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Umm... help?

April 29th, 2007 (12:25 am)

current mood: stiff

Well, it's about 6 months earlier than expected, but I suspect I'm going to have to buy a new laptop within the next few months. Lappie (Yggdrasil) was making "strange noises" today of the distressful kind (I'm thinking it's the CD/DVD drive since it's always given me some problems). >.<; So... I was wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions in things to look at/avoid and things to look at including/getting with the system.

My current system is an Acer Travelmate purchased >2.5 years ago, and the one thing I wish they'd maintained from this system in their current systems is the ergonomic keyboard. The slight curvature is really nice to work with. ^^; However, just about every laptop I've looked at today has the typical straight keyboard design. *sigh*

Company-wise, I'm not overly particular, but I prefer something more reputable in terms of service; laptops are notorious for breaking down or having problems. If I get a new system in the next few months, I might send this one out for service since it's still covered, but I really dislike the idea of not having a system on hand for the time needed for repair (my previous system was out for 3 weeks for repairs (in city!), so I'd rather avoid that). I'm currently looking more at Asus and LG, but am open to anything. I've owned a Compaq, Toshiba, and my current Acer. I still have to check out Sager... I probably don't want to look at Voodoo. ^^;

Oh, and I definitely want something with a stronger chassis. That's the one place where this system isn't the strongest. FWIW, I use my system for several hours daily so it has to have reasonably good components. It doesn't do much in terms of travel at the moment though. Oh, and my system is a true "laptop" as in it's always in my lap, not on a desk. And FWIW, I really would prefer a non-glare screen, but I suspect I can only get those on a business system. Personally, I think non-glare would be easier on the eyes than the higher contrast glare systems. ^^;

......Ouch! I just looked at the current Acer Ferrari and it *does* maintain the ergonomic keyboard and it's switched to the 15.4" widescreen. I'll have to think about it this time if I can't find something else more to my liking. The problem is that carrying the name makes it more expensive than the internals warrant. Of course, Asus has the Lamborghini to contrast with the Ferrari... (I don't know about having a leather palm rest though.) ^^;

Editors: Sorry, I haven't managed any work today. I did something weird in my sleep and haven't been able to move my neck very much all day (it doesn't *hurt* that much, it just won't *move*). The good thing is the heatpad is helping. ^_^ The bad thing is, it's almost time to go to bed so I might screw the neck up again. ^^;

Heather: I forgot to mention earlier that I received your tea package! Thank you! ^_^


Posted by: monkey monkey (sakuratea)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)

I've had good luck with compaqs. I Imagine you need way more storage, but I got mine for only 350 and it does write DVDs :)

Posted by: Vedran Empress (vedranempress)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)

Brought a brand new laptop recently as well. In the end I settled for an MSI Megabook but before that I looked at Toshiba Satellite. Both are compact and light. Makes it easy for me to lug them around.

As someone who makes a living with computers, I (honestly) don't see the point in buying either a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. If you wanna go for the sleek sophisticated look, I'd suggest you buy a Macbok Pro or an Asus G1 or a Toshiba Satellite.

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)

*laughs* The Ferrari would primarily be for the keyboard, as well as for the build quality/chassis. I'm not sure if any of the other Acers have the ergonomic keyboard as it's not specifically stated unlike in the Ferrari's description. :P The Lamborghini on the flip side IIRC, is still an XP Pro system which is a definite plus combined with the carbon fibre construction. I have to admit, I haven't really looked at the Satellite systems at all this time (they tend to be glare systems for one thing). The last time I looked at them, they felt really cheap, so I've been a bit leery about them.

Posted by: Vedran Empress (vedranempress)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 11:44 am (UTC)

Posted by: Hezziwig (hezziwig)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 07:58 am (UTC)
St Jude Pray For Us

Do you know any massage therapists? Seriously. Tiger Balm, cold pack, hot packs, and pain killers helped for me, but a massage was the only thing to fix the problem.

;_; Neck pain is sadness.

Posted by: kitten on the keyboard (thinking_lotus)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 09:03 am (UTC)

Laptop: I've always had macs. Currently I have the lowerend macbook pro (for about a month) and am very happy with it. I use it all the time and this (and my last powerbook, a TiBook from 2001) have been really great.

The cd rom drives are a week spot, also the hinges (htough I see apple has made some changes) I don't know much about windows-based laptops though. I just like the mac os and find everything about it very reliable.

