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Monday, 13 June 2005
Computer Decisions
Topic: Computer
I was telling myself about 18 months ago that I needed to replace my Toshiba Laptop. Then, in April 2004, I crashed my computer and got it back with a new 20 GB hard disk. The old one was just 6.4 GB - yes, that's right, 6.4 billion bytes! No wonder I had been running out of memory. I decided to wait a bit longer. After all, they bring out new, more advanced models all the time.

Well, I can't wait very much longer. This old machine is moribund and one day, sooner rather than later, it will go to that great network up in the sky. It often hangs on start up and then I get a message to tell me that the Angel Microsoft has 'restored a good registry'. It is incredibly slow, even after defragging. I can't play games like the Scrabble game my husband bought because the Video RAM is, wait for it, 2.5 MB! And now, to add to my woes, I have managed to break my DVD drive!

My problem is which make and model of Notebook to go for - I suppose I am a typical female who can't make up her mind! But it is a confusing world. What is the difference between Intel Pentium M Centrino and Intel Pentium 4 for a start? Well, what do I know that I want? I haven't got much space so a Laptop is ideal - a desktop replacement with a lot of internal memory and the biggest hard disk I can get. I want a DVD/CD burner and a good video memory. I would like to add a Blue Tooth whatever to my HP printer so that I don't have to be within two feet of it! And I would like wireless capability so that I can sit in the garden with my laptop or anywhere in the house. I would like to go Broadband. However, I still want to be able to connect to my 'phone line for the time being as I probably won't be able to set everything up at once. Oh, yes, I must have a mouse - can't get on with things like the Accupoint control this machine has.

I've looked at Toshiba and Sony and Hewlett Packard and Dell and IBM. I was briefly tempted by the Qosmio but I don't really need a computer that is also a television. Now I am looking at the Acer Notebooks - at least that is a British firm. I was warned not to buy from the usual high street outlets (i.e., PC World, etc.) as, although models might be 'good value', they are likely to have sub-standard chassis, or whatever you call them. Also, because they are put together in some remote Asiatic land, you can't get spare parts easily.

I might go for the Acer TravelMate 8104WLMi - it has an impressive 100 GB hard disk and 1024 MB of RAM installed. It doesn't appear to have a parallel port but it does have Bluetooth and Ethernet, and four USB Ports. Is there a modem jack? What is SPDIF In and Out? Perhaps I had better look around a bit more. I bought a couple of magazines on Sunday morning, 'Computer Buyer' and 'What Laptop'. Better get reading.

Posted by Noviomagus at 02:12 BST Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink

Monday, 13 June 2005 - 12:41 BST

Name: doubledog

My first laptop was a used Compaq, supposedly a dreadful brand, famous for breaking down. I've had it for at least 7 years and it still runs OK. I got a Hewlett Packard laptop 5 years ago because the Compaq had such a small hard drive. The HP has performed very reliably. When I was still working, I used both of them frequently for PowerPoint Presentations. Now they're only used if I'm going to be away from home on vacation. I use an HP desktop for everyday. I know people who claim to have been horribly done wrong by both of those brands. My experience has been positive. My daughter and son-in-law go through computers pretty fast but theirs run 24/7. Mine are off off unless I'm sitting here, so I've gotten pretty good value from all of them, junky brands though they be. If I have to buy another one, I'm going to get one of the reconditioned HP's...they're dirt cheap but have all the bells and whistles.

Tuesday, 14 June 2005 - 18:36 BST

Name: Dave
Home Page:

If you don't mind a trip to Cosham, I suggest Novatech. Though they do deliver if you buy online.
I use them fairly frequently for my computers and parts.

A Centrino processor is a similar equivalent of a Pentium, but has been designed to save energy and generate less heat when being used. It also has been optimised for mobile use.

I don't have a wireless network (yet) - when I set up mine wireless wasn't really all that popular. To access broadband, I use an Allied Telesyn combined ADSL bridge and ethernet router into a standard Zonet ethernet switch, before going on to the network. It has been more than satisfactory - being connected 24 hours now for well over a year without going down. If you want to use a laptop in the garden, you need a WI-FI enabled laptop or PCMCIA wireless networking card in conjunction with a combined Broadband modem / wireless switch or Ethernet modem and wireless switch.
A unit such as this may do the trick. If you're still using a dial-up connection - I wouldn't have thought you would have much options open with wireless internet access. It seems counterproductive and a waste of money using wireless access against a maximum 56K data transfer.

Novatech's own make equipment is pretty good for the price. I also have Dell computers which I don't have any real complaints about - they're pretty reliable. (Though future upgrades are difficult - you have to buy directly from Dell for peripherals).

Well, good luck. If you have questions or an exact setup in mind, I would go and ask a computer retailer such as Novatech. I would stay away from places like PC World though - and certainly not touch Dixons or the like. You'll only end up paying well over the top for an overall low-quality system.

Wednesday, 15 June 2005 - 10:38 BST

Name: Tessa

Thanks, Dave. Will have a look at Novatech. When my computer crashed last year, I took it to Black Cat PC Solutions in Bognor - highly recommend him. Anyway, he it was who warned me about buying from the High Street! My current Toshiba was bought in November 2000 and, for the last three years, I have been using the 'Internet quick launch' button to switch it on because the on/off switch broke! Want a good, solid machine this time but, most of all, lots and lots of memory - so annoying when you call up Encarta (which I can't do now I've broken the DVD drive!)and then find that everything has frozen and you've lost what you were doing!

Tuesday, 19 July 2005 - 01:27 BST

Name: David

We have used a number of ACER laptops at work, they have been very reliable and good value for money. I can deffinitly recommend them! Centrino would be better as that has the wireless built in and will give you options for the future. Also many of them have bluetooth built in.

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