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Question about 56k Modem and Newer Laptops!


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#1
jchengery

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Hello everyone,

I had a question about newer laptops that have 56k modem capability, but don't have a RJ-11 (56k modem) port. For instance, the Toshiba line of A305-S6858 (sold at Best Buy and can be seen here: http://www.bestbuy.c...=1212192350309), A305-S6857 (sold at Circuit City and can be seen here: http://www.circuitci...rchSection=All), and other similar models seem to list the capability of having 56k modem speed, but don't have the modem included.

I was wondering if something like the "US Robotics 56k modem device and software" (can be seen here: http://cgi.ebay.com/...QQcmdZViewItem) would enable me to connect to the Internet via a modem with the laptop models I mentioned above?

I'm looking into getting Hi-Speed Internet in the near future (it's been put on hold due to some recent family issues), but I'd still like to have the option of connecting via an RJ-11 (phone line) modem in the event Hi-Speed Internet is down or not working optimally even after I get Hi-Speed Internet. For now, though, I'd primarily use the RJ-11 (phone line) Modem to connect to the Internet.

Therefore, would using a device such as US Robotics allow me to do that with those laptops I mentioned above or would I be better off purchasing a laptop that comes with an RJ-11 port, such as the Toshiba Satellite P305-S8842, seen here: http://www.circuitci...oductDetail.do).

I'd appreciate any and all assistance and advice - thank you.

My current laptop is currently making a whining, whistling, or whirring noise when I boot up, and it continues even after the boot-up process is complete - I don't know if that is the fan or what it is - if anyone has any advice on how to clean the inside of a laptop and/or to rectify this situation, I'd greatly appreciate any advice and information on that as well - thank you.

Please take care and have a great day!

Sincerely,

Joe Chengery III
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#2
Samm

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Hi there

None of the links you gave for modems seem to work so i can't check them out. If you need a dial-up modem for a laptop, then try & search on either pcmcia modem or usb modem. Obviously you would need to make sure it was a 56k (dial up) modem, not a broadband modem. They're not very expensive so I'd recommend you just buy the laptop you want & get a modem separately, rather than buying one just because it has a modem built in.

As for the noise you current laptop is making, the usual suspects are fans or possibly hard drive. If the noise coincides with the hard drive activity light coming on, then it's probably the drive. Fans are the most common source of this type of noise however. The only thing that's a bit odd is that it's making this noise on boot up as normally the fans only come on once the system or cpu reaches a certain temperature. Have a look at the grills on the underside and/or side of the laptop & check to see if you can feel any air blowing from them when you hear this noise.

As far as cleaning them is concerned, then the best method is to use compressed (canned) air. It's always worth cleaning the fluff out but it won't necessarily solve the noise issue, as fans often make this noise when the bearings are worn.

If you decide it is one of the fans that the cause of the noise, then you might want to keep an eye on the temperatures just in case. Use something like hmonitor for this, unless you already have a utility for temperature monitoring:
hmonitor
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#3
jchengery

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Hello Samm,

I appreciate the reply and the info. - thank you.

Sorry about the eBay link not working - should have double-checked that.

I was thinking about the US Robotics modem like the one shown here (and in that eBay link that no longer works):
http://www.ciao.com/...modem__15529073 (I know this link works).

Would that be able to utilize a laptop that can connect at 56K speed, but doesn't have an RJ-11 port? How easy is it to set this up and have it work properly?

Would another option be better than the US Robotics modem I showed above?

Regarding the noise my laptop is making, is it possible something flew in there and is stuck? It's hard to hear the noise now over the fans I use to keep the laptop cool, but the laptop seems to be working fine. I had never heard the laptop make a sound like that before when I turned it on, but I can't say for sure whether that was the first time it occurred or not. I know I was in a hurry the other day and quickly moved my laptop to another place on my desk, but I don't think I dislodged anything - otherwise, the laptop likely wouldn't work, correct? I hope that isn't the cause of the noise.

I have compressed air, but have never used it (partly because I was afraid I wouldn't use it correctly) - you have to point the nozzle (or that item that looks like a thin drinking straw) pointing out so that it will shoot any dust and particles out and not in farther, correct? I'd appreciate any tips you can give on using it correctly - thank you.

I appreciate the temperature monitoring utility as well - I was looking for a good one to use.

Again, I appreciate the reply and the advice you've given - thank you.

Please take care and have a great day!

Sincerely,

Joe Chengery III
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#4
Samm

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Hi

Re. the modem... That US Robotics one looks ok. There's no reason it wouldn't work just fine with your laptop. Remember, it's not the laptop that connects at 56kbps, it's the modem so I'm not sure what you mean when you say those laptops seem to have the capability to connect at 56k. If they have no modem (which they don't), then they don't have this capability. You give them that capability when you add a separate modem to them, like the USR one you listed.
As for other modems, USR have been manufacturing modems for over 20 years so they're a pretty good brand to go with.

