A couple of weeks ago my wife Torie called me at work, telling me that the computer had locked up and it wouldn't even boot when she tried to reboot. I took it apart when I got home and discovered that the CPU fan had stopped and the CPU had fried. The computer was a freebie that a coworker of my father-in-law had given us, so it wasn't exactly new. Instead of trying to replace the CPU or CPU, motherboard, memory, power supply, and fan — as would have been required — Torie and I decided it was time to upgrade. I do a bit of contract work, Torie needs a computer for school work, and a million other reasons justify why we couldn't be without a computer.
We got in the car and went to Best Buy (a bit impulsive, in retrospect, but we needed a computer, and, besides, it was the only thing still open at 9 PM). After talking with a surprisingly knowledgeable and helpful staff, we picked out the Toshiba Satellite U205-S5034 laptop. Light, fast (Intel Core 2 Duo Processor), Intel chipset for video and wireless so it would work with Linux, great keyboard — it had all that we needed. I upgraded the RAM to 2 gig to make it a little more useful.
So we bought it. I downloaded the Ubuntu Edgy install disk as soon as we got home. I was shocked. Everything worked out of the box. Sound. Video. Accelerated 3-D Video. Wireless. The only thing left hardware-wise for me to tweak is the set up of the dual monitors. In Windows XP, you can use the external monitor port and use both the laptop LCD and an external LCD. Awesome. I just need to take the time to figure out how to do that in Ubuntu.
The only downside is that the old desktop system had SCSI for its main drive. I only have an IDE USB enclosure. I didn't have backups set up yet. So I haven't yet been able to get at our old data. Luckily, a coworker is going to dig out an old system of his for me to borrow. I just have to throw in the PCI SCSI controller and the drive and copy the data elsewhere. But it sure is a pain. One of my next projects is going to be getting a decent backup system working for us. Gotta do that soon.