To make long story short, I have a Dell Inspiron 4000 laptop on my desk with a broken USB port, and a faulty power jack. I can’t do anything with it because these components are essentially welded onto the mobo. Of course the laptop is out of warranty so I don’t get any kind of preferential service.
I called Dell Out of Warranty support, but they wanted $400 + shipping, handling, tax and whatnot, for a mail in service. Woha! This is more than this laptop is actually worth at the moment.
My next stop was Dell Parts Store. Of course they do not sell parts on their website for some mysterious reason. So I picked up the phone and called them. The lady in the parts dept put me on hold for 20 minutes, and then informed me they are out of stock. Yes, you read it correctly – Dell, who makes these computers is OUT OF STOCK! Does that mean they no longer sell parts for this model? Or perhaps they only sell these to the customers with a warranty? I did not get a clear answer.
She gave me a number to a 3′rd party reseller who may carry the part. Of course these guys did not have an online store either, so I had to phone the order in. Fortunately, the reseller found my part. Unfortunately, they wanted $223 for it. This is actually twice as much as I was prepared to pay.
I decided to look for other resellers online. I also popped over by ebay to see if I can buy something really cheep. I found out that my mobo was sold for $29.00. So, I can buy a brand new board from a certified reseller for 200 or a refurbished one from an ebay seller who has 100% positive feedback for 30 bucks. Gee, guess which one I picked?
Hell, I have no problem reimbursing the company out of my pocket for this board if it turns out to be a piece of shit.
What is the moral of this story? If you have an Inspiron 4000 and you are out of warranty you might be royally fucked when you fry your mobo. Time for a new laptop dude. That, and ebay rules :)