Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Laptop blues

Finally, the verdict is out! My laptop has been reduced to a piece of junk, as the circuit on the motherboard that handles the power supply has blown off. Unless, I invest around 16k to get a new motherboard and get the laptop running. The person who repaired my computer suggested me otherwise. He says, instead of investing in a new motherboard, dispose this laptop off, and buy a new one.

What he doesn't understand, or probably the entire supply chain doesn't understand, is that I would need to invest more than Rs. 30k to get a laptop with performance specs that I already have. So, this means, I have to invest around double the motherboard cost to get a new laptop. And what will he pay me to dispose the old laptop? Only Rs 4k. It is simple economics. If you keep aside the uncertainty of the motherboard failing again, then investing Rs. 16k for the motherboard, is a much sensible investment compared to buying a new laptop. People do say that now the latest ones have come, they are at much cheaper price, etc. But then, the laptop was never bought with an intention to make money when I sell it. It was bought to augment my research and entertainment tool set.

Also, what sense does it make in buying a new laptop? What is this about the latest features? Over my existing laptop (configuration: 1 GB RAM, 1.6GHz AMD Turion X2 processor, 100 GB HDD, dual layer DVD drive) what is the value addition that the latest model would provide? A year's warranty instead of the 3 months that the motherboard replacement would give. What is it about the higher HDD capcity and say the latest processor? For the kind of work I do, I think this configuration would be way over the top.

After a lot of deliberations, I decided to repair my motherboard. But I am unhappy over one aspect of the design. The design of the motherboard is so integrated, that I have to replace the entire board, just because the power supply blew off. Why can't the design be modular. It would have been much easier for me to replace the burnt out part at a far lesser cost. But, companies have almost stopped thinking about the repair aspects of the product. For them, it is more profitable if someone junks away the old piece and buys a new one. Now-a-days, for all such companies, profit is first, shareholders are second and the customer is last. Integrated design may help in achieving material and cost savings, but why do they never factor in the possibility of failure? Engineers are taught this very aspect so that they can include safety features to avoid failure and easy replacement procedure after a failure has taken place. Engineers are now probably more driven by the principles of management and economic objectives rather than the principles of engineering.
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  1. 16k only!!

    I have a apple mac-book with faulty motherboard. They said it will be 900$ here. So I got a new one. Please find out if they can replace an Apple's Intel motherboard for 16,000 too!!!

    I can have two mac-books then :p

  2. yes, he did say 16k... but that's a huge amount and that too its been just 1.5 yrs.

    anyways, i met a guy who repaired the power supply for me in just Rs 5k. if u come down to India, let me know, we can contact him.

  3. my motherboard has gone kaput. I will get it to india. My only worry is that it is Apple, and they are not very popular in india. Don't know, if your contacts would have ever repaired a mac-book!

  4. Yes, he maybe able to repair it. I've talked to him. He can say something once he has a look at the laptop. Best wishes for you :)