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mmac
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(Originally posted on: 02-02-07 12:02:10 PM)
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So I thought it would be nice to have a spot that we could show off the latest geeky purchases that we've made, or would realistically like to make in short period of time. Please don't include fantassy items that you're never going to purchase. Some simple information you should try to include is:

what I want or wanted
what I got
how much I paid
what I think about it

And please, feel free to give long term user reviews on what you have previously bought, and what problems you have had with it.


Hereís my first entry:

So, since I started taking classes two weeks ago, I've been rather frustrated with the extensive amounts of time I have between classes without anything important to do. So to help me do homework, and make life more generally convenient for me I decided to purchase another laptop. This one however is an incredibly small form fact Sony Vaio VGN-TXN15P with an 11.1" screen, and amazing 8-ish hours of battery life.

[amazon]B000J43MR0[/amazon]

I purchased it from Best Buy for $1299 on sale (no discount), plus $270 ($350 w/o discount) for an accidental damage service plan so that I don't have to worry about dropping it, or keeping it in my backpack. While we've sold a few dozen of these through my store, I have noticed a problem with the wireless cards unseating, but I think that is the only flaw for such a beautiful computer.

It came with windows xp professional, and a free upgrade to Vista Business, but I think I'll probably stay away from that on this computer as the extra processing power required would probably slow this computer to a snailís pace, and hurt my battery life.

I think everybody that comes into the store wanting the latest greatest processor, with 2gb of RAM is stupid, and might as well by a desktop. To me, a laptop computer is for work, and should be highly portable. With that said, I'll probably be adding more RAM this weekend though big grin

Any comments?
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Reply 1 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-05-07 07:43:26 PM)
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I bought a laptop before christmas so I wouldn't be bored at my girlfriend's house. I'd previously been attempting to entertain myself with my old Dell Inspiron 4000, but that's a P3 with an 8 meg graphics chip and 256 meg of ram. I had replayed Baldur's Gate 2 that many times...

So I went the opposite way with my laptop: went for the ridiculous processing power. Of course, you're entirely right - you might as well buy a desktop. But all I use my laptop for is games, so I don't require great portability: I set it up on a desk at my girlfriend's house, or when playing LAN games, and it doesn't move.



Mine is a secondhand HP Pavillion ZD8000 (around 10 months old - cost me $1400 AUD), a beastly 17" laptop with 1.5 gig of ram and a proper 256 meg graphics card. It is the antithesis of portable: you couldn't operate this on your lap, for instance, as it has three fans under the case which keep the computer very cool only if it's on a flat surface. Other strikes against portability: it's very heavy, and the battery life is just over half an hour (which is normal - new batteries have a capacity of no more than an hour).

It has a very sharp screen and every bell and whistle you could want (very good inbuilt wireless, bluetooth, more USB ports than you can shake a stick at, full size keyboard, good speakers, even a remote control which you can keep in the PCMCIA slot for movies).

I am happy with it, but I do honestly feel perhaps I should've spent more and gone for a new laptop with a more up to date graphics card. It has an x600, which fairly powerful for a laptop...but it's also older technology and there are already games that won't run well on last generation ATI cards. Oblivion, for instance, runs smoothly, but the card can't properly do Shader 2 for the pretty graphic effects. And I wouldn't be able to run Splinter Cell Double Agent at all since the graphics card doesn't support shader model 3.

Of course, the lesson there could be to go with an nvidia graphics card instead, since the last generations of nvidia cards have supported SM3, as opposed to only the current generation of ATI cards.
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Reply 2 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-05-07 08:54:35 PM)
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Wanted: Well originally I wanted a device that would just drive my car for me because I'm lazy.
Got: But of course that didn't work out, and when I asked the local Best Buy reps, they just gave me funny looks, so I ended up with:

It's the Garmin nuvi 350, which
Paid: set me back about $600 in x-mas money.
Thoughts: Now I'm probably the worst person you'll ever meet when it comes to getting places in my car. I can drive you somewhere 15 times with you sitting in the passanger seat, but as soon as you ask me to go there alone, I'll have no idea where to go past my driveway. That said, this is pretty much a godsend. It features downloadable... everything; voices, vehicle renderings to replace the 'you-are-here' arrow, maps, speed-trap locations, etc...

It also has about 1GB space that you can store photos and mp3s on, so I can plug it into my casette adapter and listen to music in my car which pauses when it tells you directions.
My favorite part is that you can type addresses or names of stores or restraunts into it and it'll look up the closest ones to you, so it completely gets rid of the whole looking up somewhere to go on mapquest and printing it out thing.

