Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A sad least for me

On Sunday I decided to boot up my two-and-a-half year old Philips X58, which came originally with Windows Vista, but now dual-boots the trial version of Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10. It had just booted Windows up when, all of a sudden, it died. At first I thought maybe the power had gone, as the power supply was pretty worn out, but it had the battery in and as far as a I knew it had some charge in it. I tried pressing the power button, which did nothing, and that's when I started worrying because even if power wasn't reaching it from the power supply and the battery was discharged, there would be enough power left to get the battery warning light to flash, but nothing whatsoever was happening.

I noticed that the light on the power supply was flickering, rather than being steady, so I googled it, and apparently that normally means power is reaching the adapter, but can't be passed on to the computer. A bit more research led me to believe there were several possibilities:
  1. The power supply was broken.
  2. The connection from the power socked on the computer to the motherboard was broken.
  3. The fuse in the power supply had blown.
  4. The motherboard had been fried by a power surge.
Ominously, there was a faint whiff of burning from inside the computer. I took the back off to have a look and couldn't see anything obviously wrong with it, so I figured I had to eliminate the power supply as an option. So I ordered a new power supply for it.

This came yesterday, so I tried it with the laptop, but it was the same story - flickering green. So it looks like the motherboard on this machine is gone. Humph, just the Christmas present I want...

This is frustrating because the machine isn't actually that old (half as old as my Dell Inspiron). I have also noticed one of the hinges has a crack in it. I'm looking into how much it might cost to repair it, but it's a rather awkwardly-designed laptop and I'm really not convinced it's going to be a worthwhile proposition repairing it. So it's likely I'm going to have to replace it.

I was actually considering the possibility of buying a new one with Windows 7 anyway (even though I last bought one only in October, a Dell Mini Inspiron with Windows XP), so this does at least come as a valid excuse to buy a new machine. Despite my preference for Unix-like OS's, I do still like having the option of using Windows around.

I'm thinking probably another Dell - despite what so many people seem to say about Dell, all my Dell's have been great computers. My Inspiron I bought in 2004 is still going strong, and my Axim PDA works well too. The Mini Inspiron has also proven to be a good machine in the short time I've had it. My dad's Dell desktop was hit by a power surge last year which damaged the motherboard but would still power on (it just had regular BSOD's) so it was more resilient than my Philips, and it was easy to repair. I've found Dell's to be simple, reliable, efficient machines, and that suits me fine. The only issue I've had with them is the crapware they install, and even Apple do that (cough...iWeb...cough).

Maybe I should branch out into getting a desktop as I've always had laptops in the past?

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