I really should have known better. Last summer I got caught up in the back to school sales and purchased a Toshiba Satellite A215-S5848 notebook. I was sick and tired of dealing with the WinBook I had purchased from Micro Center. Someone who used to work there had told me they thought the WinBook notebooks were private lable Toshiba, but they weren’t certain. After dealing with this p*ss complected puddle of puke, I know for certain that they are.
You should know right off the bat when the ad for the notebook claims it has a fax modem and you find out it has just a modem. How much did they really save by leaving fax capability out of the firmware? Where they hell did they find someone making a modem only chip in this day and age?
Then you get into the real issues. Nearly every piece of “bootable” software you purchase on CD cannot boot on this machine. They all seem to use a Linux or other kernel which expects industry standard USB, A20, and APCIC. Toshiba couldn’t be bothered with that. Non-industry-standard was much cheaper, so that is what you got. Most other notebook vendors don’t bother with these non-industry-standard components because they cause oceans of compatibility issues.
Oh, they didn’t stop there. While the notebook included a card slot, it didn’t include a PCMCIA card slot so you could use your old faxmodem cards to get around the shafting you took on the fax-only hardware in the notebook…noooo…new style card slot only. You get to spend another $100+ dollars if you want to actually fax from your notebook. If you don’t want to do that, you scrounge around in your cast-offs bin to find an old external faxmodem, then pray to the chip gods you can get a USB-Serial adapter cable.
Injuries don’t stop here, however. They found a cheaper than cheap wireless chipset which can sometimes function with the pre-installed Windows Worsta Home Premium Edition. You had to wait a full year for someone else to get ticked off enough to write a Linux driver for it. The vendor never bothered. Had they used the industry standard chipsets it would have worked just fine. The chipset they included didn’t give you anymore than the low end industry standard sets, it was simply cheaper. Not like it had N capability.
Ah, but they saved the best for last. They used an ATI chipset for graphics, sound, and other functions. Oh the humanities! Oh the insanities! I realize my favorite CPU vendor now owns ATI, but they really need to stop production on the horrible chipsets which were designed prior to take over. These chipsets require the drivers to be linked into the kernel. Naturally the driver writers at ATI have very little kernel skill. Any time you get an automatic update from your OS vendor, it doesn’t include the ATI stuff. Your video display is trashed until you manually go get the updated kernel from the ATI sites.
Never, ever, again.
I might even stop buying stuff at Micro Center after receiving two shafts like this. They seem to be in bed pretty thick with Toshiba, so I doubt they will start carrying better notebooks.
Oh how I wish Pro-Star would go back to putting AMD CPUs in their notebooks. Their notebooks were solid!