I'm still playing with alot of the features, but I think I've covered most of the important ones.

Of couse, as soon as I purchased this, a newer better model came out which has bluetooth and can talk to your cell phone and acts even more as a PDA or something.

I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a GPS (or perhaps the newer version, the nuvi 500).
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Reply 3 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-10-07 05:25:24 AM)
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This most recent purchase was more for my wife then me, but I'll be using it as well (NOT A DILDO:madi'm a serial-killer :)

Wanted: A black and white photo enlarger with all the necessary items to complete the dark room I've build a little over a month ago.
Got: This, but without the lense.
Paid: About $270.00 for just the enlarger, another hundred or two for everything else. The darkroom cost a good bit to build as well (Its a stand alone wood structure that'll fit cozy in our extra bedroom)
Thoughts: So far its still in its box because today and tomorrow we've got to rebuild the darkroom (had to take it down to move to a house and its been sitting against the wall for a while) and then we'll set it up inside. We've also got to get the chemicals from a local photo place because I didn't want to pay extra shipping. But yeah, so far, I'm excited. It may of cost a lot but its definitely a good idea seeing as if we want a roll of filmed developed we could do it ourselves at anytime, and make it exactly how we want it. Also can do 8x10 prints, which is nice. One really good thing about the enlarger is its upgradable so when if we do get into color prints we can just use the same everything else (well except chemicals and a couple other odds and ends).

Sure digital is the new way but printing the old fashion way seems like more of a craft that takes skill instead of some dumb teenager grabbing a digital camera taking pictures of a tree and saying its art. If you realize it takes effort to get those pictures made you're gonna take your time takin' em (maybe:confusedi'm a serial-killer :).
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Reply 4 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-18-07 11:00:10 AM)
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Off topic, but:

Quoted from Aaron:
Sure digital is the new way but printing the old fashion way seems like more of a craft that takes skill instead of some dumb teenager grabbing a digital camera taking pictures of a tree and saying its art. If you realize it takes effort to get those pictures made you're gonna take your time takin' em (maybeOMG why is Dad kissing that guy?!?).


This is very true.
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Shadowe

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Reply 5 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-18-07 04:22:21 PM)
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Wanted: New mouse
Got: Logitech G5
Paid: $35 and tax
Thoughts: It took a little fiddling with before i got the sensitivity (windows acceleration was the problem) and the weight+balance cartridges just right but it's definitely worth the money. I do actually use the sensitivity switching quite a bit and there is a noticeable difference in precision compared to my old mx510. Having the sensor offset from the center of the mouse where optical mice usually have it is a little wierd at first but once you handle the mouse a bit you get used to it.

Overally I'd say that it's definitely worth 35-40 dollars if you can find it on sale but I wouldn't pay full price for this mouse.

Wanted: Keyboard to replace my old as balls Buckling Spring keyboard
Got: Logitech g15
Paid: $65 Canadian and $13US shipping
Thoughts:While I don't use the LCD very much since theres no room for me to unfold it at the moment on this tiny desk it's definitely a useful little bugger and there is a LOT of third-party work out there. The lit keys make a world of difference even during the day, they are a lot easier to see than regular ones for obvious reasons, and the adjustable brightness is a nice touch. There is also a switch just to the left of the LCD, I didn't even notice it at first, but it's the one that turns off the windows keys.

Logitech wasn't talking out of their ass when they said this was a special gaming keyboard, they did the actual internal circuitry of the keyboard so as to minimize the three-key-lockout effect of normal keyboards. The actual keys themselves are responsive and bouncy, they have a noticeable resistance which is nice when you're going to be typing for a long time.

I figured the bindable G keys would be nifty but not all that useful, that was a bad call on my part. I actually have several macros bound already for everything from windows functions I use often to bailing out of my soon to be ground-craft and opening the parachute. The only possible improvement i could think of would be some way to bind things directly to G keys instead of having them serve only as macro holders.

As far as price, again it's worth a fair bit, but I don't think what logitech wants is a reasonable price. If you can find it on sale somewhere then go for it, but i wouldn't pay 70-80 dollars for this thing.


Wanted: Monitor that can break 1024x768
Got: IBM TrinitronFD p260
Paid: $60 (bought from a friend)
Thoughts: Holy hell the p260 and p275 monitors are quite possibly the best CRT's out there. The color and image quality and supported resolutions/refreshs are insane and with 20 inches of viewable screen 720P is quite nice.

