causes of mechanical stress

By: Richard Cownie (tich.delete@this.pobox.com), September 18, 2009 4:27 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
slacker (s@lack.er) on 9/18/09 wrote:
---------------------------

>A flexible chassis means the printed wire board and all those soldered surface-mount
>devices are undergoing constant tension and compression whenever you move the thing.
>You can mitigate the problem by mechanically buffering the board from the chassis.
>But those $600 laptops? The motherboard is usually directly screwed-in to the chassis
>with no regard for how much the flimsy case is going to flex. This is a lesser problem
>for netbooks due to their miniature dimensions and weight.

Color me skeptical. So you screw your motherboard to a
rigid piece of metal. Then you turn it on, and it gets
hot, and it bends. Worse than that, it doesn't get
uniformly hot, but it has hotspots around the cpu and
chipset (which are probably also where most of the
small weak traces go).

But then the anecdotal evidence makes me skeptical to
start with, because my wife's MacBook Pro seems to be in
for repairs every 4 months or so - a flaky graphics chip,
a busted screen, a dead disk, a totally bricked
motherboard. She beats on it really hard, using it many
hours a day doing 3D graphics and video editing. But
it's supposed to do all that stuff without breaking down,
and it just doesn't.

>So I'd much rather have a $1000+ notebook from IBM/Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, or Apple
>vs. some bottom-basement piece of junk which I have to baby whenever it gets picked-up
>or moved. The fact that Apple laptops don't creak like an old, wooden house on a windy day is an added pleasantry.

Of course the $1500 laptops are better. They just don't
seem *that* much better. And when I was shopping in Jan,
the $700 HP Pavilion and the $400 Acer seemed pretty
solidly built, while the $500 Toshiba seemed extremely
flimsy. My impression is that you can find cheap
machines that are pretty solid, as well as ones that
are flimsy.
>
>
>>Apple doesn't actually have all that great a track record
>>on actual quality components.
>
>For laptops, they seem to fare well enough:
>
>http://www.techspot.com/news/23245-lenovo-and-apple-offer-best-laptop-quality-says-rescuecom.html

It's not at all clear from that report how big the quality
gap is. What percentage of machines need repair ? If
the answer is 20% for HP, and 5% for Apple, that would be
impressive. But if it's 15% for HP, and 12% for Apple,
then you'd hardly notice the difference.
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