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Lazyweb: Laptop annoyance

The laptop's been in the position of croaking for at least nine months now. New in November 2004, the age is showing—cracks by the hinges on the monitor side have been the main symptoms. Unfortunately, since moving in, Power Rot has taken hold.

Power Rot affects the socket on the laptop where the power lead must plug in. It starts being slightly jittery, and gets to the point where you have to hold the power lead in a specific way in order to get the battery to charge. It's a symptom of a loose connection between the socket and the rest of the stuff, and the only way to use the laptop also makes it worse. The situation was exacerbated on my old laptop (the monster that lasted me from Germany to acquiring this one) because the battery was good for ten minutes at best.

Repairs to laptops are expensive, especially when there's usually a twenty-odd quid fee just for finding out what's wrong. In 2003, the fault-find-and-fix was around £70 and lasted for a year before the problem set in again. Additionally, I trust about everywhere that advertises laptop repair about as far as I can comfortably spit a live rat.

Ultimately, I have no desire to drop a chunk of change on a falling-apart laptop that was seriously under-spec when new. The power-rot has got to the point that when it says it's charging the battery, the battery depletes at half normal rate. It refuses to charge when not powered on. Getting any power into the battery is a miracle. Fortunately, I have the kit and the software necessary to get my files off it's hard disk, so this won't set me back far.

Long story short: I'm in the market for a new laptop. Media-toaster grade, something for web, mail, music, video, writing, and a little light programming. Maybe NWN if I get bored. preferably small and/or light. Oh, and for some reason I really hate widescreen laptops.

A 12" powerbook (of the kind no longer made) seems like the perfect solution. Anyone want to [tell me I'm mad and recommend something cheaper and better|sell me one], or should I just see how often I'm outbid on eBay?

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( 8 informants — We want information! )
autopope
Jan. 19th, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
12" powerbooks are seriously underpowered for media-toaster duty. Take it from an ex-owner. Used to take 6 hours to rip a DVD to mpeg4/divx using Handbrake; when I switched to a Macbook (not Pro, not Core 2, just a Macbook with Core Duo 2.0GHz) the time dropped to 45 minutes.

If you insist on ultra-light, rumour has Apple intro-ing a widescreen 12.1" Macbook Pro in the next few months that will be even smaller than the old G4 12" Powerbook, not to mention kicking sand in its face (if and when it arrives). Meanwhile, I'm sure s/h Macbooks with Core Duo, rather than Core 2 Duo, can be found cheap on eBay by now.
digitalraven
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
I rip CDs, but I have no need to rip DVDs. Most use will be websurfing and writing. I trust there's no significant startup time for vim?

My main criteria are a) cheap (sub-£700) and b) available right now. I like the 12" form-factor (no wasted space). Ebay may find a cheap Core Duo macbook, I shall see.
figg
Jan. 19th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
I've been mostly happy with my 12". One thing though, it's a horrible bit of hardware lock in.

I'd go with what charlie says: wait and see if there is a new macbook that suits you. (and buy applecare).
digitalraven
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
I can live with the lock-in. Newer stuff is more expensive, and I don't see why I need the newer hardware — my media toasters rip CDs at worst, never DVDs. I was aiming second hand and deprecated because I can get that a) now and b) cheap (my main two criteria).
figg
Jan. 19th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Does your criteria also involve: Poor/non existant battery life? A high probability of hardware failure in the next six
months?

Newer hardware is less likely to break, and laptops aren't known for their endurance rates.

Go to the apple store and check out the refurbished machines.

joexnz
Jan. 19th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
alan is contemplating selling his mac pwerbook, it needs a new battery though, and suffers a bit with games but not overly
digitalraven
Jan. 19th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a plan. What specs? When is it available? How much?
ajax_nz
Jan. 19th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Tis the 15" G4 1.5ghz powerbook (yes, slightly widescreen).
DVD writer, 1GB ram, radeon 9700 video, 80gb hdd.
Battery life was really good, (3 real hours) but now faded to 1 hour.
Tis the slimmest, lightest 15" laptop until the latest macbook pro, 2.5kg.

Can include lots of mac software if wanted.
They currently ebay for ~£500
I'm gonna sell mine when leopard comes out - I'll be getting one of the new macbooks.
( 8 informants — We want information! )

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