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Old 01-14-2008, 06:48 PM   #41
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Very well made cheap notebooks on clearance. They're gonna go quick. Build quality is darn near a thinkpad. Good traveling machine for durability.
Dell Latitudes D520 D620 D820 D420 ATG Clearance Sale - Save Up to 50% @ Dell Small Business

14" D620 for $599
15.4" D820 for $679
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:33 AM   #42
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Just bought a new Dell XPS 1330M. Discounts were $624, standard discount, another 10% off for XPS 1330 notebooks over $899, next was another 12% for 3/4 year At-Home service (I opted for 4 years for $90 more, and get a $80 gift card, so the net will be $10 for the extra year). Free Shipping (3-5 day) and will get another 4% because I opted to sign up for their Credit Card (0% Interest until 2009) and put the unit on the CC. Overall I think that will be about a 40% discount when all is said and done.

Notebook was not cheap, but WTH, it is fun.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:08 AM   #43
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If you wait for Presidents Day, I believe Dell will offer 25% off Inspiron notebooks - like they did last year. You could get a awesome machine for about $600. Stepped up video, web camera, 9 cell battery, Core 2 duo...etc.

If you can wait, that's what I would do.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:11 AM   #44
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There are regular vostro deals in the $600 range. Vostro's are a pretty good build quality compared to budget notebooks, but Latitudes are a little more robust and come standard with better keyboards and screens.

I still have a latitude from about 1999, a pentium II 366. I used it as a regular work machine for 2 years and then as my regular home machine for a couple of years, then my MIL used it for a month to see if she wanted to get a laptop.

It not only still works, but Gabe played with it for about 3 weeks and it took him almost two weeks to pry one of the keycaps off. Even after he kicked it around, whacked it, and dropped it a bunch of times, it still boots and runs...glerk....windows 98...just fine. Battery only gives about 25 minutes, but after all this time, i'm surprised it works at all.

You'd get better specs on a vostro deal. If I were going to be dragging a machine around in a bag or piece of luggage for 3 years and banging away on it for a few hours every day, I might go with a latitude.

I wouldnt buy any of the extras on these deals except for maybe the $30 120gb disk upgrade. You can buy your own ram for a lot less and upgrade it yourself.

Also note that these come with the 3 year warranty (mail-in) which can be upgraded to onsite for $99 for the 3 years, and gold tech support is only an extra $69 for the 3 year period.

The long warranty is a nice bennie.
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Old 01-28-2008, 09:23 PM   #45
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If you're into Sony stuff, this isnt too horrifying. Needs another GB of ram to run vista premium and a bunch of concurrent apps, but rams cheap. Good size disk, decent screen, not that heavy for a 15.4", has the memory stick thing so you'll need a reader for SD cards.

$599+tax, and you can get a free printer and some other stuff at the same time if you like doing rebates. Looks like a basic all-in-1 printer, laptop bag, antivirus s/w, a wireless router and a wireless mouse (the mouse is 9.99 AR). None of this stuff is great, its all pretty basic stuff, but for a half hour of form filling, free is okay. Couple of options to get better stuff for a little more money.

Buy the Sony VAIO VGN-FZ210C/E 15.4" Widescreen Laptop Computer and other Laptop computers at circuitcity.com
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Old 01-28-2008, 09:45 PM   #46
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Ive built my own desktops. However never messed with a laptop. Can you upgrade the memory yourself on laptop? Im ashamed of my laptop ignorance
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:50 PM   #47
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Ive built my own desktops. However never messed with a laptop. Can you upgrade the memory yourself on laptop? Im ashamed of my laptop ignorance
Yes, most of them are easier to upgrade than desktops. Just make sure you get the right RAM. Mostly 200-pin DDR2 these days.

Dell publishes the service guides online for most of their laptops. A hackers dream. There are even OC'able mod'able gamer's laptops on the market.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:41 PM   #48
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Yes, most of them are easier to upgrade than desktops. Just make sure you get the right RAM. Mostly 200-pin DDR2 these days.

