It’s an oddball situation for me. I’m the owner of a battered Thinkpad — a machine that is fully functional (and serves as a three-way guinea pig for Arch, Ubuntu and Crux systems), with the exception of a damaged screen. That makes it only somewhat useful, since it’s enough to see what you’re doing, but not enough to see everything you want to be doing.
In a situation like this, I have to weigh the value of the machine as a unit, against the value of the machine as parts, and both of those against the price for repairs. It’s unfortunate, but part of the price is also the cost for shipping, etc., which don’t really figure in the actual value of the part, but have to be taken into consideration.
I’ve done this countless times before, with everything from a pile of leftover Dell laptop parts to a pair of identical Poweredge servers with Xeon Pentium 4 processors. Depending on the machine and the value and usefulness of it, I decide if it gets the repair, or gets disassembled. (The servers were consolidated into one and used as a high-end dual-processor hyperthreading desktop machine. )
But now my physical location makes things a little more complicated. I’m not aware of any parts sources locally that might carry a 14.1-inch screen to fit an 8-year-old laptop — unless I buy an entire machine (which will probably be functional already and therefore an inappropriate donor). Internet resources are a possibility, but a little more hassle than they’re worth (since decoding the kanji on a page could take a day in and of itself ).
So after careful consideration, and much introspection, and a few pro-and-con lists, I decided to call in a favor and ordered a screen from a source in America. It’ll be shipped to a friend and reshipped to me, making the entire escapade rather expensive — the screen itself is only about US$30 (a really good price), but shipping and reshipping bump it up to about US$80.
I thought about it and decided the machine is worth US$80, really. For as frequently as I call it a “battered” laptop, it’s in great shape. No scuffing, minor wear, a working battery, latches work, great keyboard … and so that screen is honestly the only defect. If it wasn’t for that, it’d be perfect.
I decided US$80 is a small price to pay to make it 100 percent useful. Of course, there’s a little work involved once it arrives, and I know enough about computers to never say “it’s working” until it’s actually working, but I have a good feeling about this one. It’s a keeper, I suspect.