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AuthorTopic: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...  (Read 316 times)

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Offline XDelusion

Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« on: December 18, 2014, 05:23:34 PM »
I got a friend who would like to spend no more than $400 on a laptop, but does not want a cheap one that will due in less than 3 years, and would also like to be able to have a 128Gb SSD drive installed.

Windows 7 would be preferred over 8, and at least 2Gb of RAM.

Laptop must be new. Any suggestions on models that could fit this bill?
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline Duce

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Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 05:49:07 PM »
Lots of decent ones for under $400, but I wouldn't expect a 128 GB (or even an SSD at all) for that price.  Finding one with Windows 7 on it might be another issue in itself.

I've spent some time with the ASUS D550CA-RS31 ($379 MSRP) recently and came away fairly impressed, and I'm a real hard arsed critic of lower end laptops.  It doesn't come with an SSD or W7, however.

But Windows 8.1 is just fine.  Windows 8.0 was a bit of a stinker, but 8.1 can be run in desktop mode just great.

Only thing I dislike terribly about any low end laptop is the usual Intel integrated graphics, but not gonna get away from that one at that price point by any means.
 

Offline Oldsmobile_Mike

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 06:35:22 PM »
What is it with people on this forum and being cheap-asses? LOL. ;)

I build computers all day long. Get a used laptop for a couple hundred bucks off your local craigslist. Something like a Dell Latitude D630, I see those all day long and Latitude's are fantastically reliable business-class machines. Add an SSD from newegg.com for a hundred bucks. Buy a license for Win 7 for $69. Pocket the rest of the money. Done.  :hammer:
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Amiga 2000: 2MB Chip|136MB Fast|50MHz 68060|3.9|Indivision ECS + GVP Spectrum|Mechware card reader + 8GB CF|AD516|X-Surf 100|RapidRoad|Cocolino|SCSI CD-RW
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Offline XDelusion

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 06:43:44 PM »
Quote from: Duce;780106
Lots of decent ones for under $400, but I wouldn't expect a 128 GB (or even an SSD at all) for that price.  Finding one with Windows 7 on it might be another issue in itself.

I've spent some time with the ASUS D550CA-RS31 ($379 MSRP) recently and came away fairly impressed, and I'm a real hard arsed critic of lower end laptops.  It doesn't come with an SSD or W7, however.

But Windows 8.1 is just fine.  Windows 8.0 was a bit of a stinker, but 8.1 can be run in desktop mode just great.

Only thing I dislike terribly about any low end laptop is the usual Intel integrated graphics, but not gonna get away from that one at that price point by any means.



Thanks, according to the reviews, the  ASUS D550CA-RS31 looks nice. SSD can always be a future upgrade. :)
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline giZmo350

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 07:03:00 PM »
I build machines day in and day out too.... just beware of what you're buying. I personally have not sold this model so can't confirm reviews. However, you might want to read here...

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-15-6-Inch-Laptop-500GB-Drive/dp/B00HNWLYSK

If it's true that this machine can not boot from optical, you're donzo! You MUST be able to recover the system from some other source than the internal HDD at some point. And doesn't appear to have 8.1 installed. And yes, it takes 8 to 10 hours to update an 8.0 machine. Asus has really gone downhill with their budget machines in the last couple of years IMHO.

Suggest a Joy Systems Dell refurb from Tiger Direct Joy Systems machines also come with a 1 year warranty. I just bought a bunch of i5, 15.6", 2BG mem, 320GB HDD, Wireless N, Giga Ethernet, Bluetooth, DVD-RW, Win 7 Pro 64bit laptops from Tiger for $270 each (but they all had to have BIOS and OS updated - takes a while and ya kinda need to know what your doing).
 
 Ya, they still have 'em....
 
 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=9544685&srkey=JOS-102804737
 
PS - Just another peeps opinion - but I've been in this biz for a long time! :)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 07:12:12 PM by gizmo350 »
A500: 2MB Chip, 8MB Fast, IndiECS, MiniMegi, IDE4ZorroII on Z-500, KS1.3/KS3.1, WB3.1&BWB
 
A2000HD: 2MB Chip, 128MB Fast, P5:Blizz 2060@50MHz, PCD-50B/4GBCF, XSurf100, RapidRoad, IndiECS, Matze RTG, MiniMegi, CD-RW, SunRize AD516, WB3.9
 
A1200: 2MB Chip, 64MB Fast, 4GBCF, GVP Typhoon 030 @40MHz w/FPU, Subway USB, EasyNet Ethernet, Indi AGA MKI, FastATA MK-IV, Internal Slim CD/DVD-RW, WB3.5

"The internet doesn't weigh anything Jen
 

Offline spaceman88

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2014, 09:58:16 PM »
Try to find a HP 6550b. They are a couple of years old, come with Win 7 pro, i5 CPU, 4 GB RAM, 250 GB HD and Wide screen display. Good solid business class unit, screen won't break if your cat jumps on it, like most of the new consumer units. I've sold a dozen or so with no problems.
 

