Best cheap (PC) laptop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ravenvii, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #1
    I'm looking to buy a laptop on the (very) cheap to tide me over for about 6 months.

    I want it to be high quality and well-built (especially the screen -- 13" or above, no netbooks please), but don't mind it being pretty old (2007ish and onwards) since I'll exclusively run Linux on it (not Windows).

    I'm looking to spend $200 or less if possible. I'm thinking ThinkPads would be a good bet? What model(s) should I look for?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    I love Lenovo notebooks. I saw a Lenovo ultrabook in Office Depot a few weeks ago for ~$600 that looked like it had build quality to rival Apple gear.

    Do you really need a dedicated Linux box? You do realize you can run any typical Linux distro in a Virtualbox right on your Mac, right?
     
  3. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    #3
    As the OP states it will be in use for 6 months approximately, I wouldn't advise a Mac. Maybe his idea is to get a better Mac in 6 months and need a computer in the meantime?

    You can find a lot of used laptops on CL, however, Linux compatibility out-of-the box is not guaranteed and you may have to tweak it before it works right. Avoid most consumer-level HPs at all cost, they are dogs when it comes to Linux support and general reliability.

    I had dedicated Linux coomputers before switching to Mac. It wasn't a laptop, but if you're looking for one, I would toss the dice on Lenovo / ThinkPad, as well as pro-level HPs. Some Dells do work right with Linux, but that's a crapshoot, especially knowing that different distros have different supported hardware.

    FWIW I do have a LG R510 (15") that I'm not terribly attached to.
     
  4. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #4
    Hit the nail on the head. I'm a CS student and I currently have an iMac, but will soon be in a situation where I need a laptop, but am not ready to buy a Mac laptop. Hence the cheap laptop to tide me over :)
     
  5. designs216 macrumors 65816

    designs216

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Down the rabbit hole
    #5
    Consumer Reports likes the HP ENVY x2 11t-g010 and the Asus Q400A-BHI7N03 which go for around $650. Honestly though, if I'm going to spend that much, I'd put the money toward a nice 13" Air.
     
  6. iMacBooked macrumors 6502a

    iMacBooked

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    Location:
    4 8 15 16 23 42 ✈ Country: Belgium
    #6
    MBA would be the best for you, but won't be cheap.
    I use a Samsung N145 notebook for class, on which I installed Mac OS X Leopard. So if you really like OS X but don't want to buy an extra MBA, I would go for a Hackintosh-compatible low-priced computer. But as you don't seem to want a netbook, the HP ENVY suggested above, is indeed a good option.
     
  7. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #7
    Typing this now on a Lenovo T61 with a Core 2 Duo 2GHz cpu, 160GB 7200rpm drive, 4GB RAM, 14" 1280x800 screen running Pear OS 7, that cost me a princely £68 in the UK a couple of months ago from an ex-corporate online site. This notebook is also hackintoshable if you fancy a bit of a project or get tired of Linux.

    Thinkpads have very decent Linux support. Pretty much everything ran on mine from the off without having to hunt down obscure drivers. I just needed to type a couple of lines in a terminal to get the fingerprint reader to work with a suitable gui, but the support for that was already there in the repo.
     
  8. BayouTiger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #8
    Most cities have a shop that specializes in Laptops coming back on lease from Lenovo and Dell. The one here locally usually has some nice Thinkpads that they go through completely before selling.
     
  9. ravenvii thread starter macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #9
    Seems some of you missed the $200 part of my post :)

    I settled on either a ThinkPad T61 or a T400/T410, and am now watching eBay for a good deal.

    Thanks guys!
     
  10. rbrian macrumors 6502a

    rbrian

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    #10
    That's impressive! I thought I did well paying £263 for a 15" Lenovo G6, with 6 Gb of RAM, 250Gb HDD, Windows 7... until I got it home and realised it had the processor from a digital watch. It lags just moving the mouse! It also bends if you touch it gently. I've come to the conclusion that you get what you pay for. It is handy to have access to Windows now and then, and Bootcamp on my Air was not a good experience.
     

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