View Full Version : Recomend me a budget laptop and wifi setup

November 9th, 2011, 08:53 PM
My wife's been asking for a laptop for college for the last 2 years, so I've been thinking about getting her something for Christmas this year.

Our budget's kept us from getting one before and that still holds true, so I've been looking online at refurbed Thinkpads because they seem to be pretty sturdy and should be fixable for some time to come. I'm in the $300ish price range. I'm not opposed to netbooks, but she seems to be pretty insistent on a laptop, which I can understand for the full size keyboard for typing her papers. It will mainly be used for web surfing, Open Office, and light gaming (like the BigFish and PoGo type stuff) so I don't need anything too powerful. Should I be looking at anything else and where would be the best place to buy?

For the online stuff, I guess I will have to add wireless to my house too, so I need to know what I'll need for that. My main computer is running 10.04, the other computer in the house has Vista. Can I just get any wireless router that I can put Tomato on, any wireless card for my Vista box, and leave my main computer wired or do I need anything in addition to that?

Sorry for the noob questions, I kinda fell off the tech bandwagon years ago...

November 9th, 2011, 10:08 PM
Buy $70 netbook (http://www.ecrater.com/p/11154586/cheapest-netbook-7-inch-mini-laptop) and sit in a McDonald's parking lot to leach their wifi. ;)

November 10th, 2011, 04:22 AM
Thinkpads, from what I read, are a good option w/Linux, but haven't used one.

Was given an old Dell Inspiron 600m that worked really well. The disk died -- no big deal as I boot Ubuntu from Live USB -- but then the screen failed. Anyway, I liked it so much that I bought 2 more on eBay last month, in much better condition. About 120 bucks each. Got one to keep, and one to give away :)

If you like this idea, a few things to watch for: Make sure you get one with the SXGA LCD or you won't have a lot of screen real estate. With this you get 1400 x 1050. Also be aware that some of these have heat problems and the screen can develop a shadow in the center on the bottom. Here's an example: the second image on this listing (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Inspiron-600m-PM-1-6GHz-512MB-40GB-Combo-WiFi-XP-/120753602177?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item1c1d79be81) shows the shadow very clearly.

What else... most of the ones I was seeing didn't have much memory, so might need to add that which will add some to the cost, but I've only got 1.25 GB, and Lucid is running nicely.

As for a router, I use the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH. It comes with DD-WRT (Buffalo's custom version), and can easily be flashed with Open-WRT (haven't done this yet). Supposedly it's hard to brick this one, and is easy to recover if you do. Got a lot of memory, decent power, and it's not too expensive. Only has one radio, though.

My desktop PC also runs Ubuntu 10.04, and it's a wire-only connection. No problems there.
Solo mis dos centavos,