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#1 2008-02-22 07:44 PM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Ok... here is the deal...

My Sony GRV-670 is finally on it's "last legs" after about 5 years or so in use...

While it has been a nice machine when it ran correctly - it has innumerable issues... in particular during manufacturing Sony's fabricators had problems with putting the correct amount of solder on numerous components including e.g. the memory slots... which has meant having to disassemble the darn thing to get the motherboard out and tinkering with it under my magnifier with a hot air solderer ( surface mount ya know )...

In case you are wondering why I went and did all the repairs etc. myself... it is because the response from Sony - and btw - this was a known issue with the model - was that they would 'fix' it by replacing the motherboard for only $900... and this was while it was STILL UNDER WARRANTY... lol

The reason for all this info is that well... to make a point that I'm not going to replace it with another Sony... and why I have no intention of doing so...

BUT...

I do need a new laptop... and prefer the 'desktop replacement' style since I travel a lot... and use the system(s) for development as opposed to just writing emails... so more screen 'real estate' and LOTS of power are the focus...

Oh - and for down time... I want something that will handle 3D games decently...


So I have been looking... and found the Dell 1720 with a processor upgrade and such... seems to be a decent machine... it is NOT the absolute top of the line but does have a lot of features I want/ like ( good sound, discrete graphics card, 19  inch screen with 1920 x 1200, nice size HD and an existing slot for a second drive, etc. )... and it seems to ( currently ) be about $400 ~ $500 less than many comparable machines...

Now the question is... has anyone else out there bought a 1720... and how do you like it... and what / if any issues have you had with it... and if you bought something else that has similar specs - what was it and how do you like that machine ... ?

If anyone has reviews... comments... suggestions... please share them...


Thanks...

Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#2 2008-02-22 08:29 PM

jfriesne
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-07-06
Posts: 348
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Will I get into too much trouble if I suggest a MacBook Pro?  They are well made, the AppleCare support is good, and you can run Windows, MacOS/X, and Linux on them (either by dual/triple booting or all at once with VMWare or Parallels).  It might cost a bit more (or not, depending), but it might be worth it. 

The included graphics are listed as "NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 256MB SDRAM"... dunno if that's considered decent these days or not.

-Jeremy

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#3 2008-02-22 08:51 PM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

No... lol

Actually my first computer ( that I actually owned ) was a ][+ ... so been playing with Apple machines for quite a while...

Well - other than my 8 ~ 9 year strike when the Mac came out and they started forcing developers to pay $1500  for 'licensing' just to be able to talk to their engineers... where previously everything from the bios for their various machines were open... and you could literally just pick up a phone and ring up their office...

Ok... back on topic... ;-)

I definitely like the Apple machines... stable... running a decent *NIX on the underside ( I wish someone would make an open source Linux install that was comparable for generic x86 machines ! )... good support... so on and so forth...

But... the premium for those 'extras'... if I were to get all the additional items I was pricing with the Dell laptop ( e.g. extra high end battery pack )... would make it more than $1500 more ... which is 2x the cost of the Dell... and I am not certain I can rationalize that much more money...

Besides... I am just trying to imagine walking into one of Microsoft's offices with an Apple computer under my arm... lol


Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#4 2008-02-23 12:52 AM

jfriesne
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-07-06
Posts: 348
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

mlampkin;23902 wrote:


Besides... I am just trying to imagine walking into one of Microsoft's offices with an Apple computer under my arm... lol

As long as they see it's running Windows, they won't mind :^)

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#5 2008-03-01 11:01 AM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Ah poop...

My new 4 gig, 1900x1200 screen, extra battery, etc, etc, etc, ... laptop system looks like its on hold... a friend of mine overseas got run over by a car and his medical bills are piling up ( the interest rates are crazy )...

Yet another reason I will never be a ( successful ) CEO... lol

So if anyone really feels like buying me a new laptop ( my old Sony has blown half it memory and the keys on the keyboard are popping off ! )... please DO!

