Hurrah for that PC Performance Agreement! A new laptop beckons…

It is usually good advice to politely, but firmly turn down that offer from the sales person for an “extended warranty”, and for the most part I always do; however, I have done, and from now on will always take out the service and support plan on a laptop because I have had no end of trouble with my Packard Bell Laptop which over the past 4 years (for that is now long I have had it), it has been repaired, replaced and otherwise shipped back and forth. I belive it to have been well worth the investment. I know many might say, well if you put away that £10 a month, every 3 years you could buy yourself a new one at a much better spec each time, but you don’t ever put that tenner away do you, to be honest? And anyway, what happens when it needs repairing in between. I know many people keep a laptop on their desk, or on their lap in the lounge, but my machine is a road machine, it is in my bag, in schools, in cafes, at youth events and most importantly on the road/on the train and in churches helping me to create and deliver innovative liturgy. It gets a lot of use in a lot of challenging environments. Oh, and I don’t have much money.

Having had a long and irresolvable series of problems which aparantly needed 3 new motherboards and 2 new DVD drives, and it still wasn’t right, they declared the thing to be a lemon (6 weeks of the same problem is their definition) and have valued the machine at £379. The vouchers are at home, but in Lou’s name (how ironic), so I can’t go shopping myself, and have to go with her. Hopefully tomorrow.

So, lots of web browsing this afternoon looking for the right one. Hmmm. Not as obvious as it would seem.

Before the advent of the AMD/Intel wars, it was esay to pick a processor: you went for the highest number you could afford, but now the advent of the single/duel core thing and the knack of AMD and Intel to never exactly talk about the same thing, there is a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

The most overwhelming need is for a machine to perform well playing video to the external port, as Easyworship and my other software has tro deliver for Blesséd or it falls. The Dell Inspiron 1525 we use in church is okay for this – a little bit of flickering on some slides, but otherwise good. I don’t need a hardcore games machine (although a little Railroad Tycoon or Red Alert 3 doesn’t go amiss…), what laptop doesn’t run word and powerpoint well enough and everything else, frankly is Google (Mail, Docs, RSS, Calendar, you name it, Outlook is dead, long live Google!). So consequently, I feel drawn to a machine which offers a separate graphics card, a bit of grunt in the video department and suddenly motion backgrounds become eminently possible. As my budget needs to be under the £400 line we are somewhat limited, but I keep being drawn back to this Compaq… or possibly this HP.

Hmmm. Same stable. Essentially Compaq is a subsiduary of HP these days. One has a Sempron Processor, a single core thing running at around 2GHz, whilst the other has a dual core AMD QL-60 running at 1.9GHz, and on the face of the comparison charts, they are almost identical in performance. The vendors describe the Sempron as Dual Core Performance when it turns out it isn’t dual core at all. What does this mean in effect? Confusion. Confusion, and to some extent, I am supposed to know what I am talking about; I am supposed to be the Tech-savvy one. Both would, it would appear do what I want.

It will have to wait until tomorrow when the Compaq CQ60218 and the HP G60-100EM go head to head and it all boils down to which feels nicer on the hand and the eye…