Man, I wish I knew enough about these things to be able to figure out what's wrong with it. I'd have no problem buying a new motherboard or whatever. It sometimes works for a little bit, then just stops. Black screen, no drive access. It's not the drive - at least I know that much now, having paid the nice people to pull my email files off. I have no clue how to diagnose it (esp. when it won't boot all the time) and know I should not go swimming in the 'opening up laptop to mess around with things' end of the pool without a lifejacket and a boat and a rescue diver. Or at the very least one of those cute Australian lifeguards ;) Most computery things I can bumble through - this is not one of them 'cause if I mess it up beyond repair then I'm totally screwed.
At least I have one that someone was kind enough to loan me for a few days.