Spare parts reach crazy prices

I recently had an unfortunate accident involving my laptop, my nephew, and a hard hard floor. This was back at the end of May and ever since then my laptop seemed to be slowly dying. Once it got to a point that it took my laptop up to 7 minutes to start up (only to give BSOD’s) once I got into it I decided that something needed to be done.

On a hunch I bought a new laptop hard drive and replaced the old one, hoping that it was all the fault of the hard drive. However, on installation of Windows XP I got another BSOD during the install process. Not what I was hoping for.

From here my only option seemed to be to turn to HP support. Being that my laptop was of course out of warranty by a couple of months I knew that it was was going to cost me something. I had to pay a €90 non-refundable fee to get the laptop checked out. If I decided to not go ahead with the quoted repairs, then I’d lose the €90. If I went ahead with the quote, the €90 would go toward the labour costs.

Just today I received my quote: €845

The breakdown for parts is:

  • Replacement system board €361.50
  • Replacement MEM MOD 512MB 333DR PC2700 €148.10
  • Replacement AC Adaptor €45.40
  • Replacement keyboard €74.85

The rest of the cost is labour and VAT.

Being that I know the keyboard and AC adaptor are fine (a slightly wonky key and a little bit of fraying on the AC adaptor), and being that I can purchase 1Gb of laptop ram for about €70, I decided that those items could all be dropped. This still leaves a cost of €524 to essentially just replace my motherboard. I’ve never spent more than €150 on a motherboard so this definitely gets my goat.

A quick bit of searching around revealed that I could pick up a brand new HP 6715b with twice the ram, a dual-core chip and a larger hard drive for about €830. Who’s going to win do you think?

I’m ordering a new laptop tomorrow..

The lesson here is to never ever buy parts from Dell, HP, Apple etc. They charge far above and beyond the going rates. In fact any sort of customisation is generally not worth the cost on these kind of systems. I’ll give you two cases in point.

  1. Apple: buying a Mac pro in Ireland comes in at a flat ex-vat price of €2089

    If you upgrade to 2gb of Ram (purchasing 2×512Mb) it costs €299. If I look at buying this myself – the most expensive kit I came across comes in at €43. Now I can’t guarantee that they aren’t using some really fancy type of RAM (though I doubt it).

    Even more telling is the hard drive price. Add a 500Gb drive to the system and it costs €319. The most expensive 500Gb drive I found at Komplett comes in at €95.

  2. Dell: buying a Dell Precision 690 ‘Essential’ comes in at a flat price of €1449

    Add a 2nd 250gb hard drive: €105. At Komplett this comes in at €55.

    Thinking of buying a modem or a 1gb usb pen drive? At Dell you’ll need to cough up €40 for each of these. At Komplett you’re looking at €10 for each.

So, make sure that you only buy the base system that suits you best. Get your extra RAM, hard drives, and peripherals from someone else online. You could save yourself a lot of money.

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  • I had a Dell laptop once and the internal battery died, $150 qoute to replace it. which is of course insane, since batteries are about $10.Then the drive went, I was quoted around $600 for a new drive from the US, but when I found I was in Canada, they said they would not ship. Dell Canada told me it would be $800. These prices do not include labour. I pulled the machine apart, found the actual brand and model, called a local drive specialist – $80. Since he needed drives for parts I traded in several 20meg (yes meg not gig) Total real cost $30.I will never buy a Dell again.

  • Ah yes, I vowed to never be involved with Dell again quite a long time ago.After years of actually going out of my way to convince people to let me build them a machine instead of buying a dell, I finally tired of giving tech support to friends and neighbours.A little while ago a neighbour came to me looking for a new computer. He was tempted to get a laptop, and not wanting to get too involved I told him to get a Dell computer and that if he had any problems he could call them instead of relying on me.Bad idea. It was right when Dell had switched completely over to Vista with no XP options available. The machine they sold him was definitely not able for it. It's been nothing but a pain in the ass – ended up with us reinstalling Vista and stripping it right down to basics. I mean, do they not test these things out??I can't believe they quoted you $600/$800 for a new hard drive. That's obscene. Hell hard drives are all alike. There's only a few major manufacturers out there anyway.