Losing my hair and losing my mind in Western New York

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Well.. I Finally have my new laptop. I have it up, running and mostly configured the way I want it. In fact I am typing this post on it. It's a nice machine, although I should mention that the video card was NOT a 128 meg card as specified by Newegg.com, it's a 64 meg card. Not that it's really going to matter all that much as I am not likely to be playing any games on it anytime soon. However I will be dropping newegg a line regarding the error just to see if I can get either a replacement one with a 128 meg card, or some type of financial remuneration for the error. I can't simply replace the card though, as it's an integrated one and thusly not removable.

EDIT: After posting this, I used the WinPhlash (yes, they actually used 'ph' instead of 'f') utility I downloaded from Acer's website and flashed (or is it Phlashed?) the BIOS up to the latest version. This appears to have unlocked the 128 meg capability of the Vid card, as I was then able to go into the BIOS and set the card to 128 megs of RAM, instead of 32 or 64. So I guess I won't be sending that e-mail to Newegg.com after all!

That aside, It's a beautiful laptop and the photos on newegg really don't do it justice. It is a 15" screen, but the laptop is only 14" deep. This calculates to a wide screen laptop, with a native resolution of 1024x768. This doesn't sound like much, but given the overall display size, anything higher would result in overly small type. As it is, it's a perfect resolution for this machine.

The only real drawbacks to this laptop are ones that are to be expected for a machine that retails in the $650.00 range. Examples would include the somewhat tinny speakers, the less than optimal RAM size (expandable, and an extra stick of 512mb is highly recommended if you do get this machine) The somewhat slow HD (which I replaced before even booting the laptop for the first time) and the smaller than advertised video RAM (EDIT: apparently just a BIOS issue).

Despite these relatively minor issues, it's a stellar laptop for it's price range and I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a starter or budget laptop, or even as a road warrior workhorse, provided you get the upgraded RAM.

Once I am able to take the time to e-mail newegg, I will let you all know how the service experience turned out. I have always gotten tremendous service from newegg, and so I expect this experience to be just as good. In the meantime, here are some better pictures of my laptop in action:

As you can see by the pictures, there is no floppy drive in this laptop, so if you MUST have a floppy, you will either have to get a USB floppy drive, or get a different laptop. The DVD drive is also a burner, and No, Acer does not include any DVD software with it. I installed WinDVD Platinum, but I haven't had the time to try it out yet. I'll probably do that soon.

EDIT: Sorry, another error. Apparently they DO inlude DVD playing software in thier "Acer Arcade" software package. Unfortunately it is so poorly written that about the only real use for it is the DVD Codecs and Plugins so you can Play DVDs with WMP9 or 10. But it IS available for free on thier website, and included with the software bundle.

As you can see in the 4th picture, the heatsink is solid copper. VERY nice cooling solution from the guys at Acer, and very effective. Just don't place anything you don't want heated up anywhere near the output, as it does blow very hot air out that port. Also, (of course) do not block that port, as it is the primary heat exhaust for the laptop.

The small row of buttons up near the screen are the "Launch Manager" buttons. Basically one-touch software launching buttons. They are programmable via the "Launch Manager" software that comes with the laptop. In my case, since I was starting with a blank drive, I used one of my other PC's to download and burn to disk all the various and sundry drivers and utilities for this laptop off the Acer website. I still have one or two minor util's to install, but I have most of the original Acer software installed.

The touchpad is a very nice one from Synaptics, and in addition to the standard right and left buttons, it also includes a four way scroll rocker and an adjustable sensitivity tap-to-select feature.

All in all a very nice laptop, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good solid workhorse laptop.


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