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Pig Monkey

College Laptops

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Any opinions/recommendations as far as laptops for those of us going off to college next year is concerned?

Right now I'm looking at a Dell Inspiron 8600. The IBM Thinkpads appear to be the nicest, but are way too expensive.

I'll be putting Linux on it for sure, so I'm also wondering what the best laptop is for that, as far as hardware support.

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Hey, I'm lookin to get money saved up for a laptop for college too. I'm gonna put linux on it too. I've done some searching around and still havent found much that I liked.

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IF you are going to buy a laptop that will be running linux exclusively, you might want to consider laptops with linux installed.  That way, you aren't paying for software you are not going to use.

Here are some affordable refurbished laptops:

http://www.linuxcertified.com/linux-laptop-refurbished.html

-e

A good idea, but those are too old. I want something than can act as my only computer for four years and, well, four years down the line I don't hink 700MHz will cut it.

I like what Emporer Linux does, but they're too expensive.

The upside of buying direct from Dell or whomever is that I can get the nifty "Accidental Damage" warranty, which means I can drop it and spill stuff on it all I want.

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I found Sub $300 PCs and they have some nice laptops pretty cheap, but you will have to install your distro of linux, they come installed with Linspire.

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I have an old Thinkpad that does exactly what I need it to. Everything works as it should in Debian SID, I get 4-5 hours off the battery and it's really slick. I've been using a company Compaq for a few days, and the feel just isn't the same. The keyboard is loud and the placement of the keys (apart from being QWERTY) just isn't very intuituve. It's bulky, heavy, power-hungry and the battery doesn't last more than 2 hours. All it has going for it is that it looks "good" with silver trim around the keyboard and a big screen. You could probably find a used or refurbished Thinkpad on eBay. IBM makes really solid feeling laptops. As for laptops in college, some places won't even allow you on the LAN if you're not using Windows. Many places are really ignorant like that. I'd find out before I dropped large ducats on a new laptop for school if I were you (If they'll do iBooks - They probably won't care that you're using Linux)

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I have an old Thinkpad that does exactly what I need it to.

I've got a fairly new Thinkpad that works incredibly well with Linux. Sound card, modem, and wireless all work fine, and the price of IBM's stuff is well worth it, considering the hard drives in Dell's computers fail within a few months.

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I just got a Dell laptop. Let me give you a bit of advice if you're looking in that direction.

1) Make sure you get everything you want in it when you get it. RAM is pretty easy to upgrade, but pretty much everything else is a pain in the ass. And if you don't recongize the name of the video card, upgrade it. I went with the 32 meg off-brand video card instead of the nVidia, and I can't get any of the live CDs to boot properly with it.

2) Listen to Underfire Radio...I think it's Episode 4?...where I SE Dell Tech Support. Lots of info in that episode about how Dell's tech support works.

3) Back up your data and then don't worry about reliability. If the computer breaks, Dell WILL get it fixed. They just only worry about the hardware and can't do crap for your data. And do NOT tell them if you change from the OS they give you with the computer. They won't do anything until you uninstall it and reinstall XP Home or whatever it is.

The Abstruse One

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the hard drives in Dell's computers fail within a few months.

I've known a few people with Dell laptops and they've had no trouble with the hard drives.

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I've had a Sager for the past eight months or so and it works great. It was cheap for the specs. Not sure about linux support... it works nicely with most of the live CDs I've tried. I bought mine from pctorque.com

If you're interested check out the Sager forums on

notebookforums.com for info about Linux support, etc.

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ive said it before and ill say it again. thinkpad laptop.

my dog spilled coke on it, 2 days later they had sent me a free new keyboard. my other dog chewed up the power brick cord, they sent me a new one 2 days later for FREE. the upfront cost may be more than a dell, but when your dell breaks, you have to PAY DELL LOTS OF MONEY!!!! and you have to send it in usually. if you need it for school, thinkpad should be the only option.

also the thinkpad looks cool and runs linux

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i recently got a Gateway 7210GX, and so far its nice. i run Ubuntu linux on it, everything worked right off of install. it was nice.it is pretty fuckin big and battery life aint that great. the WXGA screen takes some getting used to. I've used a Thinkpad and yea, im with everyone else here, they are pretty good.

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My Dell laptop (Inspiron 5160) has at-home service. No up-front costs. And if they do end up charging you for it, call Customer Care and throw a hissy fit. They'll usually credit you a bit of money just to shut you up.

The Abstruse One

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in home service is cool, have youi used it yet?

another plus of ibm is that when you call tech support, you get someone in atlanta that speaks english and believes you, you dont have to convince them that the cd drive is broken to get a new one.

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We are currently switching our users from the Dell D series to the T and X series Thinkpads. The reason....they work flawlessly. Not only will the Thinkpads run Linux with no problem but you are buying a machine that will work 4+ years down the road, no problem. You may pay a bit more for it but its worth it in my opionion. I use a Thinkpad 390E(got it in '99) everyday. Many of our Dell drives and MBs have failed and even though Dell has fixed them, its a pain in the ass. God forbid you have something important that cant be recovered. Dell's are pretty. Thinkpad's are solid.

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The Dell Inspiron 8600 I have customized at $2,108

The Thinkpad I've configured to match the Dell's specs is a G41 288698U at $2,547.99

Somebody loan me $450...

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Avoid the Dell Inspiron 1100's. They have a well known overheating problem due to the design on the heatsync. I actually just had a board on my 1100 get fried because of overheating. I am now without a laptop for a while. Sucks. I will probably have to reinstall a dual boot config of a new linux distro so I can get Kismet running again.

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I would reccommend not buying anything from dell. Personally I think their produts suck. I had a dell inspiron 2650 and many of the plastics broke, and the built in lcd came unplugged many times, also after about 5 months of using the nic I had to hold the ethernet cable to it. My suggestion, Powerbook G4.

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I haven't had it long enough to be able to make any statements of long-term reliability, but I love my Thinkpad T42.

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the hard drives in Dell's computers fail within a few months.

I've known a few people with Dell laptops and they've had no trouble with the hard drives.

The thing with dells laptops they are so prevelant, so the occasional hard drive failure is sometimes because of just odds, that and users with dells tend to be less catious. In the dorm I help with computers, out of the say 300 people, 2 dell hds failed

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