Buying a PC with Dell: My Journey Into Hell
Earlier this year, I decided to buy a new PC after my old one began to struggle with some heavier editing projects.
I decided to go with Dell because A) I’ve been with them my whole life, and

B) I’ve never had any problem with them.

I understand this was a bad decision. That information cannot help me now.
I should note- I do not know a great deal about PCs, and a lot of this could have been avoided if I had just slightly more know how, so I am partially (well… mostly) to blame for the nightmare that follows.
I spent a day researching different parts, looking up what kind of GPU would work best with Premiere, Went with 64 gigs of ram, and a top of the line Intel XPS processor, it was more money than I’d ever spent on a PC, but if it made life easier, I’d consider it a good investment.
One week later, the machine arrives, it is big and heavy and has a metal handle. A metal handle. That’s serious. I am very excited.
I boot up the PC, but where my 5 year old machine could boot in about 10 seconds, this is taking closer to 2 minutes… odd.
Problem the second- when set up begins, the PC cannot detect the wireless mouse or keyboard it came with… very odd.
I spend a bout an hour trying different configurations to make the keyboard and mouse connect, its getting late, im getting tired, so I just hook up an old wired keyboard and mouse.
Step 2- Connect my new PC to the internet- only it cannot find my wifi. I restart 7 or 8 times, having to repeat the set up each time. I refresh the browser. I adjust my router settings. Nothing works.
I stand back and stare at my machine. It has no dvd/bluray drive, so without internet, is just a giant piece of plastic that cost me 1000s of euro.
Somewhere, deep inside me, I feel a subtle unsure emptiness open up, and through it, a small stream of anxiety starts to seep through.
I got to bed. I can figure this out better in the morning.
The next morning I brew some coffee and turn back on the machine. Another 2 minute boot up. Very, very, odd.
I spend the next hour digging through internet forms on my laptop, hunched beside my new machine. After going down several rabbit holes that lead nowhere, I finally get a solid lead-
the problem could be with my PCIe wifi card, if its malfunctioning, that would explain why I cannot connect to the Internet.
I go to system information and … and… There is no PCIe wifi card. It is not there. Dell did not insert one into the machine. In the year of our lord 2021. There was a shipped a state of the art PC without the functionality to connect to the Internet.
I feel that little hole inside me open wider, but now, its not just anxiety thats flowing out, but shame. What kind of idiot orders a pc without internet functionality. At the time I did not know what a PCIe card was, nor that it would be an opt in scenario.
I sit for several minutes, feeling very, very stupid.
I start to feel out of control of the situation, and begin to get a little upset, this was not meant to be this complicated, this was meant to make things easier, but, decide I am being silly, surely there's an easy fix to this.
I read up about wireless PCI card and order one from amazon for 20 euro. Problem solved…? (no.)
The card arrives a few days later, but is getting around 10% the bandwidth of my old pc as well as other devices in that same room. I open up my machine and remove it.
But Im starting to notice something else… This PC… is slow. Like really, really slow. Slower than my machine I bought five years ago. I render an episode on my podcast on it, and it takes nearly four times as long- and I panic-
BUT HOW- THIS IS A STATE OF THE ART MACHINE, THIS IS A RENDER BEAST WHAT IS HAPPENING
A new emotion floods my body- fear. Raw cold fear, fear that i have entered a world I do not understand, and the problems I now face are ones that are complicated and frightening, and beyond my ability to solve- all with the weight that this machine cost me ALOT of money.
I decide to call Dell customer service- And the real nightmare begins.
At this point I want to take a second and acknowledge that all the individual representatives I spoke to were polite, kind, and patient with me, despite how everything went, I appreciate there ability to deal with my increasing frustration. None of this is their fault.
Rather they are just individuals doing there best in a monolithic system so colossal, cold and unwieldy it now fills me with what I can only liken to a kind of cosmic horror. But I do not know that yet. I think I am about to solves the problem. Oh John. You poor deluded fool.
After hitting my keypad several times to try and navigate my way to an agent, I find myself on hold, and a 30 second loop of distorted cracked lounge music begins to play. After 40 minutes I think that this is what elevators in hell must sound like.
Some time later I am connected to an Agent. He tells me we are going to run several diagnostic checks on my computer. This process takes several hours, he remotely controls my computer, he sees my guilty gear wall paper. We talk about Guilty Gear. He is very pleasant.
Finally- we get the result, and its the worst thing possible- nothing, nothing is wrong.
