A Tale of Two Processors in China


A recent lawsuit involving Dell and some of our Chinese customers has received attention in blogs and press like this recent Xinhua Net story. On his blog, Sam Flemming provides a timeline about the issue. I manage the team responsible for contacting affected customers and wanted to clarify additional details.

The fundamental issue revolves around two different processors: Intel’s Core Duo T2300 and the T2300E. In China, and in other countries around the world, we shifted from the T2300 to the T2300E processor in some notebook models. What’s the difference between those processors? The T2300E does not support Intel’s Virtualization Technology, a feature primarily aimed at server and workstation customers interested in running multiple operating systems on the same machine. In all markets of the world where we offer it, the T2300E allows us to provide a better value for customers who are not interested in virtualization.

Here’s what caused the confusion: We did not update marketing materials in China prior to making the change to the T2300E processor. In response, here are the steps we have taken:

  • We have acknowledged the issue, and we have corrected the error in all materials.
  • We have directly apologized to Dell China customers who were affected, and also informed them of the difference between the two processors.
  • For customers who were not satisfied with these actions, we offered full refunds for returned T2300E-based systems.

Many customers have accepted our apology, some have accepted our refund offer. We are still working it out with others.

A Chinese version of this post appears below.


Francis Kam   




· 我们承认了这一问题,并改正了所有文档。

· 我们直接向受到影响的中国消费者进行道歉,并向他们解释这两款处理器的区别。



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33 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Processors in China

  1. First there are Flaming notebooks, then there are issues with the XPS 700 causing delays in shipment, then there is the issue where  Washington State residents were over taxed when purchasing your systems and now there is the issue of swapping processors.  Do you at Dell really have no respect for your customers anymore?  What has happened to the company that once preached "The Customer Experience"?

    After purchasing over 10 Dell machines in over a decade’s period of time, I can honestly say that you have lost me as a customer.  I will probably turn to HP since they do not seem to have the problems that Dell does.  As a footnote, I have seen the store in Dallas and whoever thought of the ideal to have a store in a mall that does not offer products for immediate sale needs to be fired.

  2. I think this is an excellent response, and am impressed that you have translated it into Chinese as well as English.

  3. I actually opted to avoid the T2300 processor in the E1505 as I was already aware of Dell changeover to the T2300E series.  I’m glad to see you’re making this information public on the DellOne2One/Direct2Dell blog.

    My immediate thoughts on this issue lead me to think Dell needs desperately to re-evaluate the relationship between Dell engineers, consumer use/trend researchers, and the bozos (sorry guys) handling your marketing/advertising. It seems they are either very poor in the attention to detail department, or are trying to be too slick for themselves. Why?

    Because this issue is similar in my eyes to the problem I have been bringing attention to with the "integrated Sound Blaster Audigy Advanced HD Audio" upgrade having been advertised as hardware, when in fact it is software only on many Dell notebooks.

    Also, the idea that the processor based virtualization technology being a benefit to server and workstation customers only is inaccurate. The upcomming Microsoft Vista operating system and many new software technologies will be taken advantage of for a wide variety of common uses, including and especially PC security on desktop/notebook computers, and new methods of data backup.

    So these systems without the virtualization technology on-chip will be at an undocumented by Dell, disadvantage for the customers who choose to upgrade to Vista or other operating systems which may also benefit from such technology.

    Good luck with smoothing over relations in China, and I hope these issues lead to truth to more stringent truth in advertising directives and improved improved attention to detail at Dell.


  4. JW,

    I completely agree with your statement.

    As much grief as I give Dell, I equivalently attempt to offer constructive solutions. I do this instead of just writing them off as a bad vendor. As of late, they’re listening.


  5. Dell makes good products and gives good value.  However, it appears that generally your sales and marketing people are shooting Dell in the foot.  Dell does not have to be sleazy to make a sale.  For every dollar saved  on the sale that is not straight forward and fools the customer, there are more dollars lost on returns and bad customer feelings.

    I like Dell, and I hate to see the company act so stupid.

