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Needed: Notebook Recommendation

by soto / May 12, 2004 2:18 PM PDT

I'd like some recommendations about a notebook in the $1100-$1700 price range. I will be using it to work remotely. I plan to run windows and ssh into a linux machine that will do the heavy processing power that my job requires. I don't need much in the way of multimedia. I just need something that won't require a lot of tech support (ie shipping it back) because it will be my primary work machine. I heard that Dell was good because they have some kind of service agreement where they will come to your location to fix the machine, but I've also heard negative things about people having a lot of problems with both their machines and their tech support. Any advice would be highly appreciated.

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Re:Needed: Notebook Recommendation
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 12, 2004 10:13 PM PDT

Disregarding my little red "m", I don't have such issues because I keep the OS critical updates, updated, the antivirus current and practice safe as I can computing habits. Many expect support to recover their machine after they opened some virus laden email and the screams you hear or read about support often are the result of the support asking them to wipe the machine and return it to the factory defaults.

While it may be possible to recover the machine, the simple dollars and time required are not in this support agreement. This can be where many fall out of their chair and pound the floor cursing.

Also noteworthy is that such virus/trojan/malware/other OS damage is not covered under the support. More than a few get whacked with the repair bill over this and again the expletives fly. Be sure you understand what is and isn't covered.

That said, I rarely have had any true issue with the name brands with an exception of Sony. My Sony story is one about 20 laptops that would not run 8 to 9 hours as desktop replacements running lightwieght(?) email and word. In fact, as a test, we tried running nothing and they still locked up. Sony's treatment of the company that I worked for in respect to these laptops has earned them a permanent black mark in my book.

Just stick with the names and you should be fine.

As to that price range, you can entertain the 64-bit capable laptops to future proof your purchase.


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Re:Re:Needed: Notebook Recommendation
by soto / May 13, 2004 4:20 PM PDT

Thanks, I appreciate your advice!

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Re:Re:Re:Needed: Notebook Recommendation
by blacklion213 / May 23, 2004 7:19 PM PDT

I have had personal experience with both Dell's computer and software support. The computer support that you pay for only covers the hardware for the duration of your support you purchased. 3 year extended warranty support is just that for hardware. It will go longer if the problem starts before the warranty runs out, they will work on it until it is fixed. Their overseas support doesn't impress me.
I had (?) a hard drive go bad at the four month marker. At least that was what they told me. They sent a repair guy out and in 15 minutes he installed a new hard drive. All the data, customization, applications, and etc. were gone. Lucky I backup to CD. It takes a long time to recover from that big of a set back. Later, I was told by a friend that the hard drive was probably OK, it's just easier and more cost effient to change the hard drive rather than spend time fixing a software problem. To add salt to the wound the new hard drive had faulty software installed. Well, if it wasn't faulty, it was by the time their software support personnel finished with it. They were going to charge me to fix the software problems. I raised cane and they finally admitted that maybe it was their fault, since the new hard drive wasn't more than 48 hours past their installation. Usually, Dell covers software problems for 30 days. After that you will wish your purchased extended software coverage, because they have exorbitant support costs.
I do not know if Dell is par for the course when comparing them to other companies. All in all if you ask questions and know what you are getting and what you are NOT getting you should be OK.

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Re:Needed: Notebook Recommendation
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 23, 2004 9:36 PM PDT

Disregard my little red "m"...

About what you hear. It may be partially true. What the service or "fix my machine" does not include is any damage done to the OS. Virus, worm, trojan and now the rampant PARASITES (read are not covered under the warranty. A real problem is that today's offered Windows OS strains the users as they have to deal with user accounts and these pests. The worms are the worst since they installed without any bad practice on the user's part. Again, imagine the ire of the enduser when they get the bill for a service call to remove the worms.

Ok, onto the hardware side. Over the past 5 years, the office has had many brands and I run into many laptops. Almost all laptops still hold a 3 year fuse that you find it in need of replacement in year 3 or 4 if the unit is cared for. Or after the 3 foot drop to the pavement... Some think that such a drop is covered. Its not.

The onsite service is grand for some and may be worth it. For me, the units we have are well cared for and the only item that seems to need replacement are CDRW/DVD drives in 20 months or so, and the batteries at 18 months. The battery is over 100 bucks most of the time and I've yet to see a warranty cover it.

As to name, Dell, IBM, HP, Acer, and names like that tend to be just fine. Sony earned two big black marks for walking out on our office with 20 tempermental laptops (they couldn't run 8 hours straight) and for walking away if you change the OS. Even from XP Home (supplied) to XP Pro (we supply.)


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