Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Tech Talk
Reload this Page >

Cheap laptop and desktop recommendations?

Tech Talk Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

Cheap laptop and desktop recommendations?

Old 07-23-08, 10:58 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 11,573
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
Old 07-23-08, 11:04 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
fumanstan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 55,349
Received 16 Likes on 4 Posts
I like http://www.techbargains.com/ myself.
Old 07-23-08, 12:42 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 16,171
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
^ 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.
Old 07-23-08, 12:53 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
SterlingBen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 7,299
Received 79 Likes on 59 Posts
You could always get a used/refurbished mac.
Old 07-24-08, 10:59 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Formerly known as "orangecrush18" - still legal though
Posts: 13,844
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by SterlingBen
You could always get a used/refurbished mac.
He said he was looking for a cheap computer.
Old 07-24-08, 12:27 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 11,573
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by orangecrush18
He said he was looking for a cheap computer.
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. How about Intel vs. AMD in a notebook?

Last edited by aktick; 07-24-08 at 01:44 PM.
Old 07-24-08, 01:36 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 475
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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."
Old 07-25-08, 11:12 AM
  #8  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 11,573
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Dell desktops and laptops with Vista on them - can they easily be reformatted and XP installed?
Old 07-25-08, 11:51 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,696
Received 189 Likes on 142 Posts
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

Last edited by Jay G.; 07-25-08 at 12:03 PM.
Old 07-25-08, 12:08 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
fumanstan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 55,349
Received 16 Likes on 4 Posts
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.
Old 07-25-08, 12:29 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: dc-md-va
Posts: 959
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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
Old 07-26-08, 05:49 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Vipper II's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Abingdon, MD
Posts: 3,311
Received 20 Likes on 17 Posts
What do y'all think of this laptop:

http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529668144.php
Old 07-28-08, 06:35 AM
  #13  
DVD & Video Game Reviewer
 
Dragon Fly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Tax-achusettes
Posts: 2,406
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
Old 07-28-08, 11:57 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Tar Heel for life!
Posts: 1,052
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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.
Old 07-30-08, 10:06 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 11,573
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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?

Last edited by aktick; 07-30-08 at 10:10 AM.
Old 07-30-08, 01:53 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,696
Received 189 Likes on 142 Posts
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.
Old 07-30-08, 02:13 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 11,573
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
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 )...so is Office 2007 the most current and Vista-compatible product?
Old 07-30-08, 03:02 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,696
Received 189 Likes on 142 Posts
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 )
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.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.