I insist there has to be something, this is not normal, and after a combination or righteous indignation and outright begging, he speaks to his supervisor, and they agree to send a repair man, to replace the only thing it can be- my mother board.
I thank him, and hang up the phone.
The next day I unplug my new PC at my desk, and reconnect my old PC. it is a moment of profound melancholy.
I put my new pc on the bed behind my desk, and there it sits, massive and useless. Please let the motherboard fix things. Please let this end. I just want to make videos on my new pc. I just need things to get a little easier.
Several days pass, Dell tell me Ill get a call when the repair man is coming, but that I wont know the specific date or time. This does not happen.
Instead, I get an email at the end of that week, saying that no one was home when the delivery man called. I find this suspect. Ireland is in a national lock down, and both me and my partner are home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I know this because I was there.
Frustrated and growing exhausted with the situation, I email Dell back asking them to send someone again. I wait. But instead, the tweet directly above this one plays out two more times. Please read that tweet twice again to experience this.
Finally, a repairman arrives. I feel weird that there is someone new in my apartment for the first time in months. He is very nice. I talk to him about Psychics and conspiracy theories.
After an hour he leaves, and I stare at my new machine.
All the fondness I felt for it is now gone. It now fills me with a subtle sense of dread. But maybe… not for much longer.
I turn it on.
2 minute boot time (no… no… no...)
Takes 40 minutes to render a podcast (NO NO NO NO NO NO)
I lie on my floor and listen to this song, which is something I do when Im upset:
It has been two and a half weeks since my Pc arrived. I consign myself to getting up early the next morning, and figuring out what is wrong with this PC. I got to bed sad.
The early morning light in my office feels muted and cold, I sit down and reconnect my new pc, laptop sitting on my desk. I am going to figure this out.
After a couple of hours of digging through forums, I identify a potential problem: The Hard drive, if that hard drive is not running properly, it could be bottle necking the entire system, so I check my hard drives and-
OH GOD
OH NO
The hard drives… are not solid state drives… but mechanical hard drives. If you are unfamiliar , SSDs are the modern day standard, Mechanical hard drives are outdated, only really used now as storage, but never as a boot drive (the drive your pc actually runs from).
This is why my 5 year old PC is faster than my new one, IT had a solid state drive that came as standard. My new PC did not. I had missed the drop down tab to change this.
The hole inside rips open and encompasses my entire body, and emotion crashes into me like a subway train obliterating a manikin- fear, shame, anger, HOW, HOW COULD I HAVE DONE SOMETHING AS STUPID AS ORDER A MECHANCAL HARD DRIVE, I HAVE TRAPPED MYSELF IN THIS HELL.
I feel deep unrelenting shame, and hold my head in my hands. Perhaps I really am as stupid as those videos on the internet say I am.
I may have cried at this point. I do not remember.
After a while I come through in a fog of melancholy, and a small shaft of light pierces through… maybe theres still hope, maybe I can still get- A REFUND.
I feel trapped in a dark fiery hell, but this thought opens a crack 100s of miles above me, maybe… just maybe… I can go back, if i could just start it all again, id… id make better decisions, I’d do things right this time. There was still hope I could still do this.
“I’m sorry sir, but you marked your order as “for business”, meaning that that your two week return window has been up for several days now, and Dell is under no obligation to refund your machine.”
Ice. Ice through my blood. I am dying. I am angry. But more than anything I am ashamed. I have entered a world of which I know nothing. And have cost myself dozens of hours, thousands of euro, and countless increments of sanity. I am a fool.
I was never escaping this hell. My only option now was to embrace it's flames- to upgrade my machine myself.
And immediately things get complicated- My PC tower was a precision 5820, I know that Sata SSDs will work with it, but… there is a new type of SSD thats meant to be more powerful with better performance- NVMes.
The problem however, is that some computers are unable to boot off NVMes, it depends on your BIOS, which is something I dont know anything about.
I know this will be the more complicated option- but something inside me... NEEDS an Nvme drive, its increase in performance made me feel like that if I could obtain it and make it work, then maybe this whole journey will have meant something.
But theres a problem, My motherboard lacks M.2 Connectors, which it needs, and so I begin the long journey of seeing if NVMe drives will even work on my computer- I search the internet and find only ambiguity.
I just need this one answer. If I can find out if my PC is compatible with NVMe I can put this entire nightmare behind me, so I make the decision- I CALL DELL CUSTOMER SERVICE.
