Have mainstream notebooks turned into cheap junk?

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Have mainstream notebooks turned into cheap junk?

Postby mr newbie » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:25 am

Back in late '05 I was turned from the enjoyable hobby of building desktops to buying notebooks, as I was sucked into the portability factor by coworkers.

Since that time, I've handled many notebooks and enough of them have gone haywire enough to reignite my interest in desktops.

Notebook 1: IBM T20 refurb.

This notebook lasted exactly 4 months before both the power switch & screen went bad. The battery was down to 3 minutes on a full charge.

Notebook 2: Compaq R4000 new.

This unit survived until last summer, at which time the hard drive failed and then the board's power connector broke loose.

Notebook 3: Compaq V5000 new.

To it's credit, this notebook is still alive today but the battery is worthless. It's only problem is driver compatibility. Considering that this unit has a sticker proclaiming "Vista Capable", some of it's drivers are from the beta era of Vista and have never been updated. How nice.

Notebook 4: HP Pavilion DV2000 new.

This one is still running, but displays the excessive heat issues documented by HP for this model. According to them, it will likely fail at some point. The hard drive idles at 60C, just to give you an idea of the temps here....

Notebook 5: HP Pavilion DV6000 new.

Yet another model documented by HP to have heat issues, and it bricked itself on me last week. When I power on, the Quicklaunch lights come on but there is no hard drive activity and no screen. Swapping drives changed nothing.

Notebook 6: Compaq CQ50 new.

Within a week the wireless switch started working intermittently. Sometimes it would come on, sometimes not. At other times it shut itself off in the middle of something....

To sum it up, each newer notebook was cheaper than the one before it. Unless I have terrible luck with laptops, they are getting far too cheap to be of any real value. You can barely upgrade them to begin with, and the components you can don't make up for the disparity in performance.

These units rarely left the desk and were not carried to & fro. I always cleaned them to keep out the dust buildup, but I still had problems. The DV6000's failure was my breaking point, as it was my main unit and now I'm back on my ancient Socket A rig until such time that I do a teardown & rebuild.

I'm looking forward to converting the Socket A tower, moreso than any of my past notebook "upgrade" projects. Glad to be back on Motherboards.org and still seeing the same veterans on here. :)

As for my notebooks, they make handy doorstops.......... :mb_pcmad::

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Postby thomas_w_bowman » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:39 am

Like many who belong to the motherboards.org community - I prefer to know and select each component that goes into my Home PC.
Yes, I have a Laptop - one of the last eMachines with AMD 3000+ CPU 512 Mb, GeForce Graphics with 128 Mb Video Memory (none of that 'shared' Intel stuff - Video memory is never shared, it is subtracted from main memory or provided with Video card <or chip, in my case>) XP Home, DVD Reader/CD R/RW. I got it when I was on a contract 500 miles from home and wanted a way to watch DVDs, use the Web, and play games that work with Directx 9. It was also useful when I was Hospitalized - I had to build a spreadsheet to compute insulin, since the Docs never believed my dosage computations...unless they came from a Computer ! It does run hot enough to heat a room - I know not to block it's vents (that AMD3000+ was NOT the newer low-power one, it's about 90 Watts), and usually operated it plugged in (the battery is only good for a couple of hours, less if DVD/CD is in use...).
I've built PCs for family and friends, who are initially annoyed that it cost more than price-point cheapies ('it says here I only need 256 Mb', 'so why is that better than a celeron', etc) - but as time passed, they found that the initial build was adaquate to forestall need to upgrade/replace and when upgrade was needed, it was fairly simple and didn't require propietary components (or PS upgrade).
Todays lappies are FRUs (Field Replacable Units), and data should be backed up often (I use a 32 Gb USB Jump Drive <stick>), since there may be little warning before failure - they are also very fragile.
I prefer to build using large cases - so that my fingers can get in there, also for better cooling. I also like to have several drive bays, and have this irrational desire to use RAID 0 (with small data chunk sizes, since my PC is not a high-volume server) for speed, and always a seperate HD for swap files (and backup RAID data, because if RAID 0 fails it's much uglier than if a 'normal' HD controller fails - one is unlikely to recover any of the data).
This topic hardly seems touchy enough for the 100 Yr War...should have been OK in Water Cooler ? The 100 Yr War is where topics likely to generate heated discussions reside. But probably better to err on the side of caution.
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Postby Karlsweldt » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:17 pm

