Milhouse Van Houten wrote:
> You probably already know, but this has been a major problem on Dell's
> forums. People are "bricking" their systems left and right, and Dell has
> yet to offer any kind of improved flash mechanism to improve the situation.
> Per another post, backing up the BIOS doesn't help, nor retrying the
> flash. It's simply gone to the great beyond, and there's nothing for it
> but to replace the board.
> Unfortunately with many Dells, there are quite valid reasons to flash,
> like a problem on the Dimension C521/E521 line in which the system
> frequently will not boot (from its own hard drive) if a USB hub is
> plugged in (I've seen it happen with a USB drive as well).
> Given that you can spare the computer for a day or two, I recommend
> everyone flash their Dells about a week or two before your warranty is
> up. Worst case you'll have the latest firmware at the last opportunity
> to do it with nothing to lose; best case you'll get a new motherboard,
> maybe even a later hardware revision/model.
> It's kind of funny, but throughout the late 90's into the early 00's, I
> flashed countless Asus and Abit systems with nary a problem. In later
> years, I also flashed my Intel board many times without a hitch. Dell is
> the #1 PC maker in the country, but in 2007 they can't seem to get it
<CHOP original post, noticing you top-posted....>
Just a smidge off topic, but I felt it should be said.
I cannot stop name-brand PCs from being sold. I don't want to be
accused of stopping it. But there is an OBVIOUS problem with buying
name-brand PCs (Dell, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Asus...).
At the very least -- they cheat you on warranty. Let me explain this.
A white-box (custom built, no name-brand) PC will have industry standard
equipment installed, will have the manufacturer's warranty for all parts
of the PC, and starts crapware free. I priced the cheapest Dell PC
(without any modifications) and the closest white-box PC from my
favorite online retailer, identically. The white-box PC was higher in
cost. About US$150 higher. The white-box would contain the same OS,
OEM license from Microsoft, and almost all peripherals (Note: I couldn't
find a duplicate sound card, Dell offered a 7.1 sound, and I only found
a 5.1 available).
The white-box was having Retail/OEM warranties ranging from 1 year to
lifetime, without adding anything extra. Typical warranty on the
white-box was 2 years for all items in the box, averaged. Dell was
offering the PC with only a 1 year warranty. This was counting
identical hardware (Manufacturer and model numbers). I added a 3 year
warranty to the Dell and I got the white-box still about US$20 cheaper
in price. If nothing else, the warranty on memory for lifetime would
beat Dells warranty when the PC was out of warranty.
Typical warranties on the equipment that fails the most: Hard drives
and CD-ROM/DVD drives. Hard drives are between 3-5 years, and
CD-ROM/DVDs were all mostly 1 year. And my experience has been that if
an equipment lasts it's OEM warranty, it will last MUCH longer, or
forever until it's outdated (such as 650MB CDs have been outdated in
favor of 700MB CDs and DVD Dual Layers (8.5GB)).
The BIOS upgrading, the drivers
, and the software you run on a
name-brand PC are valid and work most of the time. The same drivers and
software work on a white-box, and the BIOS updates have never failed for
me, given you download and apply the update correctly (Follow the
Then there's the incompatibility layer with Non-Windows operating
systems. For those who do not know, I run BSD systems instead of the
popular Linux-based systems. Both BSD and Linux prefer hardware that is
more industry standard and compliant. So if you ever want to run a BSD
or Linux-based system, all white-boxes are actually preferred over
name-brand PCs which may take shortcuts and/or removing
industry-standard components that are expected in a PC.
I found in this little discovery, the following:
1) Name-brand PCs may be cheaper and more attractive, but they short you
on the warranty (even if it's the memory warranty alone) for the same
equipment a white-box has.
2) Name-brand PCs not industry standard. So a major component fails
after the name-brand warranty warranty expires, you pay an incredibly
high dollar amount to replace it.
3) Name-brand PCs take shortcuts and remove basic functionality out of
the system that makes Non-Windows (if you're ever interested) systems
possibly difficult or impossible to operate and run.
4) White-boxes can be cheaper, with a longer warranty.
5) White-boxes are industry standard, so replacing a motherboard or
another major component is childs play.
6) White-boxes are being offered as barebones kits, just add a couple of
items to perfect your system! This can save money and have an
attractive looking PC.
7) White-boxes can be able to run every software available that
name-brand PCs can run. They often can run more Operating System or
Distributions than name-brand PCs can.
If you don't know how to build your own, there are plenty of howtos and
guides online on how to build your white-box PC. Using the terms
'custom' or 'home' might yield better results than 'white-box'.
--My two cents!