Ideas on Budget Laptops...

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Portreve
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Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by Portreve »

There's been a couple different threads on LMF lately which kind of surround the issue of low cost alternative for those on a tight budget, or for hooking up disadvantaged families with some kind of computer. Then, I just ran across the following video on the YouTube channel This Does Not Compute:

The $100 Laptop Challenge -- This Old PC is Better Than You Think

I'm posting this because I'm hoping this can get a conversation started on helping the communities around us.
Your humble Portreve.

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Portreve
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by Portreve »

oh-kay-pee wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 2:41 pm
Hi Everyone,
I'm new-ish to using Mint, it's been about 4 months for me now. Just a little longer for me on Linux in general. I'm a public school teacher in San Francisco. Since the pandemic started, I have been taking donations of old desktops and some laptops, and refurbishing them. I've been making them into Linux Mint machines and delivering them to families in need at my school, so their children can do their school work. On a whim, I applied for a Teacher Innovator award, and just this week, I found out I won it. See more here, https://twitter.com/FabFndn/status/1263 ... 36064?s=20 It also comes with a $1000 cash prize.

If I have the right RAM I upgrade it, if I have a spare SSD I add it. I'm doing this all from donated computers that are old, but I learned so much in these forums, and in Telegram groups, that I couldn't have done this work without learning from all of you in here. Thank you for helping me learn and grow.
farkas wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:16 am
Decided to go on my own adventure to see if I could build a working PC for under $200.
The low end of the spectrum on prices, budget constraints in mind!
Lnx_User1 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 12:45 am
Perhaps this question is better suited on a general Linux forum but as I use Linux Mint as my distro and am recommending it I thought I'd ask here. I started gathering and fixing up people's unwanted computers recently. I'm rather self taught in this regard. I am by no means a Linux whiz but I have recently started getting back into Linux and so learning all I can and passing that knowledge on. I would like to take the unwanted computers I have, make them into Linux machines and sell them to people who are looking for a computer on a budget.
Hey you three... I thought you might especially find this thread and the video I linked to of interest. Don't get me wrong, I want everyone to feel invited to post here, but your specific posts made me think about you when I saw this video.
Your humble Portreve.

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Problem solved? Mark your thread [SOLVED] | There’s no place like ::1
I used to be a natural people person, then people ruined it.

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Pierre
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by Pierre »

this Lenovo X200s is an shade older than that one,
and it originally had Vista installed on it, in it's first life.
- the original owner, upgraded the available RAM, to something a little better .. 3Gb of memory.
it still has an 120Gb HDD installed, as is.

it was purchased at an Gov't Auction, along with several others, at the same time.
8)
thus I've always promoted the re-use of second hand / pre-owned PCs from any auction site,
or from any second-hand store.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by farkas »

Hi Portreve
The intention for my project
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=317390
was to build a desktop equivalent for the lowest possible cost, not a laptop replacement. I already built two desktop boxes. Intel i5 and i7 cpus with Nvidia video cards, 16 GB ram, 256GB SSDs and etc. Costs averaged at about $900. Added cost, upgrading on of them to a 1TB SSD.
Also as a personal challenge (to me, myself and I only) after following MurphCID post
viewtopic.php?f=58&t=311831

Another reason was to learn about how ARM processors work with linux. So far I am running Raspbian and Ubuntu 20.04 server with Mate desktop on it. Kernel 5.4.0-1011
I can surf the web, watch You Tube and run apps with at a reasonable speed. It won't stream high end subscription channels, such as disney+. Definitely NOT a barn burner but I didn't expect it to be running on a 32GB sd card as a boot drive.

So far it is still within budget, $166.58, below my $200 limit. I'm thinking of adding a usb DVD drive. Suggestions for a reasonably priced usb dvd drive are welcome.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by English Invader »

There are sometimes deals to be had on eBay. A few years back, I scored a desktop system with 4GB RAM and a dual core AMD processor (2.3GHz) for £30 as a local pick up. It came in a very nice contemporary Gaming PC case and all I had to was remove the Windows 7, plug in my trusty Radeon HD5450 graphics card, install Linux Mint 17.2 and I was away.

The PC has proved very useful for running old PC games through Wine and even does its share of contemporary indie stuff through Steam, GOG and Humble Bundle. It's currently in storage because I have other systems set up at the moment that make it more practical for me to use a laptop for everyday internet stuff (Dell Latitude E6410 which didn't break the bank and is a good workhorse that runs Mint 19.3 no questions asked).

It looks like the Raspberry Pi might soon be a candidate for everyday internet use on a budget. The latest models are shipping with full Wi-Fi, quad core processors and 8GB RAM.