  6. By Technical,

    the T2300 or T2300E is a 32bit Processor, which actually do not use the Intel VT technology(difference between 2 Processor) to perform VM.

    By Business

    Dell should inform customer the change……

    just regard it as a mistake, but not a treat.

  7. While I don’t think there’s any way to excuse the marketing gaffe (how many people did that one slip past?), it’s good that you guys owned up to the mistake and apologized immediately.

  8. It happens once a while.. wrong pricing on promo.. guess with constant price changes… error bound to pop up… have to be careful on this issues as it will derail the customer experience… have read about it on few ocassions…

  9. 很明显,Dell在自欺欺人,没有更新文档的情况下,为什么价格还是按照未更新的价格出售呢?很明显的一个谎话,现在Dell在中国的口碑已经很差了,因为一系列的事件证明Dell = 垃圾。

  10. If it wouldn’t had hit you that Dell did a mistake then you wouldn’t really care about it and post this long comments…

  11. You mentioned that the swap processor problem occurred in China and other Countries, is my Country (Colombia) one of them?

  12. Laptops are not used to run VM’s. Hallo Dell, wake up. More and more people ( and software developers as such 🙂 ) are using laptops in spite of desktop machines to gain the ability to work directly on the customers site to solve problems quickly and flexible. Using VM’s for local test-systems is vital in this area, too. So real-world users use laptops with VM’s ( and with dynamic disks, greets to Microsoft )!

  13. Nemo,

    The issue here wasn’t about an error in pricing on a promo. It was about making a change in the hardware being offered, without informing the buyer that the change had occured.

    Or am I mistaken?


  14. FromColombia, Dell still sells both processors in several countries worldwide, including Colombia.  China is the only country where we did not update marketing materials before we brgan to ship the T2300E.  Thanks.

  15. One more complaint about Customer Support:

    About 4 years ago, my sister bought a Dell notebook.  She also bought an external USB WiFi receiver, directly from Dell, since built-in WiFi was not the norm back then.  I wanted to install the thing on a desktop last month so I needed updated drivers.  Much to my shock, there was no support for the unit.  In fact, it wasn’t even found.  A search of the model number found only a small press release where it was mentioned in passing.  This was shocking because the item was bought directly from Dell and even had the Dell name/logo printed on.

    Bottomline:  Dell has the worst customer support of any computer company I’ve had to deal with in the last 20 years.

  16. "it’s good that you guys owned up to the mistake and apologized immediately."

    That’s far from the truth. The man filing the original complaint realised Dell’s fault and asked for a processor replacement. They declined citing there was no difference between the two. He then had a lawyer send a letter demanding compensation which was also ignored. This led to legal action. Dell… you should never under estimate a dissatisifed customer.

  17. Yes, DL, you’re right. It is about them not informing the consumers, and I am one of them.  I’m from Hong Kong, which you can sort of say that it’s part of China (don’t get me started :p), and I got the xps m1210.

    It’s all about principles, which I now think that Dell really lacks.

    1) As mentioned, they should have first informed us that they have switched to a smaller chip.

    2) (Apparently) KNOWING that all their shipments made after a certain (sometime in May/June, I blieve?) were T2300E instead of T2300 (because they have ‘ran out of T2300’s’), that they STILL had me going through this rigorous check to ‘make sure’ that mine was advertised as the T2300 (and it was also in my e-mails, my confirmations, my invoice) but shipped with T2300E instead, as if trying to make me feel that I might be the one who’s conning them.

    3) Now that they have ‘openly’ admitted to such a problem, they have not actively contacted everyone who got conned by them to apologise and ask them if they would like a refund (2 of my friends bought laptops from them during similar period, one bought 640m and one bought m1210 also, and decided to let me talk to Dell instead, so they have never called Dell up to let them know (as if Dell doesn’t already) that they were also affected. And, of course, Dell never tried to reach them).

    4) And 3) proves the point where Dell was really trying to cut corners and simply ‘hope for the best’, that no one would ever find out.  Now that someone has, they simply go ‘oops oh ya didn’t know that, but dude it doesn’t matter man… fine wotever, sorry then, here’s ur money back’ attitude and (only) refund to the people who approached them.  For those who didn’t?  Dell have had and still is benefiting from them.

