

    I paid about £850 ($1700 in those days!) for mine in March 2008 and want my money back or an equivalent model that is not defective.

    Take note Dell!!

  39. Dell just came to our house today to replace our motherboard. This is the 3rd time they have had to come out for a replacement. The other two times were for the display…not GPU related. This time the GPU died. Oh…and the battery completely failed in its 13th month. That is 4 failures in about 6 months! The tech told me that the have fixed the GPU overheating problem by cutting the clock frequency in half…although he could not be absolutely sure about this. Good thing we don’t need uber fast video!

    1. My 1330 died today (2 mainboard replacements). Same video issue. Unfortunately my laptop is out of warranty now. I am pretty sure I will not get it fixed as the replacement mainboard will be ridiculously priced and will still have the faulty NVidia GPU. I will never evr buy a dell again.

  40. Hey

    This is a little off topic but I bought a XPS m1330 the week before Christmas 2008 and I have had 2 hard drive failures and my optical drive has failed once scince I got it. this is my second dell in 2 years that has died. thie first was a inspiron 1520 and 1 month out of warranty the it over heated and my scrren blew followed by a motherboard failure.

    Anyways I have the three year “cover anything” warranty and I want to ask for my money back and go get a macbook. So my main question is how should i go about trying to get my money back?

    thanks in advance

    1. Your best bet is to stress the fact that repairs haven’t helped that situation, and that you’re no longer willing to put up with lost work, time, etc. Make sure you escalate, and escalate more. It’s not until pretty high up before you can actually get a refund.

      It’s a lot more difficult to get a refund than a repair (obviously), but it has been done.

      1. Thanks for the suggestion. I will keep this in mind in my phone calls and let you know when the issue is resolved.

  41. My XPS1330 died yesterday just 4 monthes after the last replacement. The motherboard burned and the loptop turned into brick. I doubt that the new motherboard I got was from the ones that Dell collected, repaired and reused. This time I won’t return the burned motherboard to them. And I sware I won’t buy any products of Dell. Dell!You gave me nightnire.

  42. For those interested, I just contacted 2 law firms about opening a class action lawsuit. If you’d like to offer your input, their email addresses are:

    sasheller@sheller.com
    lawyer@lawssb.com

    You can also check out a video of my own problems with the computer, and what the telltale signs of imminent death looks like:

  43. All my computers have been Dell. My daughter bought a XPS M-1330 after I recommended it. The graphics processor went bad just over a year of use. Dell wants more than a good computer would cost to fix it. After seven Dell computers I have bought my last. She paid over $2,400.00 for a computer and it just lasted one year. I wonder it they actually have a timer in it so that you will have to get a new one in a year. Shame on you Dell.

  44. Sorry to say that my 1330 graphics card failed as well. I paid Dell GBP 445.00 for a new motherboard because my warranty had expired about 6 months ago. Looks like i could have had my warranty extended for free because of this issue if i’d known about it in time….

    Dell replaced the motherboard (with BIOS A14) and the engineer’s parting words were “DO NOT UPGRADE TO BIOS A15”.

    I have a three month warranty with the new motherboard – again the engineer said i should extend the warranty, and that i should haggle, hard, on how much i pay for the warranty. All seems very suspect.

    I’ve emailed the lawyers (above) to see what action they are taking. I’m also going to call Consumer Direct here in the UK to see if they have helped any other UK customers out with repairs that are clearly not because of consumer negligence.

    BTW i’ve drilled more holes in the underside of the machine casing to aid ventilation, and the laptop now sits on a cooling station with fans running all the time – am not risking it!

    Good luck to everyone affected,
    Lewis

  45. My dell Xps1330’s fan is continuously running ….bios version is A14…and is getting hot. I have tried running my dell xps1330 and ibm thinkvantage at the same time and i have observed that the thinkvantage doesnt heat up….my dell just got repaired last january 2010….its very disappointing that the performance of dell is so bad…

  46. I’ve had repeated problems with my Dell XPS 1330 since it failed for the first time April 30. It was less than a year old at that point, but Dell only gave me a 90 day warranty. I had power problems before the failure–The machine would not recognize it’s own adapter. With a new mother board, it would not charge it’s own battery. With a second new motherboard, it lasted two days (which I spent reinstalling Windows to try to get my wireless connection up). Then it died again. That’s two new motherboards in a month and I’ve still got the same problem (a big plastic chunk of junk).

    Please, please, please contact me about any possible class action suit.

  47. Hey Guys , I am also stuck with this Graphics issue of XPS 1330.
    My laptop is out of warranty now. So I have to get new motherboard with my cost . But will it last ? or shall I go for new Laptop ? Has anyone’s problem resolved after changing motherboard?
    Is there any possibilty I can replaced with any other motherboard which comes with Intel or any other graphics Card?
    Any suggestion will be very helpful for me.

    Thanks

    Raj

    1. Hi Raj, When my graphics card failed in january 2010, I phoned Dell and paid for a new motherboard over the phone using my credit card, and they sent a technician very quickly who installed the new motherboard, which also has an Nvidia graphics card in it.

      Up to then i’d been running windows vista, however i upgraded to windows 7, and haven’t had any problems with either the hardware or the software since.

      My laptop always sits on an Akasa cooling stand when i use it – the Dell technician advised me to use one from now on, and commented that the ventilation on the 1330 wasn’t very good.

      The Dell technician told me that he’d replaced hundreds of other boards and alerted me to the bigger problem of the faulty batch. I’ve successfully claimed a full refund from Dell for the cost of the repair, because even though my computer was over a year out of warranty, under the terms of the Sale of Goods Act (UK) the product has to be fit for purpose for at least 5 years. Don’t let them tell you that your computer was not part of the batch of faulty Nvidia graphics chips, when your computer has clearly suffered the same failure as computers with faulty Nvidia graphics chips – this was the knee-jerk response i received from their call centers! The Consumer Credit Act (UK) makes your credit card company also liable for goods purchased on credit, so you can involove them as well to put more pressure on Dell to refund you the full cost of the repair.

      And finally, write to Dell’s directors and tell them about the problem and that you want a refund – they hate nothing more than getting complaint letters about faults with their products. Don’t be rude – just state that your machine has suffered the same fault as potentially thousands of others (include links to websites like this one and youtube where others have reported the problem) to prove that you have researched the extent of the problem.

      Good luck
      Lewis

  48. XPS M1330 purchased Sept. 07 for approx $2k for one year around the world trip. GPU failure 4 months later in Thailand. Dell support unable to coordinate a direct to factory return and resend arrangement to allow us to continue to use it on trip. (complex requirement to have it shipped back and forth from a Canadian address which rendered it useless for the purpose of our trip) Bough cheap ACER on trip -still working – and picked up 1330 on return to Canada – where similar machines were now selling for $1k. Failed again – same GPU same issue – 2 days ago. Dell looking for $500k to repair.

    Long time Dell user here – 4 to 5 machines to date. Wife and 2 kids in line for new/first computers. Normally would be Dell – but never again! Also determine corporate IT purchase policies at work – $100k per annum or so and previously always Dell. Guess what – not so much anymore. Lastly going out of my way to tell friends, family and aquaintances of shoddy fraudulent treatment from Dell on this unit and this problem

    Odd business model for Dell!

  49. Same problem – vertical lines, overheating? – sending back to Dell to the tune of $553.50 plus the $59 fee for Dell to agree with me that there is a problem with the video card.

    Maybe time for a MAC……

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