Dell has been hit with a lawsuit in California over its claims that its Alienware Area-51M R1 laptop would offer “unprecedented upgradeability.” It comes after the laptop wasn’t upgradeable to newly released components.

Customer claims Dells marketing campaign was false and misleading
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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
Dell is being sued in California over its claims that its Alienware Area-51m R1 laptop would offer unprecedented upgradeability, Toms Hardware reports. Alienware customer Robert Felter is accusing the company of running a false and misleading marketing campaign, in which it promised that the laptops core components, including the CPU and GPU, could be swapped out for more powerful models. A year later, the Area-51m R1s successor was announced with new components not available as upgrades for the original model.
Consumers were misled by Dells false and misleading marketing campaign and paid a significant premium for the Area 51M R1 under the incorrect belief that this unprecedented upgradeability would save them money in the long run by allowing them to upgrade their laptops Core Components rather than having to purchase an entirely new upgraded laptop, the suit alleges.
Consumers were misled by Dells false and misleading marketing campaign
Dell announced the Alienware Area 51-m R1 at CES 2019. The laptop offered a variety of 8th and 9th Gen Intel CPU options (including the i7-8700, i7-9700K, or i9-9900K processors) and graphics cards including Nvidias RTX 2070 and 2080. However, when the Area-51m R2 was announced the following May, it offered 10th Gen Intel CPUs and new GPUs including the RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super not available as upgrades for the R1.
If you go back and look at the specific promises Dell made when it announced the original laptop, it doesnt seem to have technically broken any of them. It said the laptop would only support Intel CPUs that used its Z390 chipset, which was compatible with the 8th and 9th-generation processors in the original R1 laptop. However, when Dell announced the R2, the new 10th-generation Intel CPUs used a new 400-series chipset. Considering it was Intels decision to change its chipset, this decision was arguably out of Dells hands.
Meanwhile, when it comes to upgrades for the laptops graphics card, Dell told The Verge at the time of the R1s announcement that itd like to be able to say yes [to new GPU upgrades]; right now, we have no idea. Effectively, customers could upgrade a lower end version of the laptop to a higher-end model, but only within the same generation of components. That left customers who bought the top-end model out of luck when a new generation of components rolled around.
Dells marketing promised unprecedented upgradeability for the laptop.
Screenshot: Dell.com
The suit alleges that Dell should have been aware that Intel and Nvidias unannounced products wouldnt work with the laptop. It claims Dell works closely with both companies, and that it should know the specs of their products prior to them becoming public. Yet, despite being in possession of such designs, and with the full knowledge that the design of the Area 51M R1 could not accommodate future NVIDIA and INTEL chipsets, Dell launched a global campaign to mislead the public that the Area 51M R1 was upgradeable, it says.
The question now is whether that means Dells claims about unprecedented upgradeability (which are still live on its website) were misleading. Dells advertisement to the public didnt place any restrictions on the upgradeability of the laptop, Felters lawyer David W. Kani told Toms Hardware. They also never disclosed that those with the highest spec CPU and/or GPU that their device would not be upgradeable.
Dell declined to comment to Toms Hardware on the lawsuit, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge. In the filing, Felter is seeking damages, relief, and attorneys fees for himself and other affected customers.