Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Saga of the New Laptop 

Well, entropy has finally caught up to my trusty Fujitsu LifeBook C2210 laptop. Approximately a year and a half ago, it suffered numerous indignities and significant damage whilst on loan ot a project I was working on at the time. After roughly US$1,000 in repairs at that time, bits and pieces have been going wrong since. Now, in addition to all but one USB port being nonoperational, the power system being very unreliable, the display case being cracked at the right hinge, the hinges being very loose, etc., etc.... almost all metal parts of the case are now electricaly live. Needless to say, this can have rather shocking effects when the system is used for a hands-on demo with a prospective client.

I have been using a Toshiba M45-S331 laptop as well for some time. What can I say about this thing? NEVER buy a Toshiba laptop! Even if you think that all you'll ever need it for is Microsoft Windows, it is always good to have alternatives available to you, and the Toshiba has been specifically and deliberately designed to eliminate them for you. No Linux or BSD CD will even boot. There is no standalone BIOS; you adjust BIOS settings from insideWindows. It has some interesting hardware quireks of its own - unplug power and plug it back in - instant hard lockup; press the power button until the system shuts off and then restart. Plus, since it's XP, it can't be secured.... even with a hardware firewall and software firewall and all the other usual security goodies, I know I'm getting hit with lots and lots of malware. I've got work to do - which means that I need to get rid of Windows in my face all day. Hence the new system.

Anybody who has comments based on experience with any of the following, especially with a proper operating system, would be greatly appreciated:

  • Compaq Presario V3352AP (1.73 GHz, 512 MB, 60 GB, 14" screen, DVD+RW);

  • Acer TravelMate 4154NLCi (2 GHz, 512 MB, 60 GB, 15" screen, CDRW/DVD combo);

  • Acer TravelMate 3214NWXMi (2 GHz, 512 MB, 60 GB, 14" screen, DVD+RW);

  • Compaq Presario M2246AU (1.6GHz Turion, 512 MB, 80 GB, 15", DVD+RW)

The first three systems are all within 10% of each other, pricewise. The Turion is 25% less than any of the Centrinos. Why? Too good to be true? Comments, please...

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