Dell publishes the service guides online for most of their laptops. A hackers dream. There are even OC'able mod'able gamer's laptops on the market.

Good deal then. Alot has changed since I paid much attention. If I remember correctly memory used to be not swappable. Now Im in the market for one I need to brush up on stuff.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:46 AM   #49
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Finally got a working well Dell M1330 XPS - not cheap by any means but a solid well thought out machine IMHO. First one arrived with a dead CD Player - Dell sent a new one with a tech and he installed it. Did not like the fact that he had to completely take the machine apart, several times, to get the job done. Called Dell and said thanks for fixing it but I want a new one - which they agreed to (helped to be within the 21 day return period). Second machine arrived yesterday and all works just fine. I did get a few upgrades (some of which are standard now). LED Screen (big improvement over TFT), SSD (small but no moving parts), Vista Ultimate, Office 2007 (Home and Student), 4 GB Memory, 7500 CPU, 128 Video. After all of the discounts it was about 40% of list.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:24 AM   #50
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Laptop memory can be easily upgraded, but you need to see whats in there and may have to remove the existing memory and replace it. Some machines have two ram slots and a pair of 512MB parts installed, so to go to 2GB you need two 1GB parts and those replace the two 512's. Some nicer vendors put a 1GB in one side and let you add another to the empty slot. Some have three slots.

They're usually behind a little door on the bottom, held on by a 1 or 2 screws. Occasionally I've seen a model where one of the slots is under the keyboard, although its usually a couple of screws to remove the keyboard and then its accessible.

Most manufacturers give you good documentation on where to find the memory slots.

Some laptops allow dual channel memory (improve performance, but frankly not a huge one), but both memory sticks have to be the same.

Generally within types (ddr2, ddr3), faster ram (like 5300 vs 4200) will work but offer no increase in speed unless the processor/motherboard has the ability to detect and switch to a faster bus speed. Some laptop makers (the real el cheapos) ship a laptop that can do 5300 with 4200 memory in it to save $10.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:26 AM   #51
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The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

Not bad but not stellar either. Nice dual core 14" machine, 160gb hard drive, dvd, 2gb ram, big 9 cell battery, $549. You can get the 2 year in home parts and labor warranty with 24x7 tech support for an extra $79 with a $25 dell gift card rebate. $600 for a well equipped long battery life machine with a 2 year warranty isnt bad. This is a fixed configuration, so no tweaking. Looks like Dell is getting rid of the old 65nm processor line to make room for the new 45's.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:23 AM   #52
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In the near future we plan on being on the road for extended periods of time. We will need internet access for local areas we are exploring for future retirement. Will a sub 800 $ system allow us to surf and check email while on the road without any issues? You all seem to be up to speed on laptops so any opinions welcome.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:28 AM   #53
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FWIW, I was just at my local new Wal-Mart and picked up a card on their Dell Inspiron 1501 nortbook computer. Here's the specs:
AMD Sempron 3600 processor
1 GB memory & 80 GB hard drive
8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
15.4" screen
6 cell battery & Dell Internal Wireless Mini Card
Windows Vista Home Premium
1 yr. Lilmited Warranty & 24/7 Technical Support

Price: $498
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:51 AM   #54
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Divot in that machine is the Sempron. Its pretty power hungry, runs pretty hot, is single core and not a very good performer. For about the same price you can get a Vostro 1000 with a dual core AMD processor thats a lot cooler running and better on the battery usage, plus it'll have a lot more horsepower. For a few bucks more than that, you can get a core2duo machine thats a good bit faster and better on the battery than the amd dual core.

Presuming you wont use the machine until it drops, a core 2 duo will have some decent resale. The AMD X2 less so. Good luck selling a 3-4 year old sempron machine.

