Packard Bell Laptop madness...

Discussion in 'Offtopic Discussions' started by xnopasaranx, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. xnopasaranx

    xnopasaranx Superbad!

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    And another rant about the unbelievable fuckery, that we call product design in laptops... have you seen something like this in a laptop before?

    I finally ordered a replacement SSD to give the old laptop my fiancee uses for work a little boost. So today I opened up her laptop in order to extract the HDD and clone the drives on a system that actually has two SATA connectors, so I don't have to fiddle with wonky usb connections and speeds.

    Turns out her laptop also has two places to insert and connect SATA drives. But one of them is unusable because the cover plate has been modyfied by packard bell to make sure there will be no space underneath. If you want to install two drives you cannot possibly close the laptop back up.

    Well I connected both drives anyway and secured them temporarily in order to clone the HDD and the BIOS detects both drives perfectly. I am running dd right now.

    What the fuck? I wouldn't have a problem if this feature simply didn't exist... I have seen enough PCBs that had extra sections like this which were unpopulated and I can see that they can reduce costs and offer diversity easier this way. But actually populating the hardware, fully supporting it in firmware and just fitting a cover with additional plastics to make the extra slot unusable... you need balls the size of coconuts to pull this off and sleep well at night. I'd call this willful destruction.

    Oh well, I'll get out my trusty dremel and remove the extra plastic if the missus doesn't have any objections.

    Seriously, if I had been involved in the original purchase of that laptop, I'd have told the salesperson to shove that crippled laptop where the sun don't shine. If they're taking the piss, they could at least be honest about it and solder in the RAM too, maybe some hotglue for good measure...

    If I am bored and when dd is done, I might upload a photo to prove I am not crazy ^^.
     
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  2. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Manufacturers have been doing this for years, from dip switches to cuttable traces to flashable firmware product codes that will a hot soldering iron of a bit of knowledge (and possible a serial to USB adaptor) you can often turn one product in a range into another. Injection moulding obstructions into a case is a new one to me, which shows I guess how much bigger the market is for these crippled laptops that other types of hardware I've seen inside, which shows how it can be affordable for them to make moulds for each and every crippled variant.
     
  3. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    I had no clue Packard Bell was still a thing, I haven't seen any here in the US since the early 2000s.
     
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  4. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Wikipedia says:
    Even in Yurp, I've not seen a new packard bell machine for about ten years, and even I knew they were shoddy substandard parts. Apparently the brand if being brought back in the states though, with JCPenney selling some laptops last year.
     
  5. Linux-SWAT

    Linux-SWAT Hardcore Member

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    During the 486/586 era, Packard Bell had the reputation of being awful.
     
  6. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    True, although a lot of the named brand machine made then were pretty awful. I found a Fujitsu machine which wouldn't take a standard PCI card because the case wasn't quite large enough, and a compaq machine I used to use was full of levers and pull tabs that it took me about two years of using the machine before I worked out what they did, and awful airflow, although that wasn't that necessary for a moderately clocked pentium 3 and a single PATA hard disc. Most of those old desktop form machines were dreadful for airflow, compared to a nice airy mini-tower.
     
  7. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Advanced Member

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    I had a Packard Bell desktop that wasn't too bad, but the OS was broken when I received it. It had one of those issues where the same window would popup multiple times until I got a buffer overflow error or something like that.
     
  8. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    What OS?
     
  9. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Advanced Member

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    Windows 95 if I recall correctly.
     
  10. xnopasaranx

    xnopasaranx Superbad!

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    @levi yeah I knew about a number of shenanigans manufacturers were pulling before, but as I said, never seen anything as obnoxious and obvious as this.

    @Linux-SWAT I never knowingly owned any of their hardware before, they must've really earned that reputation
     
  11. Pickle

    Pickle Mega GP Mania

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    xnopasaranx you need to upgrade to a compaq.
     
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  12. xnopasaranx

    xnopasaranx Superbad!

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    the laptop isn't mine luckily... I had my share of crappy hardware. I once owned a laptop by an obscure Austrian company called "Gericom" but that was in the early 2000s and now I myself use a thinkpad and an acer aspire. The Gericom laptop had the most horrible keyboard I've ever used on a laptop. I was used to a fujitsu laptop that was pretty nice for the time. The gericom was a gift from a friend of mine who upgraded and I quickly realized why. The keyboard did feel horrible and wobbly. After some time it became apparent that the whole frame of the keyboard was sort of held down by glue and started shifting, which made one corner lift up and deform the whole keyboard.

    My fiancees packard bell is pretty close to it's end of life anyway. It was released in 2011 FFS. The ssd upgrade is the last attempt to keep that thing going a bit longer (and I added another 4GB of RAM while I was at it), before I'll get her something new and decent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  13. Pickle

    Pickle Mega GP Mania

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    my family had C64/128 -> Packard Bell 486 SX -> Compaq Pentium (75 mhz I think?)
    Later i had a pentium 100 hand me down, and finally bought my own AMD Athon 1.2 ghz.

    Spent $200 for 4 mb of ram upgrade for that 486 so i could play Dark Forces :)
     
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  14. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    *Typical joke about how shitty windows is/was*
    Did you get it new? If so, that sucks that they screwed up the OS (or however it got in that state). The first IBM compatible we had at home when I was growing up, which I really wasn't allowed to use, was a few years earlier. We didn't really have many issues with it (probably because they kept me away from it), and it was one of those with two names, although I can't remember if it was a Packard Bell right now. I gotta go check the list of brands you don't see here anymore to refresh my memory.
     
  15. Silent-Hunter

    Silent-Hunter Advanced Member

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    Nooo my uncle gave it to us. I think we ended up putting Windows 3.1 on it.
     
  16. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Ah, so it may have been of a similar vintage as ours.
     
  17. PCXT

    PCXT Very Active Member

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    The only thing Packard-Bell did nicely was their TrackPoint integrated with keyboard. Required some practice not to type "J" all time, but when used extensively it was possible to get used to it.

    The worst thing I have seen was in some Samsung notebook:
    1. Top case holds hard drive by pushing its cover.
    2. On the other side of hard drive there's a mainboard.
    3. On the other side of the mainboard is a graphics chip.
    This "sandwich" made HDD run at >70 degrees C all time.
     
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  18. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    Those rubber nipples* were originally a Toshiba innovation as I recall, in the early days of mobile 386 laptops I think. I just about got the hang of them by the time they were phased out and turned into those touch pads.

    *technical term
     
  19. PCXT

    PCXT Very Active Member

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    I'm not talking about rubber one. They used a J key as TrackPoint, the key had a small depression in which finger was placed. Then, while operating, other keys could be used to click different buttons.
     
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