A few days ago I started having computer problems that were not purely software related. One piece of software which is rather demanding of the video system seemed to cause a hard crash as I could only run it for a few minutes. Yet I could run everything else for hours. But previously I did not have that problem so something was wrong. I had heard an odd fan noise a bit earlier and so started looking at the fans.
The first time I looked the case fan was operating, the power supply fan was operating but the supply was hot rather than just warm, the CPU fan and the video card fan were also operating. A day or so later with things worse I found the problem. The power supply had two fans. One wasn't moving, the other was only barely moving. I shut things down and used a different computer as well as JMaynard's eeePC.
A couple days of using the eeePC convinced me that I would not be replacing the laptop(s) with a netbook as I had pondered doing. The thing is rather underpowered (as expected) and the keyboard is only almost big enough to not be frustrating.
Monday we went to Mankato and I bought a replacement power supply, which I am now using. We also decided to take a look at what laptops might be had. The kicker is that I need a non-intel graphics chipset since I now want very good graphic performance under Linux and intel graphics simply won't cut it. The first time I looked around I got sticker shock as the only things I saw that fit were in the $1,200+ range. But this time we saw a few things in the $600+ range. Combined with Best Buy's (yeah, but it was really the only choice) 18-month interest-free financing it got seriously tempting. After looking at three different models I rejected the GateWay with the Turion not (just) for being a GateWay or the Turion but mainly from poor keyboard layout. The process repeated and after much questions and electronic forms being filled out, I now have a Toshiba Satellite L675. That's an AMD Phenom II X2 (dual core 64 bit) at 2.9 GHz, with 4GB RAM and a 500 GB HDD. And ATI Radeon 4250 graphics. And Windows Home Premium, which I plan to use very little. Oh, and a big beautiful 17.3 inch 1600 x 900 pixel screen. And a keyboard that is Not Tiny.
I've used it only briefly so far. Just a bit of setup and making the 4 DVD set (yowza!) of recovery discs. I know I have some issues to resolve, such as if I should go with a 32 or 64 bit Linux distribution and if 64, which one. Also, transporting this thing will require something other than the laptop bag I've been using. The L675 is too big to fit in that bag - and I probably want it better protected anyway should I actually travel with it.