Dell Vostro 1500

Recently I bought a Dell Vostro 1500 notebook, at first there were two problems: the left and right bottom corners were more bright than the rest of the screen and the hard disk made this “clicking” sounds as also reported on the Dell Ideastorm website, see this and this page. Apparently it is still not clear what the problem is. I’ve had my third hard disk (first a Samsung, after this two times a ToshibaFujitsu) and it is still not resolved.

Other than that (and maybe the glossy screen of which I’m not really a huge fan) it is a great laptop, supported very well by Linux (and Fedora 9). I ordered mine with Intel 965 video and Intel 4965 802.11n wireless to avoid problems with binary drivers or needing to play with NDISwrapper.

Everything just works, although the quirks for HAL needed to be updated to include some lines for the Vostro to make resume from suspend work without needing to switch VT’s, but they are already in hal-info git so it’s just a matter of time before they end up in Fedora I guess. Update (May 26): it is included in an update (hal-info) for Fedora 9.

To my surprise even the web cam, sound card and the card reader work out of the box. Accelerated X with Compiz work without problems, although sometimes some artifacts are visible but I guess that will be resolved in time, it’s not disturbing at all.

Hopefully Dell can fix this hard disk problem soon because *that* is annoying.

Update: I just received the 4th hard disk from Dell, this time a Western Digital WD2500BEVS. I’ll try this thing soon, very curious. So that makes three different hard disks so far:

  1. Samsung HM250JI
  2. Fujitsu MHY2250B
  3. Western Digital WD2500BEVS
  4. Hitachi HTS542525K9SA00

Also this Western Digital disk doesn’t solve the problem unfortunately. Dell will contact me tomorrow in search for another solution. I wonder what that can be 🙂

The fourth hard disk (in the list) is actually installed in the complete new laptop I got from Dell, the problem remains the same (clicking and rapidly increasing Load_Cycle_Count). It’s probably safe to say by now that the problem is not related to the used hard disk.

So a small recap of what happened until now (27th of May):

  • I ordered a laptop @ Dell
  • The screen is broken (the bottom 5mm of screen is clearly not well lit, more bright while corners are more dark then the rest of the screen). Also the hard disk makes these clicking sounds…
  • Dell comes and replaces the screen and the hard disk
  • The screen is better now, only has a dead pixel.
  • Dell replaces hard disk again and screen as well. I end up with a good screen! Still, the hard disk is not OK.
  • Dell sends me a new hard disk by UPS. I replace the hard disk, problem still not solved.
  • Dell sends me a complete new laptop. This one still has the hard disk problems and I end up with the broken screen again in the same way as the first laptop I got.

I’m getting a bit tired 😉

Update (May 27th): after calling Dell today and being on the phone for nearly an hour they agreed to take back the laptop and give me a refund. I guess that will close this time wasting chapter. Hopefully they’ll refund soon so I can look for something else to buy. Maybe this time around I’ll spend some more to get a decent machine 😉

Update (June 4th): today I received the money back from Dell 🙂


5 thoughts on “Dell Vostro 1500

  1. I know, but that’s not really the point. Why would I need to do that when on other laptops it is working by default? It’s “broken” in Fedora and in Vista so I guess something is really messed up somewhere.

  2. I have XP Pro as well as Fedora and it doesn’t happen there. Reading the links you posted I gather the noise some people hear is much worse than what I had, it was just a soft muffled click more like water dripping.

  3. Well, that doesn’t really help 😉 I can make it stop in Fedora only by using “hdparm -B254 /dev/sda”. Completely disabling power management. This is not a nice solution… This works for the Fujitsu disks. For my “first” Samsung disk this didn’t work, also -B255 didn’t work there.

    In Vista nothing works afaik (maybe using hdparm for Windows?). Yesterday I even installed the Dell Power Management profile for Vista. This made it worse, not better. Sometimes multiple times per minute I hear this clicking sound of the harddisk while in the power management settings it says that harddisk powers down after 10 minutes, or 20, or 30, it doesn’t matter.

    So even though it is “fixable” in Fedora and Vista? for me doesn’t make this the right way to fix it…

    Thanks for your reply! Cool that people read this boring weblog in the first place 😉

  4. Vostro has HD issue and expect refurb PC for a price of new one
    run F12 diagnostic tool when starting windows, the HD will eventually fail to run diagnostic scan of itself and gives you an error code. Dell will replace if still under warranty, be advised that you may receive a refurb. 4 out of 6 Vostros HD’s purchased in 2007 gave up within first month after warranty expired….
    How will you fix my product?

    We use new and refurbished parts made by various manufacturers in performing warranty repairs and in building replacement parts and systems. Refurbished parts and systems are parts or systems that have been returned to Dell, some of which were never used by a customer. All parts and systems are inspected and tested for quality. Replacement parts and systems are covered for the remaining period of the limited hardware warranty for the product you bought. Dell owns all parts removed from repaired products.

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