Les 13:09 10 Apr 2004

This evening, roughly 6pm my neighbour will be viewing a second hand Compaq EVO 1.5g Pentium (it says) 512 mb ram 20g Hard disk. Any suggestions of what he should look for,how good is it, how old could it be. Anything at all about it, good and bad.

Your comments appreciated for the reliability he will require from this laptop, should he agree to but it, is of great importance, ie:- the success or failure of a very large tennis tournament which he will be in charge of.


  Djohn 14:50 10 Apr 2004

Hi Les. Difficult to give exact advice but this will start you off and others will advise further.

First off what is the asking price for the laptop, new basic ones can be bought for a very reasonable price now. What is the condition of the outer case like, does it show signs of a hard life?

The screen, is it in good condition? Check the brightness/contrast has not been turned up to Max just to impress.

Apart from the screen itself, the next most expensive part of a laptop can be the battery. Is this in good condition? try to have the laptop running off the battery only for about 1 hour while your chatting. Take a DVD movie with you and leave it running.

Make sure you have the disk for any programs/applications on the laptop. if not then reduce the asking price. Open/close several applications at the same time to see if it can handle it. Take into account the age/condition and price. good luck. j.

  Stuartli 15:01 10 Apr 2004

No one can judge the reliability of such a purchase - it would depend on how it was used and handled by the previous owner.

However, it can't be all that old as it's listed as an HP Compaq laptop and the HP/Compaq merger was only around the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002; moreover a Pentium 1.5GHz CPU will be from around that time.

Some common sense is required therefore as to the condition of the laptop, if everything works correctly, the screen image is clear and bright etc.

Even so I'm quite sure that "the success or failure of a very large tennis tournament" does not rest entirely on the purchase or otherwise of just one laptop - one would think the players had a role in it as well...:-))

  Stuartli 15:02 10 Apr 2004

You posted as I typed..:-)

  Les 16:45 10 Apr 2004

Thanks for your good advice - I accompanied him earlier to view a Toshiba Satellite, asking price £400, it looked in almost new condition, the owner passed on to my neighbour the same advice as you have given. He also mentioned cracked hinges. He ran a DVD for about 4 minutes. But the screen was dull - too dull for my tastes but he seemed satisfied that it was OK. I got my facts wrong - it was the Toshiba which had the 1.5g celeron chip. The Compaq has, I believe, a 2.4g Pentium 4 (the owner advertises) and we are going to see that tonight. The asking price for what he says, a laptop costing £1600 new, is again, £400.

As you say, Stuartli - maybe I exagerated a little but nevertheless, as all the tournament paperwork, templates, results sheets, etc etc are run from the computer the chaos doesm't bear thinking about! When I started to write the software some 12 months ago using excel and VBA I had no idea just how much work goes into orgaising such an event - it's horrendous! Hence the software which eases it more than a little!!

At the end of the day, he will make his own mind up on what he buys. As a tennis umpire you would expect him to be decisive and believe me he is that. I think that he wants me there just to check on what the vendor is saying. I was impressed by the first (but not the laptop screen) he obviously knew what he was on about and appeared very honest - the computer looked very new which seemed to confirm his claims that he'd used it only twice in 12 months - that takes a little believing for why would he buy it to shelve it?

Anyway, thanks again.


  Stuartli 19:28 10 Apr 2004

If you can get the Compaq for that price grab it, give him a pre-written cheque and get out of the door as fast as you can...:-)

Probably not a year old.

  Les 22:41 10 Apr 2004

Alas Stuart - it was a 1.8g not 2.4g - but he has bought it. What a client! He goes out to buy a laptop and doesn't take any money with him - I had to lend him £20 to put on as a deposit - I got it back immediately when we got home though - that was a refreshing change!

He appears to have a bargain - far better than the Toshiba on the face of it. 1.8g against 1.5g, 512mb of memory (256 mb), No cd Writer (CDWriter),
XP (XP), Office XP (No software), brighter screen (dark) - yup, much better.

He should be satisfied.



  Stuartli 08:49 11 Apr 2004

Even 1.8MHz is more than fast enough for the purposes to which it is intended to be used..:-)

Still a good price - all he needs to do now is to pray it doesn't rain on his parade (tournament)..:-)

  Stuartli 08:53 11 Apr 2004

..."for which" it is"...

  Stuartli 08:53 11 Apr 2004

..."for which" it is"...

  Les 18:06 16 Apr 2004

Well, he did get the laptop and is very pleased with it, as indeed he should be, the software includes Microsoft Office 2002, Xp Professional and some games, PowerDVD etc etc

Unfortunately, his desktop has caught a 'cold' - the i-worm/netsky, I've downloaded the VCleaner cleraner from the AVG site and will see effective that is tomorrow.

It's possible that he will now see the light and allow me to put the free edition of AVG on his desktop - you will gather that he is rather half soaked.


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