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Advertising Windows Technology

Dell's Misleading Graphics Card Buying Advice 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-should-know-better dept.
Barence writes "Dell's website includes a guide to graphics cards for PC novices which contains a dangerous chunk of misinformation. The monitor on the left, labelled as a PC that uses a 'standard graphics card,' is displaying a Windows desktop that's washed out and blurry. The seemingly identical Dell TFT on the right, powered by a 'high-end graphics card,' is showing the same desktop – but this time it's much sharper and more vivid. They're both outputting at the same resolution."
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Dell's Misleading Graphics Card Buying Advice

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  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:24AM (#38155926) Homepage Journal

    ... using words like "misleading" and "unfair." It's fraud, plain and simple.

    • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:49AM (#38156038) Homepage
      I want to agree. Though it's so prevalent I almost don't notice anymore.

      They may have changed it now, but I had a good laugh at the AT&T uVerse bandwidth recommendations last time a family member was shopping. They'd recommend their very top tier plan if you like to watch HD movies and listen to music. I think Netflix recommends 5Mbps for HD. There was some bizarre strata of recommended services and plans for the rest, all of which were so decoupled from reality as to be worthless.

      You know regular people everywhere actually use those kinds of recommendations when selecting packages, so it's pretty shady. And of course what they didn't mention anywhere were the upcoming data caps.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mwvdlee (775178)

        There is another problem here which may explain why companies do this; if they recommend you a service for HD movies and a 3 hour movie has a single hickup during playback, they're likely to get sued. Therefore anything which requires real-time performance (something the internet cannot guarentee), they'll just tell you to get the most expensive service. That way, when they get sued, they atleast can't be blamed for knowingly recommending an under-specced service, however reasonable a less expensive package

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 24, 2011 @10:57AM (#38158420) Journal

        We've had that problem here with the local cableco. I've had customers come to me saying "They say if I want to watch netflix I need to get the high end package" while they neglect to tell them the standard home package (which is nearly $80 cheaper for the 3 piece bundle and nearly $120 cheaper by itself) is now thanks to their FINALLY switching to digital TV between 12Mbps and 20Mbps with it only slowing to the former number in the worst, most congested part of the day.

        And of course with Black Friday tomorrow let us not forget Worst Buy, where I had a friend try to do a little temp work to get some extra scratch and had to quit in disgust because he said it was made clear his job was basically to lie about the performance of the lower end machines so grandma wouldn't feel safe unless she bought some $1000 gamer rig. I've noticed that quite often in the electronics depts. Kinda sad when the kids working the Wally World actually give me the warm fuzzy feeling simply because they don't know shit and will just give you an answer like "I don't know, it looks nice and you can play with the display model to see if you like it".

        I'm just amazed at how much complete bullshit these bunches are allowed to get away with now. I had a customer last year that needed some LCDs NOW and asked me to accompany him to the local staples because he didn't know anything about features. i got so damned disgusted at the obvious bait and switch (basically every monitor they had on display below $200 was "not in stock") that I told him to just get in my truck and I'd personally drive him the 30 minutes to the state capital just to keep him from getting ripped off. I should probably thank staples for being douchebags though, he was so grateful i was willing to help him outfit his office after the fire and keep him from getting ripped off he bought 6 monitors instead of 5 and when I went to load them in his van he said "Leave the last one in the truck, its yours". Still its a shame that stores are allowed such douchebaggery nowadays. But I got not only the nice dell 20 inch for the shop but an extra $1000 in work setting up the office as well as his home, and another $3k in referrals, so thanks staples, thanks for being absolute douchenozzles.

    • Perhaps they are trying to balance out the perplexing "dangerous".
    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_p52QJi-Ydo [youtube.com]

      He should have put peanut butter on the load catcher and the boosts to the desktop wallpaper would have been much cheaper and easier.

    • by 1s44c (552956) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:28AM (#38156156)

      ... using words like "misleading" and "unfair." It's fraud, plain and simple.

      Of course you are right. However almost all marketing involves implying things that are not true.

