Monday evening I noticed the fan in my laptop (an 18-month-old Dell Latitude D800) was going non-stop and the system was performing worse than me in a one-act about the pleasantries of the North Korean lifestyle. I am a little used to this happening when I am running a LOT of applications simultaneously, or when Internet Explorer or Java crash (yes, Java crashes, all the time, and it’s awful, but I digress) and near-freeze my computer.
So I reboot. Windows comes up. Fan on.
Ugh. I reboot again. Fan on.
Third time’s a charm, and lo and behold, all is well. For about 4 minutes. Then the fan comes on. So I watched some TV instead of putting up my fun pictures from CeBIT which are still stuck in limbo (no, this story does not have a happy ending).
The next day at work, after 2 hours more of fan noise (not to be confused with white noise, which can actually be pleasant), I deduce that something is wrong and it isn’t Microsoft’s fault in any way shape or form. While looking at the BIOS settings, I notice the CPU speed is set at 600MHz, a bit low for the 2.0GHZ Pentium-M. I then recollected the system had reported a CPU temperature of 85 degrees (this is high), despite the laptop being fairly cool.
X + Y = some sensor inside my laptop has crapped out (can I still say ‘crapped out’ these days?) and is fooling the thing into thinking it’s overheating, so the system is running in “cool-down all the time” mode.
Two days later and I have a loaner laptop and have removed the hard drive from my old unit, and I’m faced with a dual dilemma (and no, I am probably not really going to set it on fire):
- Exactly how peeved at Dell should I be?
Here’s all the stuff that’s gone wrong so far: the rubber feet have fallen off twice, the power supply cable binder (which is a very nice plus) fell out and got lost, the power supply cable itself is getting frayed and looks like it might electrocute me, three keys have almost worn away to nothing, the clasp that holds the notebook shut broke off (preventing me from firmly closing the laptop!), the motherboard needed replacement, the battery needed replacement, the PCMCIA “eject button” broke off, and a USB slot somehow broke. Is this officially a lemon?
- What kind of laptop should I get to replace it?
I am all-too-tempted by a new dual-core Centrino (by the way, want to see how useless RSS and spammers have rendered Google’s blog search? try this). Supposedly they are faster AND have longer battery life, and aren’t adding too much to the price either. I saw some of the ASUS notebooks at CeBIT, and I might just give them a shot!
In the meanwhile, using this loaner laptop is like staying in a hotel for 3 nights – I don’t really want to import all my old files or settings, but living out of a suitcase isn’t much fun. For example: I do have all my CeBIT photos sitting here, but do I really feel like installing the FlickR uploader on this PC, copying the files, registering, etc, considering I know I’ll be on a new one within 72 hours?