Offline XDelusion

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2014, 12:17:40 AM »
Quote from: gizmo350;780118
I build machines day in and day out too.... just beware of what you're buying. I personally have not sold this model so can't confirm reviews. However, you might want to read here...

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-15-6-Inch-Laptop-500GB-Drive/dp/B00HNWLYSK

If it's true that this machine can not boot from optical, you're donzo! You MUST be able to recover the system from some other source than the internal HDD at some point. And doesn't appear to have 8.1 installed. And yes, it takes 8 to 10 hours to update an 8.0 machine. Asus has really gone downhill with their budget machines in the last couple of years IMHO.

Suggest a Joy Systems Dell refurb from Tiger Direct Joy Systems machines also come with a 1 year warranty. I just bought a bunch of i5, 15.6", 2BG mem, 320GB HDD, Wireless N, Giga Ethernet, Bluetooth, DVD-RW, Win 7 Pro 64bit laptops from Tiger for $270 each (but they all had to have BIOS and OS updated - takes a while and ya kinda need to know what your doing).
 
 Ya, they still have 'em....
 
 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=9544685&srkey=JOS-102804737
 
PS - Just another peeps opinion - but I've been in this biz for a long time! :)


Word, sound advice there, I like the Tiger link!

A little higher than Ebay pricing on the same unit, but with the comfort of security!
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline giZmo350

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2014, 12:48:35 AM »
If you order one of these, you're gonna need some help with the drivers. Dell really screwed up the driver list for the E5510. There are three drivers in the 64bit list that are actually 32bit and the 32bit drivers are actually the 64bit drivers. I know.... sheesh! That screwed me up for two days! Installing the wrong drivers (the 32bit drivers will go on the 64bit install without complaining) will trash the install during the Win Updates! But I can always just zip up the 64bit drivers for you to download from me and install including the two BIOS updates that must be installed first! It ships with BIOS A3. But, you must install A10 before you can get to the latest A16 BIOS. I have them. I can then tell you the order the drivers must be installed. THEN, you can start the 8 hours of Windows updates. Then, one really nice thing, I can tell you where to get Dell's Backup and Recovery program that will allow you to create a full set of complete RECOVERY disks that takes a bootable snapshot of your entire drive at that moment! You'll never have to pay someone to reinstall Windows for you again! It's a sweet program! I can help you out no problem. Or, you can just start Win Updates as it is shipped and see if it works and installs the proper drivers from Dell...  but I ran into a problem doing that as a message would pop up during the Win Updates that the driver download needed an acknowledgment from Dell. Well, how the hell is a guy supposed to do that while in Win Updates! :roflmao: But the thing is, where are you going to get a Dell i5 widescreen laptop for $270.00 with a 1 year warranty. And Joy Systems are great! Oh, and the battery is included in the warranty - no NEW laptop includes the battery under warranty. I finally figured out what was going on with the drivers after trying a 32bit install. While installing the 32bit drivers - Windows complained that they were 64bit! BINGO! Problem solved. Maybe that's why they're selling them so cheap - no one knows that Dell's driver list is screwed up! LOL

Actually, are you in the states? If so, I'll just send you a set of recovery disks for the Latitude E5510 - Win 7 Pro 64bit! Pop 'em in and go! Takes about an hour or so and the OS will be activated and completely updated to yesterday! You'll have to create a new account if you want a different user name though. Easy Peasy. And a couple of other things after a system has been imaged - I'll tell you what to do. Oh, and BTW, if you use the recovery disks from me, Dell burning software (Roxio Creator), Dell DVD playing software (Power DVD), Adobe Reader & Flash, MS Security Essentials (excellent free Anit-virus) will be installed and everything will be configured for proper use.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 01:14:28 AM by gizmo350 »
A500: 2MB Chip, 8MB Fast, IndiECS, MiniMegi, IDE4ZorroII on Z-500, KS1.3/KS3.1, WB3.1&BWB
 