    • by Kavafy (1322911) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:51AM (#38156478)
      And the more I see of this kind of thing, the more I'm convinced that we need stronger regulation of advertising. A free market can only work if people are informed about what they are buying. Putting out misinformation damages the free market.
      • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @06:48AM (#38156946)
        In the abstract ideal, this would be dealt with through reputation - if a company consistantly uses misleading advertising, they'll aquire a bad reputation that hurts in the long term. Doesn't always work out so well in the real world though, as the advertising can get a much higher viewship (via TV and print ads) than can the rants of disgruntled customers who realise they've been had.
        • by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @08:44AM (#38157498)

          The other problem is that many customers don't even know they are being had. Modern stuff especially electronics are so complicated that the average person just doesn't have the time to figure it all out and buy rationally. They usually become dependent on store recommendations or someone they know, if they know someone.

          This is part of the reasons why companies make there offerings confusing and difficult to compare. It's been called a "confusopoly" to make sure people can't understand why a competitors products may be better. Notice how there are so many "customized" versions of smartphones? Nonsensical models numbers for a ton of computer parts, etc.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Here's an idea: Maybe one of them uses a VGA connector and the other uses HDMI/DVI.

      Analog vs. digital, see?

      • by deniable (76198)
        Do that with an Optiplex 790 and a 4m VGA cable and yes, you get crap output. Use the cheap, thin, short Dell supplied cable and everything is right again.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 24, 2011 @05:33AM (#38156626)

      Maybe I'm just cynical, but I ALWAYS expect advertisements to lie. Every claim that is not quantified and expressed in numbers is definitely a lie. Claims that are expressed in numbers are probably a lie. Only specs that are very easy to verify and actually define fitness for purpose can be relied on- like RAM size or dimensions. Claims that are hard to verify like quality or reliability or performance or health benefits will be lies. Salesmen who have vested interest will ALWAYS lie to you. You'll never get honest advice from people who stand to profit from your decision. Even independent sources are often biased one way or the other and often won't give advice that is best for you and your situation.

      This doesn't just hold true for tech. This is true for everything you purchase from washing machines and pencils to computers and cars. I still don't understand how some people don't realize this and just walk into a shop and ask someone there to help with their purchase.

      --Coder

      • by martin-boundary (547041) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @07:22AM (#38157068)
        You're right, you *should* expect advertisements to probably lie, but you should *also* expect liars that are caught to be severely punished for doing it. Both ideas go together, and shouldn't be separated.

        So yes, it's not surprising that Dell did this, but now that they've been caught, they should be accused and punished, so that next time they'll maybe think twice. That's how we train people, and that's how we can train corporations to behave better in society.

        • by epine (68316)

          Dell's defence is that at some point in time less expensive video cards with crappy RAMDACs blighted consumers and they will find plenty of unemployed former Matrox executives to testify on their behalf.

          Seriously, I think this is a no-brainer for a truth in advertising slap on the wrist, but if we go down this path, where do we find enough cells to house the audiophile industry? We'll be building tent farms after rounding up just the low-oxygen HDMI crowd plying low-oxygen consumers.

    • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @06:54AM (#38156968)
      I'd chalk it up to some poor web designer trying to produce a static image illustrating the difference between one card and another. A more accurate comparison would take a picture of a game running on high settings in high res and on low settings at a lower res and zoom in on a portion of the game to demonstrate the difference in resolution, texture, antialiasing.
    • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Thursday November 24, 2011 @07:32AM (#38157104) Journal

      ... using words like "misleading" and "unfair." It's fraud, plain and simple.

      Apart from that test below the image saying: "Image for illustrative purposes only". Legally that probably gets them off the hook on the fraud charges.

      Also under our retarded british legal system you have probably now libelled them and they can sue you for millions of pounds in lost revenue.

    • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @09:24AM (#38157754)
      This is the same fucking fraud that Best Buy runs trying to get people to buy their stupidly overpriced Monster HDMI cables. I remember seeing to TVs set up next to each other with a sign telling you to SEE THE MONSTER DIFFERENCE! One of the TVs looked crisp and clear, whereas the other one was blurry and shitty. Wondering what was up, I looked behind the second TV, and lo and behold, it was connected by a single coax video connector. When I complained about this to the manager, he tried to completely ignore what I was telling him about their ridiculous display and continued to try to tell me that Monster cables really do make a difference. You are absolutely correct; this is not "misleading", it is flat out lying and fraud, and ought to be punished.
      • by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @10:47AM (#38158338)

        They've been doing that since long before the Monster crap. I worked there many years ago in high school. They'd purposely adjust the lower-priced TVs so that the color was off or the image was blurry, or sometimes they'd even futz with the vertical hold settings to introduce a slow roll (this was long before non-CRT tvs were available), and meanwhile they'd have the higher priced ones set perfectly to get people to pay more.

  • Standard? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:24AM (#38155930)

    There is no such thing as a "standard" graphics card

  • I can barely read this article, I better get a new video card! Shameless comes to mind.
  • by cos(0) (455098) <pmw+slashdot@qnan.org> on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:28AM (#38155946) Homepage

    Maybe Dell is comparing the VGA port of onboard graphics vs. DVI/HDMI of a discrete card. I do notice a difference between VGA and DVI on a 17" monitor.

    • by gomerbud (117904) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:36AM (#38155972) Homepage
      I agree. 1920x1080 over an SVGA port with a low quality cable looks absolutely horrible, but this is hardly an apples to apples comparison. It's hard to find machines and monitors that lack DVI or HDMI ports nowadays, so this is very misleading.
      • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @05:46AM (#38156684) Journal

        1920x1080 over an SVGA port with a low quality cable looks absolutely horrible,

        The problem is almost always caused by the sync on the monitor being slightly out of phase with the clock on the graphics card. Back in ye olde days of TFT monitors, before DVI (I had one--I was an early adopter), the auto adjustment was not especially good and you had to tweak the phase slightly using the on-screen controls to get a pin-sharp image. With even really cheap monitors these days, the analog sync is exceptionally good compared to what it was. Almost all crappiness can be fixed by pressing the auto-adjust button.

        I regularly use a TFT monitor driven with an analog cable at 1920x1200, and it's one of those modern, thin super cheap looking VGA cables. It looks great.

        BTW, VGA is pretty forgiving on short cables. The frequencies aren't that high and any even moderately passable co-ax will do fine, and cheap modern coax is manufacturered to an astonishingly high spec.

        And yes, I am a pixel nazi, like the visual equivalent of golden ears. I work in image processing, so I am very sensitive to things like ringing, JPEG artefacts, mismatched resolutions, phase errors, dithering, etc.

    • by Pausanias (681077) <pausaniasxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:36AM (#38155974)

      Yeah, but that difference is about an order of magnitude more subtle than shown on Dell's site.

    • by underqualified (1318035) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:39AM (#38155992)
      Maybe they're comparing what an LCD screen looks like when you turn the flash on or off on your camera.
    • by blackicye (760472)

      Maybe Dell is comparing the VGA port of onboard graphics vs. DVI/HDMI of a discrete card. I do notice a difference between VGA and DVI on a 17" monitor.

      I agree there is a discernible difference between analog and dvi output quality, though on an advertisement image that size and quality both would be indistinguishable at native resolutions for the display.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I have two 22" LCDs right here and I can switch them back and forth and can't tell any difference in where they are connected. They have different color temperatures even, so any difference ought to be even more obvious. The quality of your RAMDAC is way more important than anything else unless you have a crazy long cable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bemymonkey (1244086)

      On a 17" monitor? Unless the AD/DA converters on your video card and the monitor are totally shoddy, I highly doubt it. Running 1680x1050 out of an Intel onboard card via VGA into a Samsung 223BW right now, and there is absolutely no difference between that and DVI or HDMI.

