URGENT! Opinion please on Gateway laptop computer.

Hi,

My brother wants to buy a Gateway laptop, 3 months old, from a friend for $500, original purchase price around $1200( I think).   I'm only familiar with desktops.

The specs are:

3.02 Gig processor, 80 Gig Hard Drive, upgraded from 512K to 1000K RAM, network card.   He wants to take it along when he travels in his RV, but is wondering if it is a good deal for the money, what he has to do to access the internet from his motor home, and what other important questions/features he should be asking about.

I assume it comes standard with WinXP Home Edition....or whatever standard version of XP laptops come with. THanks in advance.
sheana11Asked:
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sheana11Author Commented:
OH, has 15" screen.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
if it is 3 months old and the price was $1200.. that is a good deal for $500.

there is still warranty remaining.

having WIFI connectivity on the notebook would be ideal.. but you didn't specify what model of gateway so we are not able to determine that.
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
i would ask why someone would sell a $1200 laptop for only $500 when it is only 3 months old.
maybe your brother and the seller can agree to take the laptop to a computer store and have diags run to verify all is ok.  best buy and circuit city offer these services for around $60 - $80.

if everything is ok, make sure your brother gets the Operating System cd, and cd's for any other software that is installed.  and if everything checks out, $500 is a very good deal.

if your brother wants to use internet in his RV, he needs to get an Air Card.  most cell phone providers will offer these.  you can get internet anywhere you have cell phone coverage.
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
oh... and make sure your brother gets the original store receipt.  otherwise he may have trouble if he wants to get service under the warranty
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
I can see QUICK $$$
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
and to access internet in his mobile home, he can use the Air Card, or set up a wireless network.

for a wireless network, he would need highspeed internet service, a wireless router and a wireless adapter on the laptop (either built in or external. ... but since this laptop is only 3months old, it most likely has an integrated wireless adapter)
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The price is excellent; and Gateway makes nice laptops (I've got one).

He's very unlikely to need a power converter -- virtually ever motorhome has A/C power available, either via generator or inverter (or both).

I agree that someone reasonably knowledgeable should look at the laptop; and you should be sure of the following:

(a)  that you can access the BIOS  (you do not want to buy a laptop with a BIOS password UNLESS you know the password);

(b)  that you get a restore or OS CD with it, so if ever necessary it can be reloaded;

(c)  that you get a receipt to prove ownership (you don't want to buy a stolen laptop)

As for accessing the internet from the RV, it depends on just what you mean by that.   There are basically the following options:

(1)  If you want excellent, in-motion access, the best service is Internet in Motion -- read about it at http://www.internetinmotion.net/    Costs a couple thousand to set up and about $79/month.

(2)  If you want excellent access when parked from virtually anywhere in the contiguous 48 states, you can get 2-way satellite access -- e.g. http://www.groundcontrol.com/products_001.htm    Costs about $5000 to set up  and about $99/month

(3)  If you want to just use your cellular carrier, you can get a cellular modem for about $100 and add data service to your cellular plan.   These typically cost $50 to $80/month.

(4)  You can buy a cellular interface for your laptop and just connect to your current cell phone.    This will connect at much slower rates than a cellular modem, but doesn't add anything to the cell bill.   If all your access is during "evening and weekend" hours this is the least expensive option -- but is also far and away the least desirable, since it's like reverting to "dial up" internet access :-)

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... for what it's worth, I've researched the RV access options in some depth (we're going to buy a fairly nice RV and I'll have that in it), and think the RV-in-motion option is the best way to go.

Another option (I meant to list this above, but simply forgot) is to simply use a Wi-Fi card and depend on finding hotspots -- many RV campgrounds now have WiFi;  most major truckstops have them; some Interstate rest areas are being equipped with WiFi; and of course there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, etc. that offer this.   A lot of RV'ers use WiFi in conjunction with option #4 above for their internet access needs.   Personally, I'm too much of an internet-junkie to do that -- I'll go with Internet-in-Motion :-)
PCBONEZCommented:
What's the model number of this Gateway?
I rebuild Gateways..
neopolitanCommented:
Sounds too good a deal. There is nothing called free lunch. Check to make sure that there are no serious problems with the laptop.
Saying that, I would prefer a centrino laptop to a standard processor.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@sheena11...my comments were not valid or of any use?
sheana11Author Commented:
irwinks, yes, your comments were appropriate and useful, but I had to decide who gave me the most information for the question.  Usually I split points when more than one answer is helpful, but that sometimes leaves the question open for days longer than the question warrants.  I need my questions answered, but at the same time I realize that the Experts deserve to get their points in as timely a fashion as possible.  I'm sorry if I've offended anyone, but sometimes the decision is somewhat subjective because so much helpful info is given by many experts!
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@sheana11...but did you know that you can split points at the same time you accept points? :-(
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Appreciate the credit -- and glad the info I provided was useful.  I do try to be thorough :-)

... and I've also answered many questions with similarly detailed posts and gotten no credit.   It happens.   ... I'm not offended when it does (nor do I complain) -- the questioner simply has to make a choice, and that doesn't always match what "we" (the responders) think it should.

irwinpks -- I didn't see any complaints when your clearly-wrong (and I'm sure you know it) answer was accepted here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Q_21819787.html  :-)  :-)  :-)   (and I didn't complain about the result)
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@garycase...I prefer anyone to jump on that soap box and shout out if something is not clear, right, wrong...whatever the case....but in that question, the image was there in plain view and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if you can put a square peg in a round hole. :-)  Visually you can see that... but your comment on the other "reverse" adapter did come in handy.. In fact i bookmarked it...and I'll always remember where I got that info from..you! :-)  So, the asker didn't respond and just accepted, and no one complained...therefore my comment must be the correct answer.

I don't mind being "standing corrected", as preferably I would like to be recognized as a reliable source of information.

and yes...I do complain...it impacts my quota of 10k / day  ;-)  Plus I still have to catch up to you.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
" ...therefore my comment must be the correct answer." ==> As I noted, I didn't complain, but I'm sure you know that's not the case.   (New PC with SATA connections & he wanted to connect an old IDE drive to it)

... the ONLY times I have ever complained about the points a questioner awarded were when I was given the points and someone else had either responded first or had a better answer => in those cases I want to be sure the questioner understood that he had made an error.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@garycase....it's another..

"We agree to disagree"

we need to have a running tally between us..or something ;-)  Winner gets a beer.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... I do complain...it impacts my quota of 10k / day ..." ==> a better "quota" would be to help folks with correct answers, no complaining, and a smile :-)    Personally, I don't try to be "quick", and I've slowed WAY down from my first few months of participation ==> I DO try to be thorough and accurate.   If you look at the questions I've answered, I give the same attention to detail for 50 point questions as 500 point questions -- my goal is to help; not accumulate points.

sheana11 -- forgive the diversion.   End of soap box :-)
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@garycase...you're reading too much into what I write..it's sarcastic in nature...notice the smiley :-) ...seriously, I have better things to do than accumulate points, like make $$, run my business, raise my family, feed the cats, cook dinner, volunteer for charity, go to church and drink beer.  So if you really believe that I'm here to collect points, and NOT help people, I will stop you in your tracks and correct you. :-)  Why waste my time accumulating points if it equals squat?  I'm not, I'm helping people. Complaining is a natural thing for me...a trait I've grown accustomed to from my ex-wife. ;-)

End of my soap box :-)
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