[Note 5 Sept 10: It still hangs on shutdown with device shutdown errors if I've been using the TV tuner. It doesn't seem to be anything to do with the tuner. After messing about more than I should have, I have become accustomed to pressing the power button for 7 seconds, sending the fault report to Microsoft and checking regularly for updates. I really, really like this machine. The only this I really wish for is a backlit keyboard.]
[Note 12 Sept 10: Problems with recognising USB devices resolved by disabling legacy USB support in BIOS. This also improved reliability of TV-tuner recognition and shut-down performance. The Qosmio is almost completely tamed! Note to self: Don't ever run automatic driver repair utilities!]
[Note: 14 Sept 10: Some of the problems covered here were specific to the Qosmio, out-of-the-box, others arose from Windows Update, with some issues applying to other Win 7 systems. The shutdown issue also affected a generic Core 2 Quad desktop and has also been improved by disabling legacy USB support. I sure hope Win 7 Service Pack 1 (beta annnounced yesterday) sorts out some of the nonsense!]
[Note: 24 Sept 10: The trap of fault-finding multiple problems - early on I "resolved" a bunch of issues with the TV Tuner, and decided it wasn't a contributor to the shutdown problem.After all else was attended to, it turns out that the tuner is the problem device referenced in the BSOD. Disabling the device in Device Manager allows a proper shutdown, but the practical workaround is to start the Shutdown, wait until the disk activity is down to occasional flickers, and hold down the power button - now that the problem device is identified it's pretty safe to assume nothing bad will happen. Hopefully new drivers will emerge sooner rather than later.]
[Note: 26 Sept 10: The last batch of findings came while I was away from Wireless N, using a Vodaphone Hotspot Wireless G device. As soon as I came back into range of my N-router, the TV ceased to start up reliably. Aha! If you can get media centre up and live TV on before the Wireless N connects, it will be all good - once N hooks up, the tuner won't be found. Easy solution - disable auto connect. Sadly, once N has hooked up, the shutdown problem also comes back - disconnect before shutdown and shutdown/restart should work fine. Goes to show, for all the greatness of Plug N Play, stick enough devices in one package and it can still be hell getting them all to play nicely together.]
[Note: 25 May 2011: After an automatic update in late October 2010 the machine has run flawlessly.]
Without doubt, the most trouble I ever have with computers is with highly proprietary machines, particularly laptops.
The Toshiba Qosmio F60 has a number of known vices which have all manifested to a greater or lesser degree on my machine.
First is the won’t shutdown/shutdown hang/BSOD after shutdown hang/won’t sleep/won’t wake up/won’t restart scenario. Although most supposedly due to a multiprocessor issue with Win 7, supposedly addressed by an on-request hotfix, in my case the prime perpetrator was the Norton 2010 package pre-installed on the system. Upon removal of all signs of Norton the machine restarts correctly. It also nearly always shuts down and sleeps properly.
Slow startup. Preloaded machines suck! Progressively disabling unwanted devices, startup apps and services until the machine both starts quickly and everything required works is tedious, but well worthwhile.
Then there is the television – hybrid analog/TVB-T courtesy of a Yuan tuner. Out of the box, mine was a paperweight. Well. Almost. Intermittent evidence that the tuner could hear the outside world. The “new since distribution image created” Yuan driver makes it work very well, much better than I expected, even.
Wireless N. Fantastic! The inbuilt adapter/antenna combo is incredibly reliable and sensitive. I’ve added a USB wireless-N adapter for two simultaneous connections – fast! Do not, however, decide to use the very fancy Toshiba Bluetooth mouse if you think you might want to use wireless networking as well. Plugging in the miniscule Bluetooth adapter instantly causes the most confusing of network problems… all appearances that you have an “Excellent” wireless connection, but a data transfer rate that drops from slow to unusable over a few seconds.
The final hurdle to wireless laptop computing bliss proved to be the boy’s Playstation 3 – I had no idea how much bandwidth some of those games can devour! First the Playstation’s wireless G bogged down my N router, then whatever it’s doing, it consumes over 1Gb of broadband internet per day during school holidays. A final solution to this issue is yet to be determined, but for now it’s negotiated Playstation use.
I never cease to be amazed by what can be achieved with tiny speakers these days, but I would rate the Harman/Kardon setup on the Qosmio amongst the best laptop sounds I’ve heard.
One more thing – Intel i7 M620 vs M720… 4x 2.67GHz threads vs 8x 1.6GHz threads. For most things I doubt that it makes much difference. For exporting from NP3 or MWS to MP3 and opening same in Audacity, the M620 is the winner – say what they may, nothing beats raw GHz for some tasks.
As at right now, I very much like my Qosmio. But then, I’ve had to be willing to put a bit of effort into resolving foibles – it’s the only machine that provides everything I want at a price I’m willing to pay.