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View Full Version : Looking for a low priced yet cost effecient laptop...



Sephoroth
August 23rd, 2008, 01:43 AM
I've been looking for a laptop in the $400-$600 range that has around a 1 year warranty; something fairly disposable which will work for the time being. Size/weight is currently not a large issue and I'd prefer something with decent performance (I am well aware though that with the price tag I can't expect too much XD; the computer will mainly be used for general schoolwork). Linux will not be required to run on it but I personally prefer if I could XD. On the other hand, there is a good chance I will need to be able to run Windows (I do not care if it comes with a copy pre-installed though as I have an extra license).

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I can look or which manufactures I should pay more attention to for good deals? To clarify, I am not looking for a computer that will be with me four years from now but rather for something that performs decently for the time being and is relatively cost efficient.

LaRoza
August 23rd, 2008, 01:57 AM
You can get a cheaper thinkpad. They run great and now that the new models are out, you can get the "old" ones, like an R61 for a lower price. Good performance, long lasting, and it won't break your wallet plus, they support Linux.

timsdeepsky
August 23rd, 2008, 02:12 AM
I personally tried this one (dell vostro 1000) and bought it for my sister....For $399,,it was the best laptop i could find in this price range for her....AND i was able to run the Ubuntu 8.04 live cd in it(ran good),,AND it blew away my wifes Toshiba which was $600....
This came with XP on it when i bought it....I personally do not deal with Windows anymore,,but easily Ubuntu could install i would think....
For the money i could not find a better deal....

Hope this will help you....


http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/20/dells-15-4-inch-vostro-1000-laptop-hits-399/

mssever
August 23rd, 2008, 02:51 AM
You can get a cheaper thinkpad. They run great and now that the new models are out, you can get the "old" ones, like an R61 for a lower price. Good performance, long lasting, and it won't break your wallet plus, they support Linux.
I recently bought an R61 and I can't recommend it highly enough. For what I paid, it's a great machine.

zmjjmz
August 23rd, 2008, 02:58 AM
gBook has Linux preinstalled.
By the by, you could get a cheap T4x Thinkpad from eBay or something, they're great.

Sephoroth
August 23rd, 2008, 07:21 AM
Thanks for the Vostro 1000 suggestion as I had not seen it when I first visited Dell's site (I need to scroll down more often :)). I'll be sure to keep an eye out on Ebay for Thinkpads specifically until I order; as for the R61 I had a hard time finding any that were near my budget ($1000+) :|. One thing to note is I do not really need a computer that will last me a long amount of time but rather something that performs well (for the price) for the time being (1 - 2 years) though having something I could use longer is certainly not a bad thing as long as it doesn't affect the price :D.

BGFG
August 23rd, 2008, 07:26 AM
Have you been to www.Tigerdirect.com ?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=4010247&sku=S445-T1628&cm_re=Homepage-_-Spot%2001-_-Laptops_A180-15005

mssever
August 23rd, 2008, 07:34 AM
as for the R61 I had a hard time finding any that were near my budget ($1000+) :|.
I got my ThinkPad R61i on newegg.com for US$650 back in June.

Sephoroth
August 23rd, 2008, 07:34 AM
Actually no, I had not checked there. I will certainly consider that deal but the main downsides to it I see is the presence of only 3 months of warranty (I had been hoping for 8-9+) and the fact that it is a Gateway as I had rather poor experiences with them on my old desktop purchased in 2000 (before they had been aquired by Acer). This machine still looks rather enticing though :).

BGFG
August 23rd, 2008, 07:37 AM
The ati graphics gave me pause.
I think you should find some decent deals there though...more options to pick from :) But it's still a nice machine.....

Sephoroth
August 23rd, 2008, 07:47 AM
Heh, same here regarding the ATI graphics card. Unfortunately most computers with an AMD processor tend to be bundled with an ATI GPU.


I got my ThinkPad R61i on newegg.com for US$650 back in June.

You're right, I had not noticed that. The main downside I see in that is it only has 1 GB of RAM (and it is already pushing my budget in combination with shipping)....On the other hand it sounds like everyone here agrees that it is rather reliable and Linux-friendly. The battery is another possible concern. Mind if I ask how long the 4 cell battery lasts?

BGFG
August 23rd, 2008, 08:02 AM
Not too shabby. but again with the 3 months.....

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3989974&csid=ITD&body=MAIN#detailspecs

doorknob60
August 23rd, 2008, 09:03 AM
Heh, same here regarding the ATI graphics card. Unfortunately most computers with an AMD processor tend to be bundled with an ATI GPU.

I wouldn't say so, I've seen plenty of computers that come with AMD and Nvidia, although it's becoming less common nowadays, I've still seen it quite a bit in the last year or so. Anyways, ATI is rapidly improving, and besides WIne, I'd say it works pretty well. Possibly comsider this, even though it's not the best deal, it comes with Ubuntu, so I have to at least suggest it :-P http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dncwpl1&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=segtopic~linux_3x

mssever
August 23rd, 2008, 01:47 PM
You're right, I had not noticed that. The main downside I see in that is it only has 1 GB of RAMWhat's nice is that the 1GB is a single stick. I bought a 2GB stick of RAM and now have 3 GB. So it might not cost you as much as you think. Plus, Linux runs fine on 1 GB (I used to run on 512 MB).


On the other hand it sounds like everyone here agrees that it is rather reliable and Linux-friendly.Intel graphics and wireless (works out of the box). The fingerprint reader required me to install an additional package from the repos. I had to write a script to enable the browser back/forward buttons. Trying to hot-swap the ultra bay in Linux results in a hard lockup. If you want a scrollwheel functionality in Linux, be sure to buy one with a touchpad (you don't need the touchpad under Windows). I've written a script to make the toughpad into a single scrolling area, and I use the trackpoint as a mouse. I can share any of my scripts if you want. Otherwise, everything works out of the box.