Neck stuff--I do a ot of stretching exercises every day for my neck. I have a chronic stiff neck, I expect from all the time I spend at my laptop. I've also used the Elaine Petrone methods and products http://www.elainepetrone.com/ successfully. And I take a fitness or dance class 3 times a week to keep up my arm strength, which is my case anyway affects my neck a lot (because I tend to compensate with my shoulders and neck when I should be using arms/core muscles).

Oh, and MASSAGE but it's so hard for me to find time to schedule it and I'm very picky about therapists.

Posted by: A faint shadow in the void (soruk)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 09:15 am (UTC)
Penguin on Zip drive

Back in January (because I didn't want Vista) I got myself a Sony Vaio VGN-BX297XP. Very nicely specced but I'll be the first to admit it wasn't cheap. Its out-of-the-box specs include 1GB RAM, 200GB hard disc (as 2x 100GB drives), 2GHz Pentium M 760 Centrino processor. Its screen is rather nice too, 17" widescreen X-Black (and low-glare) and can do 1920x1200 resolution. It also has wireless LAN, Bluetooth, and an SD card and Memory Stick card reader/writer built in.

The fact it has two hard discs meant I didn't need to repartition to install Fedora Core 6 Linux on the second disc. (Doing it this way also means the power management can shut down the disc that isn't being used.)

It's a nice beastie, I wouldn't swap it. ;)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: A faint shadow in the void (soruk)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 09:56 am (UTC)

Posted by: Agent 89834098 (angelofmercy)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 11:56 am (UTC)

Posted by: Ysabet (umadoshi)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 09:59 am (UTC)
umadoshi kanji

Poor neck! Hope it's feeling better today. :/

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)

^^;; It gained ~50% more movement, but also gained pain today. I'm hoping it'll be closer to normal tomorrow.

Posted by: LKK (lkk)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)

I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said in your computer search. I would love to hear what you finally decide on when you decide because I'm going to have to replace my laptop in the coming future so I need to start my research process. (I have a Dell Inspiron 1000, and I woudn't recommend it. Even if you could find it now. I bought it on the cheap in 2005 because my other laptop was nearly dead.)

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)

Get a Mac!


Posted by: LKK (lkk)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 07:19 am (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC)
Kokumono - Ensei! tea tiem?

Ouch! *pets* *pours tea* (Today, my neck is sore. Of the "oh sh~! not this again!" variety.)

I don't have much laptop advice (will not tell her to get Mac, will not tell her to get Mac, will no~ GET A MAC!), but I've heard really good things about Asus (so much so that if I were ready to switch to Linux, I'd go with them). If you've your heart set on an ergonomic keyboard, though, that limits the options.

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)

*pours tea* ...oh wait, it's past midnight. *pours a tisane*. :P Hope your neck's doing better too. I really hate it when the neck acts up like this. >.<;

*laughs* I have to admit, I haven't thought about going Mac even though it's supposed to be the more powerful WRT graphics. Asus is a funny one. It's not exactly well known in commercial laptop names, but they're one of the largest companies out there. (Sort of like how no one really knows who Compal is.) I'm not sure I'm quite ready to go Linux even though it becomes a definite possibility with Asus. ^_^

The ergonomic keyboard is a serious sticking point, even I have to admit that. The only company I know of that has it is Acer, and the only system I'm positive that has it is the Ferrari. I've seen some pics of Travelmates that suggest they might also have the keyboard, but it's not in the product description. :/ As it is, I'm sort of wondering about Acer right now. I know that their first generation systems were terrible, it was looking much better with the newly designed systems (like my Travelmate) when I bought my current system, but I'm hearing some definite negatives about build quality again now. ^^; *sigh* Maybe I'll try plugging in my old system (do I even have a powerpack for it anymore?!?) and see how the old keyboard feels. :P

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 07:29 am (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: May 1st, 2007 07:24 am (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2007 06:39 am (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2007 09:06 am (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2007 10:56 am (UTC)

Posted by: The Hamster Of Death (vampyrichamster)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)

I must say I'm impressed your Acer lasted as long as it has -- it's one brand that usually goes out quite quickly, especially considering the wear you've put on it. It also does have a reputation for poor service, wherever one is in the world. Because I work in tech support, I've seen a number of different brands passing through, and though Acers are quite feature-packed, they're really not good for reliability.

