As some of you might know, i recently bought a new computer, a Dell Dimension 8300 desktop. It’s working great, and i’m really happy with it. The week that it arrived, my wife’s old laptop died. I gave her my old desktop, after formatting the hard-drive and reinstalling Windows to make sure there were no viruses etc. I also only installed the word processing and other software she needs, leaving off things like Photoshop and the audio and video stuff that i use.
Well, last week, that computer refused to start. Suspecting a hardware problem, we took it to the local computer shop (where i bought it almost four years ago). They called back and said that the motherboard was FUBAR. Even worse, it had led to a problem with the power supply, which overloaded, killing the video card, the DVD drive, and the CD-RW drive. So now, we basically have a large white box containing nothing usable except a 20Gb hard drive.
My wife needs a computer. We’re both grad students, and spend most of our time in front of computer screens. We thought that it might be good to get a laptop. She could use it as her main computer when we’re both at home, and if one of us needs to take a trip to archives or libraries, that person could take the laptop and the person who stays home could use the desktop.
We can’t afford a really expensive laptop, and we don’t really need a super-powerful one, because most of the work it does will be word processing, web surfing, with maybe some music listening and stuff thrown in. I’ve been looking at the bottom-of-the-range Dell Inspiron 1000, which can currently be had for $789. For this, we would get:
Celeron 2.2 GHz processor
CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive
That’s plenty of processing power for what the computer is going to do. Now, after all that rambling, i’ll get to my questions.
Because the laptop will spend at least part of its life as a regular home computer for my wife, she wants to be able to use a normal keyboard, mouse, and a large monitor. We have a spare keyboard and mouse, and a 17" LCD flat screen monitor.
What’s the best way to hook these things up to the laptop? Is it possible to just plug them in and go? Or will we need a docking station or port replicator? And what are the differences between these things? Looking on the Dell website, i see that they have a list of Docks and Port Replicators, but none specifically designed for the Inspiron 1000. In the 1000’s specs i can’t find anything about docking capability.
If anyone has any advice on this, i’d be most grateful. Also, if you think the Dell is a bad choice (i’m happy with my Dell desktop), or if you know of a better deal out there, i’d be happy to hear opinions on that as well.