I bought the laptop about the exact same time. i also used mostly at home. here is what i did. i first sent it to a local repair center, they charged me 45 bucks to have a look, and they told me that the motherboard needs to be replaced, with the labor fee, it is more than $350.
so I started to look around, at first, i wanted to buy another laptop, then i was thinking to build a desktop. it was so time consuming, and i had to think about all kinds of computer parts, prices, etc. so i decided to write a complain to toshiba. i got on their web site, wrote an email, tried to send it, but the site won't let me send it, it asked me for order number, etc. and it also listed that if i want to talk to customer service, i have to call their 800 number. since i already spent time writing that complain, i decided to give them a call.
so i called the 800 number, it is the number for people who want to buy toshiba products. they directed me to the tech. support center which is located in philipine.
so i talked to someone on the phone, told him/her about my situation, the person gave me a case number. and transferred me to consumer relationship department which is in the US. later, i learned that that department only had 4 agents answering the phone. so at first, i was put on hold for more than 20 mins. i thought that it was their way to ignore me. so i called back again, talked to another person.
s/he also transferred me to the same relationship department. finally, one person told me that that department opens from 8 am to 8 pm, eastern time. i had to call back on monday. i spent at least an hour talking to different people on that friday.
next monday, i got on the phone again, gave the person my case number, s/he transferred me to the same department, i was put on hold for exactly 30 mins, then i got cut off automatically. of course, i won't give up so easily. i called that 800 number right away, and waited for another 40 or 45 mins, finally someone answered me. and he didn't even ask me for any suggestions, he offered me FREE repair right away. i was thinking, maybe i should just buy a warranty, so they can repair it for me. no, he didn't ask a lot of questions at all, he told me that he will fax to the local toshiba repair center. and the local repair center fixed the toshiba laptop free of charge for me.
so it seems that toshiba motherboard does have some problems. that is why they are repairing it free of charge, you should give it a try.