Modestly Priced Laptop For C7

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I’m looking to replace my (old, creaky) netbook (Acer Aspire One D255e, a screaming dual core 1.6 GHz Atom, and a whole 2 gigs of RAM) with something faster but not too large. Sometimes (usually) the netbook is painfully slow.

Something like a hi-res 14 (or 15) inch screen (full HD), minimum of 4 gigs RAM, HD of a half terabyte or bigger.

I’d like to not have to go over 600-700 dollars, so I know my choices are somewhat limited if I want to avoid the 400-500 dollar windows 10
junk^H^H^H^Hsystems from BJs, etc.

Something with a quad-core processor, and all hardware works with C7.

I’ve glanced at Lenovo Thinkpads on amazon where there are several
“factory refurbished” ones with similar specs to what I mention above in the $500-700 range, but I don’t know if they’re any good or not

I’m open to suggestions from any/all of you!

thanks in advance!

Fred

18 thoughts on - Modestly Priced Laptop For C7

  • Not intending to contradict (if that ends up as pain, it will be your pain anyway ;-) but I would go higher with specs if you intend to use Linux on it. Linux tends to grow its demands for resources pretty much exponentially (same as Windows does, only from lower starting point). It is so during last decade and a half. Consistently. If you decide to run FreeBSD on the laptop, then these specs will be OK (in my estimate) for some 5-7 years, as FreeBSD’s demands to hardware grow much slower, not quite linear but close to it than to exponent or even power law.

    “Factory refurbished” is always big red flag for me (Lenovo is another big red flag – I mentioned elsewhere why). This basically means that this particular model is poorly designed (and/or manufactured), so it comes with defects or fails withing short period of time so customers are so outraged that they return it, or Lenovo prefers to get them “luckier” new sample of the same, and buff-up and sale the bad one as refurbished, with lower expectations of whoever buys it.

    Anyway, your reasoning will be of more value for you, as it will be your money that will be affected.

    Good luck!

    Valeri

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247
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  • Valeri Galtsev wrote:

    On my Acer Aspire One 522 (two-core AMD C-50 1.0 GHz processor with 2
    GB of RAM), CentOS 6 is noticeably smoother than Windows 7. Windows uses the battery more efficiently, however.

  • Yves Bellefeuille wrote:
    The reql question is what the o/p wants the system *for*. As I mentioned, I have my ’09 HP Netbook (1101?), and I just loaded CentOS 6 i386 on it, and it runs acceptably. Now, once I switch the WM from *bleah* Gnome to KDE, or maybe something lighter, I’ll be fine… but I only use it while traveling, for mail and browsing.

    What *are* you going to be doing with it?

    mark

  • And you are talking about 8 years old system on what would be called decent hardware about the same 8 years back, right?

    Valeri

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • Valeri Galtsev wrote:

    The hardware is 6 years old and, at the time, Tech Report called it
    “the best netbook we’ve ever tested”. So it was quite good (for a netbook) at the time.

    Everything depends on the OP’s intended use, of course. I just wanted to disagree that you need better hardware for Linux than for Windows, or at least for CentOS 6 than Windows 7.

  • And I agree too, running Kubuntu 14.04 LTS on an HP Pavilion dv7 is acceptable, running Windows 7 was dog slow – hard drive crashed and we lost the Windoze license, sad story, all I could do was install Linux and go on instead of dual-booting when I needed Windoze – such a shame :-) :-) :-)

    —– Original Message —

  • No I never intended to say you need better hardware for Linux than for Windows. It is opposite in my opinion, but both these systems pace at similar curve with their demands. To the contrary to Windows and Linux, FreeBSD has much slower increase in demands, namely, when Linux and Windows go up about hardware specs about exponentially, FreeBSD goes much closer to linear. And therefore, I would predict that the laptop with the specs of OP will nicely run FreeBSD in 7 years, whereas it will feel slow, obsolete etc in about 3 (maybe 4) years if one runs latest Linux or MS
    Windows on it then.

    I hope, this time I finally managed to make myself clear ;-)

    Valeri
    [The guy who runs hardware for 7-9 years, sometimes longer]

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • Valeri Galtsev wrote:

    Wimp. We just surplssed, earlier this year, our old supercomputer, an SGI
    Altrix 3000…. circa 2003….. (To be fair, it was only fired up a few times a year, so that one software maintainer could build for collaborators around the wolrd with old hardware.)

    mark

    mark

  • mostly portable email and browsing. if it is good enough it’ll probably have dev tools on it too for the uncommon occasions when I need to build something. If it is good enough I may find other thiings to do with it, but I have a reasonably powerful desktop also running C7, so many of those “other” things are taken care of there.

    Fred

  • only if it actually works for Linux/C7.

    My netbook used to be good for that too, but it is now so slow I can hardly stand it, so I’m looking for a step up.

  • CentOS works well on T-Series thinkpads but be careful of the video, some use an nvidia card which at least historically had issues in Linux that caused the battery to run down faster and caused the laptop to run hot.

    T series thinkpads use Intel wifi that “just works” with CentOS – at least in my limited experience. Many laptops require 3rd party drivers with proprietary firmware to get the wifi working, which can be a pain in the neck when point release update happens (e.g. 7.3 to 7.4) because you then have to rebuild the RPM in the new point release or the driver won’t work, and often that means downloading a new nosrc.rpm – which may not immediately be available.

    Somewhere there’s a list of wifi hardware that works out of the box with the Linux kernel, whatever brand you buy I would recommend the wifi device is on that list.

  • To add to that: with Dell always watch which WiFi you are ordering, avoid by all means “dell” WiFi which as such does not exist, it is just re-branded as dell anything, so you actually don’t know what chipset you get until the machine is in your hands. Luckily Dell got better, and you can choose Intel WiFi, and that is virtually guaranteed to work with any modern Linux kernel (FreeBSD may be a bit behind, they probably still haven’t added to wireless stack what is necessary for _the_latest_ Intel WiFi).

    Just my $0.02

    Valeri

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Valeri Galtsev Sr System Administrator Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics University of Chicago Phone: 773-702-4247
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • Johnny:
    how hard is it to replace RAM or SSD? and battery, too, when that time comes. ’cause I’d want to do like you and definitely upgrade it right away, cause that 2gig RAM and abysmal 32G storage is pathetic.

    and I’m going to guess that 1.6 Ghz processor is similar to the 1.6b Ghz Atom I now have, but hopefully less canine-like.

    I’d be interested in the 14 inch model except it has the same wimpy specs. so, again how much hassle (and cost) is involved in upgrading like you did?

    thanks again!

  • Ah, they’ve wimped out on the system specs since then. the one they are selling now has only 2G RAM and 32G storage.

    Actually, I’m interested in the cheaper 15 inch model which not only has 4 G RAM and 500G HD, but a built-in DVD drive! that’s surprising, even the $1500 laptops these days don’t come with an optical drive. I’d quibble with the display resolution, 15″ is big enough for higher resolution. but it’s certainly better than my 10″ netbook in that regard.

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