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sowdust
April 16th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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!

pinballwizard
April 16th, 2013, 05:33 PM
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....

Bucky Ball
April 16th, 2013, 05:38 PM
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.

Paqman
April 16th, 2013, 05:39 PM
The toughest machines out there are the proper ruggedised ones like Toughbooks (https://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/laptop-mobile-computers.asp), 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.

pinballwizard
April 16th, 2013, 05:48 PM
The toughest machines out there are the proper ruggedised ones like Toughbooks (https://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/laptop-mobile-computers.asp), 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.

Paqman
April 16th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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.

iponeverything
April 16th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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.

pqwoerituytrueiwoq
April 16th, 2013, 11:26 PM
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 (http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/hardware/201110-10073/), 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'"

Dragonbite
April 17th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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.

Mikeb85
April 17th, 2013, 06:10 PM
Lenovo ThinkPad (they have ones in your price range), Dell Latitude or HP Elitebook would be the ticket. They're all fairly rugged.

Paqman
April 17th, 2013, 06:33 PM
Although with an SSD, that hard drive active protection feature suddenly becomes moot.

This. Definitely swap out any old spinny drives for an SSD if you're after durability.

sowdust
April 18th, 2013, 09:53 AM
thank you all for your replies. I have to admit that the toughbooks do intrigue me very much : )
I've always been suspicious about second hand electronics, but maybe that's just a prejudice.
All the other models you suggested kind of exceed mu budget if new, so I'm wondering if pointing to a used toughbook could be a safe option.
The only doubt I have about them is that if they are thought to be very durable, would it be not better to mount amd processors that heat much less than intel (from what I've heard)?
Too bad none of them have a numeric keypad!!

tubbygweilo
April 18th, 2013, 11:32 AM
. . .
The only doubt I have about them is that if they are thought to be very durable, would it be not better to mount amd processors that heat much less than intel (from what I've heard)?
. . .

I expect that by concentrating upon a small, well researched set of hardware specifications Though Book can be confident that they kit works as they and the purchaser would expect. To support a wide ranging ecosystem of hardware would I think increase cause an increase in testing & quality control, this may well cause the product to rise in price.

The old mantra "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" may well apply in this case.

usernforce
April 21st, 2013, 03:01 AM
I've found the HP dv6000 series to be pretty durable. I've had mine for 2 years and its gone through a lot. I am sure a used one would be worth in your price range. However, I will say that HP is not very forgiving in terms of helping you with any hardware driver issues. I've had a fair deal of problems with them in the past. Dell is much more willing to work with Linux users.

Bucky Ball
April 21st, 2013, 03:59 AM
I've found the HP dv6000 series to be pretty durable.

Just a warning and heads up about buying any second hand dv6000. That range had a worldwide recall and a free fix due to a manufacturing fault. The machine needed to be under warranty or 12 months out (from memory) for the free fix. Mine died a horrible death about a month outside of this and I was left with effectively a paper weight. Oh, and an 80Gb hard drive and 2Gb of RAM. The machine though is useless. Unless I decide to replace the motherboard, which I don't. I now have a Toshiba Satellite Pro which I love. I don't move it around at all though so couldn't vouch for its toughness ...

As for the HP, the symptoms of the fault are that the wireless dies first. The machine just no longer sees the wireless card, as though there's not one in the machine. Soon after that the motherboard dies and that's it. This was not just my machine; HP describes it exactly like that. So if you have a DV6000 and the wireless is suddenly not recognised, prepare thyself! Death is imminent.