Great video BTW. I watch a lot of his videos and I'm amazed at the range of stuff he covers; everything from Hi-Fi audio to retro game consoles.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by AndyMH »

I've always bought second hand laptops and always bought thinkpads, currently have three T430.
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate
rickNS
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by rickNS »

AndyMH wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:14 am
I've always bought second hand laptops and always bought thinkpads, currently have three T430.
Same here, only I currently have three T420's and one X200. Frankly having more than one machine is the best backup, if something happened, I'd just boot another. I can't imagine having just one.
I am curious if you have given any thought as to what you would use when your T430's become "too old"?
Mint 19.0 mate on 2 identical Thinkpad T420's
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by AndyMH »

rickNS wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:50 pm
I am curious if you have given any thought as to what you would use when your T430's become "too old"?
I dread the day, I suppose I'll have to got out and get a T440, T450 or T460, but are they as easy to upgrade, e.g. changed the i5 for an i7 in one of my T430s. Also like you, like having more than one. If I break it, well boot another, hardware failure, well parts are cheap and Lenovo hardware reference manuals cover everything.

Before I started with the T430, had a T410S (and before that a T60) and bought one of my daughters a T420 :)
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by KBD47 »

I like to buy old Chromebooks with intel cpu's. I bought an Acer C740 Chromebook for $50 on Ebay, it's in excellent shape. I flashed the bios and will be replacing the ssd with a larger one. The problem with newer machines is non-removable ssd's and they all have fixed ram, so I only want 4gb ram or larger.
I've also had good luck on Ebay with business class laptops, particularly Thinkpads and HP machines. I won't pay more than $100 for a laptop anymore. But my needs are simple. I don't use them for gaming, just word processing and the Internet and a few apps.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by Cyberbleuet »

I just bought an Aspire-A115-31 for $300 Canadian.
15 inch, Intel Celeron, UHD Graphics 600, 4 GB DDR4 SDRAM, 64 GB pcs, etc.

LinuxMint runs perfectly, fast and very smooth.

https://www.acer.com/ac/fr/CA/content/m ... .HE4AA.002

Greetings!
Laptop:Acer Aspire-A115-31 15'', Intel Celeron N4000 graphic Intel, eMMC 64G, 4G mémoire Os/Linuxmint 19.3
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by ftmike »

This is something I think Linux is perfect to address. I know it’s not a laptop but I saw a post on LinkedIn about Raspberry Pi’s being sent to disadvantaged children. Right now I imagine there’s a lot of kids missing out because of a lack of computer access. I really want to try and promote Linux in my local area to try and address this problem.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by carum carvi »

rickNS wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:50 pm
AndyMH wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:14 am
I've always bought second hand laptops and always bought thinkpads, currently have three T430.
Same here, only I currently have three T420's and one X200. Frankly having more than one machine is the best backup, if something happened, I'd just boot another. I can't imagine having just one.
Here is another Thinkpad T430 fan. Solid as a rock. Works fluently with any Linux OS. Tons of spare parts available online, which are cheap. And a secondhand Thinkpad T430 can be bought for 200 dollars with months of guarantee added from a refurbish company. But a Thinkpad T430 can be bought for 125 dollars from individual sellers. Best deal!

Many Windows users I talk to are really surprised to hear that Linux runs well on older computers. I tell them time and again, dont dump your old computer in the attic, give it a second life.

It would be great if more people who are out of a job and suffering from today's economic downturn could benefit from this knowledge that old computers can have a second life with Linux!
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by BG405 »

I got my Lenovo T440 for GB £130. It turned out the seller had paid about £30 for the postage, so the machine itself was actually only £100 or thereabouts. It was a close call with the decision between a T430 vs. a T440.

It came with 4GB RAM and a 120GB SSD; RAM has been swapped for 8GB & it has my ½GB mechanical disk from the previous machine in it currently. I'll do something with the SSD (which has Win10 Pro on it) at some point. :roll:

Keycaps on mine are a bit polished but then it takes me a matter of weeks to smooth off the more used keys on a new laptop keyboard ...
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Lenovo T440 8GB - Manjaro KDE with Mint VMs
Toshiba NB250 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Two ROMS don't make a WRITE ...
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by antikythera »

carum carvi wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:30 am

Here is another Thinkpad T430 fan. Solid as a rock. Works fluently with any Linux OS. Tons of spare parts available online, which are cheap. And a secondhand Thinkpad T430 can be bought for 200 dollars with months of guarantee added from a refurbish company. But a Thinkpad T430 can be bought for 125 dollars from individual sellers. Best deal!

Many Windows users I talk to are really surprised to hear that Linux runs well on older computers. I tell them time and again, dont dump your old computer in the attic, give it a second life.

