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-   -   Cheap laptop and desktop recommendations? (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/tech-talk/536170-cheap-laptop-desktop-recommendations.html)

aktick 07-23-08 10:58 AM

Cheap laptop and desktop recommendations?
 
Looking for a simple, cheap, laptop and desktop (don't need a monitor). What's my best bet? Cheap weekly deals at Best Buy or Circuit City? Dell? Elsewhere? Thanks a lot. :)

fumanstan 07-23-08 11:04 AM

I like http://www.techbargains.com/ myself.

4KRG 07-23-08 12:42 PM

^ yes, and this one is good also

http://dealnews.com/

I link this one because it normally tells you the current deal compared to the price of past deals.

I would lean towards a discounted Dell, just keep in mind the listed deals usually only include the one year warranty. I always suggest more than that on a laptop, not so much on the desktop (buy with a warranty extending credit card)

It really depends on how long you plan to keep it and what your tolerance will be for how long it can stay broken.

SterlingBen 07-23-08 12:53 PM

You could always get a used/refurbished mac.

orangecrush 07-24-08 10:59 AM


Originally Posted by SterlingBen
You could always get a used/refurbished mac.

He said he was looking for a cheap computer. :rimshot:

aktick 07-24-08 12:27 PM


Originally Posted by orangecrush18
He said he was looking for a cheap computer. :rimshot:

lol, yeah, ~$400 or less is ideal.

Thanks for the links, guys.

How do the cheap Acer or Toshiba or Compaq notebooks compare to Dell? Seems like ~$400 is the best you can do with all of them.

Mobile AMD Sempron Processor 3600+ vs. AMD AthlonTM 64 X2 Dual-Core processor TK-57 (1.9GHz/256KB) for $25 more...worth it? I stopped paying attention to different processors about 7 years ago. :p How about Intel vs. AMD in a notebook?

CRyan 07-24-08 01:36 PM

Take a look at these in stores. The biggest problem with cheap laptops are things like hinges and latches. They just dont hold up with continuous opening and closing. Look at them in a store and see what you think and read some reviews on build quality. Most laptops in the 300-400 range just need a bit of care taken with them and not "abused."

aktick 07-25-08 11:12 AM

The Dell desktops and laptops with Vista on them - can they easily be reformatted and XP installed?

Jay G. 07-25-08 11:51 AM


Originally Posted by aktick
The Dell desktops and laptops with Vista on them - can they easily be reformatted and XP installed?

XP can be installed on new Dells just as easily as any other new PC could have it installled. One potential problem area would be in regards to drivers for the new hardware, which may not be available on the XP install CD, mostly SATA drivers, which don't exist on official XP install CDs at all.

Some drivers could be installed after install, but XP needs some drivers during install, like drivers for the harddrive and motherboard chipset. XP's install process allows supplemental drivers via floppy, but not CD. You can slipstream a driver into the install CD to get it to work. This site has assembled the most common drivers needed into packs that can be slipstreamed onto an XP install CD with their utility:

http://driverpacks.net/DriverPacks/

Here's some guides on how to "downgrade" from Vista to XP, although they don't go into the driver issues:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2287685,00.asp
http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=205101355

Also, Microsoft allows users with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate to "downgrade" to XP Professional for no additional cost. This is true even on the OEM licenses that manufactures like Dell use for the OS:
http://download.microsoft.com/downlo...rade_chart.doc
http://download.microsoft.com/downlo...rencesheet.pdf

You'll need to call up and ask MS for an XP activation key if you decide to downgrade.

If you want to save yourself the hassle of re-installing XP on the machine, Dell and a few other manufacturers will downgrade the machine for you. Dell does this for a fee:
http://www.electronista.com/articles....xp.downgrade/

edit: Actually, while the article states a fee, going through the customizing section for a Dell Vostro shows that the XP downgrade doesn't cost any more than the upgrade to Vista Business does, while allowing you to install Vista Business later via an included install CD. So you're really only paying for the upgraded Vista License, not the pre-installed downgrade.
http://www.dell.com/content/products...=04&l=en&s=bsd

fumanstan 07-25-08 12:08 PM

I've had problems with laptops that come with Vista and finding the right drivers for XP. You might need to piece meal together different versions from different manufacturers to make it work.

dleedlee 07-25-08 12:29 PM

Office Depot and CompUSA (yes, still they're around) still offer XP machines on their websites. Mostly, Acer, Toshiba and Lenova brands and not at the bargain prices once available.
Or, you could try the Asus ultra-portable:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1213046768451

Vipper II 07-26-08 05:49 AM

What do y'all think of this laptop:

http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529668144.php

Dragon Fly 07-28-08 06:35 AM

just picked up a "decent" dell inspiron 1525 at Best Buy for 599. It's definitely not top of the line but it's not bottom of the barrel either. At 599 the configuration is actually cheaper than what dell sells them for.

slateef 07-28-08 11:57 AM

BestBuy has a fairly nice Dell which is $150 off this week for $499.

2 Gig, 160 Gig HD, 15.4" screen, DL DVD + CD burner.

Not bad.

aktick 07-30-08 10:06 AM

Stupid question #28381: Will Office XP work just fine with Vista?

If I do decide to keep Vista on it, any real good reason to have Vista Premium vs. Basic?

Jay G. 07-30-08 01:53 PM


Originally Posted by aktick
Stupid question #28381: Will Office XP work just fine with Vista?

It'll install and run, but MS isn't providing any fixes if an incompatibility issue should arise:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Will_Micro...icrosoft_Vista


If I do decide to keep Vista on it, any real good reason to have Vista Premium vs. Basic?
Home Premium has more features, most notably Tablet PC support, Windows Movie Maker (With HD support), Windows DVD Maker, and Windows Media Center.
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...2068721,00.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista_editions
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/win...s/default.aspx

Whether you should get Premium depends on whether you want or will use any of the extra features, either now or sometime in the future on that PC.

aktick 07-30-08 02:13 PM

Thanks Jay (and for the prior XP install info...I'll probably try Vista for a few days before I put myself through the headache of trying to get XP on there :o)...so is Office 2007 the most current and Vista-compatible product?

Jay G. 07-30-08 03:02 PM


Originally Posted by aktick
Thanks Jay (and for the prior XP install info...I'll probably try Vista for a few days before I put myself through the headache of trying to get XP on there :o)

Well, you could always create a dual-boot system:
http://apcmag.com/how_to_dual_boot_v...step_guide.htm

I followed those steps to put XP on my Vista machine. One thing I did different though was that I made the Vista partition hidden before installing XP so that XP would think its partition is C.


...so is Office 2007 the most current and Vista-compatible product?
Yes, Office 2007 is the most current Windows version and was designed with Vista in mind, and was released concurrently with Vista, although it still works with Windows XP. Note that Office 2003 will install on Vista and MS will support it and fix any Vista-related issues with it until April of 2009. However, if you're going to buy a new version of Office, you may as well go with 2007.


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