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Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:10 pm
by Longbottom
Hello everyone,

I seem to be needing some advice on buying a new laptop. My old HP died on me, and I need a new one rather soon. I don't really have the money to spend on a "proper" machine, so I'm looking at cheaper alternatives (all I need it for is word processing, browsing, and some basic photo work in darktable). I've found two that might work, but when googling them I keep finding issues. Most posts on this seem to be a year or two and a couple of kernels back. So, I thought I would ask here if there's anyone with experience of these machines recently. I plan to run Mint 19.3 only (no need for windows). The ones I'm thinking about are:

- Acer Aspire 3 A314 (pentium N5000, integrated Intel graphics)
- Lenovo Ideapad S145 (pentium 5405U, integrated graphics)

I've read some people have had problems with the wifi and touchpad not working in Linux on the Lenovo, and some have had problems installing Linux at all on the Acer. My old HP 250 G3 worked fine with Linux, I'll give it that, but then again I had other problems with it (really bad screen, the plastic around the usb ports started cracking after a few weeks, the wifi had really bad coverage etc), so I kind of feel less inclined to buy one more... This post on the other hand I'm writing on an old acer netbook that seems to have survived everything, including being dragged over three continents in a backpack.

So, what I'd like to hear is if anyone here has had any personal experience with using linux on these, and perhaps even give me some kind of recommendation. My ideal solution would of course be to have more cash for a new laptop, but that's just not going to happen... :-(

All the best,

Longbottom

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:15 pm
by Kadaitcha Man
Longbottom wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:10 pm
So, what I'd like to hear is if anyone here has had any personal experience with using linux on these, and perhaps even give me some kind of recommendation. My ideal solution would of course be to have more cash for a new laptop, but that's just not going to happen... :-(
A simple search of the forum would have revealed that the majority of users here highly recommend second-hand Lenovo Thinkpad laptops, such as T420. Refurbished models are available on Amazon for around $US200.

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:15 pm
by DAMIEN1307
Lenovo ThinkPad T420, T450...Can be bought for cheap on Amazon for around 220.00 US dollars...DAMIEN

https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Thinkpad- ... B00W4AMWCI

https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkPad- ... B00T3MIZO4

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:38 pm
by Longbottom
Thanks for the reply. I usually prefer new stuff to used out of lots of really bad experience - I'm a rather unlucky person, I suppose. Buying off Amazon would also mean some hazzle with the customs agency, who love rummaging through parcels from outside the EU, and always means a delay for at least a week or two due to slow paper work. But thanks, anyway, I appreciate the ideas!

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:57 pm
by absque fenestris
Longbottom wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:38 pm
Thanks for the reply. I usually prefer new stuff to used out of lots of really bad experience - I'm a rather unlucky person, I suppose. Buying off Amazon would also mean some hazzle with the customs agency, who love rummaging through parcels from outside the EU, and always means a delay for at least a week or two due to slow paper work. But thanks, anyway, I appreciate the ideas!
Newegg sometimes has interesting things on offer. Refurbished, but with warranty.

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:12 pm
by kc1di
I would second Newegg.com I'm Using a lenovo T450 that I bought there and it works great with Mint. came with 18 month warranty.

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:48 pm
by lsemmens
I sorry that you have had bad experience with second hand stuff. I usually purchase old machines from Govt Auction and they serve me extremely well. Occasionally I get a dud (usually a key that does not work) but that is about it. You can usually test the machines before bidding. The last couple of machines have waaay out performed a cheap laptop I purchased new a couple of years earlier. in not just "grunt" but also in battery life and battery life is about the only thing you cannot test t auction.

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:01 am
by rickNS
You suit yourself it is your money, but
Hard to beat the compatibility of thinkpads with Linux. x, t, (w and L too) * 10, 20, 30. You'll save money too, to buy extra SSDs, etc.

As far as worrying, E-bay, and PP have superb buyer protection. You will NEVER get ripped off.

FWIW I wouldn't trade my T420 for something new off the shelf. And buying a new one just means I've spent 3- 4 hundred more for ZERO extra functionality. Most cases less functionality.

