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Dell's XPS 700 still stuck in neutral

This time, a cooling unit problem stalls Dell's high-end desktop, which has trickled out of factories since May.

Shipments of Dell's oft-delayed XPS 700 PC hit another snag this week, but the company says it believes it has fixed the latest issue.

Dell has shipped only a few units of the most powerful desktop in its lineup since the XPS 700 was introduced in May. Last month, on its new blog that shipments were set to resume. But those shipments were halted earlier this week due to a problem with the unit's cooling system, said Liem Nguyen, a company spokesman.

The issues have since been fixed, and shipments are slowly resuming as Dell makes sure the systems are ready for customers, Nguyen said. Customers who placed early orders for the system, however, are still looking at a backlog of four to eight weeks, and customers who order today will probably have to wait until mid-October, according to Dell's site.

It's probably safe to say Dell has had better years. The company's financial performance over the past few quarters has disappointed Wall Street, especially the most recent news that Dell will miss its financial earnings targets by 10 cents a share. Image problems from poor customer service and a sequence of have forced executives into damage control stations, and now even its vaunted manufacturing operation has run into problems with the XPS 700 introduction.

The few customers who received XPS 700 systems before the cooling- system problems were discovered should contact Dell if they have any questions about their systems, Nguyen said. The problem that was discovered occurs only in rare situations, he said, declining to state the exact nature of the glitch. Returns or refunds will be handled on a case-by-case basis.