Dell Computer – hard drive design flaw?

Relevance: Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 on Dell notebooks, tablets and desktops with up to 8 cores

I started noticing that my Dell desktop and laptops had a hard time starting. Rebooting the machines to install updates, new software, after returning to work, etc. was an ordeal – the machine would bog down and barely function. I started Task Manager by right clicking on the toolbar and then looked at the four columns of information: CPU, Memory, Disk and Network.

When the computer was starting, the CPU, Memory and Network were all in the lower third of their capacity, but the Disk was at 100%. To me this means that the data channel to the hard drive is too small, and regardless of the disk size, speed, configuration (internal or external) are all irrelevant. The disk IO is limited and that is causing the machine to perform poorly.

Once the startup process has completed then the disk utilization reduces and the machines start working appropriately. During high disk operations the disk would hit 100% but only until the operation completed.

I reached out to Dell and we ran a series of diagnostics. The diagnostics were evaluating the health of the drive, not the throughput. The drives are healthy and generally have 80% free space – on a terabyte drive only 200 gigs are filled.

I switched to a Lenovo laptop with a solid state drive, and my experience is completely different. The machine starts almost instantly, and the Disk column in Task Manager does not spike.

I am not buying any more Dell machines as I believe this is a core architectural design flaw.

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