Re. the noise... I'm not sure what sort of noise this is. From what you've said in your last post, you think there may be something loose in there rather than the noise being caused by one of the fans itself. Is that correct?

I doubt anything would have gotten inside the laptop as the holes in the vents are usually very small & the fans tend to blow out rather than suck in. Have you tried giving the laptop a gentle shake while it's powered off? If there is something loose in there, you should be able to hear it rattle about.

Check the temperatures with hmonitor & let me know what they are. Make sure you check them at a few different points e.g. (1) when the laptop is first booted up from cold (2) after it's been on & used for a short while (3) whilst under heavy load (eg running a game or playing a video etc).

As for the compressed air, you're right when you say the fluff etc should be blown out rather than further in. How easy it is to do this will depend on the design of your laptop. However, if there is a load of fluff then breaking it up using compressed air is likely to be better than leaving it clogging up the vents etc, even if this means blowing some of it further inside the laptop.
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#5
jchengery

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Hello Samm,

Sorry for the delayed response.

Regarding the US Robotics modem and the laptop, I think it's due to conflicting specifications from different retailers regarding the actual specs of the laptop. I thought at least one said that it was "capable" of having 56k connect speed (but I don't remember which retailer it was and couldn't find it again). Additionally, if you look at Office Depot's listing of the A305-S6857 - http://www.officedep...lite A305-S6857 - it lists it as having a 56 V.92 modem. However, if you look at Circuit City's listing of the same laptop - http://www.circuitci...archSection=All - it says that a dial-up modem is "not included."

Checking the specs of the A305-S6857 from Toshiba.com - http://explore.toshi...pecs/A305-S6857 - it seems that it does NOT have its own modem, since the P305-S8842 - http://explore.toshi...pecs/P305-S8842 - is listed as having its own modem. Therefore, it seems the Office Depot listing is wrong and the Circuit City listing is correct.

As a result, it's likely there is no internal modem and it needs an external modem in order for it to connect at 56k (or close to that - 53k, I think) speed, like the US Robotics modem.

Regarding the noise, I'm not sure, as I have not heard that specific noise since the one time I heard it, like the passage was being constricted, though it wasn't. As far as I can tell, nothing blew in there because nothing is rattling when I carry the laptop to a different part of my desk.

Regarding checking the laptop's temperatures, I forgot that I downloaded MobileMeter some time ago, but forgot to install it, so I used it - I hope that is acceptable. Here are some various readings:

31.0 degrees Celsius (approx. 88 degrees Fahrenheit) - on for a while and under minimal usage!

31.0-32.0 degrees Celsius (approx. 88-90 degrees Fahrenheit) - on & running a video (mostly 31 degrees C) and opening a webpage (up to 32 degrees C)

30.0 degrees C (approx. 86 degrees F) when I first turned it back on after standby.

After a few moments, down to 24.0 C (approx. 76 degrees F) - has stayed there with just 1 Notepad item open!

After complete boot-up - 22.0 C to 23.0 C (approx. 72-74 degrees F)

After opening a page (about 1-2 minutes later) - 24.0 C (approx. 76 degrees F)

Working in a window at GeeksToGo.com & 2 notepads open for 5-10 minutes - 26.0 C (approx. 80 degrees Fahrenheit)

Is currently holding at 26.0 C (approx. 80 degrees Fahrenheit)

One reason why I think the fan noise is continuous, especially when I have the battery plugged in is because of my current power settings, which I forgot about - sorry about that. On "Full Power" (i.e. battery plugged in), I have feature "Maximum Performance Mode" activated, instead of the "Silent Mode." As a result, I think that's why the fan comes on that consistently - the laptop is providing maximum performance when the battery is plugged in; if the "Silent Mode" was enabled, it's likely the fan wouldn't come on (as much, if at all), but my laptop's performance would be less because the fan wouldn't come on.

I appreciate the info. on the compressed air; I'll look into using it correctly so that my laptop is cleaner and runs more efficiently.

Again, I appreciate your reply - thank you.

Please take care and have a great day!

Sincerely,

Joe Chengery III
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#6
Samm

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I think you're probably right about the power settings causing the fan to be on. Your cpu temperatures are absolutely fine so no worries there.
If the weird noise was just a one off, then I wouldn't worry about that either.

All in all, looking good
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#7
jchengery

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Hello Samm,

Thank you for all your help - greatly appreciated! I wanted to be sure that nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

My laptop seems to be normal; just that one-time noise, and hopefully, that's all it is. :-)

Again, I appreciate your help and advice - thank you.

Please take care, keep up the great work, and have a good weekend!

Sincerely,

Joe Chengery III
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#8
Samm

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You're very welcome :)
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