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Topic: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: DesertJets
Posted 2010-04-27 09:27:44 and read 2007 times.

I think I know the answer to this one but I need the opinion of the more tech savvy folks here.

So yesterday in a feat of clumsiness my laptop had a little tumble resulting in a good solid thump on the floor.... in the process (presumably) KOing my hard drive. The machine still has another 2 months or so under warranty but I highly doubt Dell covers this.

The specs of my current laptop:

Dell Latitude D630
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 ghz (I forget the specific chip but it is a 667mhz FSB one)
1gb Ram
integrated graphics  
14.1" screen
9 cell battery -- that barely lasts an hour these days
120 gh HD -- that's now broken
Running Win XP Pro


So from my accounting it needs:
A new hard drive -- approx $50-$60. At the bare minimum I'd do this and just reinstall Win XP

If I upgrade I'd go:
Win7 -- $20. Yay for institutional purchase prices
New 9-cell battery -- approx $50 from eBay
Add'l memory -- 1gb costs approx $50, a 2gb DIMM cost approx $75. Laptop can support up to 4gb.

Depending on how I do it I will spend from a low of $170 (while upgrading to Win7) to as much as $270ish if I upgrade my memory beyond 2 gbs.


At this point I could also pick up any number of laptops in the sub $500 range. Though I wonder if even if I do the minimum fixes to my old Dell if I end up with anything that is appreciably better... and if I drop 300 bucks to upgrade my old machine if I still have something better than anew 400-500 dollar laptop.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: casinterest
Posted 2010-04-27 09:35:43 and read 2000 times.

Quoting DesertJets (Thread starter):
At this point I could also pick up any number of laptops in the sub $500 range. Though I wonder if even if I do the minimum fixes to my old Dell if I end up with anything that is appreciably better... and if I drop 300 bucks to upgrade my old machine if I still have something better than anew 400-500 dollar laptop.

Go buy a new one.

A current netbook is as good/better than what you have.
New laptops have 320-8- GB HD with 2-4 GB of Ram. Usually a webcam and mic too. I know the 630 is at least 3 years old as a model (used ot have one for work) . Time to upgrade.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: NorthStarDC4M
Posted 2010-04-27 09:51:13 and read 1977 times.

before you jump up and down...

pull the hard drive out and put it back in, it may just of gotten unseated from the drop. It takes a pretty good hit to kill a drive with the heads parked (standby/powered down) on most laptop drives now. I've dropped my Toshiba with a Western Digital drive in it so bad the screen shattered and popped the keyboard right out of the machine, but the drive is still fine.

If thats not it... well you're kind of borderline on if its worth keeping the laptop or not. you've got a decent CPU but not much else... and it's a dell meaning resale value is about 0. I don't know if it's worth replacing the battery honestly. Dell batteries just don't last in my experience... and buying batteries from online vendors is always sketchy to me, even if the vendor has good ratings you don't know if its a real battery or a refurb or a knock-off until something goes wrong.

Another option, look at finding a refurb laptop for now... sometimes those will go for $300 for the specs you have now. and then buy a fully new one in a few months or a year with better specs.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: Fly2HMO
Posted 2010-04-27 09:54:39 and read 1967 times.

Quoting casinterest (Reply 1):
Go buy a new one.

Agreed. And make it the last Dell you buy. Don't care if it never gave you problems. Get an Asus or MSI. That's an order!     

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: DesertJets
Posted 2010-04-27 09:57:42 and read 1964 times.

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 2):
pull the hard drive out and put it back in, it may just of gotten unseated from the drop. It takes a pretty good hit to kill a drive with the heads parked (standby/powered down) on most laptop drives now. I've dropped my Toshiba with a Western Digital drive in it so bad the screen shattered and popped the keyboard right out of the machine, but the drive is still fine.

I pulled it out already to see how easy it would be to replace.... which looks to be pretty easy. The laptop was on at the time when it met the floor. I'll try fiddling with it again tonight. At the very least I'd like to be able to see if I can get it to run enough to backup everything one more time. If my memory serves me correctly it has been nearly a year since I backed it up, but the only thing I would loose are photos.... most of what it good I have on my Picasa account.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: KC135TopBoom
Posted 2010-04-27 10:12:24 and read 1955 times.

