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Thread: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

  1. #1
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    Smile Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    Hello everyone,

    I've been using an Acer Travelmate for over two years now, but it kept losing shine and pieces along the way. It first started with having only one of two speakers working, it than started to have problems with the audio jack, the hard disk died twice and now the screen is hanging to the keyboard only from one side.
    I admit not being the most careful person, but I would expect a little more robustness from something that you pay hundreds of euros.

    I don't have any experience in the hardware fields, so I'm asking you guys if you have any advice on a very robust laptop.
    My budget is not very high (I would a ceiling of 500€, possibly less) but I do not require any special performance.

    The laptop will be on most of the day since I'm a computer science student and I use it both for studying and working.
    My intention is to have it run both Xubuntu and Windows (the latter one used mainly as a backup platform for applications urgently needed for working and that may have trouble on Xubuntu - for instance Excel and Skype).
    As said above, my priority is it be very resistant: it will be carried around in a bag, used a lot, probably have some liquid poured on it.

    I have done some research but found that most laptop built to be very robust are also very high performing, hence very expensive.
    Is it possible to find a good compromise between resistance and price? If so, where should I point my research at?

    Thanks in advance


    M



    Edit: I forgot to say that having an american keyboard layout and a numeric keypad would be a huge plus!
    Last edited by sowdust; April 16th, 2013 at 05:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by sowdust View Post
    If so, where should I point my research at?

    Thanks in advance


    M



    Edit: I forgot to say that having an american keyboard layout and a numeric keypad would be a huge plus!
    Yankee keyboard, check, robust magnesium alloy chassis, check, alluminium cover, check. Sorry, no number pad, but I'd look at the Dell Latitude E series....

  3. #3
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    Off topic but Skype has always worked fine in Xubuntu for me, audio and video (currently 12.04 LTS), and spreadsheets can be created using either LibreOffice or OpenOffice and saved as Excel files which can be used in Win. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    The toughest machines out there are the proper ruggedised ones like Toughbooks, you'd be looking at second hand for your budget. I just had a look at eBay.co.uk and there were dual core ones with 3GB RAM that went for under £400 including postage, which is inside your budget.

  5. #5
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    The toughest machines out there are the proper ruggedised ones like Toughbooks, you'd be looking at second hand for your budget. I just had a look at eBay.co.uk and there were dual core ones with 3GB RAM that went for under £400 including postage, which is inside your budget.
    Yeah, but reading what the the OP says, he's not looking for an IP rated laptop, I reckon that's overkill in this case.

  6. #6
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by pinballwizard View Post
    Yeah, but reading what the the OP says, he's not looking for an IP rated laptop, I reckon that's overkill in this case.
    In my experience nothing short of an actual ruggedised machine can actually take any kind of mistreatment. We have laptops at work for our technicians to use on the shop floor and all of the regular ones just fall apart in about a year. I agree Toughbooks would normally be overkill for a student (especially a soft-handed indoorsy CS one ) but the OP did specifically ask for really tough machines. There are degrees of gnarliness in the Toughbook range.

  7. #7
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    the toughbook is too heavy for my taste - some of the Thinkpads can take abuse. I have one that still working well after being lugged around eastern Afghanistan for a year.. though now it is just relegated to being a squeezebox server.

  8. #8
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    i know my netebook came with a 1 year accidental warrenty from the manufacture in addition to the 1 year warranty for manufacturing defects, you just have to register the product, not sure if asus does that outside of the usa though, based on your post that would be useful for you
    the K54C and A54C series notbooks from asus should run ubuntu just fine, the K54C does have a ubuntu certification, the pre-installed ones just have a special bios version
    the A54C series uses the same motherboard on raring i had to use a extra boot parameter cause of the bios being designed for windows 8 or something like that
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash acpi_osi='!Windows 2012'"
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  9. #9
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    Lenovo Thinkpads are pretty durable with the hard drive "airbags" and I believe the keyboard is on a drip-pan like sheet that directs moisture out the bottom. I don't know if all of the Lenovo products are as sturdy but my T61 has survived me lugging it back-and-forth for years now and other than a loose hing so the screen wobbles some, it still works (much to my chagrin ).

    Although with an SSD, that hard drive active protection feature suddenly becomes moot.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Not too powerful but very physically robust laptop

    Lenovo ThinkPad (they have ones in your price range), Dell Latitude or HP Elitebook would be the ticket. They're all fairly rugged.

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