If not... all I have to say is... :P


Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#6 2008-03-01 01:32 PM

i3839
Oddministrator
From: Amsterdam
Registered: 2003-06-07
Posts: 2,231

Re: Laptop reviews...

Well, at least you have a laptop.

My portable computer consist of an old desktop computer without casing,
which happens to be the router and the only computer I have. It fits in a bag,
altough the monitor and keyboard don't, and doing the cabling is a hell.
It's probably slower than your laptop.

If anyone feels like making me CEO so that I can buy a laptop... Please DO!

(Yeah, my posts are getting a bit strange lately...)

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#7 2008-04-23 04:53 AM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Not that anyone is really interested... but what the heck... ;-)

So I didn't get the Dell Inspiron 1720 as originally intended... money was tied up a bit and I was able to keep the old Sony laptop running for a bit longer...

Unfortunately... the Sony is really flaking out now... and it seems I am repairing something that has fried on it about every few weeks... so had to get a new system...

Alas... get this - the Dell battery manufacturer had a fire in their factory... so the low cost extra heavy duty battery almost tripled in price... and they didn't seem to be giving a good price on the new Intel processor refresh for the systems...

Sooo...

I ended up ordering the 15" XPS 1530 laptop... got a $1000 off the regular price thanks to a coupon... and actually was able to - after 8 years - able to include a new version of MS Office ( I have been using small business 2000 since... well... 2000 - lol ) at less than half price...

So its a smaller screen... and no extra battery... but much less than the 1720 would have cost... includes software that I was expecting to spend at least twice a much for... etc. etc. etc. ...

And...

It would all be a happy ending but like I said... my regular laptop is dying dying dying...

And...

As I am placing the order I am looking for the "this configuration may delay your ship date" message... nowhere to be found... but AFTER the order is on my credit card... I get an email saying the ship date would be on 5/21 ... so I won't even see the thing until 5 weeks ( counting shipping time ) from now !!!

WHAT ?  ARGH !

Guess I have to figure out how to carry the hot air soldering unit in my laptop case now... so I can patch the Sony on the road... lol


Michael


P.S. Don't mind me... just venting... ;-)


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#8 2008-04-23 09:24 AM

i3839
Oddministrator
From: Amsterdam
Registered: 2003-06-07
Posts: 2,231

Re: Laptop reviews...

Oh, I don't mind venting. It's refreshing to see that I'm not the only one with silly
problems. My pc broke previous Saturday, either the PSU or mobo, but probably
both. So when booting not much happens, except the hard disk made a gurgling,
"I'm dying, help me!"-sound. Luckily the hard disk isn't broken.

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#9 2008-04-24 06:10 PM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Maybe its just that I ordered this laptop using my personal account with Dell instead of a business account... though I have done both with no delivery issues / delays before...

Anyway... I sent an inquiry to customer service asking WHY it was going to take ( more than ) a month to put the system together / before it shipped...

I did get a very polite response... but it provided literally no information / response to my question... in summary all they said was thanks for being a valued Dell customer... your order will be shipped out at the end of next month... with absolutely no explanation for the delay / lack of notification that there would be a delay until after my credit card was charged...

Argh.

Maybe I should have just gone with the Asus system I was looking at as an alternative... it would have cost ( a few hundred $ ) more but literally would have already arrived... oh well...


Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#10 2008-04-25 07:00 AM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

The adventure continues !!!

So I called up Dell today to try and figure out WHY my new laptop was going to take 30 + days to get to me...

First off - and I did ask - it appears that DELL has NOT outsource their manufacturing to another planet... so that is good news...

Ok - it really did seem like a legitimate question... 30 days delay with no excuse... figured they couldn't be delivering from anywhere on  the planet Earth...

Unfortunately though... it seems that if they are in the process of updating their website... instead of posting everything ahead of time e.g. if it looks like a shortage of materials / parts their site / system they IMMEDIATELY warn you of such... like they used to do...