      Sure, if the monitor you're using has crappy VGA inputs or you're using a crappy cable, yes, you'll have problems - problems which are nonexistent with a digital connection (there you'll just have no signal at all)... but it's not correct

      • Yea, I can use 1920x1440@85Hz on my CRT monitor and it is not blurry. Also, this resolution requires much higher quality cable (because the pixel clock frequency is very high) than 1920x1080@60Hz

    • by toejam13 (958243) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:19AM (#38156118)

      The video from a good quality DE-15 VGA cable of reasonable length is nearly indistinguishable from that of a lossless digital connection such as DVI when using sane resolutions. It is mainly when you are utilizing substandard cables, unusually long lengths or very high resolutions (the kind that workstation GPUs push out) that the cable becomes an impairment. KVMs are also major signal killers.

      Digital panels also introduce benefits and drawbacks regarding analog inputs. Many flat panels operate with 60Hz refresh rates, so the bandwidth required to transmit the signal is lower than in the days of CRTs when you often had refresh rates in excess of 85Hz. That means that you can get away with a cheaper cable for the same resolutions. On the other hand, you're now reliant on the quality of the A/D converter in the flat panel monitor. You're also reliant on the quality of the monitor calibration software. I find that many monitors suck on the second task unless you use anything other than a background of alternating black and white pixels (like the default X background).

      As for the article itself, they are correct in claiming that it is outright BS. I have to go all the back to my old S3 Trio64 discrete video card before I find something that can't drive my flat panel at its native 1680Ã--1050 resolution at 32bpp. Every discrete video card and integrated onboard chipset I've had in the past decade can do it. Heck, both the Geforce FX5500 and Radeon 8500 AGP cards I have for my old K6/500 system drive my HD plasma in its native 1080p.

      Do they drive them well? Picture quality wise, they're no different than the latest Nv or AMD card around. However, they do tend to chug a bit. The Radeon 8500 is especially bad under Windows 7 since I'm using hacked Vista drivers since it isn't a DX9 card, which is a requirement for Win7 (I'm sure the K6 doesn't help). But that isn't what the picture at Dell's site is showing.

      • by yuhong (1378501)

        Actually, WDDM 1.0 (Vista) drivers require the graphics card support DX9. WDDM 1.1 drivers require the graphics card support DX10. Fortunately, Win7 still can use XP display drivers (Win8 won't able to and will fallback to Microsoft Basic Display Adapter).

    • Maybe. So what would have been preferable? I've gotten by with onboard graphics for years, doing no more than video processing and photography, and as a console gamer, video cards are just something I don't think about. I'm assuming that the sell is that discrete video cards offer better features for intense gaming, and that integrated graphics will eventually disappoint when the user tries to play AAA game title. Dell could just provide performance metrics, but numbers really are meaningless to most consum

    • Maybe Dell is comparing the VGA port of onboard graphics vs. DVI/HDMI of a discrete card. I do notice a difference between VGA and DVI on a 17" monitor.

      If the monitor is a flat panel and its native resolution is not VGA, or an exact multiple of VGA, then the image can appear blurry. Every play an old fixed resolution 640x480 game on a modern flat panel?

    • Besides, the aspect ratio would be slightly different if that were the case, but in this case it is not.

    • by smash (1351)
      I regularly switch between analog and digital on my monitor and notice no such difference (as i have 2 machines using 1 input each). The only advantage i get out of digital on a 22" widescreen 1680x1050 display is that the digital signal auto adjusts faster. there is zero blurriness on my Samsung LCD (similar to pictured in the dell image)
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I've used VGA on a 17" for years on an aging graphics card, and it never looked as bad as the Dell picture.
      If may be a bit more fuzzy, but I could still see individual pixels and there's really no reason why the colors would be that flat.
      Don't Dell TFT's have contrast/brightness settings?

      • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Thursday November 24, 2011 @07:42AM (#38157154) Journal

        I've used VGA on a 17" for years on an aging graphics card, and it never looked as bad as the Dell picture.
        If may be a bit more fuzzy, but I could still see individual pixels and there's really no reason why the colors would be that flat.
        Don't Dell TFT's have contrast/brightness settings?

        Of course they do. This image has been knocked up in photoshop and they even tell you that on the image. The bit saying "images shown are for demonstrative purposes only" literally translates into "we knocked this shit up in photoshop" when you translate it from legalese marketing speak into plain english.

