Class Action Lawsuit Against Dell for False Advertising of the Alienware Area51 Laptop

Published on 05 Jun 2021

A man in California has filed a class-action lawsuit against Dell stating that the company 'intentionally misled and deceived' consumers regarding the upgradability of their Alienware Area-51m R1 gaming laptop. The lawsuit has been filed by Robert Felter, who is based in San Francisco. The case 'Felter v. Dell Technologies, Inc.' has been filed with the United States District Court in the Northern District of California.

More about the Alienware Area-51m R1 Laptop

Alienware is a computer hardware subsidiary of Dell. Dell acquired Alienware in 2006 and since then it has become Dell's premier gaming brand. The Area-51m is Alienware's flagship gaming laptop. The internal components of most laptops these days are sealed or glued into place, in order to save space. This means that it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to replace and upgrade these components. The Area-51m purported to provide a solution to this issue. The laptop was big in size and designed to be easy to disassemble. It was advertised to have 'unprecedented upgradability'. Users would be able to easily take apart the machine and upgrade its internals. The aim was to create a future-proof gaming laptop that could be easily upgraded with the latest components.

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The issue with Area-51m's advertising

Despite its marketing, there were limitations to how much the Area-51m R1 could be upgraded. After the launch of the laptop, company representatives told the media that the laptop's CPU could be upgraded as long as it used Intel's Z390 chipset. The R1 used Intel's 9th Gen Core desktop processors and Dell developed separate proprietary Dell Graphics Form Factor (DGFF) modules for the Nvidia graphics. The laptop only supported 9th gen Intel processors, so they could not be upgraded to use CPUs that required 10th gen support. In May last year, Dell announced the Alienware Area-51m R2 laptop which had 10th Gen intel processors and supported a wider range of Nvidia GPUs. The R1 laptops could not be upgraded to include these latest components. This means that to get the latest internal hardware, users would need to purchase a brand new model.

The release of the new Area51-m R2 is the crux of Felter's case against Dell. In a statement, Felter's lawyer David W. Kani said, "Dell’s advertisement to the public didn’t place any restrictions on the upgradeability of the laptop. They also never disclosed that those with the highest spec CPU and/or GPU that their device would not be upgradeable." The case also alleges that as Dell uses Intel and Nvidia components in its machines it would have advanced knowledge and roadmaps about upcoming components. Hence, Dell knew that the laptops would not be upgradeable after a point.

When contacted for comment, Dell's representatives said that it is company policy not to comment on any ongoing litigation. Subscribe to for the latest tech news.

Featured image: Courtesy Dell