Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Armada 1700 laptop

This was my first laptop. I must have gotten it sometime in the early 2000's. It was a hand-me-down from family, I think - I haven't thought about where I got it in years. I do know I actually purchased another one of the same model sometime around 2004-2005. I had left the laptop sitting outside under the deck. (I was using it to connect to my neighbor's wifi(he didn't mind) and piping it back to my room via an ethernet cord.) After several days of running nonstop in northwest fall weather, it finally crashed. When I rebooted, I soon found that the expansion memory was no longer recognized. I installed a new memory stick, but it wasn't recognized either - the memory controller had suffered moisture damage. Even Windows 2000 ran painfully slow on the 64mb of onboard memory that remained usable.

I paid about 50 dollars on ebay for another 1700, with a bad hard drive. I swapped over my hard drive and everything else salvageable from the crippled computer. It was actually a bit of an upgrade - I went from a 233 to a 300mhz Pentium II, and got a 14" inch screen in place of the 12" on the old one!

I included the pencil in the photos to try and show the size of this thing - it's easily three times as thick as a modern notebook pc. Compared to the armada, a macbook air is basically two-dimensional. What I can't really convey here is the heft, the sheer bulk of it - it would make a handy bludgeon in a pinch, and probably wouldn't be the worse for wear. (Thankfully, I've never had occasion to use it in that manner.)

I really wanted to show my Droid X2 next to the Armada for comparison's sake, but it's the only camera I have to use at the moment. The contrast is astonishing - the sub-one-pound-phone stomps this lump of a machine in almost every way. The phone can output 1080p video over HDMI - the laptop struggles to play the lowest-quality youtube videos. In the place of the Bluetooth and Wifi built into the X2, the 1700 has an infrared port and a 56k modem. Even the pc's ability to run Windows(or Linux) software is increasingly irrelevant in today's world - access to online services is what matters today.

It's really quite funny to think of all the times and places I dragged this back-breaking thing around just to have access to a fraction of the power I now keep in my pocket.


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