It would be great if more people who are out of a job and suffering from today's economic downturn could benefit from this knowledge that old computers can have a second life with Linux!
My current laptop is as old as your T430. It's a Fujitsu Lifebook A512 (later refresh model with Intel i3-3110m) which I bought in February 2015 and have used daily since. Spares are also cheap and readily available for these too. They are nowhere near as robust as a T series but it is quite happily firing on all cylinders. I added 16GB of RAM and an SSD the day I got it. I use the mechanical drive that came with it as an external drive in a USB 3.1 enclosure. I have fitted a USB 3.1 dual port expresscard adaptor to the laptop. Replaced the CMOS battery recently, apart from that consumable - optical drive, cpu fan and battery once.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by GS3 »

Pierre wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:12 pm
thus I've always promoted the re-use of second hand / pre-owned PCs from any auction site,
or from any second-hand store.

Yup. I have been doing that for many years now and I have been extremely happy with the results.

My wife's niece just spent a bit over $1000 on a new laptop to take to college. I told my wife she could have spent less than $200 on a second hand laptop which would do everything she needs. Plus the advantage of having much less value invested in a computer which can be lost, stolen, dropped, etc.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by mr_raider »

Look for refurb HP business line laptops. Elitebook and probook line.
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by Barbados99 »

Portreve wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:21 pm
There's been a couple different threads on LMF lately which kind of surround the issue of low cost alternative for those on a tight budget, or for hooking up disadvantaged families with some kind of computer. Then, I just ran across the following video on the YouTube channel This Does Not Compute:

The $100 Laptop Challenge -- This Old PC is Better Than You Think

I'm posting this because I'm hoping this can get a conversation started on helping the communities around us.
Thanks for posting that link. I had never thought about giving my old computers to be recycled for other people to use. That's a great idea. Regarding used Thinkpads, that's all I've bought for years now (when I want to upgrade my laptop). I'm typing this on a $200 refurb I purchased years ago. It's my "road laptop" that I travel with. It's one of those military spec Lenovo Yoga's that are pretty much indestructible. It's been through the travel wars for sure. It came with Windows and was so slow it was almost unusable. I've tried a number of various Linux distros on it but it shines with Mint XFCE now. It's actually pretty snappy and responsive. Plenty fast (and so much faster than the Windows that I deleted from it). Thinkpad refurbs can be a crazy-cheap way to get a decent laptop.
My homemade daily-driver:
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by BG405 »

Barbados99 wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:19 pm
I had never thought about giving my old computers to be recycled for other people to use. That's a great idea.
I've been using hand-me-downs for years. Some of us are quite reliant on the scraptop trade!

The only PC-compatible computers I've actually purchased in the last decade or so were a new Toshiba NB305 (the battery has bitten the dust now and its replacement fan is showing signs of wear), an as-new D255E from a mate shortly after and my current Lenovo T440 bought recently from an eBay seller.
Dell Inspiron 1525 - LM17.3 CE 64-------------------Lenovo T440 8GB - Manjaro KDE with Mint VMs
Toshiba NB250 - Manjaro KDE------------------------K7S5A AMD 1.2GHz - LM17.3 Xfce 32 & WinXP-Pro
Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M - LM18.2 KDE 64 ----Two ROMS don't make a WRITE ...
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by Tomgin5 »

Along with slightly over 200 other recovered scraptops ( scrapped ex windows laptops) I recovered an old Sony VAIO PCG-3E2L. Maxed out the RAM and dropped in a 125 GB SSD for the Grandaughter who is working on her masters in Chemical Engineering. All of her Windex computers were stolen. Fortunately she kept all of her work on flash drives. The Sony does not have a suitable standby mode but will keep alive for a couple of days on the battery if the laptop lid is closed on battery mode. Reboot only takes about 40 seconds, Price $25 including wireless mouse and PS. The free :mrgreen: Linux accessory apps give her everything she had needed for her work . :D
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Re: Ideas on Budget Laptops...

Post by carum carvi »

https://youtu.be/f4olQ1SRchA

I just saw the above youtube link (posted earlier by Portreve) about the 100 dollar laptop challenge and the reason I post about it is because for the first time I actually saw in that video HOW much of a difference in speed an SSD makes.

I own a secondhand Thinkpad as well. For some time now I have been reading on this forum about all those who advised me to put in an SSD, claiming it would speed up my computer. But actually seeing how blistering fast a (secondhand) SSD becomes, when it replaces a spinning harddisk, that increase in speed made my head spin....WOW... :D And a secondhand SSD can be bought for about 25 dollars. WOW again! I am convinced! :D
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