    Again, it’s not (really) about the money.  It’s the principles and the business ethics that’s really tickling my anger nodes.

    and roflol thrillhouse, u need to change your browser’s encoder to simplified chinese. good one though, good one 🙂

  18. I’m all for using WingDings myself.

    I note xupf and thrillhouse’s responses. Unfortunately I don’t have a word processor so instead leave this Vogon message for DELL.

    %%[email protected]) (||||||-|||||||/)(


  19. How stupid of Dell not to have simply offered to refund the $32 difference in chip cost.   I think most people, especially in China, where the standard of living is much lower, would have accepted $32 and an apology.  More demanding users, like the original litigant, would like the chip switch, which is not unreasonable.  The amount Dell would have saved in bad PR is more than they would have paid in compensation.

    Instead, they chose to lie and stonewall.  And even now, their offer of a full refund is a joke.  Their hope is that most users will have so much data on the hard drives that few would be willing to return the laptops.  That’s not exactly good faith on Dell’s part.

  20. Dell to stand trial on 25th September in China



    Written and translated by: Daniel Yeh


    [email protected]

    Tel: +86-13959291636


    Xiamen’s Huli District People’s Court has confirmed by Notice of Court Session that the class action by 19 Chinese consumers against Dell (China) Co., Ltd. will be transfer from a summary procedure to an ordinary procedure, and the first court session will be held on 25th September 2006. According to the “Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China”, a lawsuit of ordinary procedure should be concluded in six months starting from the date the case was placed on file.



    This class action lawsuit against Dell (China) Co., Ltd. was received by Xiamen’s Huli District People’s Court on 8th August 2006.



    This latest news was released by Mr. Guo Zhongfang, the lawyer for 19 Chinese consumers who have filed a class action against Dell (China) Co., Ltd.



    These consumers say that Dell has not provided them with acceptable products as stipulated in the confirmed order forms. They ask Dell to refund twice the value of the goods as compensation and pay all the legal costs for the court proceedings.



    Xiamen‘s Huli District People’s Court has originally requested both Plaintiff and Defendant to submit their proofs by 18 August 2006. The Plaintiff have submitted sufficient proofs on time, while Dell (China) Co., Ltd. has failed to meet the date and applied for an extension. As approved by Xiamen’s Huli District People’s Court, the cut off date of proofs will be extended to be 20 days after both Plaintiff and Defendant have received the Notice of Court Session. However, till now Dell (China) Co., Ltd. has not yet submitted any proof to the court.



    The problem was first identified on 26th June 2006 by a consumer who bought a Dell Inspiron 640m laptop online. When the consumer tried to upgrade the EMS memory within the computer, he found that the laptop was fixed with a T2300E CPU, not the T2300 CPU Dell marked on the order form.

    这个问题最初在2006626日由一名在线购买Dell Inspiron 640M笔记本计算机的用户所发现。当这名消费者想要升级计算机内的EMS内存条时,他发现该笔记本计算机内安装的是T2300E CPU,而不是Dell在订单表格上所标示的T2300


    The CPU Intel T2300E is US$32 cheaper than T2300, and it cannot support Intel virtualization technology.

    英特尔T2300E CPU比英特尔T2300 CPU便宜32美元,而且不能支持英特尔虚拟化技术。


    At first, Dell downplayed the significance of this problem, saying there is no difference for consumers using CPU T2300 or T2300E, and they will not reimburse consumers for the incorrect configuration.

    起初,Dell对这个问题发表了轻描淡写的言论,声称消费者在使用T2300T2300E CPU时没有任何区别,因此他们不会因为这个不正确的配置而对消费者进行赔偿。


    As the situation deteriorates due to fast circulation of news on China Internet, more and more Chinese Dell consumers have become aware of this “CPU Gate” scandal and filed complaints to Dell (China) Co., Ltd. asking for refund of twice the value of the goods as compensation. On 10 August 2006 Dell has finally publicized a statement on its Direct2Dell, Dell’s weblog:


    1. We have acknowledged the issue, and we have corrected the error in all materials.

    2. We have directly apologized to Dell China customers who were affected, and also informed them of the difference between the two processors.

