Thursday, June 11, 2009

Computer issues and what follows

For about a month now, my laptop has been having a weird graphics glitch. It comes in several varieties:
1. A line of random pixels going across a window.
2. A 1-px line of my desktop picture scooted half a screen to the right.
3. A bunch of static attached to an icon.

It's not the display, because the errors move around. That leaves basically two possibilities:
1. OS failure, or
2. hardware failure, likely the logic board or VRAM.

There was another error, too. The Windows side of the computer (for those who don't know, I use a Macbook Pro running both Leopard and XP. (Why Microsoft made an OS named after a smiley, I'll never know.) Windows would let me be logged in for 10 seconds or so, then simply reboot to the Mac side without warning. What gets me is that this one disappeared last week, seemingly at random. I know computers aren't random in nature. That's what scares me.

So on Tuesday morning, Dad backed up the whole computer to one of his 2 TB hard drives. Then at about 5:00, when the backup finished, I took my (painfully hot) computer back and reinstalled Leopard. Not ten minutes later, the graphics glitch came back. That means, it's not an easy fix. Dad and I took the computer to the Apple Store at the mall, and dropped it off with them. At this point, we were looking at, at best, a $100 diagnosis fee. At worst, $300 for replacing parts until everything worked (and oh yeah, we found out while reinstalling that my internal CD drive is shot - again. This makes two.).

Now for the better news. Yesterday, Dad gave me a note that asked me to give him a best offer on his current laptop, including a trade-in of mine. After he started throwing in options on my best offer (first more warranty, then more RAM, then better CPU's) beyond what I knew his current machine could handle, I figured he had something planned. He did - planned and executed. he had already ordered me a refurbished MBP of the kind that were state-of-the-art until last Sunday. On top of that, he cut me a great deal (I won't say how much) on the new machine and told me to cancel the repairs.

So today, I canceled the order and picked up the computer. Fortunately, they hadn't done anything to it yet, so there was no service charge.

Long story short, I've gained an LED monitor sans graphics error, 1.06 GHz, 2G ram, and a Radeon 9600M video card. The last part makes me happy, because the 1600M card in my old machine isn't even on the ATI website anymore.

Dads rock.

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