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Old 1st April 2010, 16:24   #1
SuAside
 
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Hey everyone,

It's been too long since I got out of my lurking mode here, but I've got two questions for you guys.

First off, my SME company has always been a loyal Dell client (hey, I can't help it), but we've pretty much had it with Dell (and I now have the authority to change our allegiances). The Latitudes D620/D630s we have have failure rates of about 75% in the first two years. About 80% total have had their motherboards or screens swapped under guarantee. Some have had their motherboards swapped twice in 3 years...

As a result, we're looking at an alternative partner (at least for our laptop environment, since we've had no complaints at all about Dell servers, but YMMV).
Personally, I've got a soft spot for Thinkpads, though I've got no first hand experience with Lenovo Thinkpads however. Furthermore, with the crisis we've got to be a bit budget minded and Thinkpads aren't renouned for being the most cost effective platform around.

The usual suspect would be HP, but that might be trading the plague for cholera... But what else is there? I wouldn't touch Sony with a ten foot cattle prod, Acer isn't exactly known for prompt service, and the others aren't really entrenched in the business support segment that we require.
(next business day on site is a minimal requirement)

So, what would you suggest we partner up with for our business needs?



Secondly, I've got 3 developers here that will need to be upgraded to Win 7 Pro 64bit rigs by the end of the year (I suspect probably by this summer).

They all require a laptop which is to be used primarily for .NET/C# development in Visual Studio 2008. Right now they're using Dell Latitude D630's with 4 Gb RAM, so nearly anything we can upgrade to would be an improvement.

Required specs:
  • Min 15.4", max 17" screen (they have seperate large screens anyway)
  • Pref SSD (since merges & other HDD intensive tasks are usually pretty slow on normal laptop disks)
  • 4Gb+ RAM
  • Intel i5 or better
  • Win 7 Pro UK (64 bit)

Anyone got tips to maximize the returns in performance for a price of roughly €1500 excl VAT?
Keep in mind that this shouldn't take in account current hardware, but also the fact that we can wait with the purchase and only buy later this year, if there are major releases scheduled in the (near) future.

(and before anyone asks, yes, they require laptops, not workstations)


Spout your opinions, guys! Thanks.
 
Old 1st April 2010, 16:34   #2
Madshrimp
 
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we have over 130 Dell laptops, D620/D630, very low failure rate, less than 2% with broken screen/mobo, and even then. We lease for 3~4 years. The new E6400 is pretty decent, using those now, would love to get E6410 with Core i5, but that will be for next year. Overall I must say that they stand the test of time quite well.
We also got a bunch of D600/D610 models around used for backup purposes, those do show their age, but are 5+ yrs old.

IBM/Lenovo thinkpad is definitely an upgrade from Dell, but you will pay the price

there are no real alternatives, as long as you have warranty, why worry? Order one, two extra for stock, if one breaks down you can quickly swap HDDs and give the user a working machine, Dell repairs the broken one next day.
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Old 1st April 2010, 19:04   #3
SuAside
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmke View Post
we have over 130 Dell laptops, D620/D630, very low failure rate, less than 2% with broken screen/mobo, and even then. We lease for 3~4 years. The new E6400 is pretty decent, using those now, would love to get E6410 with Core i5, but that will be for next year. Overall I must say that they stand the test of time quite well.
Well, I guess my colleagues play rugby with theirs behind my back then?

Only thing 'special' about our company I can think of, is that there is a fair amount of static electricity due to the kind of floor we've got. That shouldn't zap any motherboards though.
So I've got no idea why we have such a high drop out rate compared to you.
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Originally Posted by jmke View Post
We also got a bunch of D600/D610 models around used for backup purposes, those do show their age, but are 5+ yrs old.
Same here. Save for one broken keyboard en two gfx failures (cool pink screen effect for one & plain green for the other), I've never seen them fail. Even in the worst conditions. I totally abuse a few of them for testing purposes every now & then.
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Originally Posted by jmke View Post
IBM/Lenovo thinkpad is definitely an upgrade from Dell, but you will pay the price
The web dev team is fairly small, so I could probably use them as guinea pigs with Thinkpads. I don't think they'll hate me for it.

Maybe I should put one in the budget for myself. Eventhough my current rig is fine (most stuff I do is remote anyway), I could write it off as "testing purposes", right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmke View Post
there are no real alternatives, as long as you have warranty, why worry? Order one, two extra for stock, if one breaks down you can quickly swap HDDs and give the user a working machine, Dell repairs the broken one next day.
The problem with our failures with the D620/630 line is that the motherboard failures were nearly never clear. For instance the display/screen would freeze every few days. So you had to try and figure out if it was hardware failure or not etc.

We're not big enough to force Dell to take back their junk & swap it without some proof instead of just a feeling it's their fault.



Totally unrelated btw: Know any company that makes stickers/decals for PC/laptop? Boss wants me to rig up some demo laptops etc, but wants them to be in company colors... *sigh*
So either I have to buy new stuff from my budget that would be better spent elsewhere, or I try to find a different solution with decals or something. I guess it doesn't even have to be specifically for PCs or laptops. I wonder how much it costs to do a limited run of stickers of the right size.
 
Old 1st April 2010, 20:55   #4
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check with any printing company, surely they can do it
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Old 2nd April 2010, 14:32   #5
EsaT
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuAside View Post
Only thing 'special' about our company I can think of, is that there is a fair amount of static electricity due to the kind of floor we've got. That shouldn't zap any motherboards though.
ESD can definitely take out ports and lot more closer/tighter integration of everything into smaller PCB than in desktops could make discharge spread further more easily.


Quote:
Well, I guess my colleagues play rugby with theirs behind my back then?
Maybe they're imitating these tests:
http://blogit.tietokone.fi/ykkosiaja...avat-testissa/
 
Old 2nd April 2010, 22:03   #6
wutske
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuAside View Post
Only thing 'special' about our company I can think of, is that there is a fair amount of static electricity due to the kind of floor we've got. That shouldn't zap any motherboards though.
So I've got no idea why we have such a high drop out rate compared to you.
That'll be the number one suspect . Don't forget that there's only a few milimeters of plastic between your hands and the delicate electronics and that charges can enter to laptop via every exposed metal component (usb, vga, screws, ...).
Also, don't forget that many laptops aren't grounded at all which makes killing them even more easy to do

Seriously, get rid of that carpet or get one of those
http://www.esdmat.com/
 
Old 28th April 2010, 13:16   #7
SuAside
 
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ESD isn't really that bad in the building, not to be a conclusive explanation for the high drop out rates of a single model of laptops.

And no, it's not carpet. It's painted concrete floors. We're housed in an old remodeled oldskool warehouse (loft style).


Anyhow, ordered a Thinkpad T510i (with HDD swapped with a X25-M SSD) last week & will put it through some tests when it gets here. If everything goes well, it will be put to the disposal of our lead code monkey around mid june.
After his evaluation we'll see if it becomes the work horse of our code hacks or not.
 
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