    • I'd have more sympathy for them and your comment if their monitors didn't come with Display Port and every model of Optiplex bar one seems to come with displayport as well for their integrated graphics adapters.

      Money does not need to be spent for some mythical increase in contrast ratio (which is what they are showing on the website, and contrast ratio is one thing which does not improve going from VGA to DVI/HDMI/DP). There's only a barely noticeable increase in sharpness in many cases.

    • I have a 17" monitor with both VGA and DVI inputs. I don't notice any difference at all. I certainly don't see what the Dell site purportedly claimed.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:28AM (#38155948)

    Why don't they put two naked chicks fondling the expensive card monitor behind it . . .?

    And Roseanne Barr behind the cheapo one . . . ?

    Then I would know which one to buy!

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Why don't they put two naked chicks fondling the expensive card monitor behind it . . .?

      You're getting it all wrong.

    • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:19AM (#38156364) Homepage

      The big difference is that in the UK and EU there's an excellent chance that this is illegal. Strange as it may seem, unlike the US we actually require adverts to be somewhat true - and not just by tacking on a timestretched disclaimer sped up to a garble at the end. For example, the Budweiser "Fresh Beer Tastes Better" ad campaign was ultimately sunk because fresh beer does not, in fact, taste better. Although the ASA eventually cleared the advert on the basis that Bud tastes so bad it actually becomes worse as it ages, the damage was done.

      I would urge as many of you that summon up the enthusiasm to send a polite email to the Advertising Standards Authority [asa.org.uk]. Since this portion of the Dell website is aimed at UK customers, they must abide by UK laws.

      • by BeardedChimp (1416531) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @05:37AM (#38156640)

        The ASA are actually one of the most capable regulatory bodies within the UK. I've been continually impressed by them demanding peer reviewed evidence from manufacturers to support their claims, and by the decent balance their provide when people complain about adverts that go against their morals/religion.

        A few years ago I read that the average number of complaints to the ASA that lead to the advert people pulled was 1.3 . In other words they take every complaint on their merit rather than from public pressure. So if you think an advert violates one of the standards, there is a good chance you can get it pulled.

        The badscience forum provides an excellent Activisim section [badscience.net] that can help when constructing these complaints.

      • by itsdapead (734413)

        Although the ASA eventually cleared the advert on the basis that Bud tastes so bad it actually becomes worse as it ages.

        That implies that Bud tastes of something... Clearly false! NB: I've actually had some rather nice beers in the US (although they do tend to be from their mother's womb untimely ripp'd).

        Back on topic, before USAians start talking about freedom of speech and censorship (personally, I couldn't care less if the adverts are censored as long as the bits in between them aren't) its worth noting that the ASA is an independent body, not an arm of Government, and the sanctions are usually limited to forcing the o

  • It's still funny how in some product descriptions and user reviews some flat display is described to have "sharp picture" even though that's equal for all of them. (Of course the VGA input might weaken it, but that's not the main point here.)
  • Spend more money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mm0mm (687212) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:36AM (#38155970)

    Dell’s page says that its picture is for “demonstrative purposes only”

    Dell should rephrase it and clearly state that this is for "promotional purposes only" instead.

  • So complain to the FTC, or to competitors who sell lower-end graphics chips. This is what truth in advertising is for.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:43AM (#38156020) Homepage Journal

    the images look the same on my low end graphics card. I guess I should upgrade.

  • This is an OptiPlex (Score:2, Informative)

    by R.Mo_Robert (737913)

    This is an OptiPlex, intended primarily for business-type customers and not available on Dell's "Home" section. The likelihood of a novice user stumbling to this is low.

    Not saying it's fair of them, but still--and their "help me choose" pages are rarely representative of the actual choices, anyway (this being an exception, except it's misleading).

    • by Zouden (232738) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @05:16AM (#38156554)

      It's not just misleading, it's actually lying. The pictures are accompanied by the phrase "Images shown are for demonstrative purposes only". But they're not demonstrative of anything like the difference between a high-end and low-end graphics card.