It took a little doing at first but I got the thing tuned for decent colors and the edges reasonably straight in just a few minutes once the sun went down. The monitors support DVI or VGA input, with a switch on the front to choose between which one you want to use. A word of warning, don't hit the little yellow button or the one right next to it, those reset your settings to the internal defaults.

Either the p275 or the p260 are just about the best CRT you can buy, but they're both discontinued so don't expect to find them for cheap like I did. Definitely worth the money though, it's hard to beat what's basically a 20inch HDTV that can also do 1600x1200 @85hz effortlessly.
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mmac
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Reply 6 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-18-07 07:17:48 PM)
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Not a bad deal for a monitor, what's the screen size on it? There are a lot of complaints about CRT monitors, but you can't argue with the price.

I also have a G5 keyboard, but I use the Merc Keyboard by Zboard, and am absolutely in love with it.
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Reply 7 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-19-07 03:40:50 AM)
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p275's and p260's are 21 inch CRT's, 20 inch viewable. You won't find them for 60 dollars though, I bought this one off of a friend who just recently got a 32 inch HDTV LCD for his new display.

If you do manage to find one, expect to pay at least 150 for them. Maybe there are new models of the trinitronFD tube out there other than the p260 and p275 but I can't vouch for those.
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mmac
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3ms will rise again

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Reply 8 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-19-07 03:58:37 AM)
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This still has lower image quality than your average 20" LCD though? Wa back in the day my roomate had a 21" CRT but it took up a HUGE area on his desk, I don't think I could sacrafice that much room.
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Reply 9 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-19-07 06:49:45 AM)
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I'd love to get a decent CRT for my secondary computer. Rather than upgrading last year, I just kept my entire previous computer, and it's turned out really well. It's set up on the table next to my computer desk, and provides the basis for easy LAN games. Between my two computers and my laptop, I can get three people playing counterstrike or unreal in here with no setup whatsoever, and over christmas when my brother is down here, we had six computers setup.

....upshot is, I never use this computer myself, and it has the shittiest monitor ever attached to it - an old 17" CRT with these massive scratches across the screen that cannot be good for the eyes.

There's heaps of space on the table for a CRT - I just haven't seen anywhere that sells them. MAGUSMAGUSMAGUSMAGUS I'm sure I could a decent if not brilliant one for a very fair price.
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mmac
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Reply 10 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-19-07 02:56:16 PM)
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I know one of the cheap "custom computer" places around here have CRT monitors for about $45 used, check ever crap computer store around you, I guarantee you can find one cheap.
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Reply 11 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-19-07 04:01:56 PM)
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I was looking for an mp3 player that had could play an .ogg file, and had at least 1GB of space on it. I picked up the LG FM20 about three weeks ago, and so far I'm very pleased with it. The cost was reasonable (around $100 or so), and it has a built-in rechargeable battery. It takes about three hours to charge it. I use the player for about an hour and a half each day, on average, and I've only had to recharge it the once so far.

If nothing else, it's better for me than my last mp3 player (which I'm still using to store/transfer files). Before I was going through a triple A battery every week or two and didn't have ogg support. Also, when you turn on the LG player, it will start playing wherever you left off, even if it's in the middle of a file. This is great for me when I want to listen to longer podcasts or audiobooks on my way to and from work, as now I don't lose my place in them, and don't have to either start over or wait until I get home and listen to it on my computer so I can skip straight to where I left off (neither of the players have the option of fast-forwarding within a track).
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Shadowe

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Reply 12 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-20-07 09:11:34 AM)
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Quoted from mmac:
This still has lower image quality than your average 20" LCD though? Wa back in the day my roomate had a 21" CRT but it took up a HUGE area on his desk, I don't think I could sacrafice that much room.


Are you kidding? The average LCD has far worse image quality than a regular CRT does unless you get the absolute best of LCDs and worst of CRTs. And the Trinitron flats are hands down the absolute best CRT tube out there, the picture and color quality own pretty much anything except the highest end flatpanels.
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Reply 13 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-20-07 09:39:21 AM)
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Depends on what you mean by image quality. Almost all LCDs I've had only do 16-bit color and besides that look a little washed out. Nevertheless, I cannot use a CRT without getting a headache. I think there are at least a few people with the same problem. That pretty much rules CRTs out, no matter how rich their color palette is.
ba
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Reply 14 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-22-07 05:59:20 PM)
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If you're having headache problems with a CRT monitor, go into prefrences > settings > advanced and toy with the DPI setting. I don't recall whether more or less DPI it is, but one or the other usually helps alleviate headaches you can get for long-term exposure to a CRT.

