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  1. #1
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    I need a GOOD laptop!

    I need something that's reliable. My HP just went dead on me last night for the 2nd time in a year. I've only owned it for 3 years and it's been giving me a headache the whole 3 years. The first time it was under warranty(BB had to replace the motherboard) but now I have to take it to a repair place to find out what's wrong with it

    If repair costs are too expensive I'm not gonna bother paying just for it to break a year from now. A quick glance at BB/CC has all kinds of options for decent prices. This is for home use, nothing fancy. I just want the stupid thing to work!!!!!!

    Can anyone recommend a brand that is considered reliable?

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    Wait'll you see how many people tell you to buy a Mac Powerbook.

  3. #3
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Well, I do have a PowerBook. But even thought I've had few problems, I would make sure I got Apple's Applecare plan which gives 3 years of comprehensive coverage before endorsing it. Of the 5 Powerbooks we've had since 2000, one had the powerboard go in year two, one (PB G3 "Pismo") had the graphics driver go in year 3. But, Applecare took care of it, with no hassle. Year 7 on the PBG3 and the thing is still going strong...

    Seems to me if you actually use any laptop in a mobile sense for 3 years, you're bound to have something fail 50% of the time.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Think Dells are alright

  5. #5
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    I came across my receipt and 3yrs ago I paid $1249 for this thing plus $249 for the 3 year warranty. I didn't think I paid that much for it. $1600 %$&#@. BB had to replace the motherboard on 1/14/07, which is about 2 years after I purchased. The warranty just ended 2 freakin' months ago......2 freakin' months. I'm soo %$#@&% pissed.

    Looks like I'm not gonna be replacing it either. We have vacation coming up and I'm trying to cut corners to squeeze in for a new laptop and it ain't gonna happen. Sorry for the rant, I'm just really pissed about this.

  6. #6
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Have you taken it in to Best Buy or directly to HP? I have known of companies honouring warranties beyond the expiration or offering to do the repair at a discount.

    I know it's not the same thing, but I have two pairs of Maui Jim sunglasses. A lens on the first pair scratched more than a year after I purchased them. The lens on the second pair scratched in the first week (my fault, I wore them into a wave pool and they got ripped off my face when I was pulled under water, but the literature said that they had an extra-hard scratch resistant coating!). Luckily there's a Maui Jim office about 75 kms from here. I took them into the office and they put new lenses in the new pair for free even though there is no warranty for scratches. Since I expressed my displeasure at the quality of TWO scratched lenses, they replaced the lenses in the old pair for half price.

    My car dealer has also done repairs on my car under warranty, that should not have been covered.

    When I bought my Shure earphones, I read a lot of reviews where it was mentioned that Shure often replaced broken earphones long after the warranty expired.

    My point is, if there's an HP office/factory nearby, take the laptop directly there. Have your original bill of purchase and the previous repair information with you. If there isn't an HP office nearby, go into BB and talk to a manager.

    Companies who care about your business may offer some assistance out of good will to keep you a happy customer.

  7. #7
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Have you taken it in to Best Buy or directly to HP? I have known of companies honouring warranties beyond the expiration or offering to do the repair at a discount.

    I know it's not the same thing, but I have two pairs of Maui Jim sunglasses. A lens on the first pair scratched more than a year after I purchased them. The lens on the second pair scratched in the first week (my fault, I wore them into a wave pool and they got ripped off my face when I was pulled under water, but the literature said that they had an extra-hard scratch resistant coating!). Luckily there's a Maui Jim office about 75 kms from here. I took them into the office and they put new lenses in the new pair for free even though there is no warranty for scratches. Since I expressed my displeasure at the quality of TWO scratched lenses, they replaced the lenses in the old pair for half price.

    My car dealer has also done repairs on my car under warranty, that should not have been covered.

    When I bought my Shure earphones, I read a lot of reviews where it was mentioned that Shure often replaced broken earphones long after the warranty expired.

    My point is, if there's an HP office/factory nearby, take the laptop directly there. Have your original bill of purchase and the previous repair information with you. If there isn't an HP office nearby, go into BB and talk to a manager.

