Bad experiences with Alienware 17r3 (2016). Seeking Advice & opinions.

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by disassembler, Dec 2, 2016.

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What, according to you, would be the appropriate course of action, considering my situation?

  1. Push for complete product replacement (Avoid refurbished replacements)

    3 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. Request for a complete refund and return their product. (Dell might not honor this)

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
  3. Take Dell to the consumer court (and if that fails, to the High Court) regarding my problem.

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  4. Silently wait out its warranty period & resell it as a second hand laptop. Then, buy a new laptop.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Push for complete replacement AND an extension of warranty.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. disassembler

    disassembler Notebook Enthusiast

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    STATUS: RESOLVED

    [Update: 26th January 2017]
    Dear NBR community, I'd like to thank you for your help & advice regarding my situation. If a mod could lock this thread for future reference, I'd be very grateful.

    Frank Azor personally looked into the matter & followed up. Refund was offered & accepted.

    After much argument & rationalization with the ARG Group & Mr. Frank Azor' (Mr. Azor's office got in touch with me a few days after I hailed him on Twitter, first, with a flurry of tweets & then, when he sent me a message via DM), I've accepted an offer for refund (accounting for 15% deprecation on the purchase price, since I used my 17r3 for a good 3 months before it started giving me problems).
    It has been relayed via correspondence that the amount will be credited to my bank account within a couple of working days (around the 28th of January, 2017).

    Meanwhile, I went ahead & bought an awesome MSI GT72VR 7RE Dominator Pro. It's absolutely fantastic!

    If you'd like to talk to me about the specifics of the case/situation:
    Twitter: @ disassembler (
    https://twitter.com/Disassembler )
    Linkedin: Disassembler (
    https://in.linkedin.com/in/disassembler )
    or, on NBR Forums, as well.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Note:Before I begin, I'd like to thank the community in advance, for your responses and the respective moderators for shifting my previous post to the appropriate sub-forum (if it is wrongly placed). Dear Moderators, if this thread does not align with the interests of the community/forum, kindly notify me, instead of deleting it. I will respond at the earliest (Changes will be made within an hour, ideally. However, I assume the outer timeframe to be within 2-3 hours.) make the appropriate changes to ensure that this thread abides by the forum rules & guidelines.

    I would also like to clarify that this is not a rant. I seek genuine opinions from fellow users/gamers & the international community as a whole regarding my matter.

    A complete documentation of my experience with my Alienware 17r3 (2016) and Dell India on Steam forums:
    ( here )

    A link to the Google Drive folder (actively updated) I’ve shared that contains several screenshots, DOCX files & other relevant media pertaining to my situation:
    ( here ) -- Link is now inactive. Files & directories will be locally stored for reference.

    [7th December, 2016] Update: Dell Advanced Resolution Group agent (called back today) continually tries to assure me that this device is built for such high temperatures (as high as 97 deg C) instead of admitting that the product (as a whole) is faulty. When I told him about the AIDA64 results and how high the temperatures (PCH & CPU) went during testing, he told me that they do not accept results from any third party software. I told him that it was not just the AIDA64 results -- my games (Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, Gears of War 4, Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Quantum Outbreak, The Division, Watchdogs 2, and similar) are lagging to the tune of 2-11 FPS. The frames per second fluctuate from 400 FPS to 2 FPS to 11 FPS and back to 400 FPS at random intervals across several games. Even more so, during extended gaming sessions! Applications sometimes take time to load, as well. If this isn't lag, I don't know what is. This is outrageous!
    Moreover, he kept asking me how I measured the temperature and FPS in-game in a ridiculous tone. According to him, even if any light third party software is in the background (even something lightweight like HWinfo64 / CPU-Z), the system will be stressed and generate more heat.

    The ARG agent even mentioned over the phone, I quote, "All these parts have been replaced at your request".
    What the hell does that even mean? It's a defective product with a track record for overheating & diminutive performance. It's almost as if he meant to suggest that the parts were replaced at my request and not because their "engineers" found something wrong with it as well? Their support staff aided with 95% of the troubleshooting. THEY diagnosed the system & ascertained the need for parts' replacement.


    He seems adamant on iterating that parts will be replaced, as per the service agreement while refusing to admit that my 17r3 is faulty despite all service done till date. He also refuses to acknowledge the Notebook Review community, this forum post & the comments fellow members have posted.

    It's like an elaborate cover-up.
    I told him that the phone conversation clearly wasn't working out for the both of us & that I'd rather he contact me via email instead before hanging up. I want to get all of this on the record in the form of formal email correspondence.

    At this rate, looks like my lawyer's going to have an early Christmas.

    [5th December, 2016] UPDATE: AIDA64 Extreme Edition Results confirmed my suspicions. It's touching even higher temperatures (97 degrees Celsius) than before on-site servicing. PCH Temperatures seem way too high, as well. I've uploaded the report to my Google Drive Folder ( https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BynIJD_FQlrIbXlQc3M5dDZuYlE ).

