No lover of tech ever forgets the first laptop they buy.
Mine was an ASUS K52JR – a gloss black unit that, as far as I remember, cost just over R10,000 when I bought it in 2010.
It sported impressive stats for its time:
- Intel Core i5 M430 2.27GHz
- 4GB RAM
- AMD Radeon HD 5470
- 15-inch 1,366 x 768 display
- 500GB hard drive
- USB, Ethernet, HDMI, and SD Card ports.
Standout features were the multi-touch trackpad and HDMI support. This was in addition to its “huge” 500GB hard drive, in a time when you stored everything locally.
When I withdrew every cent I had to buy the ASUS, I had no idea how well it would serve me in the years to come.
It began life as my work laptop. I had started my BCom Honours – which I subsequently dropped out of – and just secured a job as a trainee sales rep for a well-known office printer company.
Due to a lack of interest in printers, and lack of Internet connection at home, my ASUS spent the next nine months hooked to the work network downloading every torrented file I could find. All legal content, of course.
My laptop milked that Internet connection hard, and was simultaneously used to read PDFs, fill out Word documents, and conduct tasks that gave the impression I was working.
Needless to say, when a shoulder injury ended my promising club rugby career – and saw me in a sling for six weeks, unable to drive – my employers used the opportunity to dismiss me.
Apparently driving to clients and selling printers was a core part of my job.
I packed up my ASUS, its hard drive filled to capacity, and moved along.
My next job was with a marketing agency which did promotions for shopping malls. My laptop stepped up as my work device – read: torrent box and YouTube machine – and served me well.
Once again, around the nine month mark, I had bad news for my ASUS – we had been dismissed.
After multiple probation periods, I learned that making up customer feedback (thanks to a great keyboard on the ASUS, the false information flowed like wine) and not knowing how many poster frames were in the bathrooms at our clients’ shopping malls was frowned upon.
Despite being owned by someone you could only describe as unemployed, my ASUS continued to perform like it had just come out of the box.
After several years of ownership, the only component which had been changed was its battery – as the incumbent unit was no longer able to charge.
There were a few reinstallations of Windows and several trips to the local garage to blow compressed air into its vents, but it took them all in its stride.
Following my exit from the exciting world of shopping centre marketing, my laptop was the hardware I used to successfully apply for an internship at a Durban newspaper.
This was in between it playing a lot of Battlefield 2, Counter-Strike, various C&C titles, and Anno 1701 – and serving as a media player.
If you like happy endings, I have good news: my ASUS laptop is still with me today and serves as my primary media PC.
It sits underneath my TV, connected via an HDMI cable, and runs 24/7. It is permanently plugged in, I occasionally power it down with a long button press when it freezes, and it is generally subjected to conditions a laptop should be protected from.
But it just won’t die. It plays 1080p video with ease and is still used to run an application or two.
Since the battery replacement, its 500GB HDD was replaced with a 180GB SSD, and it has been upgraded to Windows 10 via the free Windows 7 upgrade.
Besides that, it is a seven-year-old piece of brilliant, robust engineering.
This is an opinion piece.