    Companies who care about your business may offer some assistance out of good will to keep you a happy customer.
    Thanks for your thoughts FA. I think I will contact HP. I don't expect them to service the laptop for free(it would be nice though) but I would like to tell them a thing or two.

    I won't bother with BB. I've been into it with my store a few times on things much smaller than this and they wouldn't budge.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Wait'll you see how many people tell you to buy a Mac Powerbook.
    No one's going to tell him to buy a Powerbook, because Apple quit making that line two years ago (when they switched to Intel chips)!

    Of course, a lot of people will advise L.J. to look into the Macbook and Macbook Pro lines (myself included) because they are solid laptop options that not only use a better operating system in OS X Leopard, but also provide the option of running multiple operating systems simultaneously, including Windows and Linux. In that configuration, you can run the Mac and Windows applications at the same time, and switching between them is seamless.

    L.J., if you're still reading this, you can order a Macbook through Small Dog Electronics and they can also preinstall Windows XP and the virtualization software needed to run multiple OS' at the same time for $210.

    http://www.smalldog.com/product/70605

    The current Macbook and Macbook Pro versions are due for replacement soon (rumor is that the new versions will arrive in June), so you could wait for the new models to come out and then decide. At the very least, retailers like Small Dog and Fry's will have big markdowns on any remaining units of the current versions (Apple though keeps very little inventory in the supply chain, so clearance items are typically gone within a week or two).

    If you decide to stay with Windows, I would avoid buying a Windows laptop at a retail store because nearly all of them are now sold with Windows Vista preinstalled with no option for Windows XP (which is much more stable and reliable operating system). And if you go for a cheap laptop, be aware that they often come with Vista Home Basic, which is a stripped down version designed to run on less powerful machines. Problem with Home Basic is that it takes out much of the other Vista versions' eye candy and media features, while retaining the sluggish performance, instability, and driver incompatibilities that plague all versions of Vista.

    Right now, I would order directly from a manufacturer or custom reseller. At the very least, they will offer you a choice of which Windows version to preinstall, and if they don't offer Windows XP preinstalled, you can at least check on whether they can provide a XP installation disc so that you can install it yourself if necessary.

    Also, if you're a Costco member, periodically check their website. They frequently feature some excellent deals on Dell and HP laptops, particularly models that are about to get discontinued.
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    Well, I do have a PowerBook. But even thought I've had few problems, I would make sure I got Apple's Applecare plan which gives 3 years of comprehensive coverage before endorsing it. Of the 5 Powerbooks we've had since 2000, one had the powerboard go in year two, one (PB G3 "Pismo") had the graphics driver go in year 3. But, Applecare took care of it, with no hassle. Year 7 on the PBG3 and the thing is still going strong...

    Seems to me if you actually use any laptop in a mobile sense for 3 years, you're bound to have something fail 50% of the time.
    Very true. Laptops are one of the few instances where I would say that the extended warranty is worth it. In my office, we've had numerous laptop failures over the years (we use primarily Dells) -- motherboards, batteries, optical drives, hard drives, LCD screens, keyboards. My Dell laptop had to have the optical drive replaced three times under warranty. The failure rate with the desktop computers has been much lower.
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  10. #10
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    See how good I am at getting Wooch out from behind the diaper changing table?

    I knew Dell desktops were only shipping with Vista but I didn't know the retail laptop was as well. I won't even look at a Vista upgrade on my PC until after the first service pack, and plenty of reading on discussion forums.

    Apparently L.J.'s out of the market right now, but just FYI we use Dell Desktops & laptops here at work as well, but not the home multi-media styles. Optiplex & Latitudes mostly.

  11. #11
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    No one's going to tell him to buy a Powerbook, because Apple quit making that line two years ago (when they switched to Intel chips)!

    Of course, a lot of people will advise L.J. to look into the Macbook and Macbook Pro lines (myself included) because they are solid laptop options that not only use a better operating system in OS X Leopard, but also provide the option of running multiple operating systems simultaneously, including Windows and Linux. In that configuration, you can run the Mac and Windows applications at the same time, and switching between them is seamless.