Try putting that HD into another laptop or desk top computer (wiring adaptars are available at many computer stores). If it works, at least you still have your files saved on it. There may be other damage to your laptop that will not boot up the HD. Also try looking at the cooling fan on the intel-core chip. If the fan does not start right away to cool the chip, the laptop will automaticly shut down within seconds of trying to start it.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: casinterest
Posted 2010-04-27 10:15:40 and read 1952 times.

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 2):
pull the hard drive out and put it back in, it may just of gotten unseated from the drop. It takes a pretty good hit to kill a drive with the heads parked (standby/powered down) on most laptop drives now.

My 630 died sort of this way. If the drive was parked, you may be ok, but if it was running, chances are you are screwed. I accidentally,due to Network management software, carried my still running laptop in my backpack to work. Got to work and the HD would never restart.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: DesertJets
Posted 2010-04-27 10:43:00 and read 1926 times.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
There may be other damage to your laptop that will not boot up the HD. Also try looking at the cooling fan on the intel-core chip. If the fan does not start right away to cool the chip, the laptop will automaticly shut down within seconds of trying to start it.

The laptop fires up and gets to the Windows loading screen and just sits there. Nothing but the sound of a lifeless hard drive and the cooling fan kicking on.  


For more info my computer isn't used much more than web surfing and occasionally loading up photos from my digital camera to Picasa. I have been playing a lot of Civ III lately too. I'd almost think of getting a Netbook but the lack of an optical drive is a bit of a turn off.... again I like playing Civ. Otherwise a Netbook would be perfect.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: TheCol
Posted 2010-04-27 11:50:22 and read 1879 times.

Quoting DesertJets (Reply 7):
For more info my computer isn't used much more than web surfing and occasionally loading up photos from my digital camera to Picasa.

In that case, you might as well spend the money to fix/upgrade it. Why go out and spend more money on a new computer when your current one works well for you? In any case, do what you think is best for you.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: Ken777
Posted 2010-04-27 11:53:42 and read 1876 times.

OK, someone's got to say it. Look at the Apple Store.   

I had a brand new 667 PowerBook just after 9/11 and when I took it on my first overseas business trip a brand new security agency at the airports (TSA) dropped my beautiful titanium notebook on the floor. It bounced several times. I did have to reseat the keyboard connection, but that PB made it through the trip as well as a few more years before the cracks from that fall spread too far.

Now the MacBook Pro notebooks are made from aircraft aluminum and are solid as a rock. Most impressive is the MacBook Air - check out the rigidity of the frame on that one in an Apple Store to get an idea.

You can also get "refurbished" MacBook Pros on the Apple site. Some of these are simple open boxes, but all are given a new warranty and Apple Care is available (and recommended),

Or, you might look at the new iPad while you're in the store to see if that meets your needs.  

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: NorthStarDC4M
Posted 2010-04-27 11:55:06 and read 1861 times.

Quoting DesertJets (Reply 7):
The laptop fires up and gets to the Windows loading screen and just sits there. Nothing but the sound of a lifeless hard drive and the cooling fan kicking on

If it gets that far it means the HD is spinning and reading (Xp boot requires HD files like NTLDR and win.sys to run before popping up that screen). Try starting in safe mode and see if it goes in? you may just have unseated something like ram or something and windows can't finish the device load.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: Fly2HMO
Posted 2010-04-27 13:18:18 and read 1827 times.

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 10):
you may just have unseated something like ram or something and windows can't finish the device load.

unseated or partially seated RAM will not let the thing boot, period.

if one module is seated and the other isnt, then it may boot, but it will most likely boot straight to the BIOS screen as it detected a change in RAM amount. The DELL BIOS is crap however...

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: DesertJets
Posted 2010-04-27 13:43:17 and read 1813 times.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 11):
if one module is seated and the other isnt, then it may boot, but it will most likely boot straight to the BIOS screen as it detected a change in RAM amount. The DELL BIOS is crap however...

It has a single 1gb DIMM. And it makes it to the Windows loading screen. I think I may just go the easy/cheap route and get a new HD, reinstall XP and call it a day. I could do worse things for 50 bucks.

Topic: RE: Repair Or Replace: Or How I Broke My Laptop
Username: bhill
Posted 2010-04-28 15:18:30 and read 1744 times.

Ask Klaus...he'll hep ya right out....of your hard earned cold hard cash....


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