Now though.. to optimize the customer experience of spending money and NOT getting the product... they do them all in batch format... and if you are in the middle of ordering and the situation comes up... its a big ole f-you ... and a SURPRISE after they have drained your credit card... or at least claim you are on the hook for the purchase...

So right now... well... though I have previously had good experiences with Dell - at least as a business customer... I am sincerely regretting doing a personal order with them ( which is funny - since though its a personal order its for my own business - argh !!! ) ... I am trying to cancel the order... and get the Asus instead...

The Asus system may cost me an extra $400 with the software I want but wtf... I will have the computer in 3 days max... AND its got a kick ass video card ( next gen ATI with 1 gig as opposed to tired ole NVIDIA with 256K )...

Wish me luck...

Oh... almost forgot... AFTER the call to them... I get an automated call back welcoming me as an XPS laptop 'user'... thanks guys... just 30 days or so too early... maybe I am supposed to print / cut out a picture of the computer and play with that in the meantime ...

And oh yeah DELL... enjoy my money in the meantime... you friggin losers...

>> sigh <<


Michael


P.S. Even a self-destructing Sony is now looking better than this 'deal'...


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#11 2008-04-25 10:29 AM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Second attempt at Dell customer service and the order with the 30 day wait was canceled...  very courteous too... of course that might have had something to do with the fact that after the initial messages I canceled some ( external ) business orders with it...

So take #2 ... the new ( 'new' / non-Dell ) laptop :

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a … _-34220306

And that price isn't counting the extra $ off customer /email coupon discount... and THIS COMPUTER will be here by Monday... no new Office software but what the heck... Office 2000 has worked for the past 8 years... lol   Besides - since I found the coupon - and while this one still cost $100 more... and does have lower screen resolution... it has the same processors... 2x the hard drive... a better video... more USB ports... and a couple of other tricks... so I am happy enough...

That means once again... or at least in a short amount of time... I will be able to terrorize customers on the road !

Yay!!!


Michael


P.S. Ok - I know most of ya don't care... I am just really bored right now... lol

P.S. # 2 - Thats not an advert for NewEgg...

P.S. # 3 = The coupon code is now EXPIRED so you would have to pay the price listed on the link - not what I paid... :P


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#12 2008-04-25 11:10 AM

i3839
Oddministrator
From: Amsterdam
Registered: 2003-06-07
Posts: 2,231

Re: Laptop reviews...

It's just fascinating to watch Dell's reputation make itself true.

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#13 2008-04-25 12:33 PM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

The really sad part...

I can almost guarantee if I had placed the order thru one of the business accounts there wouldn't have been any such delay...

Its also a bit amusing... all the Dell contacts I have dealt with on the business side have been based in the U.S. ( local )... yet for this order as a 'retail' customer - I was evidently off loaded to an external call / help center ( India )...

Either way... their loss... as the best case for them as I am consulting... and if e.g. I see someone with a Dell - won't be asking how they like the system etc. ... it will be instead about this fiasco and Dell pulling this special 'surprise delay'... and just generally steering people away from the company...

Of course they could make it all better by sending me a laptop for free... but it would take one of their high end gaming machines ... say with the dual sli graphic cards and stuff... 

Just joking... I hate being messed with... so they're gonna get reamed as much as possible by me... lol