A2000HD: 2MB Chip, 128MB Fast, P5:Blizz 2060@50MHz, PCD-50B/4GBCF, XSurf100, RapidRoad, IndiECS, Matze RTG, MiniMegi, CD-RW, SunRize AD516, WB3.9
 
A1200: 2MB Chip, 64MB Fast, 4GBCF, GVP Typhoon 030 @40MHz w/FPU, Subway USB, EasyNet Ethernet, Indi AGA MKI, FastATA MK-IV, Internal Slim CD/DVD-RW, WB3.5

"The internet doesn't weigh anything Jen
 

Offline XDelusion

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2014, 01:25:44 AM »
Quote from: gizmo350;780146
If you order one of these, you're gonna need some help with the drivers. Dell really screwed up the driver list for the E5510. There are three drivers in the 64bit list that are actually 32bit and the 32bit drivers are actually the 64bit drivers. I know.... sheesh! That screwed me up for two days! Installing the wrong drivers (the 32bit drivers will go on the 64bit install without complaining) will trash the install during the Win Updates! But I can always just zip up the 64bit drivers for you to download from me and install including the two BIOS updates that must be installed first! It ships with BIOS A3. But, you must install A10 before you can get to the latest A16 BIOS. I have them. I can then tell you the order the drivers must be installed. THEN, you can start the 8 hours of Windows updates. Then, one really nice thing, I can tell you where to get Dell's Backup and Recovery program that will allow you to create a full set of complete RECOVERY disks that takes a bootable snapshot of your entire drive at that moment! You'll never have to pay someone to reinstall Windows for you again! It's a sweet program! I can help you out no problem. Or, you can just start Win Updates as it is shipped and see if it works and installs the proper drivers from Dell...  but I ran into a problem doing that as a message would pop up during the Win Updates that the driver download needed an acknowledgment from Dell. Well, how the hell is a guy supposed to do that while in Win Updates! :roflmao: But the thing is, where are you going to get a Dell i5 widescreen laptop for $270.00 with a 1 year warranty. And Joy Systems are great! Oh, and the battery is included in the warranty - no NEW laptop includes the battery under warranty. I finally figured out what was going on with the drivers after trying a 32bit install. While installing the 32bit drivers - Windows complained that they were 64bit! BINGO! Problem solved. Maybe that's why they're selling them so cheap - no one knows that Dell's driver list is screwed up! LOL

Actually, are you in the states? If so, I'll just send you a set of recovery disks for the Latitude E5510 - Win 7 Pro 64bit! Pop 'em in and go! Takes about an hour or so and the OS will be activated and completely updated to yesterday! You'll have to create a new account if you want a different user name though. Easy Peasy. And a couple of other things after a system has been imaged - I'll tell you what to do. Oh, and BTW, if you use the recovery disks from me, Dell burning software (Roxio Creator), Dell DVD playing software (Power DVD), Adobe Reader & Flash, MS Security Essentials (excellent free Anit-virus) will be installed and everything will be configured for proper use.


Wow, yes, thank you for the offer. I do live in the States and should she purchase this I'll certainly be willing to take you up on that offer... sounds a bit like my trusty Precisions M4400. The GFX drivers were tricky....

It's it odd how these companies can make great machines but can't do their drive pages correct, like EVER?! :)
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline giZmo350

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2014, 01:39:48 AM »
Yea, Dell used to have the greatest Driver division on the planet! It was a major undertaking by one Dell employee about 10 years or so ago. And he did a great job. But sadly, he must have left and the current employees are kinda screwing it up. It's still great, and this is the worst screw up I've seen but these Dells are the best. Everything is accessible under the bottom cover by removing only one screw. Plus, 64bit allows you to install up to 8GB of memory later (32bit can only go to 4GB). An i5 w/Turbo Boost & 8GB of memory screams!

So, let me know if you go that route & glad to help.