Generally, the two most reliable brands I've seen, things that will last years and usually have good tech support, are Fujitsu and Toshiba. They usually come with a zillion features and large screens, but are also usually the most expensive (and heavy, because of the screens). I personally own a secondhand Toshiba (4+ years). This laptop belonged to my brother, and was his schooling laptop. It's technically still fast for a regular work computer in spite of its age. I have problems with the DVD/RW, which makes rattling noises and won't always read CDs, but it's still chugging along. As far as chassis goes, these two brands are tanks.

VAIOs are nice -- feature packed, fairly reliable, nice screens too. We have one in the house. They're good upper-midrange priced laptops. However, being Sony means you could be stuck with Sony-only stuff for it. They're very light though, and feel plasticky.

Compaqs/HP are great mid-range laptops. The models I've seen have nice features and are usually good value. This is the sort of laptop I'd recommend if you want a stable, solid laptop with reasonable features for a reasonable price. The oldest ones we have at the office are about 3 years old. We've had trouble with the keyboard, which after 2 years had trouble loading, and there was an issue with the modem (back when the Internet used dial-up). The most major issue was with the power supply, which refused to let the laptop run without being plugged in (after 2+ years (most laptops I've met have this problem after a few years though). The new models we just bought for the office have been more reliable. Usually quite nicely built in terms of strength.

Asus is okay, about a step above Acer. They're cheap, usually lightweight and always advertise a lot of features. My father owned one, and it's lasted 4 years. We had power supply problems in 6 months -- support gave it back to us after 3 weeks -- and power supply problems still plagued us long after that. The HD we got with it also wasn't very good, since that would fail every couple of weeks after the first 2 years. Faulty laptop HDs and power supplies are two of the most common issues I've seen with cheaper laptops. :(


Posted by: The Hamster Of Death (vampyrichamster)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 01:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Yggdrasil's CD drive noises: Cheap generic CD drives are known to have rattling noises. I have this problem on both my laptop and my desktop. While it doesn't exactly mean your CDs won't read, it's annoying. If you can, get a good branded CD/DVD drive. Imation is the best I've worked with. Samsung and Lite-On have both rattled in my direction.

When looking for your laptop, it's good to know what you don't need. Many laptops come with stuff like cameras and memory card adapters you probably won't have to use, so these could just add to your price. A nice screen is nice, but remember that the larger the screen = the heavier the laptop. Look for a large HD, if you don't plan on using a lot of external drives. If you're doing video-editing on your laptop, you should invest in something fast, with no less than 512MB memory (this is a bare minimum -- you should consider going for 1GB or more). A fast video card is nice, but often unecessary unless you're planning to do graphic design or do some gaming.

Don't get any system that wants you to use Windows Vista, and especially not 64-bit systems. Many devices just aren't made to work with Vista/64-bit systems yet, whatever the manufacturer tells you. I personally like AMDs over Intels because they're cheaper and often better value for the price, but if you're getting a branded laptop, it shouldn't matter. The Macs have been building a nice rep for themselves, but do keep in mind lots of the programs made for Windows will not work on or will have limited support for the Mac. You could end up having to train yourself to use an entirely new and very different system.

If the chasis looks and feels too much like a plastic tupperware box (won't hurt to tap it a little when no one's looking), start worrying. Always get something solid that looks like it has thick walls (look at the casings for desktops -- a solid chassis should minimally be about as thick as strong plastic desktop casings).

(I now bow out, fearing that I've rambled a lot. Good luck with the hunt!)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)

Posted by: The Hamster Of Death (vampyrichamster)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)

Posted by: Kakurenbo (akinarei)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)

I had to get a new drive in my desktop myself. If that's the only problem, I'd invest in a good burner/reader drive. I have a Lite-On, like vampyrichamster mentioned.

Have you looked at Alienware? Because they're gaming laptops, they may be able to give you a better system for heavy duty stuff and you don't have to get it with Windows Vista--which by all accounts is a pain in the arse.

Here's to hoping I have you a useful input.

Posted by: Kakurenbo (akinarei)
Posted at: April 29th, 2007 07:10 pm (UTC)

Out of curiousity, why did you name your laptop Ygdrassil?

Posted by: The Hamster Of Death (vampyrichamster)
Posted at: April 30th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC)

Posted by: Kakurenbo (akinarei)
Posted at: May 1st, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: May 1st, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)

Posted by: The Hamster Of Death (vampyrichamster)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2007 06:02 am (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: May 1st, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)

Posted by: Kakurenbo (akinarei)
Posted at: May 1st, 2007 04:15 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: May 1st, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: July 13th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)
you do iz besz


Looks good! Very useful, good stuff. Good resources here. Thanks much!


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