Michael




Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#14 2008-04-25 01:14 PM

RobSeace
Administrator
From: Boston, MA
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 3,829
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Completely off-topic, but your customer service hassles (especially the first one
about getting back a polite response that completely failed to address anything you
asked them) reminds me so much of dealing with Amazon's customer service... ;-/
I just recently had a problem with an order from them failing to go through, because
they claimed the charge to my credit card (actually a Visa check card linked to my
checking account) was being rejected...  However, checking my account at my bank's
web site, I could clearly see not just one, but THREE pending charges for the amount
of the order, so it had clearly been accepted just fine, but they were apparently not
realizing this and kept repeating the charge...  So, I contact their customer service via
their silly web form interface (they now reject all incoming E-mail, including responses
to replies their customer service people send out, forcing you to go through their
stupid-ass web form instead ;-/), and inform them of the situation, and ask them
what is up, and to please fix it and get my order shipped, and make sure you only
charge me ONCE please...  The customer service person responds with an almost
totally off-topic message about reasons credit cards might be rejected, but at the
end (seemingly typing on his own, rather than copying-and-pasting from a script),
assures me that the charge has now been confirmed as having gone through, and
only one would actually be completed, and my order was going to ship soon...  So,
it's now a week later, and the order still hasn't shipped, and I get another automated
message saying they still couldn't charge my CC for the order... ;-/  I contact them
once again, repeat the explanation of the situation along with what the previous
customer service person informed me of, and what do I get in reply?  Yep, the same
copy-and-paste scripted reply about various reasons why credit card charges might
be rejected, and am told I need to contact my bank and ask them why it's not
going through...  The idiots apparently didn't read (or at least didn't understand) a
word of what I wrote; I can only assume they have some robot scanning incoming
customer service messages, and scanning for keywords like "credit card", and then
sending out canned replies... ;-/  I attempted to reply to this E-mail reply, only to be
informed by another automated message that the fuckers no longer accept incoming
E-mail customer service messages, and I had to visit their stupid-ass web form
again instead...  Which is great, because you then lose all context of the problem
you are in the middle of discussing with the customer service person, and will likely
get a completely new person who has no idea WTF you're talking about, and can't
be bothered to look up your previous communications with other agents (if they
even have the capability of doing so), so will likely respond to you with the same
completely unhelpful and nearly completely unrelated stock replies... ;-/  Anyway,
at the moment I've yet to receive another reply to my last attempt at getting through
to them that the damn charges are NOT being rejected, but seem to be going through
just fine, and multiple times at that, so the problem is clearly on THEIR end, not my
bank's!  But, I'm not hopeful... ;-/  I almost dread seeing the reponse E-mail show
up in my mailbox, because I just know reading it is going to raise my blood pressure
and stress levels, and make me want to break things... ;-/

(On the whole, I have very few problems with Amazon...  I buy a TON of stuff from
them quite regularly, and 99% of the time, I am more than satisfied...  But, whenever
anything goes wrong, dealing with their customer service is just pure hell...)

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#15 2008-04-25 08:05 PM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Actually I've never had an issue with Amazon... but in the event that I ever do - thanks for the warning... lol

As for the email submission forms...

Those also annoy me to no end... if nothing else - with regular email I can CC myself so I have PROOF that an inquiry etc. was sent out... with those 'forms' and being blocked from regular email... you end up beholden to the company to provide verification... which means they can just ignore you and / or claim to have never received a message ...

As for customer service / call centers in general...

Like I said... with Dell and a business account... all is well... you get to speak with people are are local... they are much sales people as 'call center' people... which means that while they have a 'script' that they follow - there isn't any issue with them deviating from the script if it means it will allow them to actually answer questions / fix a problem faster...

But again - for this last order ( personal account ) I was routed to an external call center... and while polite it was definitely fully scripted...  which meant no solution...

Oh... and my adventure continues... lol

So Dell had put the charges ( hold for the amount actually ) against the credit card I used with them... they are freeing that up but still - I didn't want to use the same card to place an order for yet another laptop... since I figured it had a big chance of triggering some sort of fraud alert / whatever...

Because of this I used a Citibank card for the order with NewEgg... and guess what... Citibank's fraud division ( outsourced - lol ) saw it was an online order... didn't recognize NewEgg... etc. ... and rejected the charges to the card for the Asus laptop !!!

I called them up - cleared up the issue... BUT now... since I provided my cell phone number to NewEgg... and because that was not the same as my 'home' phone number on file with the credit card company... and because ( evidently ) NewEgg is now paranoid because the first attempt at getting the charge through was rejected... they have temporarily rejected it themselves...