BTW, HP doesn't use lead in their solder (for a long time now) and the motherboards fail constantly due to the solder joints cracking (ever notice that you can fry an egg on an HP laptop?)! The HP motherboard failure rate is an epidemic with their consumer products!
A500: 2MB Chip, 8MB Fast, IndiECS, MiniMegi, IDE4ZorroII on Z-500, KS1.3/KS3.1, WB3.1&BWB
 
A2000HD: 2MB Chip, 128MB Fast, P5:Blizz 2060@50MHz, PCD-50B/4GBCF, XSurf100, RapidRoad, IndiECS, Matze RTG, MiniMegi, CD-RW, SunRize AD516, WB3.9
 
A1200: 2MB Chip, 64MB Fast, 4GBCF, GVP Typhoon 030 @40MHz w/FPU, Subway USB, EasyNet Ethernet, Indi AGA MKI, FastATA MK-IV, Internal Slim CD/DVD-RW, WB3.5

"The internet doesn't weigh anything Jen
 

Offline ElPolloDiabl

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2014, 02:30:53 AM »
It should be able to boot from optical drive, that would be set in the BIOS.
The recovery disk will be on the hard drive.

The DELL would be very nice, but I say get the ASUS.
Go Go Gadget Signature!
 

Offline giZmo350

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2014, 02:37:52 AM »
Quote from: ElPolloDiabl;780153
It should be able to boot from optical drive, that would be set in the BIOS.
The recovery disk will be on the hard drive.

The DELL would be very nice, but I say get the ASUS.

Well, according to the Amazon link I posted above, a lot of peeps discovered that this unit's BIOS won't allow booting from optical. That's messed up! Even if there's a recovery disk creation program, you wouldn't be able to recover the system from the optical disks! And if the Hard Drive ever goes bad, the recovery is gone forever. Only recourse would be to install from scratch and load drivers... oh wait, can't do that either 'cause you can't boot from USB or optical drive! And don't forget that Win 8 does not come with a license key. Ever find a COA sticker on a Win 8 machine? Yea, NOT! Check out those Amazon reviews...

For example......

"The user should be aware that the BIOS has been crippled in this  Notebook to prevent the user from booting from USB or DVD.  Also, the  machine was supplied without a Micro$oft COA and Windows 8 product key  except the one embedded in the machine from the pre-loaded Windows 8.   Also noted, the cursor tends to drift when accessing the left touchpad  button requiring one hand to hold the cursor in place while the other  hand clicks the touchpad button.

Stardock.Com's Start8 is a  valuable tool to return the desktop to the user for some productivity.   Start8 makes Windows usable and useful.

I would have given this  machine perhaps four stars if ASUS hadn't crippled the BIOS function(s).   Also, current methods of pre-loading Windows 8 is done at the expense  and detriment of the user/purchaser.  Out of warranty hardware failures  will significantly hurt the buyer and could result in the loss of access  to Windows 8 altogether"
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 03:16:16 AM by gizmo350 »
A500: 2MB Chip, 8MB Fast, IndiECS, MiniMegi, IDE4ZorroII on Z-500, KS1.3/KS3.1, WB3.1&BWB
 
A2000HD: 2MB Chip, 128MB Fast, P5:Blizz 2060@50MHz, PCD-50B/4GBCF, XSurf100, RapidRoad, IndiECS, Matze RTG, MiniMegi, CD-RW, SunRize AD516, WB3.9
 
A1200: 2MB Chip, 64MB Fast, 4GBCF, GVP Typhoon 030 @40MHz w/FPU, Subway USB, EasyNet Ethernet, Indi AGA MKI, FastATA MK-IV, Internal Slim CD/DVD-RW, WB3.5

"The internet doesn't weigh anything Jen
 

Offline ElPolloDiabl

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2014, 05:08:02 AM »
@above
Check the comments to his review. He fixed it by disabling fast-boot.
Go Go Gadget Signature!
 

Offline XDelusion

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2014, 05:11:47 AM »
Quote from: gizmo350;780149

BTW, HP doesn't use lead in their solder (for a long time now) and the motherboards fail constantly due to the solder joints cracking (ever notice that you can fry an egg on an HP laptop?)! The HP motherboard failure rate is an epidemic with their consumer products!


I've heard about such things, very curious! Do you know where any official articles are on this that I could share with people so they would believe me if I told them?
Earth has a lot of things other folks might want... like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made, like more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and room for their way of life. - William S. Burroughs
 

Offline danwood

Re: Got a friend looking for $400 or less laptop...
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2014, 08:45:46 AM »
Quote from: Oldsmobile_Mike;780109
. Buy a license for Win 7 for $69.


I wouldn't bother with that, just use 8.1 that comes with all laptops. You can install the free Classic Shell or Start8 and it is pretty much identical to Win 7 (you never see the Metro/New UI stuff).