Re: Cheap new Linux laptop advice?

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Author: Victor Odhner
To: Main PLUG discussion list
Subject: Re: Cheap new Linux laptop advice?
Thanks again for the support. Tom has his computer.
Got a Latitude i7 as described below, $169 + $25 (+tax) for another 4GB installed.

This was from Feature Marketing, they were very pleasant to work with.
When Tom went back to get it, they added a “father’s day” gift of a classy bag.

They have certain Linux distros they usually load for non-Windows users, and I asked for something else, verbally, so minor fluke we’ll fix; don’t complicate everything like I do.

As I said below, they say most of their PCs come from Fortune 500 companies that have leased the computers for something like 2 years and then return them to the manufacturers, who then dump them on the re-use market. This PC was totally clean, one little scratch, keypads didn’t look at all worn.

I think they may tend to be my provider for any future PCs.
Thanks again especially to Stephen and Phil.

On 20180618, at 12:36, Victor Odhner <> wrote:

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread!
My friend Tom also appreciates the concern.

I’ll feed back what I’ve collected from this so far, but first I should explain why $200s and 4GB memory is not as stupid as it might seem.

Tom’s business is going out and tuning pianos, or providing appraisals for sale. His use of a computer is:
(a) using email to communicate with clients;
(b) preparing quotes and appraisal documents using Libre Office;
(c) printing those documents;
(d) working with simple spreadsheets.
(e) some web browsing.
So 4GB should be just fine. He’s not the kind to get impatient over swap time. He uses an external disk so doesn’t need to store lots of history in the laptop. The only real requirement is that the computer keeps ticking!

Tips I’m looking at:

Stephen, re: Latitude i5/i7: Tom does carry his laptop around, rugged is good.
In fact, we may be onto one of these: ...

Feature Marketing — suggested by Phil.Waclawski.
They have Dell Latitude i7 E6330 13.3” for $169.00, I think a year warranty.
I chatted with them. We *may* run over there and close a deal, maybe with some upgrades.
This place seems pretty solid, they say they sell a lot of linux computers to local students, whose teachers have sent them repeat business over several years; some local business, but they do most of their business out of state. Most of the computers come from big companies. Comments?
They’re in the Scottsdale Airport area, about 8 miles east of me.

Resell Electronics — suggested by Todd.
Interesting, I just called them up at 877-726-0104. Their web site doesn’t show inventory because they do most of their business on ebay.
Walk-ins are welcome, at 850 W Lincoln St. Door 1 in Phoenix, that’s off 7th Ave just south of the bridge over the railroad tracks. They have a computer there where you can search what’s in their inventory, but the stuff is in their warehouse and you don’t see it till you buy it. I think I’ll run down there tomorrow.

Fry’s deal of the week: HP 11-y010nr, 11.6" Stream Laptop Celeron N3060, 4GB, 32GB eMMC, $199. The good point here is solid state and the fact that it’s new, but Fry’s service is horrible in my experience and I don’t like the idea of sending things away for

Stephen, re: thinkpad: I’m biased against Corporate China, but I hear good things about thinkpad with Linux.

Trent & Stephen have reinforced my feeling against current ChromeBook. And prices aren’t all that great either, if you do some shopping.

Eric, we’re in the Paradise Valley area of Phoenix. If we should run into an ongoing warranty hassle you’re totally right about distance. Since Feature Marketing is right here, that is a plus for me. But I don’t mind driving around a bit. (Where are you?)

Eric, re Red 7: I haven’t heard much mention of them since they started some 20 years ago, but yes, I see <>: they seem to still be in business, and it looks like a good business model. But either their site has been owned, or they lack focus: Computer solutions are mixed with a lame porn story and big-cock talk on their front page. Looks a tad unstable.

I think Somebody off-line mentioned Data Doctors so I dropped in there. The main guy at that store gave me a friendly lecture on using computers that someone else got rid of, like trade-in cars at a dealership. I spent years running second hand cars into the ground, so that isn’t too convincing to me; but I have also bought one used PC from a repair shop that turned out to be a total lemon, and I wasted money on a new battery that didn’t help, so that carries some weight.


On 20180614, at 15:15, Carruth, Rusty < <>> wrote:

Personally, 4G is not QUITE enough RAM. (Disclaimer - I have 16G on both my personal laptop and my work laptop. I used to have 4G on my work laptop, bah humbug)

My wife’s laptop has 4G, and has to kill off firefox every once in a while due to its apparent memory leak. However, I’ve got 16 G at work running windows, and every few days *I* have to kill my firefox because it is taking around 14G (or at least guess which window is causing the leak)….

(Ok, yes, I’m a heavy user. I confess. (Is there a group for that?) )

We’re using Lenovo at work, and a T410 worked fine (as fine as it can with only 4G - but all the hardware worked ok as I remember). 4G max RAM, I think, but I think there’s a T420 or something that takes more RAM.

I’ve had relatively good luck in the old days with Dell (Inspiron 8000 or something like that?), but YMMV.

The only laptops I’ve got personal experience that I know work fine (again, ignoring memory) are:

My wife’s, model and so forth forgotten. If you care I can go look

My personal Alienware, which is WAY outside the price range. The only real issue with it was: you need a recent distro (Mint 17 didn’t work well, Mint 18 worked fine).

Lenovo ThinkPad T410. Used with an older Mint, as I remember everything worked.

I just realized that I don’t think I’ve run Linux on my ThinkPad, so ‘never mind’ on that one, sorry.

Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2018 2:59 PM
To: Main PLUG discussion list
Subject: Cheap new Linux laptop advice?

A friend needs a cheap Linux laptop for light duty business work:
Libre Office, printing via USB connection, WIFI, email, and light browsing.

His business (piano tuning) hangs on this.
He would like the provider to be established with a decent reputation, whether the computer is new or refurbished.

His cap is $400 but he would prefer closer to $200 . . .

Refurbish? In past discussions here, I’ve seen references in the past of a good refurb provider in town. How well established are they, what’s their batting average?

New? I see:

 At Amazon:
*Dell Inspiron at Amazon for $205, 11.6" HD Celeron N3060,
    4GB RAM32 eMMC HDD.
*ASUS VivoBook E203NA-YS03 $199, 11.6” Featherweight design
    Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3350 2.4GHz processor,
    4GB DDR3 RAM, 64GB EMMC Storage, App based Windows 10 S

At Fry’s Electronics:
* HP 14-ax030nr, 14" Stream Laptop With Intel Celeron N3060 Processor,
    4GB Memory, 64GB eMMC and Windows 10

Chromebook? I see Chromebooks under $250.
* Scrub & convert to Linux?
* USB ports to run a printer and external backup disk?
* Storage to run Libre writer + mail client + light surfing?

He doesn’t want to entrust all his data to Google, and is happy with Linux.

Any specific suggestions would be very welcome.


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