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:20 am
by Moem
lsemmens wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:48 pm
Occasionally I get a dud (usually a key that does not work) but that is about it.
Thinkpad users don't care about that... because a replacement keyboard is like, $25 and the replacement is a 3 to 5 screw operation. Easy as can be. 8)

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:15 pm
by DisturbedDragon
I bought a Lenovo 14w brand new direct from Lenovo for $130 US (on sale). Mint 19.3 installs with zero issues and everything works. 10-14 hours of battery life depending on how I use it. Also have a Lenovo ideapad 720s ($600) and ideapad 330($300) both with Mint 19.3 running perfectly.

inxi -F for the 14w

Code: Select all

System:
  Host: Mint-Lenovo14w Kernel: 5.0.0-37-generic x86_64 bits: 64 
  Desktop: Cinnamon 4.4.6 Distro: Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia 
Machine:
  Type: Laptop System: LENOVO product: 81MQ000JUS v: Lenovo 14w 
  serial: <root required> 
  Mobo: LENOVO model: LNVNB161216 v: SDK0K13476 WIN serial: <root required> 
  UEFI: LENOVO v: ANCN24WW(V1.04) date: 05/07/2019 
Battery:
  ID-1: BAT1 charge: 38.5 Wh condition: 57.6/57.0 Wh (101%) 
CPU:
  Topology: Dual Core model: AMD A6-9220C RADEON R5 5 COMPUTE CORES 2C+3G 
  bits: 64 type: MCP L2 cache: 1024 KiB 
  Speed: 1197 MHz min/max: 1200/1800 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 1243 2: 1208 
Graphics:
  Device-1: AMD Stoney [Radeon R2/R3/R4/R5 Graphics] driver: amdgpu 
  v: kernel 
  Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.4 driver: amdgpu,ati 
  unloaded: fbdev,modesetting,vesa resolution: 1920x1080~60Hz 
  OpenGL: renderer: AMD STONEY (DRM 3.27.0 5.0.0-37-generic LLVM 8.0.0) 
  v: 4.5 Mesa 19.0.8 
Audio:
  Device-1: AMD driver: snd_hda_intel 
  Device-2: AMD Family 15h Audio driver: snd_hda_intel 
  Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.0.0-37-generic 
Network:
  Device-1: Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter 
  driver: ath10k_pci 
  IF: wlp1s0 state: up mac: f8:a2:d6:f2:ab:ad 
  Device-2: Atheros type: USB driver: btusb 
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 58.24 GiB used: 7.28 GiB (12.5%) 
  ID-1: /dev/mmcblk1 model: DA4064 size: 58.24 GiB 
Partition:
  ID-1: / size: 11.20 GiB used: 6.85 GiB (61.2%) fs: ext4 
  dev: /dev/mmcblk1p3 
  ID-2: /home size: 45.58 GiB used: 428.4 MiB (0.9%) fs: ext4 
  dev: /dev/mmcblk1p2 
Sensors:
  System Temperatures: cpu: 34.4 C mobo: N/A gpu: amdgpu temp: 34 C 
  Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:
  Processes: 192 Uptime: 1h 08m Memory: 3.79 GiB used: 1.46 GiB (38.4%) 
  Shell: bash inxi: 3.0.32 

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:47 pm
by missmoondog
kc1di wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:12 pm
I would second Newegg.com I'm Using a lenovo T450 that I bought there and it works great with Mint. came with 18 month warranty.
i'll third that newegg recommendation!

brother just bought a dell i5 with 8gb's memory for $250 that i don't think is a bad deal. plus has a warranty. haven't ever had a bad experience with newegg either.

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:17 pm
by Longbottom
Thanks for all the input. As I believe I mentioned above, I'm based in Europe, so buying off American vendors was not really an alternative due to time and customs issues (they really delay parcels from third countries a lot here).

Anyway, I bought the Acer (I really needed a computer quickly), and everything is working splendidly out of the box (except my USB stick was broken when installing, so it took some extra time), although a bit slowly. But I think i can use the ram from my old laptop to fix that at least a bit.

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:24 pm
by Minux1
eBay has dozens of them.
The one I'm running now (Lenovo ThinkPad X140e) cost $60.
It runs all Linux distros I tried very quick.
If you're into 3 figures after the $ sign you've paid too much. :mrgreen:

Re: Help chosing budget laptop for Mint

Posted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:58 pm
by JerryF
Tiger Direct has some great deals too! I've bought several items from them including our (then new) desktop and a refurbished laptop which is my main machine.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/