Disposable Laptops

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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Disposable Laptops

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:33 pm

The average life of a laptop is 2-3 years. This is a bit sad for the cost of a good laptop. Are there any that are a good value, nice and powerful, and capable of EASY self-service like a desktop – which have interchangeable parts so you can upgrade just as you would a PC? Anyone know of any?
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Re: Disposable Laptops

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:20 pm

No, but the bigger enclosures of the big Asus ROG ("Republic of Gamers"; terrible name, I know) have made them among the easiest to work in and out of.

I know of people who've replaced and upgraded parts inside of them and even performed mods (such as adding LED lighting to those awesome air vents on the back).

Mine is a couple years old and all I've done to it is add RAM, replace the hard drive, and add a second drive.
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Re: Disposable Laptops

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:34 pm

Or get an off-lease from TigerDirect for under $200. At that price point, they really *are* disposable.
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Re: Disposable Laptops

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:53 pm

just brew it! wrote:Or get an off-lease from TigerDirect for under $200. At that price point, they really *are* disposable.


Much cheaper than that and you could almost justify throwing it away when it gets its first BSOD. :lol: Or or the first time Adobe or Windows has patches. Oh wait a minute, then you would have to throw it away before it even arrives in the mail... :o
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Re: Disposable Laptops

Postposted on Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:59 pm

JawesomeArt wrote:The average life of a laptop is 2-3 years. This is a bit sad for the cost of a good laptop. Are there any that are a good value, nice and powerful, and capable of EASY self-service like a desktop – which have interchangeable parts so you can upgrade just as you would a PC? Anyone know of any?


No.

Servicability has gone out the window, driven by the MacBook Air style laptop. Not just Apple here they just started the trend. My Asus Ultrabook is just as bad. It used to be that the IBM ThinkPad was the gold standard for servicability. Just about everything was was replaceable, you could download the full service guide, and if you were a reasonably competent and careful person, it could all be done by the end user.

However, I have never really seen a laptop that had upgrades available other than RAM and hard drive. You can occasionally find a laptop that allows a screen upgrade if there are two models that differ only by the screen, but thats a crap shoot. Some portion of the laptops on the market do use a socketed CPU, but I've never seen it advertised as a feature.

All that said, I don't necessarily agree that the life span is 2-3 years. Perhaps for lower end systems it is. My Thinkpad T40 is now 10 years old and still going strong. It is a bit slow to startup, but one up and running it does just fine at everything you would normally do on such a laptop. Same can be said for the five year old MacBook Pro sitting next to it. Both have had hard drives replaced during their life, but that is it.

--SS
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Re: Disposable Laptops

Postposted on Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:38 pm

I think your best bet is a Clevo/Sager/Alienware/etc that has a standard MXM slot in it. I think event he recent Asus ones use standard MXM slots now.

Basically, if you get a somewhat larger laptop with fewer soldered parts, your upgrade options are pretty decent. Here's my list of upgrades that could possibly happen in a laptop, ranked in rough order from standardized and unsoldered to 100% proprietary and soldered:

RAM (if not soldered)
WiFi (if not soldered)
ODD (if any)
HDD/SSD (if not soldered. SATA and mSATA are easiest to find, NGFF is hardest)
CPU (if unsoldered, locked to socket)
Screen (if unfused)
GPU (if alternate OEM parts exist OR if it's a standard MXM module)
Motherboard (locked to chassis)

In general making parts interchangeable is what gives you a more future-proof laptop, and unfortunately also makes the laptop physically bigger.

tl;dr: If you want a gaming laptop now to keep up with the new kids later, you'll want one with a standard MXM slot. That's as good as you can expect to do. If you are lucky, Clevo will release a second or third motherboard under the same chassis, and you can change generations of CPUs, but don't count on it. If size really doesn't matter there are laptops that can accept desktop CPUs up to about 95W--those CPU sockets tend to last a little longer than laptop sockets, so you might squeeze an extra CPU upgrade out of it.



BONUS "GATHER ROUND, KIDS" RAMBLING:
I had an Asus G50vt (mid-high end laptop of 2008) and the only thing that's stock on it is the lid, motherboard, chassis, ODD, and keyboard. I could go on for hours about all the crazy things I've done to that machine and how it's still kicking.
The somewhat "standardized" upgrades were the RAM (DDR2 SODIMM), hard drives (9mm and 12.5mm bays, SATA II), CPU (Socket P C2D Penryn), WiFi (mPCIe), and screen (single channel LVDS). Everything else is/was Asus proprietary: The GPU is an electrically reversed MXM module, the OLED screen is proprietary but apparently connects via USB, the screen hinges are nonstandard and I couldn't find new ones so I duct taped my screen in place, the cooling fan and heatsink are pulled from a later Asus laptop actually (G51vx), and the battery I was able to disassemble and refill to 3x the capacity (18 cell battery on a gaming laptop WOOOO EIGHT HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE!!*). But for the most part, if I wanted to I could still upgrade everything now except the GPU and CPU.
It's really not that obsolete in terms of performance, it's obsolete in terms of performance per watt. And that's why it became worth it for me to upgrade to a Zenbook, which has an equivalently powerful CPU, 1/4 the GPU horsepower, but at 1/3 the weight and 3x the battery life. You have to keep in mind that in 5 years, the average notebook power consumption will drop a little more (albeit not as drastically as from 2008 to now), resulting in more of those thin-and-lights and tablets.

So that's my 2c.


*after a restart when the battery capacity meter hits 0 because it measures power used instead of voltage remaining
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