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Dell's XPS 700 on summer vacation

Unspecified issues with the XPS 700 desktop unveiled in late May have kept the system on ice as customers heat up.

Hopefully no one bought Dell's XPS 700 as a Father's Day gift.

The most powerful desktop in Dell's arsenal has remained on factory shelves since its May 31 debut, derailed by a number of issues that surfaced as the product went through its final testing process. Not one unit has shipped, and shipments aren't expected to begin for another several weeks, said Liem Nguyen, a company spokesman.

Frustrated Dell customers have created a 42-page thread (as of Wednesday afternoon) on Dell's Community Forums to vent their anger at the delays. Much of the frustration stems from the fact that posters believe Dell representatives have not been forthcoming about problems the company encountered or the time line for shipments.

"We want to make sure the system meets our quality standards," Nguyen said. But he declined to specify where the problems occurred.

Dell has courted more sophisticated high-end PC users over the last year with its XPS lineup. The company has run into problems selling too many unprofitable machines at the low end of its price list, and has tried to convince users looking for powerful and more profitable PCs to think about Dell over smaller, specialty companies such as Voodoo or Falcon Northwest.

But Dell has also run into numerous complaints about its customer service and technical support. The company acknowledged the problem in its last earnings conference call, announcing plans to spend $100 million on improving its support. But frustrated customers continue to lodge complaints on the company's own site, causing further headaches for executives still dealing with the fallout from images of a posted online.

Dell forum moderators tried to assuage the concerns of would-be XPS 700 customers on Monday with a posting in the forum. "While this delay is not what we desire, we will not compromise on the quality of this box. We are very close to resolving the issues. We expect to have systems shipping within the next few weeks, and then we will ramp production to fulfill existing orders. We will not ramp faster than our quality processes will allow--there is no compromise on quality--so we need your patience," the post read.

The XPS 700 systems were introduced as part of the company's high-end push in late May, along with a new XPS notebook. It uses Intel's Pentium D and Pentium Extreme Edition processors and Nvidia's Quad SLI graphics chipset, which can accommodate up to four separate graphics processors.

When the systems are finally ready to go, customers who ordered early will be the first to receive their PCs, Nguyen said. The projected ship date for an XPS 700 system ordered today is Sept. 21.

Dell plans to announce a new consumer pricing strategy Thursday in a press conference.