The following day is a blur of concealed rage and frustration, I start by messaging a dell chat window, only to be given a number, and innocently- FOOLISHLY- I believe this number can help me.
“ah, I see, sir thats a upgrade issue, not a customer support issue”- “No sir, this is the upgrades service department, you need upgrade sale”- “Im sorry, but this is more of a technical support problem”- “ ah, im afraid you’ll need our out of warranty team.”
I spend several days trying to get in touch with the out of warranty team, there is no phone number for them directly, you have to be transferred by a dell agent, the problem, is that it takes about an hour to get to that point, and I keep getting disconnected mid call.
One bleak thursday afternoon, after 4 hours and finally getting through to the out of warranty team, I am given a number to call. A jot it down-
-before seeing the same exact number already in my note book, This is the number I started with several days ago. I try to scream, but nothing comes out.
I hang up the phone and go to bed. It is 5pm.
I do not contact dell for several days. I put a blanket over my new PC. I do not want to look at it.
Finally I make one more attempt, I go to a local park where I think my phone will have the best signal to minimize disconnections, and I start the process again.
For 40 minutes, I sit alone, listening to dell's hellish hold music, before finally getting through to the out of warranty team one last time.
The agent on the other end is helpful, she assures me that the Dell branded NVMe drive will work, she sends me a quote that day, and for the first time I feel … light. I am nearing the end of my journey. A tear may have slid down my cheek, but it could have been the rain.
I feel a great weight lifted, I return to my apartment, and things feel things return to.. normality. I reflect on my journey, and all ive learned, if nothing else I know a lot more a bout pcs than I used to. Maybe its all going to be ok-
-THE DELUDED RAMBLINGS OF A FOOLISH CHILD
I receive the quote from Dell.
400 Euro. 400 Euro for a new Dell 1tb NVME drive. I'm bewildered, im furious, third party drives cost a quarter of the price, I cannot afford to sink that much more money into this machine. I Send a protest email. it does nothing.
Slowly I look around me. And the normality I felt cracks and falls away, an illusion designed to plunge me further into agony and DESPAIR, and all the shame and anger comes flooding back. I cannot afford this.
And
I
Just
Break
I give up. I give up hope. I give up my dreams. I walk away. I forget my delusions of an nvme drive. I do not deserve one.
I order a regular old sata drive for 80 euro on amazon, and somewhere deep down, a little part of me slips away, and never comes back.
A week later-
My sata drive arrives. I feel no joy. I feel no pain. It just is.
I open up my PC once again. And I connect my sata hard drive. Let this nightmare end.
IT DOES NOT.
My computer cannot detect my new SSD. Panic shoots through me. No. How. This is impossible. This cant happen I DONT WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE (I here this song in my head: )
Members of my discord have heard my plight and offer to help me. They were all very nice and good. I film myself digging around the guts of my PC and stream it to them. They treat me with the gentle kindness as if I were a child who has fallen down the stairs for the first time.
We identify the problem- The Sata power plug is not connected to the hard drive, and after a long time far, FAR too long, i find a unused sata power plug within the depths of the machine, I plug it in and
-nothing.
It still. Does not work. I thank everyone for there help, and end the call. I sit in silence. I will be here. Forever.
The next morning a member of my discord sends me a link, the pc I have actually uses a proprietary front loaded hard drive system, which requires upgrade kits to fit SSDs and NVME drives, I get excited, and in my foolish exuberance, order an NVMe drive.
But theres a problem- I cannot find these kits anywhere online, you cannot buy them directly the only place to get them - THROUGH DELL CUSTOMER SERVICE.
The customer service saga plays out again. I do not want to type it again so please read that part of the thread again.
Finally I get the out of warranty team- and they send me the quote and-
-430 EURO. 430 EURO FOR TWO PLASTIC CADDYS.
I roar, but no sound comes out, I cry, but no tears emerge. I look around me. The emptiness that was once inside me has expanded to become my entire reality.
I search the internet for a third party solution, but can only find one tray with the right measurements. But they do not ship to ireland.
I check my parcel motel which I use to buy things from the UK. they are no longer in business due to brexit. I fall deeper.
I sit back down, my face white, my soul broken, I am but a tiny human spirit, shattered against the mammoth corporate oblosik.
In that moment, I know true defeat.
Through a layer of deep sobs, I buy the caddies.
I look in the mirror. I no longer respect the person staring back.
That was four days ago. Thank you for listening to my story. I am sorry.
I am guessing people are going to reach out and offer
to help.

