Arman's stuff
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On Laptops and Desktops

(Fri Jun 24 13:53:00 2011)

Yes, I know, I know, I haven't blagged for a while...

It's been a crazy few weeks. Months. Whatever time period most aptly describes it. But, rather than enthrall you with stories of heartbreak and disappointment, I'll instead tell you about things that make me happy. Or at least, happier.

First and foremost, I've been looking at computer prices - laptops, specifically. And after looking, I have once again realized two things:
1) Laptops are expensive. I could build two mid-class gaming computers for what they want for one halfway decent laptop.
2) There is no such thing as a fully decent laptop.

As for #1, well, the laptops I've been looking for - those that meet the absolute most basic requirements I've set forth - run around $600-$700. At this point, anyone who's bought a laptop is saying, "Gee, that's no so bad."

This is my point.

You see, when I build myself a computer, I'm used to spending something like the following:
$50 - motherboard (onboard sound, network)
$100 - processor
$5 - heatsink paste
$50 - case and power supply
$50 - RAM
$20 - DVD drive
$150 - video card
$75 - hard drive

That's $500. And, mind you, that would be a very nice computer. But I rarely ever build a completely new computer - I usually just modify what I've already got. So take off the case, power supply, DVD drive, heatsink paste, and probably the hard drive. Only $300, at that point. What can I get for $300? A netbook. Not even a nice netbook! And, as I have mentioned before, when I upgrade, there is a trickle-down; my wife's computer, the media center, and my servers all get parts from further up the chain. So when I buy $300 worth of computer stuff, I can upgrade a minimum of 4 computers with it.

Compare this against a laptop. Yes, $700 may get me a "decent" laptop... but will I be able to even use it? See, if I take a $300 computer, and add a $200 video card, I get a $500 computer. If I take a $300 laptop and find someone that has built a $200 video card into it, I'll be buying a $1000 laptop. Only I won't, because there is no way I'll pay that kind of money for a laptop.

And as for #2, well... it's true. There's no such thing as a fully decent laptop. Right now, my desktop is running stuff that was brand new on the market about 5 years ago. Dual core processor, nVidia 8800 GTS... and so on. Not fancy by any means, but it gets the job done. Now, compare this against a current laptop. Oh, that's right, you can't! Because it doesn't exist!

Let's take a new nVidia processor, for instance. nVidia has this neat new technology called Optimus; really quite cool. A standard Intel video card runs most of the time, rendering basic 2d stuff. But when it detects that there is 3D stuff happenin', it cranks up the big ol' battery-eating nVidia card. Cool, eh? Yeah... only it doesn't work all the time. Seems that the 3D detection part doesn't work well. And it doesn't work at all in Linux, because nVidia decided not to support Linux at all, even with their own proprietary driver. So, no nVidia cards. And no Intel cards, because frankly, they are often worse than nothing at all.

Where does that leave me? Nowhere, honestly. As much as I'd like to get a laptop, they are all either way underpowered, or way WAY too expensive.

Ok, so, yeah, that didn't make me happy. Or happier, I guess. But what would make me happy is if someone were to present me with a laptop, of any size, shape, or variety, that has at least some sort of battery life. It doesn't have to be awesome. It can even have an Optimus card in it. I'm never one to turn down free. Free? Now that makes me happy - or at least, happier.

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This blag is tagged: Computer, Laptop, Linux, All