    3. For customers who were not satisfied with these actions, we offered full refunds for returned T2300E-based systems.


    What Dell (China) Co., Ltd. has not mentioned in its statement is that its substation of CPU T2300 by T2300E without prior notice to and agreement with the consumers is in violation of “Contract Law of the People’s Republic of China” and “Law of the PRC on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Consumers”.

    戴尔(中国)有限公司的声明中没有提到的是,在没有事先通知消费者并得到消费者同意的情况下将CPU T2300更换成T2300E已经违反了《中华人民共和国合同法》和《中华人民共和国消费者权益保护法》。


    The late apology and the insignificant full refunds for returned T2300E-based systems are apparently not satisfactory to Chinese consumers who have much aware of their own legal rights than ever.



    As the first court session date is drawing near, people across the country and all over the world are fixating on the progress of this phenomenal class action lawsuit against Dell in China.


  21. 戴尔公司是在中国消费者不知情的情况下更换cpu的。这样做违背了中华人民共和国的相关法律法规,严重的侵害消费者的权益,并给消费者带来了损失。而且戴尔公司开始时企图推卸并逃避责任的做法伤透消费者的心。

  22. I  am one of the dl’s customer in China. Lately, more and more customer disatisfy with dell’s aftersale’s service. When we meet problems, even we buy the cc, dell refuse to chage or fix the stupy part! And the operator is very rude! Do this happens in other counties?

  23. Carp: sorry about your experience.  It’s no secret that there’s room for improvement when it comes to customer service.  There’s lots of Dell employees committed to improving your
    experience with us. In my view, that’s a step in the right direction.  If you do have an open issue or specific feedback, let me know.

  24. I think Dell did good in battery cell. 

    For  processors issue, I am surprise to find Dell acts so stupidly  like a local 3rd class vendor.

    1) I think it’s because China laws and consumers are not strict enough to regulate multinational companies like Dell. The cost of defending consumers’ right is too high in China. There is no public organization to stand up to do investigation while consumers only need to provide evidence. (  You can see only 19 Chinese consumers raise the assue. If this issue happen in US , Korean or Japan where consumers right are well protected by law,  we can imagine how Dell react?? Chinese consumers feel angry being treated unequally.

    2) Bad PR in China when this issue begin to escalate.

    3) Another thing Dell is trying to avoid discussing the small price difference between 2 processors which is the key. If let me handle this issue, I will offer 2 options for customers : 1) Upgrade to T2300 for free 2) Refund price difference

    I bought 2 Dell notebooks in the past 1 year personally and my computer in company is also Dell. I’m happy to recommend Dell to friends before this stupid processor issue. Now, I hesitate.

    I hope Dell keep conducting good business under same business ethics both in China and rest of oworldwide.

    Best Regards




  25. 在中国越来越多的人认为dell就是垃圾,服务系统接不进去,服务人员水准差,销售人员急功近利。没有人会在戴尔探讨职业生涯,从内到外,每一个到戴尔的人都有自己灰色的目的,跳槽过来的人是因为戴尔能赚私钱,刚到的新人是拿戴尔做职业跳板。没有一个人愿意把自己未来交给戴尔的,戴尔反而成了灰色大染缸。人服务差,产品品质差,没有技术含量,货色混杂,足以将戴尔推向深渊;竞争对手的深挖和夹击,消费者对创新个性产品的需求,即可将戴尔推入地狱。2004年强势的戴尔文化到今天已经成为土匪的代言。文化的逝去是戴尔最大的悲哀,戴尔需要创新。

  26. dir: 我们感谢您的反馈。我们知道我们的工作还有许多需要改进的地方,但是戴尔的员工正在竭尽全力为世界各地的顾客服务。

  27. Dell had push its cell event to sony completely ,but who should it push this cpu changing issue to? Intel? so not , intel is no 1.

    Dell, go forward. 努力吧,不要在犯此类错误,see that why none of sony’s customers proceed against sony corp!

  28. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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