    L.J., if you're still reading this, you can order a Macbook through Small Dog Electronics and they can also preinstall Windows XP and the virtualization software needed to run multiple OS' at the same time for $210.

    http://www.smalldog.com/product/70605

    The current Macbook and Macbook Pro versions are due for replacement soon (rumor is that the new versions will arrive in June), so you could wait for the new models to come out and then decide. At the very least, retailers like Small Dog and Fry's will have big markdowns on any remaining units of the current versions (Apple though keeps very little inventory in the supply chain, so clearance items are typically gone within a week or two).

    If you decide to stay with Windows, I would avoid buying a Windows laptop at a retail store because nearly all of them are now sold with Windows Vista preinstalled with no option for Windows XP (which is much more stable and reliable operating system). And if you go for a cheap laptop, be aware that they often come with Vista Home Basic, which is a stripped down version designed to run on less powerful machines. Problem with Home Basic is that it takes out much of the other Vista versions' eye candy and media features, while retaining the sluggish performance, instability, and driver incompatibilities that plague all versions of Vista.

    Right now, I would order directly from a manufacturer or custom reseller. At the very least, they will offer you a choice of which Windows version to preinstall, and if they don't offer Windows XP preinstalled, you can at least check on whether they can provide a XP installation disc so that you can install it yourself if necessary.

    Also, if you're a Costco member, periodically check their website. They frequently feature some excellent deals on Dell and HP laptops, particularly models that are about to get discontinued.
    Thanks for the info and warning about Vista. I'm not looking to spend much this time around. I should be able to find something that will out do my old laptop for a decent price. Dell is still offering XP online so that's a start.

    Just to update....repair shop says I need a new motherboard. He also said this is a common problem with HP. $430 for the MB + $150 labor. Looks like repair is out of the question.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    I knew Dell desktops were only shipping with Vista but I didn't know the retail laptop was as well.
    Actually, most of the Dell models sold thru their business divisions are available again with XP. They got flooded with complaints when XP started getting phased out. At retail stores is really where XP got pushed out first. Most of the low end PCs that otherwise should have been sold with XP Home Edition got switched over to Vista Home Basic, which combines the worst of both worlds -- all of the incompatibilities and nuisances without the Aero interface and media features. Even without the Aero interface, Vista Home Basic still runs slower than XP Home. Vista Home Premium at least gives the user some visual eye candy and some new media features to somewhat justify the performance and stability penalty.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    I won't even look at a Vista upgrade on my PC until after the first service pack, and plenty of reading on discussion forums.
    Unless you're also contemplating hardware upgrades as well, forget about upgrading to Vista if your computer is more than a year old. Better off just installing the XP Service Pack 3 when it comes out later this year, and riding that computer for a few more years. Windows XP will still be a viable OS by the time Windows 7 comes out and (hopefully) puts an end to this whole Vista fiasco.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 04-14-2008 at 11:48 AM.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L.J.
    Thanks for the info and warning about Vista. I'm not looking to spend much this time around. I should be able to find something that will out do my old laptop for a decent price. Dell is still offering XP online so that's a start.

    Just to update....repair shop says I need a new motherboard. He also said this is a common problem with HP. $430 for the MB + $150 labor. Looks like repair is out of the question.
    Ouch!

    If you're looking for a Dell laptop with Windows XP, you'll find a lot more choices and more flexible configuration options if you order through their "Small & Medium Businesses" division. Most of the models offered through their "Home & Home Business" division only come with Vista. If you're fine with Vista, just make sure that you get either the Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate editions. All of these versions include the Aero interface, while Home Premium also includes media center features, Professional provides better VPN and network connectivity features, and Ultimate comes with everything. (Personally, I think the differences between the versions are way too arbitrary and confusing -- just another way to tack more costs onto consumers, while advertising a lower list price)

