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January 23, 2004

Are they for real? - Part II The Dissapointment

In December I wrote about that I had ordered a top-of-the-line laptop from Lieberman Inc. The model is a 17" Hollywood. This was kind of a risk, because even though these guys have a very flashy presence on the web (go-l.com), there have hardly been any reports about their hardware. All the stuff they list is very exciting, but there was this nagging general question: are they for real?

After a lot of nagging and bugging by us in the past 3-4 weeks, about why they weren't delivering the laptop, it finally showed up this week. Their excuse was that Intel wasn't delivering the 3.2 GHz Extreme Edition CPU that I had ordered. But the machine was finally here and I was very excited about it. The machine indeed looks great. The power supply is a bit bulky, but, OK I know this was going to be a power hog anyway.

My first disappointment was with the documentation. A few laser printed sheets, nothing more. No nice booklets, no quick setup guide, no spec sheets, nothing. OK, I can handle that, less clutter is good.

Second disappointment is a little printed note that says I cannot use the Bluetooth and the 802.11 at the same time. Oops, that is beyond just disappointment, it is not acceptable. But maybe I can live with it if the rest is magnificent.

Booting the machine doesn't make me go through the usual XP activation and registration screens, which is surprising. But what the heck, this machine so fast it screams. The graphics handling on the 17" screen is magnificent. Everything they advertised it would be.

But something doesn't feel right, call it intuition or whatever, but I start looking for the processor info. It indeed indicates it is a 3.2 GHz with HT enabled. But nowhere is info about the L3 cache. After downloading and running cpu-z, aida32 and wcpuid, they all confirm that this is indeed a 3.2GHz CPU but without any L3 cache. I can't open the machine to look at the CPU itself, without voiding the warranty. I am bummed, did they accidentally put the wrong processor in, or where they sick and tired of us calling them that they decided to ship a regular P4 hoping that we wouldn't notice it? I like to believe the first, but given that we were waiting 6 weeks for these specific processors to arrive, I have to wonder.

I left the machine on overnight to charge, and to have another look at it today. I started with switching HyperThreading off in the bios, so I could run the CPU tests again, maybe the HT had some impact on the test results. The result is that the machine doesn't even boot with HT off, it gets through the BIOS and then stops. Not even attempting to load the OS.

With HT switched on again I wanted to take it near the window to see how how the screen holds up in sunlight. I take it off the ac adapter and poof the screen goes blank. It turns out the battery isn't charging. OK that was it. Machine goes back to manufacturer. And no, I don't need a replacement.

So on the question, are they for real, I can now answer: yes, they are. Their hardware looks great. But that just isn't good enough.

Update: Also read: Part III - The Response

Posted by Werner Vogels at January 23, 2004 10:33 AM
TrackBacks

re: Cool PC's
Excerpt:
Weblog: Adam's Mindspace
Tracked: February 10, 2004 11:09 PM
Comments

I bought a Hypersonic Laptop (that looks *very* similar to yours) last year. It sucked. Here's a link to my stories about it:

http://raibledesigns.com/search/rd?q=Hypersonic

Posted by: Matt Raible on January 23, 2004 02:56 PM

"I take it off the ac adapter and poof the screen goes blank. It turns out the battery isn't charging."

But you promised (in part 1) not to complain about the battery life. :)

Posted by: Richard on January 23, 2004 04:43 PM