>> sigh <<

Maybe this is a sign I should give up programming... and join Biologz on the road as a Gypsy... lol


Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#16 2008-04-25 09:47 PM

i3839
Oddministrator
From: Amsterdam
Registered: 2003-06-07
Posts: 2,231

Re: Laptop reviews...

You crazy Americans, why use silly things like credit cards anyway?
Try something more modern and secure, like, I don't know, transferring
the money directly from your bank account to whoever you want to pay?

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#17 2008-04-25 10:28 PM

RobSeace
Administrator
From: Boston, MA
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 3,829
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Well, that's basically what my Visa check card is...  It just looks and works for all
intents and purposes like a regular credit card...  (I've got a couple of those too, but
I prefer to pay with real money from my checking account whenever possible, and
avoid racking up too much of a balance on real CCs, unless they happen to have
0% interest for a year or two anyway, in which case, hey interest-free loan! ;-))

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#18 2008-04-25 10:42 PM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

For business though the credit cards are useful for organization of expenses... as an example I have individual cards ( ok - sometimes more than 1 in each group ) for :

* meals & incidental expenses
* entertainment expenses e.g. taking a client out for drinks
* motel / hotel expenses
* travel i.e. plane tickets, taxis and such
* equipment i.e. computers, electronic supplies
* office expenses i.e. general like internet, phone, supplies

This makes it a LOT easier to track how much I am spending in the various categories... and if the tax folks ask for copies concerning a specific segment - they just the previous year's billing for the appropriate card...

On the other hand... if I drew money from the bank account directly ... either via debit cards or bank-to-bank transfers ... I would have to maintain  many separate accounts... and while the benefit would be the same it would be a bit of a nightmare having to constantly shuffle the money around between accounts...

Oh... and I almost always pay off my cards immediately... e.g. the credit card company will be paid for this purchase BEFORE the bill even arrives in the mail...


Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#19 2008-04-26 12:23 AM

i3839
Oddministrator
From: Amsterdam
Registered: 2003-06-07
Posts: 2,231

Re: Laptop reviews...

So lugging around six or more cards doesn't strike you as slightly inconvenient at all? ;-)

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#20 2008-04-26 01:30 AM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Not at all... and in reality I have more cards than that... as I have a set for personal ( non-business ) expenses...

The thing is... if one or two cards gets compromised somehow... I always have others which I can continue to use...

Where as if I used a simple debit card or two and those were compromised... it would potentially mean tying up a LARGE portion of real $ instead of just credit...

And I would much rather worry about 'credit' access than access to my bank account(s)..


Michael


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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#21 2008-05-02 08:06 AM

mlampkin
Administrator
From: Sol 3
Registered: 2002-06-12
Posts: 911
Website

Re: Laptop reviews...

Btw...

The Asus M50 laptop arrived... still getting used to Vista ( ugh )... but actually quite pleased... only downside is that I had hoped to put the 64 bit version Vista on the system since it has 4 gigs of memory...

BUT...

Asus is really only supporting the 32 bit Vista version... not just for this laptop but most of the units they produce... not a big deal considering I paid less than the systems they sell with only 3 gigs... but still...

Speaking of Vista...

Silly me - but while this is a work machine - I thought it would be cool to have 1 gig of dedicated GPU memory... after all ATI / AMD has their stream library that can utilize the GPU as a specialized processor... so more memory meant more wacky things I could make the machine do... alas - the darn CAL library is only set up for XP still !!!

>> sigh <<

Anyway... still happy with the machine... already have all my dev tools on it from Visual Studio, AVR Studio, WinAVR, Xilinx ISE Suite and a bunch of other nonsense ( include a VirtualBox Linux install )... and everything works great... and lots of HD room still - which was another reason for my choice i.e. slower drive BUT 500 gigs in a friggin laptop... :)


Michael


P.S. Only downside is the thing is TOO SHINY... I keep getting distracted by my own reflection... lol


"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad."

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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