After months of deliberation, consideration, argumentation, ponderation, and a near spontaneous combustion, I finally did it. I bit the bullet and ordered my new laptop.
Notes: My final consideration really came down to either IBM Thinkpads, or Dell Inspirons. Both are quality machines that I've personally had excellent experience with, and that I have a lot of respect for.
This initially left IBM as the leader, because I work for them, and I can get an employee discount. However, there were two advantages that Dell had. First of all, greater flexibility. I could select exactly, and with much greater ability to customize, what I wanted with Dell. Secondly, Dell offers the CompleteCare warranty.
What is CompleteCare, you ask? It's prolly the closest thing I've ever seen to a "perfect warranty". It literally covers everything, with the exception of "intentional damage, fire, or loss/theft". This means that if I'm using my computer at the kitchen table (plugged into an AC outlet), and my brother comes by and trips on the cord, smashing the display. . . that's okay. The warranty covers it, and they'll replace it at no charge. (My friend had this happen to him 4 months after buying his laptop, which is why it makes such a good example. ;-)
In the end, I went with the Dell. Here's the details:
|Dell Inspiron 8000|
|CPU:||PIII - 8501|
|Display:||15.0" UltraXGA TFT|
|Hard Drive:||20GB Ultra ATA|
|Video Card:||32MB ATI Mobility M4, 4x AGP|
|CD-ROM||8x Max DVD-ROM|
|Modem/Network:||Internal 3com Mini-PCI, 56K v.90 + 10/100 NIC|
|Operating System||Windows ME3|
|Total Cost:||$2,518 w/ $100 mail-in rebate.|
|1. I was originally going to get a P3-700, as the P3-850 was $300 more. Then, a week before I ordered this, Dell went and dropped the price on the P3-850, so it was only $50 more than the 700. Bastards. I was thus forced to buy an 850.|
|2. Dell charges way too much on memory, so I bought this with the minimum amount of RAM I could, and I'll buy more from Crucial. Right now, I can get a 128MB SO-DIMM from Crucial for $65 (with the 256MB at $255, making the 128 look really good). If I would have bought it from Dell, they'd have charged me $75 to add an additional 64MB DIMM, or $175 to make the existing 64MB into a 128MB DIMM. I don't think so. I'll run with 192 for a while, and then once the price on Crucial's 256MB DIMM has dropped to a more reasonable level, I'll swap out the 64 for that.|
|3. It comes with Windows ME installed. I'll be installing Debian GNU/Linux on it approximately two days after I get it.|
It's such a strange feeling to feel so good about a new toy, and yet, feel so bad about being utterly broke. ;-)