      The fact that it's for business users does not in any way excuse Dell for flat-out lying to customers.

    • by sqldr (838964)

      and their "help me choose" pages are rarely representative of the actual choices, anyway

      A graphics solution designed for advanced photo and video editing, graphic design and financial modeling: A high-end graphics solution
      A graphics solution designed for presentations, spreadsheets and rich media: A mid-range graphics solution
      A graphics solution designed for basic Internet, email, word processing and light graphics applications: Integrated Graphics

      I have no idea what they mean by "financial

  • Everything's fine, since

    Images shown are for demonstrative purposes only.

  • Minecraft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Beardydog (716221) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @02:54AM (#38156048)
    My theory is that both displays are actually showing a bird's-eye view of a Windows desktop, as rendered by a redstone emulation of an X86 processor. The visual difference is because the worse card needed the "Fancy Graphics" and "Smooth Lighting" options turned off.
  • A company is using deceitful tactics to attract unsuspecting customers! News at eleven.
  • by Kinky Bass Junk (880011) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:00AM (#38156072)
    They took it down shortly before the reporters got to it, this was what it looked like before: http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/8082/dellimage2.jpg [imageshack.us]
  • by WalkingBear (555474) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:13AM (#38156108) Homepage Journal

    From the look of the two monitors on the 'example' page, it looks like they're showing 27 or 30 inch monitors. If that's true, then the comparison of the 'low end' Radeon 3450 at a max of 1920x1200 to a 3470 or higher with a max resolution of 2560x1600 (the native resolution of a 30 inch monitor) will look something close to the example photos.

    Not labeling the examples with the types of cards used, resolutions, sizes, etc is close to unconscionable for a business computer comparison / assist site.

    The funny thing is that even if that's true, then the lowest end baseline integrated intel graphics chip would match the high end in display resolution, and therefore, sharpness on any monitor Dell sells.

  • It's advertising, and because we know better about monitors, it's clearly not for us. But think of, say, laundry detergent commercials. The latest always makes your clothes whiter and removes more stains than the "leading brand". Well, the commercial has been the same for 50 years. And so have the detergents, more or less...

    All that matters is the warning at the bottom. Think of cigarettes. They kill you, but as long as they told you so.

  • by blackicye (760472) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:28AM (#38156152)

    Dell super video is much good. Much much gooder than standard picture. Definition is very high! Don't buy cheap standard video!
    Buy Dell video, I rating A++++++++++! Very happy very sharp picture!

  • Most people care about the results, not the specifications. Indeed, most people don't understand the background information required to understand specifications. So the marketeers have to simplify things. Which is awfully hard to do when you're talking about a static image on a website, which would make low end video appear on par with high end video. So they simplify things.

    Do I agree with that simplification? Not really. Do I understand that simplification? Absolutely. After all, even though it i

  • Lol (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lightknight (213164)

    And the sad part is, I remember when Dell didn't have to resort to cheap tricks to sell PCs. Speccing in non-standard and substandard parts, plus rolling over for every sad business brain-fart has destroyed that company. Such a pity, at one time their Just-In-Time business model was seen as a something of a wonder.

    Try a new tactic. Go back to doing what made you successful in the first place. Put on a black turtleneck (if you must), and inform your customers that while their money means a lot to you, you si

    • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

      by leromarinvit (1462031) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @06:39AM (#38156906)

      If that laptop doesn't have at least 8 GBs of RAM and a 1 TB 7200 RPM HD or 256 GB SSD, with a separate video card, it cannot be sold. Your company depends on repeat business, correct?

      I don't disagree with your point, but I think your "minimum" specs are a little high. 1 TB 7200 rpm 2.5" HDDs don't even exist yet in the 9.5mm format that will actually fit inside most laptops. And if it has discrete graphics, then I'm not buying it. I value battery runtime over flashy graphics, and I doubt I'm the only one. And given that even the i945 integrated graphics in my five year old laptop can do flashy graphics (compiz) at 1920x1080 just fine, I doubt any modern chip couldn't. Unless you play games or run CAD software, discrete graphics are overkill.

