Posted by: Kate | August 8, 2009

Technology Bites the Dust

I need a new laptop.

I’ve been putting it off for a while now, but this thing just keeps running slower and slower, and hotter and hotter, and if I don’t give in and replace it soon, it’s going to commit technocide and then I’ll have to scramble for a replacement, instead of being able to take the time to think a little first.

(And, yes, thanks; I have run all sorts of scans and checks and defrags and spyware and adware and virus checks… it’s just overloaded, somehow, and 5 years old, and bumping up against the ceiling of its abilities. I plan to wipe it completely and reinstall a few things for the kids to fight over… er, I mean, learn things.)

So, before I take the plunge, got any tips? What’s your brand? Got any horror stories?

I’ll need a laptop, heavy on the graphics capability, with a big pile of space to store photos and such. Gotta have a Firewire plug as well as at least 3 USB ports (or, I suppose, I could continue to use the USB hub I have now, because one of my ports broke and I’m down to only one left). I would prefer that the power cord be on the left and the USB – at least some of them – be on the right. No need for a webcam, and I suppose I can live with an upgrade from Windows XP, though I will not switch to a Mac.

Tips? Advice? Warnings? I know just enough about computers – having gone to an engineering school for undergrad and worked at IBM for a few years, back in the day – to be a danger to myself and others, without knowing enough to feel ready to just make a quick decision.


  1. We have a Compaq that we’re rather fond of. It has one USB on the right and two on the left. Power plug on the right though.

    Vista isn’t too bad as long as you turn off most of the user safety stuff – otherwise it beeps at you every time you plug in a camera “Is this device safe?”

  2. I like my computer. It’s a black one. And it has lots of buttons. And…you don’t have to feed the mouse.

  3. I’m on a Dell Inspiron 1525 right now, which is a little over a year old. Power on the left, 2 usbs on the right. Two on the left, too. It’s got an HDMI connection (great for hooking the laptop to the TV and watching stuff off Netflix if you’re into such a thing) and something that I think says “1394” which I’m pretty sure is Firewire. In the time I’ve had it, it’s served me very well. It runs Photoshop without a hitch.

    The only thing I’d wished I’d opted for was the antiglare screen, which my work laptop apparently had because this one has crazy glare.

  4. Mac Book Pro – Awesome

  5. Glad you posted this. We are going shopping for one this week too. I have no idea what to buy now I can just use the advice you will be given by your faithful readers. 😉

  6. […] a very hard ime finding uninterrupted time to attack it.  Doesn’t help that my computer is slowly dying, and the simple act of booting up takes 20 minutes or more; once I’m up and running, I can […]

  7. Keep going with what you have until Windows 7 comes out, and then go with what feels natural. Unless you bought an incredibly souped-up laptop five years ago, most laptops nowadays will have more memory, more disk space, and better components. I say this as someone with a five-year-old laptop who is trying to research a new computer to buy in the next few months.

    I also think you shouldn’t bother spending your money on an Apple laptop. Especially since they changed processors, there is precious little difference between Macs and a decent Windows-compatible computer other than the Unix environment, and the average user doesn’t care that it’s there.

  8. Seeing that you aren’t willing to switch to a Mac (which tends to fit the bill, especially considering the graphics capability) I always recommend going with Dell’s business line (less pre-installed fluff to worry about). Have to agree with Diane considering Windows 7 coming out (mid to late October drop date), but machines are starting to come out with Windows 7 upgrade offers, and that really is the way to go.

    If you want, I can see what I can spec out for you — Firewire, though, may be tougher, as that is being phased out (what do you have that requires the FW?) -Mark

  9. So I bought a new HP this weekend Kate. I comes with the new Windows 7 once it is released for now I am muddling with Vista. It seems to be running really well though the battery life is shorter than I expected, I just changed to the battery conserving setting today and I hope that makes a difference. I bought mine at Sam’s Club Warehouse, for under $40 I got a 3 year warranty and if it more expensive to fix than replace they just cut me a check for the amount I paid. I also have up to 2 month’s to return the item for a full refund (that is what i was told but on wall at Customer Service it said 6 months for computers.) Good luck shopping there are so many options it is UNREAL!

  10. We have had better luck with Acers than Compaqs, hardware-wise. We’ve just made the move to Vista with our laptop and I wish we’d had Vista put on by the manufacturer because there are still weird bugs since we installed it that has taken up far too much of our time and patience (sound only worked within video games? WEIRD and the solution was even stranger). Those are the only intelligent suggestion I have.

    We’re bigger users of desktop models because we can and do crack them open and upgrade bits of it as parts become defunct. And mostly because laptop hardware inspires a special type of fear in both myself and The Husband.

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