Gateway MA3 Notebook Problems
Just a heads up for anyone looking to purchase a used MA3 (since I don't think Gateway is producing them anymore). I bought my MA3 in 2006 and while it was well worth the value, the computer is not designed for the long haul (i.e. 3+ yrs).
As a law student, I was constantly opening and closing the notebook and for about 3 years, it held up well. The installed WiFi unit seemed extremely weak, but other than that it seemed to work consistently well...until the day after my final exam (thank God!) when one of the screen hinges completely disintegrated.
When I took it to a professional computer repair center, the tech told me that his research revealed that the hinges on this model are prone to failure. He wanted to charge me $300 to replace the entire outer casing, but I decided to try and work around the problem. Its a good thing too, because only a month after the hinge broke, the hard drive crashed and now I have pay a hefty fee to recover all of my files. (A word of advice: buy an external hard drive and back up your system regularly. Believe me, its a LOT cheaper compared to the alternative!)
Anyway, my complaints with the MA3 are:
1) the battery life goes downhill quickly
2) a very weak WiFi receiver that, at times, didn't seem to want to
connect to the internet
3) annoyingly long start-up time when powered on
4) computer generates a LOT of heat if you upgrade the RAM to its full
2GB; its pathetic fan can't keep up
5) major structural problems with the screen hinges
6) the Operating System frequently froze and wasn't able to handle
multiple tasks at the same time
7) Gateway's tech support is practically useless and if you're not
careful you'll end up losing information because the tech person
either doesn't know or care to inform you of the consequences of
performing specific actions
Notice that I did not mention the hard drive crash and failure. This is because I'm not sure if the hard drive failed due to an inherent software/mechanical flaw OR if it was caused by a program that I stupidly installed on my computer (I'm looking at you industrial strength file eraser!).
Anyway, hope this helps. I'm going to miss my Gateway, we wrote a lot of research papers, legal briefs, and essay exams together, but I guess its time to move on to a bigger and better laptops.
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