    Anyone can order from either division (I ordered my personal laptop through Dell's small business group), just note that these groups set their prices independently. Sometimes you'll find that one division offers a similarly configured laptop for a lot less than the other. At my office, we've ordered from both divisions, and will just go with whichever one has the best pricing on a given configuration.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 04-14-2008 at 12:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Actually, most of the Dell models sold thru their business divisions are available again with XP. They got flooded with complaints when XP started getting phased out. At retail stores is really where XP got pushed out first. Most of the low end PCs that otherwise should have been sold with XP Home Edition got switched over to Vista Home Basic, which combines the worst of both worlds -- all of the incompatibilities and nuisances without the Aero interface and media features. Even without the Aero interface, Vista Home Basic still runs slower than XP Home. Vista Home Premium at least gives the user some visual eye candy and some new media features to somewhat justify the performance and stability penalty.
    Didn't know that. We use a third party IT group here. Microsoft really layed a rotten egg when they introduced Vista. And Dell certainly made a stupid decision loading Vista on business units. Here at work I'd say we're at least 3 years away from deploying any flavor of Vista.
    Quote Originally Posted by wooch
    Unless you're also contemplating hardware upgrades as well, forget about upgrading to Vista if your computer is more than a year old. Better off just installing the XP Service Pack 3 when it comes out later this year, and riding that computer for a few more years. Windows XP will still be a viable OS by the time Windows 7 comes out and (hopefully) puts an end to this whole Vista fiasco.
    Well, my graphics card is DX10 compatible, so I don't know what other h/w changes I'd need to make.

    Edit: XP Service Pack 3??? Any idea what it does?

  15. #15
    Stereo value > car value texlle's Avatar
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    All I can say is do not buy a sony vaio. Mine is 4 years old and has had many problems. It's on it's third HD, the fan started to get noisy only after a year. Cleaning it with an air duster didn't help. The touchpad mouse stopped working a year ago, and just recently my keyboard stopped working. The case is crappy, thin plastic that has small cracks in it, especially around the screen. I take very good care of my things and have never dropped or abused this laptop. Most of those problems, I think, are attributed to its cooling issues. It will get very hot if used for over an hour. This is exacerbated when playing a game, or using the disc drive. Essentially, it likes to overheat like a Ford with no coolant.

    Get a dell or a toshiba. You'll be a lot more pleased.
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  16. #16
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Edit: XP Service Pack 3??? Any idea what it does?
    Yeah, I installed it on my laptop. Not too sure what it does though..
    AA

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Didn't know that. We use a third party IT group here. Microsoft really layed a rotten egg when they introduced Vista. And Dell certainly made a stupid decision loading Vista on business units. Here at work I'd say we're at least 3 years away from deploying any flavor of Vista.
    Problem is that they designed Windows without minimal consideration for security, and have had to plug the holes on the fly. Vista is more secure because it puts up some hoops to jump through for elevated access privileges, but it's also a nuisance. Also, Windows is basically collapsing under its own weight with Vista. They're trying to pile on these new features, while letting performance get choked down by legacy code. With all the innovation in virtualization apps like VMWare, Microsoft should just do a clean rewrite of Windows, and support backwards compatibility by simply virtualizing Windows XP on whatever new Windows version comes out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-N-Texas
    Well, my graphics card is DX10 compatible, so I don't know what other h/w changes I'd need to make.
    Count on needing at least 2 GB of memory, and at least 128 MB just on the graphics card. Regardless of whether your hardware's fast enough to run Vista, keeping the current hardware configuration guarantees that installing Vista will significantly slow your computer down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-N-Texas
    Edit: XP Service Pack 3??? Any idea what it does?
    Primarily bug fixes, and stability and security improvements. It rolls up a lot of what MS has already patched through the Windows Update, and adds a few new features like built-in WPA2 wireless security. PC World tested the beta version and recorded a 10% improvement in benchmark tests. First time I can ever recall a MS service pack actually speeding up a computer (once again, MS is copying Apple, since every new version of OS X has improved the benchmark performance on identical computers ). Regardless, it's yet another reason to lay off switching over to Vista.

    Here's the full list of XP SP3 updates. The beta version is currently available for download if you want to find out for yourself what the update does.

    http://download.microsoft.com/downlo...20Pack%203.pdf
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  18. #18
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texlle
    Get a dell or a toshiba. You'll be a lot more pleased.
    I asked the repair dude what he recommended and he said Toshiba. Dell & Toshiba will be at the top of my list.

  19. #19
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Ouch!

