Buying a new Notebook

Posted on: Sun, 07/30/2006 - 13:14 By: dae

No, not mine. Bo will make her trip to the state in a little more than a month from now. Undoubtly, we need a new Laptop. At first, she aimed for a low cost model from Compaq, the one that costs just less than THB 24,000, equipped by a Mobile Sempron. (That was the first time I realised that Sempron is also available in a mobile edition). After a long badger that we should push for a more recent model, she finally changed her mind, providing that I allow a little subsidy. We ended up at the HP Pavillion dv1729tu sporting an Intel Core Duo at its nitty-gritty. The price tag is THB 34,5000, VAT included. Everying seems good to me, except the display is Crystal Brite (or some fancy-name of that shiny glass screen). However, that kind of display seems to be de facto standard for now so I won't complain. Initially, it comes with 256MB ram which is far from adequate so I added another 512MB at the cost of THB 2,000. It has SATA 80GB hdd. VGA is from intel but we don't plan to play F.E.A.R. on the laptop anyway. The laptop looks far from ugly. In fact, it looks great and I am very positive about it.

A week has passed and that BSOD constantly popped up almost everytime I did anything deeper than changing a desktop wallpaper. The notebook had gone through numerous installation of windows and, sometime, the good-old BSOD appeared during the installation of Windows. I was doomed.

Yesterday I took it to the lab and Chang told me to use the memory test from the Ubuntu CD. It has Memtest86+, so I tried and wha-la... a lots of memory errors were reported at the very first 1% of the test duration. The root of all evil is the new 512MB module.

The brand is RCmemory.

I went immediately to the service center of the Global Solution, the shop that we bought the notebook. They said I can change the module into Kingston, which will cost THB 400 additionally. They can also change to the new one for free. That's wierd because RCmemory module cost me 2,000 while the listed price of the module is 1,700 (it is 2,100 for Kingston, that is where the additional 400 comes from).

Okey, the saleman of Global Solution that sole RCmemory to me at 2,000 took too much of the profit. After argueing awhile, I knew that I cannot do anything. I definitely went for Kingston. Don't get me wrong, RC might not be bad because they let me try the new RCmemory module and the test turned out perfect. However, I won't take another chance. Kingston is ALWAYS dependable.

Ok the wisdom of the story are as follows.

  • When upgrading a notebook ram, always go for Kingston.
  • Do not let the low price of notebook fool you, always bargain for a lower price when upgrading a notebook ram. At least, for Global Solution, do it.
  • If the BSOD appears and you don't know the explicit cause, try the memory test first. Thanks Ubuntu. (Other distros also have Memtest in their setup CD. I saw it once in SUSE but at the time being, we have only Ubuntu at the lab.)

Another story, on the same day that we bought the notebook. I also bought a new 550W PSU from tsunami at the price of three digits. Very cheap. The PSU looks great. It has one big fan and a speed controller. Its weight is very heavy (does heavy mean good?). It has both 20 and 24 pins connector. The bad thing is that Tsunami think that it is nice to adorn their PSU by a placing a bright blue light inside. Now my PC might look like a superintelligent shade of the colour blue.