Originally Posted by Justin M. Giza
problems, and keep getting told "there's nothing wrong with the ThinkPads." This is an understandable response, coming from a team whose job it is to help a school full of people who break their computer
Actually, when there's a systematic problem with a model, we spot it very quickly, usually more quickly than the vendor (or more quickly than the vendor is willing to admit). We've had a history, not just with the student computers but also University-owned equipment, of finding problems and either working through them with the vendor, or (when possible) forcing the vendor to take some action. Or even ourselves when we've had to. I can give concrete examples back to the second model of laptop purchased by Drew in 1989. There were even examples prior to that. When you've got a small number of people seeing the same issue coming up, and you're buying in quantity 500 or 600, or 50 at a time or so for desktops on campus, common issues crop up quickly.
The only issue I'm aware of with the R40's in particular is that the original motherboard's ethernet jack can fail through repeated insertion/removal. Actually, any network port will fail over time - some R40's seem to fail more quickly. That requires a motherboard replacement, which is covered. I'm not sure if the replacement part is less prone to failure - I'd have to check with Rian, our hardware support specialist. The "lemon clause" would rarely kick in on this, since it's the "major failures within 6 months". By the way, some vendors won't do a lemon clause - another major computer vendor (who I'm now glad we didn't select for other reasons) indicated that the lemon clause was too specific for them to agree to.
In terms of dueling anecdotes, yeah, I have an R40, and I know a bunch of other people (students, faculty, staff) who are using their own or University-owned equipment. So, if I know a dozen people without major problems, what does that mean? Not much. It's the overall repair rates, and to the best of my knowledge, there's no data showing a major issue - certainly nothing that would trigger a wider vendor action or recall.