    If you're looking for a Dell laptop with Windows XP, you'll find a lot more choices and more flexible configuration options if you order through their "Small & Medium Businesses" division. Most of the models offered through their "Home & Home Business" division only come with Vista. If you're fine with Vista, just make sure that you get either the Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate editions. All of these versions include the Aero interface, while Home Premium also includes media center features, Professional provides better VPN and network connectivity features, and Ultimate comes with everything. (Personally, I think the differences between the versions are way too arbitrary and confusing -- just another way to tack more costs onto consumers, while advertising a lower list price)

    Anyone can order from either division (I ordered my personal laptop through Dell's small business group), just note that these groups set their prices independently. Sometimes you'll find that one division offers a similarly configured laptop for a lot less than the other. At my office, we've ordered from both divisions, and will just go with whichever one has the best pricing on a given configuration.
    Wooch thanks for the info. Thanks to the rest of you guys for your thoughts as well.

  20. #20
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    get an Alienware, you won't need another new laptop anytime soon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    With all the innovation in virtualization apps like VMWare, Microsoft should just do a clean rewrite of Windows, and support backwards compatibility by simply virtualizing Windows XP on whatever new Windows version comes out.
    Wish I had a dime for everytime I've heard that! And... I couldn't agree more. It just layers and layers of fixes on top of fixes. Same with their Office suite. You have to drill through so many layers of options to get to the one you want to change, and by that time you've forgotten the path that got you there. That's what irritates me the most.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooch
    Count on needing at least 2 GB of memory, and at least 128 MB just on the graphics card. Regardless of whether your hardware's fast enough to run Vista, keeping the current hardware configuration guarantees that installing Vista will significantly slow your computer down.
    2 gig of memory, lots of overclocking tolerance, 2 HDD's in Raid 0, and 256 MB onboard GPU memory. Think I got it covered, so when my company switches over to Vista, I'll do the same. Since XP SP3 seems to get at least a small vote of confidence, I'll install it ASAP. And thanks for the SP3 update link. The MS website can be a daunting task to navigate sometimes.

  22. #22
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Wish I had a dime for everytime I've heard that! And... I couldn't agree more. It just layers and layers of fixes on top of fixes. Same with their Office suite. You have to drill through so many layers of options to get to the one you want to change, and by that time you've forgotten the path that got you there. That's what irritates me the most.
    Our office has pretty much decided not to transition over to Office2007 -- too many arbitrary interface changes along with the new incompatible default file format. We're actually moving over to a Terminal Server thin client, and standardizing everybody on Office2003 off the server.

    The problem with Windows is that it's trying to support 20+ years worth of legacy code and hardware configurations. Rather than spending so much time copying Apple's Aqua interface, MS would have been better served copying how Apple implemented two major architectural transitions (Motorola 68XXX to PowerPC to Intel) and one major OS transition ("classic" Mac OS to UNIX-based OS X).

    In those cases, Apple developed translation layers that allowed "classic" System 7/8/9 apps to run in OS X, and for apps originally developed for the PowerPC chip to run using Intel processors. After a certain transition period, Apple simply eliminates legacy support from newer OS versions (e.g., OS X 10.5 no longer supports "classic" apps). With the new virtualization applications now available, emulators and translation layers aren't even needed anymore. But, I think MS is wedded to the notion that losing legacy support means losing market share, so they'd rather subject their customers to kludges like Vista than develop a modern OS from the ground up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    2 gig of memory, lots of overclocking tolerance, 2 HDD's in Raid 0, and 256 MB onboard GPU memory. Think I got it covered, so when my company switches over to Vista, I'll do the same. Since XP SP3 seems to get at least a small vote of confidence, I'll install it ASAP. And thanks for the SP3 update link. The MS website can be a daunting task to navigate sometimes.
    Actually SP3 is still a beta version, with bugs left to work out. The beta versions though have shown promise, as evidenced by PC World's benchmark tests showing 10% improvements with SP3 (in contrast, Vista can impose up to a 50% reduction on some benchmark tests). It's unusual though that MS has made the betas available to anyone for download -- good thing IMO, since both XP SP1 and SP2 created major headaches when they got pushed via Windows Update after confining the beta tests to select enterprise customers and developers.
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