The battery is another possible concern. Mind if I ask how long the 4 cell battery lasts?I think mine lasts for around 2.5 hours.

init1
August 23rd, 2008, 02:22 PM
they support Linux.
Not anymore. The SLED Thinkpads have been removed from the site.

mellowd
August 23rd, 2008, 02:23 PM
What about a netbook? eeepc, aspire one etc...

der_joachim
August 23rd, 2008, 05:29 PM
I second the EEE suggestion. Just be sure to ditch that horrible piece of sh$%#*$&^ that came preinstalled and install ubuntu-eee. It's snappy and it has oodles of coolness. :)

Oh, and with a price tag of €300-ish (for the EEE900) it is right in your financial range.

LaRoza
August 23rd, 2008, 06:35 PM
Intel graphics and wireless (works out of the box). The fingerprint reader required me to install an additional package from the repos. I had to write a script to enable the browser back/forward buttons. Trying to hot-swap the ultra bay in Linux results in a hard lockup. If you want a scrollwheel functionality in Linux, be sure to buy one with a touchpad (you don't need the touchpad under Windows). I've written a script to make the toughpad into a single scrolling area, and I use the trackpoint as a mouse. I can share any of my scripts if you want. Otherwise, everything works out of the box.
I think mine lasts for around 2.5 hours.

Don't use Fingerprint readers, they are not secure at all.

I haven't had any problems with the touchpad (I can scroll and do everything out out of the box).


Not anymore. The SLED Thinkpads have been removed from the site.
I said "old thinkpad" not the new ones ;)

And by "support" I meant the hardware works.

mssever
August 23rd, 2008, 07:41 PM
Don't use Fingerprint readers, they are not secure at all.They're OK as long as an attacker isn't able to your machine's case or fake your fingerprint. Of course, those are two huge ifs; I've considered disabling my fingerprint reader, but I haven't done it yet.


I haven't had any problems with the touchpad (I can scroll and do everything out out of the box).Perhaps I should explain better. The trackpoint is really handy because it enables you to use the mouse without taking your fingers off the keyboard. It's what I use primarily, and it has three buttons, no wheel. Under Windows, pressing the middle button and moving the trackpoint functions as a scroll wheel. But the Linux driver doesn't support that; it's merely a middle button.

In Linux, if you want to scroll, you have to use the touchpad--which generally means moving your hand off the keyboard to reach the edge of the touchpad (the touchpad is really small, so it's a smallish target to hit, and there's no raised surface to delineate the regular part from the scrolling region). I wrote a script to disable tapping and turn the entire touchpad into a vertical scroll area, so that I can just reach my thumb down to whatever part of the touchpad is in reach and scroll that way. The script is a toggle so I can easily restore normal behavior in case I let someone else use my computer.

And by "support" I meant the hardware works.
On mine, it isn't 100%, but all the important stuff works out of the box. (I don't expecially need 802.11 and Bluetooth indicator lights.)

LaRoza
August 23rd, 2008, 07:46 PM
Perhaps I should explain better. The trackpoint is really handy because it enables you to use the mouse without taking your fingers off the keyboard. It's what I use primarily, and it has three buttons, no wheel. Under Windows, pressing the middle button and moving the trackpoint functions as a scroll wheel. But the Linux driver doesn't support that; it's merely a middle button.

In Linux, if you want to scroll, you have to use the touchpad--which generally means moving your hand off the keyboard to reach the edge of the touchpad (the touchpad is really small, so it's a smallish target to hit, and there's no raised surface to delineate the regular part from the scrolling region). I wrote a script to disable tapping and turn the entire touchpad into a vertical scroll area, so that I can just reach my thumb down to whatever part of the touchpad is in reach and scroll that way. The script is a toggle so I can easily restore normal behavior in case I let someone else use my computer.


Ah, I see. I didn't know that.

I don't like using a touchpad (my thumb often hits it and moves the cursor...)

AutumnPhoenix
August 23rd, 2008, 07:51 PM
I have a z60m in IBM thinkpad variety. It runs superfast with Xubuntu and I couldn't ask for a better machiene (even when it ran windows...ICK!)

The fingerprint reader always was a hassle to me because I've let my roommate borrow my computer or my dad work on it.

The trackball has always done what it's supposed to do for me.

I have the extended battery that runs great. Using wireless and doing a few things I an run for about 7 hours. Watching a DVD I'd get probably 4. Sometimes I'll get more that that depending.

The screen is GREAT...crisp and clean. I'm sitting outside under a shade tree and I can see perfectly. A custom lenovo machiene could run signifigantly less and they work as good (according to my dad who's a technitian)

Wireless has been an issue because I need to run dhclient every so often as it seems to "forget" it needs to run it. But overall not a huge issue.

mssever
August 23rd, 2008, 09:27 PM
I don't like using a touchpad (my thumb often hits it and moves the cursor...)

I sometimes have that problem, too. My script solves that. If you want, I'll post it, but it isn't very complicated.

mssever
August 23rd, 2008, 09:30 PM
The screen is GREAT...crisp and clean. I'm sitting outside under a shade tree and I can see perfectly.
That reminds me... My ThinkPad came with a matte screen instead of one of those rediculous high-glare glossy screens. It's getting increasingly difficult to find a matte screen. If only it came with a 4:3 screen instead of a widescreen...

AutumnPhoenix
August 23rd, 2008, 10:08 PM
That reminds me... My ThinkPad came with a matte screen instead of one of those rediculous high-glare glossy screens. It's getting increasingly difficult to find a matte screen. If only it came with a 4:3 screen instead of a widescreen...


I LOOOOVE my screen. My friend's screen drive me nuts...I can never see what they try to show me.