    Logs & data have been shared in the Google Drive folder. I will personally update the contents of the same as I gather more data about the product post-service.

    Components of this post:
    1. Conversation with Agent from Advanced Resolution Group
    2. Background Information about my system
    3. Recommended Course of Action
    4. My views on the situation
    5. TLDR; (fast-forwards to my question)

    1. CONVERSATION WITH AGENT FROM ADVANCED RESOLUTION GROUP

    An agent (Mr. SKM) from the Indian corporate office has been assigned to my case. He contacted me yesterday (during and after the parts replacement & servicing on my product was performed). A screenshot of the correspondence email has been uploaded to my shared folder in the Google Drive link above.

    I was informed by the agent that the Alienware 17r3 is not like most Alienware products. It cannot be compared to any other laptop made my any other brand. According to him, it also cannot be compared to another Alienware 17r3 (2016) from the same production batch (or from other batches, for that matter). He claimed to have experiences with several 17r3 laptops and as per our conversation, he said that no two laptops were the same. I tend to agree with the latter statement.

    As he suggested, it may generate more heat due to greater processing/rendering power (it's logical). However, he seemed adamant on stating that 93 degrees Celsius was "normal" as far as Intel i7-6700HQ (6th Gen CPU) temperatures go and that the laptop had not generated an excess amount of heat. It could not be termed as “overheating”.

    He pointed me to Intel's ARK specifications page saying that up to 100 degrees Celsius was okay.

    As per my knowledge, that (100~ deg C) is the Cap for TJMax (link here) nearing which the processor starts throttling and shuts down beyond a point.

    He said that the processor is just a part of the entire system and if I had a problem with it, he could offer replacement of the CPU if it malfunctions.

    Dissatisfied with the reply, I told him to leave the processor aside and refer to the product as a whole. The product was not giving the desired experience. The CPU, GPU & PCH all at abnormally high temperatures prior to servicing (I have not yet tested my system out post-service). I have observed that the product (as a whole) is (over)heating which causes lag across almost all games I play (even optimised ones), that causes a temporary (intermittent) dip in performance & FPS. In my opinion & in the collective opinion of the gamers’ association that I'm a part of (here in India), this level of heating in a gaming/high-performance product is unacceptable. Several gamers in the association are long time Alienware product owners. Most of them have rigs & setups that would put mine to shame. They were appalled by the response I got & deemed the entire experience (product+service) to be unacceptable.

    If anyone has a better point of view, please feel free to comment on this thread

    2. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT MY SYSTEM
    More than 80% of my product (Motherboard, Fan Assembly, Keyboard, Power Brick, Killer Wireless Module, Power Button, HDD, Thermal Pasting, LHS Macro Keys, etc.) has been replaced in the form of “in-warranty parts replacement” for various reasons (all of which are documented) over the past 6 months. My laptop even has a scratch (on the panel on the back of the screen) caused due to mishandling by a technician (I’ve uploaded a picture to my Google Drive folder). The scratch is not covered under warranty, I was told.

    For reference, I bought my laptop 7 months ago (it is still in warranty). It would seem that the product had a manufacturing defect (as a whole) which resulted in such problems, leading resulting in so many service tickets.

    3. MY VIEWS ON THE SITUATION

    I cannot believe Dell/Alienware approves of such high temperatures and such dismal/inconsistent performance. Such temperatures are not "normal", by any standards.
    If they are in-fact normal, the community needs to be made aware of this claim so potential customers can choose another brand/laptop in the same range that offers superior cooling and/or a better service and/or a more customer-friendly replacement/refund policy.

    We’re clearly spending way too much money on a product that (based on what I was told) will not be refunded/replaced. I’m of the opinion that this purchase is turning out to be a waste of money and time that could have been spent more productively.

    I seek opinions and intend to put forth all my points & my arguments across in a formal email to top Dell Executives and the agent in charge of this situation so that it goes on the record.
    I'm absolutely certain executives other gaming brands & fellow gamers/users would concur with me. The local gaming community already expressed its approval of my argument in principle during our meeting. I think I need to put this across internationally as well.
    I plan to put my case across to tech-journalists, distributors, retailers, bloggers, columnists, fellow gamers and youtubers either way. They need to be aware of a product, the brand and its policies before purchasing it for themselves/clients and/or recommending it to others.

    4. RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION
    I've consulted the local (& regional) gaming community, the gaming association that I'm a part of, some friends (who own Alienware products themselves), my technical advisor, my business partners, my legal advisor and several others.

    As of today, the consensus is that either one of the following should be done:
    1) Push for complete product replacement (Avoid refurbished replacements & decline to acknowledge if they offer any refurbished product) & an extension warranty
    2) Request for a complete refund and return their product.
    3) Take Dell to the consumer court (and if that fails, to the High Court) regarding my problem.
    4) If all else fails, I was also advised to silently wait out its warranty period & resell it as a second hand laptop in the offline market. I will then use the proceeds to buy a new laptop (ASUS ROG/MSI) of my choice.

