recommendations for laptop and desktop

Jim Bryant kc5vdj.freebsd at
Thu Jul 28 20:24:48 UTC 2011

heh, the dv-series....  really nice exterior, but, inside, poor choices 
in cable routing, increased use of polymer ribbons prone to breakage and 
open circuit from even a single disassembly (lint/dust is the #1 laptop 
killer, they have to be cleaned out regularly, no less than twice a year 
in most environments), undocumented screws and chinese finger puzzles, 
undocumented cables, incorrect instructions, parts that don't exist, 
parts that exist but aren't documented, incorrect part numbers....

Interestingly, my primary laptops (two of them for me, and one for the 
lady) are Compaq C-300 series (upgraded to the 945GM motherboard and 
T7600 65nm Core2 Duo) are reliable to the extreme, well-documented 
(except for that one screw with the silk-screened arrow pointing at it 
in the upper left of the mobo), a complete airpath cleaning with 
practice can be done in about an hour with three screwdrivers, a muffin 
tin, pad and paper (which screws in which muffin hole), a toothbrush, 
unscented toilet paper (wipe the silicon to a mirror finish again), and 
arctic silver 5.  The series is also labeled as the HP G-3000 series.  
The Compaq C-500 series is in the same chassis with only minor changes.  
The problem lies in that most of these were sold with the 940GML chipset 
(Celery only), but 945GM was an option and those mobos are about $100 
USD +- $30 USD on eBay, mostly HannStar refurbs from China.  These were 
introduced in 2007, and must be flashed to the most recent BIOS before 
putting in a Core2 Duo T7200 to T7600.  My only complaint under BSD has 
been the Mini-PCI has bad ACPI, as the broadcom and intel driver both 
will panic the system at the worst, or at minimum refuse to load the 
driver with a "could not allocate resource".  No biggie, it works under 
winblowz xp and 7.  Under BSD, just use a USB wifi.  Interestingly, 
under SuSE, the NDIS driver for the broadcom wifi does work.  
Conclusion: Get a Compaq C-300 or C-500 series system, preferably 
non-working (most likely a 940GML/Celery anyway), put in a good 945GM 
replacement board, and you will have a reliable, reasonably recent, 
low-cost laptop, just remember to clean it out when idle is in the mid 
to high 70's Celsius.

The newer dv-series laptops are slick and all that on the outside, and 
very tempting when you play with it at the store, but they were made 
with the intent that people throw them away instead of having regular 
maintenance performed (cleaning), based on the number I have repaired, 
all needing new motherboards.  Don't spend $800-1500 on a laptop that 
will fail in a year or two and be that hard to clean without having to 
buy replacement parts (ribbons, cable bundles, etc).  STAY AWAY FROM HP 

Chip Camden wrote:
> Quoth Jim Bryant on Thursday, 14 July 2011:
>> stay away from newer hp laptops.
>> been repairing laptops for money in recent years.  HP laptops made after 
>> 2008 generally have serious issues with BGA lifting, and usually require 
>> motherboard replacement after 1-2 years.  also their manuals have even 
>> more undocumented disassembly instructions, as well as incorrect 
>> disassembly instructions (use common sense and your eyes, following 
>> instructions will destroy hp laptops).
> Another data point: I bought an hp dv9000t in 2007, three years later the
> motherboard died.  I agree with avoiding HP.  I like my ASUS K72F, except
> that the Ironlake graphics aren't yet supported (soon, right Kostik?)

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