New laptop and coupon codes

This post is more than 2 years old.

So, last night I had my last straw with my current laptop, a Dell SmartStep. The laptop is nice in general - it has a good battery life and is quite speedy, but has too many hardware issues. The primary problem is that it overheats. Basically, any time I play a game, after 10-20 minutes the laptop just switches off. No warnings. Nothing. Just a black screen. With the powercord disconnected, I can get a bit more time (the machine runs slower on battery) but even then the machine will die. Normally this only affects games, but once it happaned during a coding session. I sent it in - but apparently the problem has returned. Then I discovered that the video out connection wasn't working. A quick search on the Dell forums found that many people had the same problem. Basically the connector doohicky (I'm a software guy) isn't connected well to the rest of the hardware and after a few uses it gets lose.

So - to make a long story short, while I love Dell, I was beginning to hate this laptop. So, I decided to pick up the new XPS. (I'll brag more about the system later.) There are two important things I want to bring up:

  1. When configuring this system, I noticed something very nioe - the ability to remove most of the crappy software. Normally when I get a new machine, the first thing I do is start uninstalling. For most of the options in the XPS you are given a No Software option. Thanks Dell, I appreciate it!

  2. For the heck of it I went over to Shopping Bargains when I was at the end of my check out process. This is a site I built a few months back for the SB folks using CFMX and our CMS, Element. I typed in Dell, and in a few seconds I had a coupon code that took off 310 dollars. Nice, very nice.

So, totally unrelated to the post and just for bragging purporses, here are the specs on my new laptop:

Pentium 3.4 Ghz
15.4 WUXGA with HT Tech
1 gig RAM
128 MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9700
60 gig Ultra ATA 7200 RPM
128 MB USB Memory Key (no floppy drive)
Windows XP Home (which will be changed to Pro)
Modular 4X CD/DVD burner (dvd+rw+r)
Subwoofer in the system itself
Backup carrying case
and lastly, the Plasma cover

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by alan hill posted on 4/1/2004 at 10:08 PM

This problem, or similar, has occured with a large number of SmartSteps; the Pentium just generates too much heat. I believe there were attempts to bring a class-action lawsuit. Over here in the UK, we have much better consumer laws, and I was eventually able to get my SmartPC 250N replaced with a very nice Inspiron 8600. Dell in the US are not even letting people buy extended warranties on their SmartSteps, which is a complete disgrace.

Comment 2 by David posted on 4/1/2004 at 10:10 PM

i had a similar shut off problem. i'll tell the condensed version of my story.

2001-05-15, bought dell latitude c800, great laptop, loving it.

2003-01-15, one usb port loose, dell sends out (for free) tech to replace entire motherboard (integrated parts). that motherboard shuts down every 15 minutes or so under normal use, as you described.

2003-01-20, dell sends out another motherboard, free. same problem, only once every day instead of every 15 minutes. still unacceptable.

2003-01-25, dell offers to send another motherboard. i tell them i don't trust their refurbished motherboards, they offer an entire refurbushed c800. i tell them i don't trust refurbs. i stay calm, but i'm relentless.

2003-01-27, dell sends me a brand spaking new latitude c840 for free. this machine rocks!.

morals of story; spend the extra money on the deluxe warranty always be nice on the phone; dell is good.

my colleague recently purchased a dell precision laptop. 2GB ram, very fast. very good. i'll certainly stick with dell. and i'll search for coupons online when the time comes.

Comment 3 by Freddys posted on 4/2/2004 at 10:36 PM

Raymond.. did you buy it as a desktop relacement? Can you comment on the size of it all? I relucatantly might have to shop for laptop soon. Want an IBM, but wow.. those prices. -Freddys

Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 4/5/2004 at 4:12 AM

Freddys: I'll post about the laptop when it comes in. Still 2 weeks away or so.