We have a project going at work where we need several higher-end laptops to act as mobile servers. So we purchased a Dell Precision M70 (2.26ghz, 2gb ram, 80gb HDD, extra 80gb HDD for backup purposes), PowerNotebooks NP5720 (same specs as the Dell), and a IBM Thinkpad T43 (similiar specs except only 1.5gb ram). Up until Saturday I have been highly impressed with the Dell laptop. It has a solidly built, good design. Remember that I am a super picky user any wierd creaking or excessive fan noise or heat etc. I will notice and complain! The performance from the Dell has been super. Running Photoshop with full sized raw images went smoothly. Heat tends to be an issue that I’m particularly sensative to and the Dell certainly got warm as you’d expect but the heat is situated in the lower back section so if you use a laptop tray like I tend to use then I don’t even notice the heat. Many times to combat the heat there will be loud annoying fans and that isn’t the case with the Dell either. There are fans of course but they aren’t noticeable. So all this good news and then Saturday comes along and the Dell quits working.

I used it for a couple of hours Saturday morning with no problems. Then I went to turn it on Saturday afternoon and nothing. How often do we tell people to always backup their data? I have a program I’ve been working on for days and I hadn’t done any backups. I thought I was going to cry. I found the hard drive, removed it from the laptop and connected it to an external USB enclosure. These USB hard drive enclosures are great. If you haven’t tried one you should. I had an 80gb laptop hard drive laying around so I got one of these enclosures for $15. It’s awesome for fast portable storage.

Anyways I took the hard drive from the dead Dell and it fired right up in the USB enclosure. I got my files off and was safe.
So I called Dell support on Saturday and sat on hold for 45 minutes before I hung up irritated. This morning I called and was talking to a person within 5 minutes another 15 minutes of trouble shooting and the support guy came to the same conclusion that I had…it must be a circuit board of some sort within the laptop that was fried. He gave me a dispatch number and a case number and said someone should be out tommorrow to get it fixed. Check back later tommorrow for the results. Considering the quickness of the support I’m still hopefull on the Dell’s being a good solution.

Brandon is going to write up his review of the PowerNotebooks laptop and we just ordered the IBM Thinkpad the other day so we’ll write up something when we get it.