Ruggedized laptops questions

My very elderly Armada 1700 laptop (250 mhz, 512 megs memory, win 98)
is getting very tired. The floppy drive is about done (replaced 2x
already) and the gigantic 40 gig harddrive is full...lol. Its been a
very good machine for the type of field use that I do, but its time to
get something else. Ive used the old girl for the past 15 yrs with
absolutely no issues, other than the battery pack died about 14 yrs
ago..but I generally simply plug it into the wall anyways when using
it.
Ive been offered either a Dell E6400 XFR or a
General Dynamics/ Itronics VR-2, 2.0GHZ Toughbook
I can buy either of them for $50 out the door. One of my
surplus./recyling places offered them to me last Friday.
Anyone have any experience with either unit/brand?
Thanks!
Gunner
Reply to
Gunner Asch
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No personal experience with either one of those particular models, but for your use I'd take the toughbook over any Del, hands down.
Reply to
clare
I have no experience with the E series, but I've seen a stack of D series Dell Latitudes that looked like retired jousting targets, yet still worked.
--jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
No exerience with either but some with Dell. I have the Vostro 1000 which is a pure bottom end machine. It's done what I need and has been remarkably reliable with just one bitch.
The factory battery lost it's ability to take a charge at about 3 years. Plugging it in didn't due it, the machine just bitched it wanted a new battery and refused to boot.
I bought a brand X off the internet and it gave me a reasonable number of years service.
The point it the brand X has gotten so it can't take a charge either but it's happy on line power.
I have to conclude there is some circuitry in the Dell battery (obviously for charge control, etc) but something extra that monitors the battery and tells the computer to be stubborn to sell a battery. The brand X probably has nothing beyond basic battery function needs and doesn't snitch to the operating system.
Reply to
Winston_Smith
I've had good results with a Dell Latitude D630. Not ruggedized, but I've dragged it around quite a lot, works great. I bought it used off eBay, no disk, and added an SSD. SSDs are faster than spinning drives, and also a lot more rugged. My battery worked fine for some years but finally has lost a lot of capacity. I can still run it for 10 minutes or so on battery, though.
I pretty much ONLY use it when travelling. I use mostly Dell desktops from eBay. My last desktop ran 24/7 for 12 years before I decided I needed to replace it before it would die one day. It is still chugging along at my mother in law's.
Jon
Reply to
Jon Elson
How about Lenovo ? The wife has been using a Tosh A215-S7437 , but it's been having issues - she blocks the fan the way she holds it and it overheats . So a couple of days ago I ordered her a Lenovo refurbed T420 with Win7 Pro 64 bit OS . I have a Lenovo LCD monitor on my shop comp and I like it ...
Reply to
Terry Coombs
Im replying on a Dell Latitude E6400 and I like it dual core I5 Does everything I want it to Been months since I even turned on my quad core desktop It is not rugedized After a quick check on google it looks like the same machine ruggedized I really like dell laptops as they are very easy to work on / upgrade and great availibility on parts Dell are built so they can be serviced if they need it and easy to upgrade to the max the motherboard will handle with basic tools(mostly just a screwdriver) Dell is real good about having downloadable disasembly and reasembly instructions clear down to the cpu That is a great price!
Reply to
raykeller
I'll second that.
My ASUS netbook is a four alarm disaster to get at anything. And they never coughed up with the restore disk the box said was included. Some sort of dispute with MS and it never got made. If you need it - tough. Guess what brand I'll never buy again.
Reply to
Winston_Smith
Whoa, upgraded from '95, eh? I'm surprised you couldn't find something better in the dumpster... ten years ago.
Why not work for 4 hours and buy something brand new? Oh, right. LOL
Good to hear that's an all inclusive price. You gotta watch out for those guys who'll sneak in an extra nickel for a mouse pad.
Obviously they know all about you making $75 an hour. Try offering them TWO trash bags of soda cans.
Too late, all those people got culled in 2012.
Reply to
disneygirls
I had great luck with Lenovo. My current one is 8 years old, fell many times in my truck, I use it daily, etc. I had to change the hard drive to an SSD, fan twice, and keyboard once due to heavy use. Overall I am extremely happy.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus3555
I use older business-class (thick, heavy) laptops as portable TVs, with external USB tuners and 7 Media Center. The more suitable ones have 15" screens, SSDs for the operating system and terabyte spinning drives in the CD bay to store recordings, plus an ExpressCard slot to add USB3.
Off-the-air HD recordings average 6-7 GB per hour. The USB3 ExpressCard I use will support one bus-powered portable external hard drive at a time and transfers at 120 MB/S, probably limited by the HDD and laptop's bus speeds.
The common and otherwise highly regarded Dell D630 lacks ExpressCard and has mono sound and a 14" screen. The D820 is the oldest, slowest (cheapest) machine that will do everything I want (no games) with 64-bit Windows 7 and 8GB of RAM.
If you buy an Auto-Air power supply you can operate in a vehicle or from a 12V jump starter. I have a Broadband2Go cellular modem that provides mobile Internet access, limited by a fairly small monthly data allowance and Sprint's poor coverage.
1280x800 resolution is good enough for me on a 15" screen. My Dell D830 has a 1680x1050 screen that will show two full pages of a .pdf manual but I need reading glasses to use it, and TV doesn't really look any better than at 1280x800 on it, though it does on the 22" external monitor.
--jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
BTW, my old Latitude has been temporarily (maybe permanently) retired because one corner of the display has gone a little haywire -- it displays an annoying rainbow pattern over an inch or so over one corner the screen.
What can be done about that?
Reply to
Ed Huntress
It's been my experience when their battery dies it turns into a low resistance shunt (almost a short) that pulls the voltazge down too far to eun the computer. Sometimes the solution is as simple as left over right. Put the battery in your left hand and pitch it over your right shoulder. The laptop fires up fine with the battery totally missing and the PS plugged in.
There are of course exceptions - where the system won't boot at all without a charged battery.
Reply to
clare
I'd put a qualifier on there - MOST SSDs are faster than MOST rotating disk hard drives - but there are a lot of very slow SSDs on the market, along with some pretty fast rotating disk drives - where the comparison between the two would definitely favour the rotating disk.
As far as reliability, the jury is still out. The SSD in all likelihood will survive more abuse, but again, the rotating disk drive may very well outlast many of the SSDs currently on the market. Some models have had a pretty high failure rate.
Reply to
clare
I have had EXCELLENT luck with the higher end Lenovo Thinkpads, going way back to the IBM days. Not so sure about their cheapest products, but refurbed off-lease high end units are pretty affordable and run just about forever.
Reply to
clare
.............
I haven't encountered hardware video problems on any of mine, so that's a repair shop question. Replacement parts appear to be available at reasonable prices and are not overly hard to install.
formatting link

Some D630s reportedly develop strange video issues from NVIDIA Quadro NVS 135M chip or solder joint degradation, if allowed to run too hot.
--jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins

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