East of the Sun, West of the Moon


New year, new toy

Filed under: Technology — Erwin @ 1:34 am

I picked up a new laptop last week, effectively buying the cheapest (reasonable) one I saw online, with a bit of comparing. I did this because I thought it was time to replace the (given to me) Sony Vaio that has served me well for a few years but was showing signs of possibly falling apart in the near future, not to mention the fact that the contrast between the 10.5″ display and the 19″ CRT that I use became more irritating as I’ve once again started to use it regularly as a thin VNC client.

Of course I took some chances here and the laptop wasn’t all it looked on the webpage:

  • The 15″ display is not capable of doing 1280×1024 as was implied. Instead it is capable of doing 1024×768 at 60Hz at the most, and the CRT output can do 1920×1200 or so.
  • The specs page that it referred to mentions a wifi upgrade involving a mini-PCI Orinoco card, but the wifi upgrade that I got involved a no-name PCMCIA card with no S/N, MAC or any other distinguishing info on it that would help me figure out if and how to get it to work.
  • The webpage says it’s a display model. Apparently a display model where they used the Ins and Del keys a lot because they have a tendency to get stuck. Fortunately I seldom use those and they’re easily unstuck.
  • One of the fans (not entirely sure which one, yet) is a bit noisy.

On the plus side:

  • That specs page says the RAM needs to be PC1600 and PC2100 is actually included, so they didn’t go with the minimum possible there, I guess.
  • Speaking of RAM, I bought it with 256 and it looks like an upgrade to 512 is going to be about $30-35, so I may do that.

Flaw in the current setup is that the PCMCIA hardware and the video-card use the same damn interrupt, so when I’m pushing/pulling a lot of data over the wireless the response gets really slow. This might be something to convince me to buy a mini-PCI card instead of an additional PCMCIA card (I’m borrowing one from the play/kids PC right now) if I really can’t get that no-name card to work.

All in all I think it was worth the money and by the time I feel the need to replace this one I’ll have a slightly better idea of what to look for in a laptop. 🙂

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