Older laptops didn't put out the wattage as do modern ones.. and proper cooling needs are a big concern. Every newer laptop will have a small fan to maintain temps. Very large aluminum plates act as "sinks" to help dissipate heat, but can make them uncomfortable on bare skin!
Newer laptops seldom have more than two hours of operation, unless used lightly. The batteries are under-sized for their need, due to 'lightness' and 'compactness' of their portable design..
The batteries in older units had the NiCd type battery, or Nickel-Cadmium. They were notorious for "memory" problems, and if short-use cycles became memorized, that was the limit of their useful charge. The newer NiMh or Nickel-Metal Hydrate types don't suffer from those memory problems, but they need an initial charging sequence to become fully useful. That means a full charge, full discharge, then repeat.. up to six times.
The latest type of Li-Ion or Lithium-Ion batteries are still better, with more power reserve.. but are prone to overheating and bursting.

The price of laptops has come down drastically, in opposite of their performance.
I had purchased a used Digital Ultra 2000 HiNote many years back.. a 266 Mhz CPU with 98 megs of RAM.. for a bit over $1800.00 USD!
It had a 'measly' 2.4 Gb hard drive! But it did come with a docking base, having the CD-ROM and more powerful audio.
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Postby mr newbie » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:13 pm

I could just kick myself for all the money spent on these things over the last few years. Granted they were all budget consumer laptops (aside from the ThinkPad), but imagine how much in desktop parts could have been bought instead.

Live & learn, I suppose........

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Postby Copper » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:39 am

Hp are compaqs and compaqs are Hp

my dealings whit both those makes equals crap. i wouldnt buy one if they cost 10 for $1

I have used Sony, gateway, acer with out any proplems and my Hp laptop constanly got proplems, it makes a good costa
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Postby mr newbie » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:48 pm

Copper wrote:my dealings whit both those makes equals crap.

Unfortunately, I would have to agree.

At first I attributed the DV6000's heat issues to the nVidia 6/7 series chipset failures that were circulating around the net. Since the DV2000 is showing the same signs but has an Intel chipset, the fault looks to be nothing more than inadequate chassis cooling on the part of HP.......
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Postby evasive » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:48 am

Next laptop here isn't going to be an HP either. Failed harddisk on nc6120. Surprise, it was a Seagate. I seem to have a problem with Seagate disks somehow, it's the only brand that keeps failing on me.
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Postby jronald » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:23 pm

I have had outstanding luck with the T22, T23 and T30 IBMs
The T23 is almost impossible to destroy and has no inherent failings
Problem is it maxes out at 1.2ghts and in some instance 1gig of RAM.
Notice IBM states 512mb, but they have been wrong before.

The T30 have a nasty habit of killing off 1 memory slot every so often, but it is fixable. Even with only one slot 1 gig of memory is plenty snappy. Upto 2.4ghtz processor is also no slouch. Best part about it is the case. Its a Mack truck in a Honda world. There is nothing wrong with a Honda, but if your in a wreck, which one do YOU want to be in?
The T30 can be had for well under $300.00 in outstanding shape, and for less than that if your handy.
I own 2 T22's, 2 T23's and a 3 T30s, in fact in the Barter section a T22 and T23 is listed for sale right now!

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Postby TriAngle » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:05 pm

I used to have only desktops. Now, I have only laptops, only 2 left; a 1.5 year old HP Pavilion dv9000z with an AMD 1.7GHz CPU and the AMD nVidia (gonna burn up at any minute) GPU running Vista Home Premium, and a 5 year old Gateway M350WVN 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 CPU and onboard Intel video chipset running Linux Ubuntu v8.10.
I just replaced the cooling fan/heatsink assembly on the HP last month, wifi comes and goes unless I use a USB wifi adapter. Normal temp is 115oF.
The Gateway never misses a beat.
I recently sold my 7.5 year old Sony Vaio PCG-FX210 with an AMD Athlon 4 1.2GHz CPU and ATI 8MB video chipset, running XP Home Edition. I miss that one. Upgraded to the max.
This will be my first and last HP/Compaq product! They are total garbage.
The older laptops were like tanks, the new ones like toilet paper.
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Postby mr newbie » Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:47 pm

The only good thing that has come out of this is the ability to utilize the low-powered laptop drives in my desktop. At least some of the parts will be of use.......... :mb_badpc::

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