(I can't test it right now, I'm at my place at Uni and I only have an LCD here)
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Reply 15 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-23-07 01:21:03 PM)
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Also refresh rate determines headache causiness.

Windows - for some reason that I am sure is determined by the limitations of archaic hardware and not making them explode - defaults to 60 hz refresh rate, when most CRT monitors made in the last 6 odd years can handle at least 80 or so on a resolution appropriate to the monitor.

Quote:
Depends on what you mean by image quality. Almost all LCDs I've had only do 16-bit color and besides that look a little washed out.

Then you had a really old, crap CRT. kekeke u give soj???

I had a really nice flatscreen CRT a while ago (it died under mysterious circumstances while in my younger brother's possession, but that's a mystery for another day) and it produced the best picture quality I've had until my christmas present to myself this year arrived (dell 1905FP or something...in any case, it's a very nice 19" monitor).

As I understand it, purists go for CRT's since they aren't bound by the limitations of drawing the image pixel by pixel. For instance, motion on playing a DVD would be smoother on a CRT. And since they use a tube to project the light patterns, they can also blend colour tones better - so in reality, CRT's have a greater colour depth.

But, then again, I think really only the purists would pay enough attention to notice the difference between them.

I like my desk setup with an LCD since it gives me vast amounts of space. So I couldn't conceive of being enough of a purist to use a CRT habitually.
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Reply 16 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-23-07 06:39:48 PM)
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right click on the desktop and go to properties, then in the settings tab click advanced. After the new window pops up go to the monitor tab and check the little box that says "hide modes that this monitor cannot display" and select the highest refresh rate from the drop down box.

85hz or higher (especially if it isnt a multiple of 60) is best since in the US flourescent lights are also 60hz. Makes for some really nasty flickering.
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Reply 17 of 27 (Originally posted on: 02-23-07 06:46:04 PM)
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It doesn't matter how high the refresh rate, it still bugs the shit out of me. Anyway, no need to threadjack anymore on that topic.
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Reply 18 of 27 (Originally posted on: 03-12-07 09:25:27 AM)
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I just got an Infinity Drive.
http://www.aerocool.us/p-peripheral/Infinite/Infinite.htm

I bought it for an emergency data transfer on a friends laptop that had a vase full of water spilled on it. I was able to get all her word documents and 3GB of MP3s off and transferred to her new laptop.

I purchased it for $50 at CompUSA. While I consider that expensive for things like this. I think it was a good purchase overall in that I now have an external HDD that is not sitting on the desk. Also the card reader is very nice. I almost feel like I can get rid of my floppy drive now.
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mmac
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Reply 19 of 27 (Originally posted on: 03-12-07 02:01:20 PM)
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That's pretty cool, I hate those little USB converters that they have.
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Reply 20 of 27 (Originally posted on: 03-14-07 04:33:00 AM)
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I wanted: To kill my friends online
I got: Xbox360 Premium, extra controller, remote, PGR3, Battlefield 2, Amped 3, NFS:Most Wanted, Ghost Recon
I paid: $375ish
I think: It is awesome. Co-oping on rainbow six with my friends on voice chat is lik the coolest thing ever.
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Reply 21 of 27 (Originally posted on: 03-14-07 07:13:39 AM)
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You need to get a camera and scan your face to put it on your character (in Ranbow Six)! From what I hear its 'the shit'.
Its like watching tv except its a show about wet clothes.
Yogi
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Reply 22 of 27 (Originally posted on: 03-14-07 03:36:32 PM)
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I actually did order the camera on sunday for that very reason.

Can't wait to show up in the chopper with my friends and be like "whats up?" with my own face and shit big grin
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mmac
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Reply 23 of 27 (Originally posted on: 03-15-07 09:02:28 AM)
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why would you want to ruin a beautiful game with something as ugly as your face. i wunder if itz gay to kiss dudez
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Bartender: What's wrong?
Atom: I've just lost an electron.
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Atom: Yeah, I'm positive.
Yogi
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Reply 24 of 27 (Originally posted on: 03-15-07 09:15:44 AM)
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Oh, man, I gotta put on the hotornot ugly contest face of mine.

And you know I'm gonna have to make a hasslehoff one
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