Over the last few years, Carolyn has migrated from using a powerful desktop computer for her work, to several different laptops. In Colorado, we always had at least two desktops in our home office, and 3 desktops at our business. In the summer of 2006, we bought a Dell 15″ Inspiron that has served us well until recently, (see previous Dell Hell posts).
Carolyn uses a notebook exclusively to update her website, surf the Internet, send and receive email, and work with pictures taken with our Nikon DSLR. She had me pack away her desktop a few months ago, because she hadn’t used it in over a year. I started looking for a 17″ laptop to replace the injured Dell, and had thought seriously about buying a unit from the Dell Outlet store, until I had the run-in with Dell’s tech support. That incident combined with the experience that a good customer of ours recently had, convinced me to look elsewhere.
I noticed after Christmas that our local Walmart had reduced the price of a particular HP 17″ Intel Core 2 Duo laptop from $548 to $448. Carolyn and I looked at that model and she tried it out with her hands, as they are badly deformed by her Rheumatoid Arthritis, making keyboarding somewhat difficult. We decided to wait, as we are still spending money on the remodeling of the house. I went online to make sure that this particular model could be upgraded to 8GB of RAM. On our subsequent trips to that Walmart, I saw that they still had a small stock of the HP’s left. Then we started having problems with the Dell, and I would fix the things that popped up. First it was a bad stick of RAM, which led me to the BIOS update problems. Then it started having video problems with the screen going crazy with vertical lines. I updated the ATI video driver and the video problems calmed down, though they would crop up occasionally.
About a month ago, after finishing a 2 day hardware swap-out at a bank NE of Lufkin, I decided to stop buy the Walmart and see if they had any stock left on the HP. Much to my surprise, not only did they have 3 units left, but they had reduced the price another $50. With Carolyn’s birthday coming up, I could not resist, and went ahead and purchased it for $398 plus tax, for a total of $430. It had 3GB of RAM, a 320GB HD, and a 17″ LED screen with full keyboard. When I got home, Carolyn was thrilled. I had (2) 2GB sticks of RAM that I had bought for the Dell and couldn’t use because of the BIOS problems, so I immediately “upgraded” the RAM to 4GB. I’ll keep watching the price of RAM and buy 8GB when it gets really low.
Carolyn has been using her new HP for almost a month now, and couldn’t’ be happier. This HP is actually lighter than the 15″ Dell it replaced, which is a BIG deal for Carolyn. I’m going to use the Dell as a platform to test Linux and BSD distro’s.