Saturday, November 11, 2006

the journey of a thousand miles.....begins wif a single click

there is nothing more fun than playing doom 3 on a 17-inch-screen laptop wif lights out n the room bathed in red from the comp's LEDs...hehehe...

ok shud i start....i 1st started having this urge 2 get a comp earlier than planned (original plan was 2 get a comp after d end-of-term exam) sumtime around beginning of september. during d whole of december d library was practically closed (open till 5pm on weekdays only...we hv classes till 2.40 at the earliest) so i was almost cut off frm d online world...n other functions dat required a comp, such as searching for song lyrics, preparing presentations for speaking class etc, were oso affected.

so i started by checking out dell's comps. now, as many of u noe, i've been saving money like a miser ever since i got here in order 2 get a REALLY good comp when d time comes. so i immediately ruled out inspiron laptops in favour of the xps line. but the problem was...d only 'possible' models were the miniscule 12-incher M1210 n the huge 17-incher M1710 (sizes as compared to the notebook 'standard', 14 inches). initially, sum craze for 'the ultimate mobility' took hold of me n i even made an order for a suped-up M1210 online thru dell's website (wif big savings possible due to usage of online coupons n everything)...

a few days after making the order, even going as far as setting up a bank account so i can pay for the order by bank transfer, i changed my mind. n it was sudden too...i took coffee at nite 2 'help wif my studies' n ended up sleepless, n i tossed n turned for d better part of a night thinking how d hell i was supposed 2 play games or even chat onling comfortably on a 12-inch screen for the next 2 years or so. the next day i juz decided to scrap the idea of getting the M1210, even tho there was a great online deal on at dat time.

it shud b noted dat another reason i decided against the M1210 was becuz of its graphics card, a mere GeForce 7400 which wud not b capable of playing nowadays' games at acceptable settings anyway.

so i juz left the order there unpaid for n hoped dat dell wud eventually cancel it automatically :P now i noe dat dats not a good thing 2 do, but when u cant understand wats written on half d website n dun even noe the proper format for sending an email in japanese, u shud b at least partially justified 4 doing such a thing. as i was :P right??? choice....i took to looking at a bunch of japanese computer brands. now, originally i decided early on dat i wud NOT get a japanese brand comp cuz of their relatively higher price for the same specs (compared to, say, dell), plus d fact dat they were generally built wif a different focus in mind (ie aesthetics - sleek, colourful designs dat sumhow exuded feminity; capabilities focused on multimedia functions eg tv-viewing, rather than raw performance) from wat i wanted as a gamer. but anyway, i picked out wat seemd 2 b d only good choice among toshiba, sony, NEC n fujitsu....the sony vaio type F, a 15.4 incher wif a geforce 7600.

then i decided the price was simply too high for its specs. i mean, wtf, sony charges 50000 yen to upgrade from 1 GB of ram to 2 GB?? n there was no 2.0GHz processor available, n d upgrade from 1.83GHz to 2.16GHz costs 60000 yen. talk bout cutting throats. so despite having spent hours poring thru brochures n doing online research, i decided to scrap the idea of buying a vaio after all. heh.

so then i came across this company in the US selling laptops wif supposedly fine-tuned performance n simply out-of-this-world designs...alienware. now, alienware was once (n still is, to a limited degree) a 'boutique' computer vendor....they sell highly customizable computers, claim to conduct strict benchmarking n performance tuning on those comps, n charge a relatively high price for these comps. but wat really attracted me 2 alienware was 1) the design n 2) the fact dat a guy here frm mexico who noes computers sed dat its good. n the real selling point was dat despite being 'boutique' n taking into account shipping costs n everything, it will still arrive at my doorstep half a grand ringgit cheaper (for roughly d same specs) as the sony vaio i had been considering. dat tells sumting about d relative prices of things in US n japan eh.

so after working out all the logistics (i wud hv it sent 2 my sis, n hv her send it to me), i placed an online order for a 15.4 inch alienware area-51 M5550, a relly cool piece of work despite being among alienware's 'lower midrange' laptops. reason was dat alienware makes comps geared for gaming, which generally indicates a 17incher wif geforce 7800/7900-class graphics.

then overnight i changed my mind again. until then i had checked up intensively on d alienware M5550 online, n while i discovered certain disconcerting facts about d M5550 frm reviews, i sumhow overlooked them in d zeal 2 get a 'boutique comp, shipped all the way frm US, n not available in japan!'. but then sumhow it struck me dat if sumting bad happens 2 d comp, i wud b stuck wif a broken laptop thousands of miles away frm d nearest alienare service center. in other words, lack of obtainable tech support here in japan = bad thing. n several comments i read online about heat problems (which i guess contributes to system wear) related to the m5550 settled the matter. i din wan a comp wif a burnt up 3d card n no way to replace it.

up till then, i did not even consider 17 inch comps becuz they were, in my own words, 'humongous'. of course they wud not b as light n mobile as, say, yst's 14 inch toshiba. but then the question was raised: y d heck wud i care so much about mobility over performance when i probably wun b moving it about more than once a month? n a laptop is a'll b infinitely easier to transport to, say, the common room or even the library compared to a desktop anyway, regardless of size. lastly, only 17 inchers carry serious 3d gaming power. n so it finally dawned on me dat, as a self-admitted gaming addict, 17 inches is the way to go. (by the way, in case sum wacko out there is relating all this talk of inches to another guy-thing also measured in inches, GET OUT U STINKIN PERV)

n the choice for a 17 inch was simple. among all the reviews i read online, only one comp, the 17-inch dell xps M1710, had stood out as being virtually flawless - in performance AND aesthetics (tho of a different kind frm d jap comps). n d price, while high, was by no means exhorbitant, given the performance i wud b buying. so within 2 days i had placed my order online n paid for it via bank transfer.

so now, roughly 10 days after receiving my new baby, im now typing this acount on him/her/it at nearly 2am in d morning. sumbody help me, im addicted again.

btw, any suggestions on resolving the him/her/it question? ie which shud it be?