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Dell PCs delayed

Dell appears to have overcome video card problems, but the direct vendor's time of delivery remains slower than normal.

Dell Computer (DELL) appears to have overcome video card problems with a line of PCs targeted at the SOHO (small-office/home user) market, but the direct vendor's time of delivery remains slower than normal.

Problems with video cards manufactured by STB Systems last week caused Dell to halt assembly of its Dimension line of PCs for 72 hours, according to a spokesman. The downtime caused delivery to jump to about ten business days, from about five to seven.

Dell worked over the weekend to reduce the lag time, the spokesman said. The problem affected one percent of PCs in the Dimension line, according to Dell.

Dell, the computer industry's largest direct-sales vendor, operates according to a "build-to-order" model. The Round Rock, Texas, company assembles PCs based on phone and Web orders, which allows it to keep low inventories but also means that manufacturing problems critically affect delivery time.

Dell's stock closed at 135 5/8, down 4 1/4, or 3 percent, in heavy volume. Friday the stock had gained 6.625 after a brokerage boosted its price target.

Late in the day, a spokesman for STB could not be reached.

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