Well cared for, most of these notebooks I've listed recently could be sold in 2-3 years for at least $300-350. Pretty nice to get a pretty good machine, use it for 3 years and then get most of your money back from it, turn around and buy another new one with better features and brand new hard drives and dvd drives rather than ones on their last legs.

Notmuchlonger...any of these laptops above are perfectly adequate for what you want to do. Except the Sony, which sold out almost immediately.

You'll need access to a free or rented wifi connection, a phone line, or to buy a wireless adapter and service from one of the cell phone providers for network access.

If using some internet cafe, coffee shop or other 'retail open wifi' connection, I would not perform any sensitive transactions such as financial institution access and I would be very careful to make sure that any file sharing options are turned off on your machine.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:33 PM   #55
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Thank you for the insight. Now Ill need to figure out what kind of internet access we want to buy for it.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:55 AM   #56
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The Dell Online Store: Build Your System

Not too bad. Core 2 duo with 2gb ram, a 250gb hard drive and a 9 cell extended run battery for $579.

Make sure you opt for the free dual layer burner with roxio. You can also extend the warranty to two years of onsite service for $79.

If you're experiencing some problems with distance on your wireless connectivity (WAP upstairs, computer downstairs), you might want to chip in the $29 for the intel 3945 version for a bit better weak signal pickup.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:09 AM   #57
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If using some internet cafe, coffee shop or other 'retail open wifi' connection, I would not perform any sensitive transactions such as financial institution access and I would be very careful to make sure that any file sharing options are turned off on your machine.
Does using Linix and Firefox reduce the risk?
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:41 AM   #58
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I know the Vostro is a popular choice here. I bought a 1000. Is anyone else having a problem with the built-in "mouse" taking a single click as a double click? If so, I've found a fix. I thought I'd pass it along because the problem was very annoying to me. I'm not sure if the problem is on all Vostros or just the 1000, but here's what I've done to fix mine.

Reboot and hit F12 during startup to go into Diagnostics mode. On the menu scroll down to select Diagnostics. It'll run for about 5 minutes.

When it finishes, it'll ask if you want to run advanced Diags. Select No.

Then you have a menu of choices. Select Custom Diagnostics, then Mouse. (or maybe it's touchpad--I can't remember exactly but there was one obvious choice)

It'll run another few minutes, and ask you to click each button at some point.

When finished, exit the diagnostics menu, and it'll reboot. The double click problem should be gone.

Sorry if I don't have the steps exactly correct, but it was pretty easy to follow.

I know there are also options on the control panel for the mouse and touchpad, but none of those had fixed this problem.

However, I've heard the problem may come back. If it does for me, I'm going to report it to Dell and hope for a driver fix, and also re-run diagnostics, and hope it's not a daily or weekly thing.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:46 AM   #59
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Does using Linix and Firefox reduce the risk?
A little bit, but I still wouldnt do it. I like to know who owns the access point i'm using and what peers have access to my machine.

Being behind your own access point with no unknown peers makes exploiting your machine a great deal harder.

Every operating system and browser has exploitable faults, including linux and firefox.

I'd really feel like a tin hat moron if people werent making dedicated handheld units that buyers can take into open wireless networks that attempt to exploit all peers and capture information from them...and selling them by the truckload. And most corporations using VPN's with hardware keys and additional password...theres a reason for that...

In all likelihood, you could enjoy years of public access to your personal accounts and information without ever having anything bad happen to you. You could also run across the road a few hundred times with a bag over your head and probably never get hit by a car.

If you were using a read only thumbdrive (or protected EEE!) OS/browser combo that used a strong encryption scheme 100% of the time and the sites you access provide advanced security helpers like a user selected photo or phrase, then you'd probably be good.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:50 AM   #60
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I bought a 1000. However, I've heard the problem may come back.
That'll teach you for buying one of those AMD based POS...

You're just lucky it hasnt bitten you or caught fire.
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