[TriLUG] New computer...finally!

David Burton ncdave4life at gmail.com
Sun Dec 4 20:33:30 EST 2011

Actually, the Dell Inspiron 620 machines have only 2 RAM slots, max 4GB
each, maximum total
8 GB.  If I could change one single thing I'd change about these machines,
that would be it!!!
4 RAM slots would add significantly to the effective lifespan of the

However, all the H61 Sandy Bridge based computers I've seen have just two
RAM slots.  I think
this deficiency is Intel's fault, rather than Dell's.  I don't think the
chipset supports 4 RAM slots.
(Intel being neighborly to their rivals, I guess, by giving buyers an
incentive to go with AMD.)

I've set up about 7 or 8 of these Dell Inspiron 620 machines so far (one
for me).  Most were perfect.
All but 1 were i5-2310 machines, one was the slower i3 (purchased before I
realized that if you're
patient you can find an i5 for about the same price).

One machine had a small scratch on the case, but worked perfectly.

One (mine) "rattled" -- it was one of the plastic mounting stubs for the
front panel, broken off,
rattling around.  I took it out and discarded it, it is
completely inconsequential.

On one the power supply made an intermittent low-volume, high-pitched
squeal under load.
A older person might not have noticed it, but the owner was 40yo, with good
Dell RMA'd the power supply, no questions asked.  They even offered to send
out a tech to
install it, for free, but I said "no thanks" to that.  Dell paid shipping
both ways; the replacement
power supply came with a shipping label for returning the defective one.

However, one machine had a major defect.  (Wouldn't you know, it was for a
90yo lady!)
I'd spent a couple of hours setting it up, putting on updates, transferring
stuff from her old XP
machine via Windows Easy Transfer USB cable, etc., and then the machine
unexpectedly froze.

I scratched my head, rebooted, and resumed working on it, but a few minutes
later it froze again.

It was freezing up at progressively shorter intervals, so I got Dell
support on the phone, and
wasted a bunch of time convincing them it was really, truly a bad machine,
before they finally
agreed to the RMA.  (How do you convince some $1/hr foreigner reading a
script that if the
machine freezes *before* Windows even starts to load, then it is
absolutely, positively is *not* a
Windows problem!?!)

They were willing to let me swap HDDs between the replacement machine and
the bad one,
to save me the trouble of doing the setup all over again, but one of the
freezes occurred during
a System Restore, and that hosed the Windows installation, so I had to
start from scratch. * :-( *

When the replacement showed up, we had 10 days before we had to ship back
the old one.
Dell paid for the shipping, both ways, FedEx Ground.

(A minor consolation: the replacement machine had a 1 TB HDD instead of a
500 GB HDD.)

That's about a 15% defect rate -- probably no worse than with brand-new

Note: the software loads on these Dell machine are reasonably up-to-date,
but the BIOS was
at A00 level, and A02 level is now available.


On Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 4:18 PM, Jeff Schornick <jeff at schornick.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 15:38, David Burton <ncdave4life at gmail.com> wrote:
> > You can get a "scratch 'n dent" Dell Inspiron 620 i5-2310 Sandy Bridge
> > machine with 8 GB RAM and 1 TB HDD at the Dell Outlet
> I'll throw in my $0.02 and say these are great deals.  Don't fear the
> scratch and dent or refurbished category.  I did some research before
> picking up an i5 for my parents some months ago, and read nothing but
> good things about the Dell Outlet store.  The machine which arrived
> (S&D model) was in perfect condition.
> Also, before you throw money into RAID(*) SSDs, you really have no
> excuse not to be maxing out the RAM.  This generation of desktop
> motherboards generally accepts 4x4GB, which is the cheapest
> performance upgrade you can buy.

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