  • by kikito (971480)

    It even blurs the stickers on the screen!

    xD

  • by Liambp (1565081) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @03:47AM (#38156230)

    I know that in Europe we have fairly strong advertising standards regulation and in theory every ad is supposed to be "legal, decent honest and truthful". I see the odd case of outrageous ads being challenged but for the most part we get exactly the same litany of gullible customers being sold products they don't need: €100 hdmi cables, ultimate broadband for Facebook browsing etc.

    I am not sure that any amount of regulation can stop it. I have become quite resigned to the whole business and I accept it as a kind of ignorance tax. While I can be smug about the fact that I am knowledgeable enough about tech products to avoid paying this ignorance tax I am quite sure that in other areas where I am less knowledgeable I am probably duped into paying more than I should.

    • As I posted above [slashdot.org] if you complain to the ASA there is a good chance that your complaint will be heard and actually take effect. No need to resign ourselves to our lying corporate overlords.

      The Asa also recently increased their remit for what advertising they will regulate.

      From March 1st 2011, the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code) has applied in full to marketing messages online, including the rules relating to misleading advertising, social responsibility and the protection of children. Journalistic and editorial content and material related to causes and ideas - except those that are direct solicitations of donations for fund-raising - are excluded from the remit. Previously, our remit online was limited to paid-for ads (such as pop-ups and banner ads) and sales promotions wherever they appeared.

      Unfortunately since it doesn't cover "Journalistic and editorial content", they are unable to get involved where a journalist has been clearly paid to write a glowing yet inaccurate endorsement of a product.

  • Jumbo Shrimp
    Military Intelligence
    and Friendly Fire

    Words that have no business being said next to one another for 800 Alex!

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @04:49AM (#38156466) Homepage
    strikes again...im having a hard time caring. and for those who say dell is resorting to cheap tricks, its a fact for the big two that anything they sell from ram to monitors is a cheap trick. CPU's get whitewashed as helping twitter run faster, and memory gets the usual 'more tabs' treatment. customers dont notice, but nerds do. The only travesty here is the number of people outraged without realizing they arent the target demographic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 24, 2011 @07:10AM (#38157016)

    I mean, how else would you quickly and efficiently explain 3D acceleration to someone who has no idea what it is? Let's same I have a game and I want to run it at 30 frames per second. On a low-end card, I have to turn the details down and decrease the resolution to get the same speed - in other words, make it "blurrier." On the high-end card, I crank everything up and it looks nicer. Dell didn't want to get into the whole give and take of speed / detail / resolution, that's not who this guide is for. Blurrier is a good enough representation of those technicalities.

    If there's anything wrong with this, it's that they used a desktop instead of a game screenshot. I supposed that potentially could cause someone to upgrade who had no legitimate need for a nicer graphics card. But with Aero and whatever desktop nonsense there is now, it's not that misleading.

    And there you go. The first time, and probably the last time, that I've stood up for Dell.

  • by 9jack9 (607686) on Thursday November 24, 2011 @07:37AM (#38157126)

    I submitted the following to Consumerist. I looked for somewhere to tell Dell, "thought you'd like to know, I've submitted the following to Consumerist" but couldn't find any place to submit it. Whatever happened to old-fashioned contact pages? It looks like all the many ways to contact them involve signing in to Dell, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Bah.

    === submitted to Consumerist ===

    Dell is engaging in faulty advertising. The image in the link is misleading. The different graphics cards would show a Windows desktop the same. There would be other differences between the cards, but that's not one of them. Here are links to Dell, Reddit, and Slashdot.

    Dell:

    http://content.dell.com/uk/en/business/d/help-me-choose/hmc-video-card-vostro-dt.aspx?ref=CFG

    Reddit:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/mle4f/is_this_image_on_the_dell_website_complete_bcks/

    PC Pro:

    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2011/11/23/dells-unhelpful-graphics-card-buying-advice/

    Slashdot:

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/11/24/022247/dells-misleading-graphics-card-buying-advice

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