The saga continues. I received a call from "John," on Tuesday, December 20th, telling me he'd be coming to my house to replace my motherboard on Wednesday, sometime between 9 and 12. He arrived at my house at 10:25 on Wednesday in a non-descript station wagon. No Geek Squad orange and black, no blue Dell logo plastered on the side of a van. So I was a bit suspicious -- but then figured, who in their right mind would walk around with a Dell motherboard to talk their way into someone's house?
John, quite a personable fellow, came upstairs, quickly got to work, and left at 11:10 -- taking all of 40 minutes. Turns out he works for BancTec and fixes PCs for Dell and HP. In addition, I discovered why he was turning up on business day 3, rather than business day 1 as Dell specifies in their contract. BancTec suddenly decided that their techs needed to use up all their vacation by the end of the year. So rather than 10 techs, this week only four were available.
Before he put the case back on, John did the prudent thing and said, "I'm just going to make sure everything is where it should be," and carefully looked at the board and other innards, and discovered a connector not connected. After a certain amount of contortions, and noting, "Next time I'm make sure to connect this first," he attached it and closed it up. We rebooted, and the PC came up fine (other than a lot of BIOS messages early in the boot process because everything had gone back to the factory defaults).
After he left, I suddenly noticed that the PC was louder. It's still very quiet, but every once and awhile a variable speed fan kicks in, runs for 10 seconds or so, and stops, often after the disk drive has been kachunking for awhile. All of a sudden it was clear to me as to why the motherboard had failed. Some bozo at the factory hadn't connected up that variable speed fan, so it never kicked in, and five months down the road the board failed.
So all in all, not too bad an experience, at least from the people side. My PC does work, and we didn't get into the, "Well, let's try this, oops, that didn't work, hmm, let's try that, oops, that didn't work...."
Of course, they were outside their Service Level Agreement (SLA) of one business day by 200% and I still haven't received my $200+ rebate check for a Dell Inspiron 700m laptop that I bought a year ago....