Saturday, March 24, 2012

Creaky Computer

While watching a youtube video the other night, I was struck by the notion that my laptop wasn't handling it very well. It was stuttering, getting hot, and generally have a hard time keeping up. I don't think it was the internet connection itself (but I have my eye on you, Comcast!). But, it couldn't be my computer, right? I mean, it's not like it's all that old.

To remind myself of when I got this computer, I searched through this blog's archives and discovered that, somewhat to my surprise, my laptop is a hair over four years old. Well. Damn.

To be true, the machine has been collecting a few cobwebs. In addition to having difficulty handling a 720p stream from youtube, it also takes quite a while to load some programs. I could chalk that up in part to the some sluggish (by present standards) performance of my 250-GB harddrive, which is 80% full. The battery only provides about 90 minutes of surfing, or perhaps 40 minutes of video conferencing. There's an intermittent problem that's cropped up in the last year where the keyboard and/or mouse will stop responding, sometimes mid-sentence. This is a situation that is almost, but not always, fixed by putting the machine to sleep and re-waking it. It's been increasing in frequency, such that it now happens several times an evening. (I have a suspicion that the flex cable or ZIF connector that connects these components to the internal USB bus is kinda flaky, something that has been talked about on the apple forums, but not with any surefire fix).

But I sense it doesn't want to get on the cart yet. The keyboard/mouse issue could, hopefully, be fixed by replacing the top deck. New, longer-lived batteries are an easy replacement. The hard drive and RAM can be boosted. All of these can be done for much, much less than the cost of a new 15" MBP. We'll see how it goes.

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