But you cannot help me.

You cannot save me.

I am already dead.
I will continue to update as things progress.
My phone beeps. I tremble. Image
I open my package and find it is not in fact my caddies, but a pcie wifi card I ordered from Dell. I sigh in disappointment.

But this does not need to be a bad thing. This simple fix might help restore some of my lost morale.
I open the Pc back up, insert the card, connect it to the external signal receiver. Close it back up. No Problem. I can do this!
My PC does not recognize the card.
I spend an hour and a half adjusting every wifi setting back and fourth, restarting my computer over and over, (enduring a two minute boot every restart).

Little by little my hope chips away.
I scratch and I claw and I struggle, but I am an ape staring at the sky, the boundless freedom the internet, never to be mine.
I pour a hot bath. The steam is comforting. I glimpse my reflection beneath the water. My face is rippled and distorted. I do not recognize the person staring back at me.

Something about this bothers me.
... Image
My NVMe caddie arrives. With quivering hands I open it up. The screws are very tiny. My fingers cramp. After too long, I fit the NVMe inside the caddie. This is it.
I am not a religious man. But in that moment, I pray.
I feel my prayer rise out of my mouth, into the sky, past the clouds, through space, and enter the great cosmic unknown.
I feel it experience worlds different and alien and strange, until finally, it collides with the consciousness of some great cosmic being, infinitely older and more unknowable than anything humanity has ever encountered, or ever will.
God… Satan… Some advanced alien being, I do not know, but I pray to it, I beg it, please.

Please just let my PC work.
Please.
I feel this massive corporal entity stir, its gargantuan lips part, and from them escapes a deep cosmic whisper, that crashes down through the heavens, down through the clouds, down through my roof, rupturing my reality, shaking my soul, and with a silent, deafening roar-
-it responds:
“No.”
My bios does not recognize my NVMe drive.
I fall.
I go empty, the darkness once inside me now becomes my everything. Not merely my reality, but my past, my present, my future. It twists infinitely across space and time, infecting every moment of my life, each second that has come before, every second that will follow after
I see it all. My entire existence was always leading to this. There is no escape. There never was.
This is my end. This is all I am. This is all I will ever be. For. Ever. And. Ever. And

and

a
When Suddenly.
My Phone Rings.
It is a number I do not recognize.
“Hello?”
The voice at the other end responds: “Is this John Walsh.”
“...Yes?”
“Good afternoon Mr. Walsh.

I am representative of Dell.

We have been monitoring your thread on twitter.”
The conversation that follows lasts nearly one hour, over the course of which I learn one thing-

-Dell have sent a heavy hitter.
The person I am speaking to is nothing less than the special forces black ops of customer service. Her title is resolution manager, but for the rest of this conversation I will refer to her as “The Closer.”
She has one job: make this problem go away. Make ME go away.

And it is a job, she is frighteningly efficient at.
She’s apologetic for everything that’s happened, while being careful to never actually apologize, but she’s so damn good, I barely notice.
Worse, she’s kind.

She’s NICE.

Her words are slow and gentle. She me compliments me, commiserates with my fury, with my sadness,

“You’re quite a story teller Mr Walsh, I can feel that you’ve been through a lot.”
It is the most seen, the most understood, I’ve felt by another person since the pandemic began.
I try and stay mad, try hold onto my edge, but I cannot, she is too strong.
I curse my own weakness.
The only point of conversation she doesn’t feel in full control comes when she says: “I can see from your twitter you have a youtube channel and… 1.12 million subscribers-”
-There is a pause, for a moment she sounds flustered.
She recovers nearly immediately, and with what feels like renewed conviction, pulls me into her final gambit.
She asks me what it will take to make this problem go away.
I nearly scream “I WANT BILL GATES FUCKING HEAD” before realizing how little sense that would make.
I try and tell her nothing can fix this, I have the parts I need, I just need to figure out the right configuration.

As the words come out my mouth, not even I believe them.
She politely, firmly, dismantles my objections.
Trying to fight her is like striking at smoke. Impossible.
After an hour, I am exhausted, worn down by careful, gentle, precise words.

She remains as sharp, friendly, and tactical as when the conversation began.
She leaves me with a choice:

A) Dell will refund the price of the caddies
B) Dell will give me a credit note for the entire machine.
I hang up the phone. I cannot place why, but I feel I have been bested by a superior being.
The Closers words wash over. The desert of hope I once occupied has now been filled by and ocean, however, from its depths, I feel rise a final conflict, great and terrible.
I can not rid myself of the feeling that the only reason Dell have contacted me, is because the infamy of this thread, and the size of my following.
I never wanted that. I just wanted to be sad on the Internet.
This is something i have struggled with for a long time:

I do not accept gifts from large companies. I turn down gift bags, download codes, and free merchandise.

I do not want to be treated differently than anyone else.

It is not why I do what I do.
If I was not who I am, I cannot know that Dell would have left me for burn in this hell, like they potentially might so many others.
The Closer assured me this was not the case, that they are giving me the same customer service they would any other person.

I want to believe her. But I do not.
If I accept Dells offer now, I will be disappointed in myself.
But… I am also… tired.
I am so tired.
This journey has drained me of blood and life. I am a skeleton, who hobbles listlessly from one day to the next, thoughts of hard drive and customer service clouding my every moment.
My partner softly pleads with me, tells me how she wants her boyfriend back.
I feel I have let her down.
And so, in the great expansive darkness I am now filled with, a great war erupts inside me.

On one side, my soul, my desire to not abuse my status.

And on the other, my sanity, my desire to escape this nightmare and return to a normal life.
I become lost in the conflict. I am not thinking clearly anymore.

I have not for what feels like a very long time.
And so in this final battle

I turn to the person who has been been there since the beginning.

The person who has joined me on this entire horrific journey.

The only one who can truly understand all this has been.
I turn, to you, the person reading this thread.
What Should I do:

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