The Breakdown Blues

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020-11-21 12:00:00 No comments

After only a few months of service, and barely even that, the new laptop I picked up on the ultra-cheap lived up to the old adage that you get what you pay for. One of the hinges broke, rendering the whole thing unusable. Worse, the company that makes the notebook in question offers absolutely no support outside of Taiwan, Hong Kong, or mainland China.

After much argggh-ing, I gave up and salvaged what bits I could from it, and then proceeded to hit up Dell's Black Friday site for a deal. I've now got a new notebook on the way with specs that are appreciably similar to the dead dud -- in fact, a little better, although I'm paying a premium for the fact that it's a Dell and has (gasp) actual warrantied support. The bad news: it'll take a few weeks to get here, but I'm a patient man and can limp along in the meantime with the other things I have on hand.

I think what I resented most about the whole experience was how, apart from that one defect, it was a genuinely good piece of machinery. It got great battery life, it ran all the things I threw at it with power to spare, and -- this was the real surprise -- it wasn't crammed with garbageware. I've seen laptops that cost four times that much with all sorts of junk wedged into them that I've spent an afternoon decluttering. I worry the Dell I have on order is going to be equally gunked up.

This is also one reason I've long been a fan of build-it-yourself PCs, since you can dictate the exact parameters of the build, and not have to spend an afternoon decluttering the factory-preloads from the boot drive. (No, we just spend the afternoon reinstalling everything and trying to figure out why a DIMM works in this slot but not that one. But I digress.) And at some point in the coming year, I've got plans to upgrade the under-the-desk box on which I'm typing this. It's served me well and faithfully for seven years, but I'm fast reaching the limits of the architecture it used. More on that when the time is right.

Tags: computers