    I seek advice from the Notebook Review community as well.

    5. TLDR;

    My laptop is still giving me several problems and has started heating up (PCH goes as far as 80 deg C under 40 minutes of minor load. I'm sure I could push it higher with an extended gaming session), considerably, again.

    As one user (and gamer) to several others, would such levels of heat prior to servicing, having replaced so many parts in a product still within warranty and having received such a response by an authorized agent after such an ordeal (product is still in warranty) be collectively acceptable to you, if you were a customer in my situation?

    What would you do?
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  2. rinneh

    rinneh Notebook Prophet

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    If the paste job and heatsink are good the temps should be around 70~75c for the 6700hq. butnif your ambient temps are 35c it could be easily 10c higher as well.
     
  3. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    No its BIOS (I mean faulty 1.2.x versions), if you're able to do a BIOS update to 1.3.6 or higher and install intel DPTF v8.2 to get those temps down to your ambient temps. I'd advise you to follow what @rinneh said and your problems would be solved. Also, disable all those Dell services too that maybe consuming more cpu in the background and causing the system to overheat.
    As @rinneh said about excessive power that could burst the power brick's cord whilst using BIOS 1.2.x versions. Update to 1.3.6 or higher ASAP.
     
    rinneh likes this.
  4. J.Dre

    J.Dre Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I would request a replacement and then sell the replacement as a new product to get your money back (or most of it), and go from there.

    Most definitely replacement time.
     
  5. ezzo

    ezzo Notebook Enthusiast

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    93C under light loads sounds like an issue.
    You should try Prime95 + Furmark and see what temperatures you get.

    My 2 weeks old Inspiron 7566 with i5 6300HQ + 960M easily hits 99C on that test. It's on the way back for a refund btw.

    Seeing that R4 is out, I would ask for an upgrade (top up at your cost) to R4 because it has a better cooling system.

    It's been only 7 months so you can still buy the extended warranty if the above option doesn't work out. The time lost and effort to constantly "fix" it with Alienware is not worth it. I will never buy a product with an inherent flaw.
     
  6. disassembler

    disassembler Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ambient temperature here, in Mumbai, as per present weather, in my particular location, is 26.5 deg C. My room is well ventilated, the AC's on literally whenever I'm on for a gaming session.
    On-site engineer did a great (re)paste-job, replaced the fans & heatsink assembly. However, the 6700HQ easily registers readings of up to 80 deg C under minor load even after servicing.

    The Dell On-site Service Engineer (re)installed v1.2.14 during his visit. I've downloaded the 1.3.6 binary executable. Will double-check it, take a backup of everything I have here & flash it.
    I've already disabled all (unnecessary) Dell background services, so I doubt they'll pose a problem.

    I concur. That's exactly what I thought would be the best possible approach! Dell India has betrayed my trust, as a customer, with such services & such a (premium) product. I'd rather recover whatever money I invested in this product and go for another (reliable) product/brand. I've never had such bad experiences with a regular laptop, let alone a premium one. It's a waste of time & money.

    I'll give Prime95 & Furmark a whirl. I'm also going to try AIDA64's tests & benchmarks while I'm at it.

    Absolutely! A 17R4 (top up) with a 1080 would be fantastic for a replacement, if it does (indeed) have a better cooling system. I'm not too keen on purchasing Alienware products again.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  7. rinneh

    rinneh Notebook Prophet

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    What happens when you do a stresstest with XTU for example on the CPU only? Is it only a peak of 80c by the way of a constant? Because if the CPU heats up quickly you will have a peak but when the fans kick in, it quickly cools down.

    Also dont expect every alienware laptop to be trouvlesome. Most users are probably happy with their purchase including me. Monday morning models/lemons are sold by every brand unfortunately.
     
  8. disassembler

    disassembler Notebook Enthusiast

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    UPDATE: AIDA64 Extreme Edition Results confirmed my suspicions. It's reaching even higher temperatures (97 degrees celsius) than before on-site servicing. PCH temperatures seem way too high, as well. I've uploaded the report to my Google Drive Folder ( https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BynIJD_FQlrIbXlQc3M5dDZuYlE )

    I've yet to try testing the CPU individually, however, I'm sure the AIDA64 result is comprehensive on some counts. I'll try to revert with XTU results in a while.
    Expecting every Alienware laptop to be troublesome would be unreasonable & impractical. I'm glad you're enjoying your purchase & hope your laptop fares better than mine.

    However, I wish to caution the community since 2 more friends of mine (both, Alienware owners) have stood up & registered complaints regarding issues in their AW17s after I took the initiative.
    Seems like it's a toss up between two probable things - a design flaw in the entire SERIES, OR a manufacturing defect in my particular product.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  9. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I think the idle temps are way higher than normal. Probably its the board and PSU unit that is showing signs of another failure.
     
  10. J.Dre

    J.Dre Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    There's a very good chance Volta will be announced in May. Replace that expensive paper weight!
     
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