Monday, August 29, 2005

Toshiba A85-S107 Laptop Review

After my old buddy "Dexter" an aging IBM Thinkpad 600 (266Mhz, 768MB RAM, CD, Floppy) finally bit the dust... partly due to a slightly misplaced cup of tea, and partly due to age I'm sure, I had decided to go Lappy-less for a year or so. But the inner geek in me strived for a new shiny laptop to use as a second PC at home and play a game or two on the lunch break at work. I originally bought Dexter as an off-lease three-year-old used Laptop and have never bought one new mainly due to cost. But after having to upgrade the RAM, not being able to play DVD's, and having it come with a dead battery ($100+) I realized that the used laptop market wasn;t that great of a bargain all things considered.

Enter a Best Buy "Back to School" ad which showcased the Toshiba A85-S107 Intel Celeron M 1.4Ghz, 256MB RAM, 40GB HDD, and CDRW/DVD drive for $499.99 after a $300 MIR. I was ready to bite. However Best Buy soon revealed it was as close to a bait and switch tactic as legally allowable due to the fact that they had only received 8 total laptops for the entire two-week sale and were instructed to upsell as hard as possible to the next Toshiba model. This pissed me off and I gave up on owning a new lappy. Then I saw that CompUSA was offering the same deal and actually had a bunch in stock a few days later. So I bit.

I came away reasonably happy from the purchase, except for the pre-loaded garbage software that is so overbloated it is sickening and that the 32MB shared Video RAM on top of the bloat leaves a whopping 19MB RAM available for programs. This is unacceptable, WinXP and 32MB taken for VRAM no where near accounts for 256MB of RAM. Pathetic. But in a wonderful moment of revenge I found a coupon for $90 off memory and installation at Best Buy, they also happened to have 512MB Notebook RAM on sale for $59.99 (Install is $29.99)... so after a bit of arguing I walked away paying NOTHING! Heh.

The battery life is pretty dismal (1-1.5 hours) but other than that and the need to upgrade the RAM immediately it is a nice laptop. I miss my touchpoint nub, but an external usb optical mouse fills in nicely and is actually better.

Overall an 80/100.


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Games & PC Games News - Oct. 16, 2005

Is the PC game market? (Dallas Morning News)
The last few years have not been all fun and games for computer game fans, but that might be changing. As attention has shifted to sophisticated video game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation 2, PC gamers have watched their preferred platform wither.

Xbox 360's New Media Play Finding Fans (eWeek)
Consumers were impressed by the expanded multimedia features of Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 at the Digital Life conference, while gamers were excited to begin using the devices to access other types of services.

NewTek Releases Fifth Free Feature Update for LightWave 3D (Digital WebCast)
NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading 3D animation and video products, today announced the release of the fifth free update and the 64-bit port for Emmy award-winning LightWave 3D . Version 8.5 offers hardware support of OpenGL 2.0, the new Multishift tool with editable history, Photoshop -style texture blending modes, improved dynamics, and easier integration of third-party file formats.

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Games & PC Games News by - Oct. 18, 2005

Beta testers needed for GPS enabled Golf application for Windows Mobile (MS Mobiles)
October 17, 2005 [General] There are many applications for Windows Mobile about game of golf. Not all of them are GPS enabled though. Here comes yet another application about golf, in versions both for Pocket PC and MS Smartphone. (Read More ...)

GameTap download service launches in US (
Turner Broadcasting System has officially launched GameTap, a new gaming download service which gives subscribers access to more than 300 arcade, console and PC games. (Read More ...)

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