You are not logged in. [Log In]


Forums » General Discussion » The Water Cooler » Cheap laptop recommendations?

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#261953 - 05/31/09 10:47 AM Cheap laptop recommendations?
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder

My laptop is too slow, too small and thereís nothing more I can do to it. Itís time to buy something different.

I use this thing for uploading firmware into my electronic devices, display calibration software and vehicle ECU / TCU / PCM programming. I use it for nothing else and for the most part, it just sits on a shelf.

As I get more time, Iíll most likely get into room analysis, so itíll need a pretty good sound card.

It needs to have an RS 232 Serial port, CD burner and a decent sized screen.

Iíve found using Vista for burning firmware update disks can be problematic. I have had no issues with XP. Other than that, Iím not real sure which operating system I should go withÖ.

Iíd like to spend less than $500.

What do you think???
_________________________


Top
#261983 - 05/31/09 01:12 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: michael_d]
Joe_in_SC Offline
devotee

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 309
Loc: Charleston, SC
_________________________
I started out with nothing & I've still got most of it left
M60 VP160 QS8 EP350
M22 VP100
Algonquins

Top
#262003 - 05/31/09 04:02 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: Joe_in_SC]
Ray3 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/02/04
Posts: 2854
Loc: Rochester, NY
Mike,

Search on HP discounts. They usually have some kind of "build your own and get 30% off" think going. Also, you might check on their website and see if there is anything you like in their refurb section.

Top
#262009 - 05/31/09 05:45 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: Ray3]
Golden Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 138
Loc: Baltimore, MD
I'm a big fan of Deal News when looking for laptops and other generic electronics. They really find some great deals for laptops.
_________________________
M60x2, VP150, M22x2
Sennheiser HD-595
Onkyo TX-SR507, PS3 (40gb)

Top
#262010 - 05/31/09 05:47 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: Golden]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11677
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
This thread came around at the right time for me, too. I'll have to weigh my options.

Top
#262026 - 05/31/09 08:56 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: CV]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
If you're not in a big rush, the best way to get a killer deal on a new notebook is to watch XPBargains.com for a few days/weeks/months. Every so often they'll have a coupon code that'll work for a few hours/days that will get you hundreds off of certain notebooks from HP or Dell. Dell in particular.

I've bought both of my Dell notebooks with codes from XPBargains. The first one was ~$1,800 configured but with coupons it was only about $1k, and the second was about $1,200 configured but was about $700 after coupons.

Your requirement of a serial port may be a bit of a problem. A lot of notebooks don't come with them anymore, especially the lower priced ones. Would your gear work with a USB-to-Serial dongle? That would significantly simplify your search, as everything obviously comes with USB ports.

Good luck!
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

Top
#262046 - 06/01/09 01:57 AM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: PeterChenoweth]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
You an find a lot for <$700 if you shop correctly. Watch for coupons and possibly buy them on ebay for a few bucks at the most.

You can watch for dealzmodos on Gizmodo.com,

Try these too:
http://slickdeals.net/
http://www.techdeals.net/

Unfortunately, you will have a problem with RS232. Most laptops don't include them anymore. You'll need to buy an USB to RS232 converter. I suggest you buy the Kensington one, I've found it to be the most reliable and have the most drivers, including Macs. Should be less than $40.

Honestly, for your relatively 'meager' requirements, you may get away with a netbook. You can get a Dell Mini 10 for about $350. IIRC, the 10v supposedly has HD graphics and HDMI out. You can run Windows 7 on this type of machine and it'll scream. I have a Mini 9 with OSX and Win 7. Dell Mini 9 & Win 7 blows away my Thinkpad T42 running XP.


Edited by oldskoolboarder (06/01/09 01:58 AM)

Top
#262077 - 06/01/09 10:34 AM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: oldskoolboarder]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

I currently use a USB / RS232 adapter. It works, but can be 'buggy'. My engine monitor cables that plug into wireing harnesses is a real PITA to use with the adapter. That's why I was hoping to get a new laptop with RS232.
_________________________


Top
#262083 - 06/01/09 11:03 AM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: michael_d]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
Yes, those USB/RS232 adapters can be a PITA to work with. I remember having a Palm Pilot PDA that only had a serial port, and trying to get that to sync with a USB/RS232 adapter. Sometimes it'd work, other times it wouldn't. Just frustrating.

You may need to look at something like these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839328005

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839200014

That may, or may not, be more stable than the USB/RS232 adapter. Something to think about, anyway. If this idea works for you, then your options for a new notebook would be greatly increased, as most notebooks have PCIExpresscard slots these days. Do you have access to any sort of forum of folks that are doing what you're doing with the EM monitoring software? I'd think that they would be running into the same problem of not having notebooks with dedicated serial ports any more. I'd think that there ought to be some consensus on which adapters work and which don't. They might be able to point out notebook/adapter combinations that work for your intended application.

I like the netbook idea. But be sure you've got enough connectivity and hard drive space to do what you need to do. Your port options and expandability will be somewhat limited with a netbook. And if you're using XP, make sure you get a netbook with XP on it. Many come with Ubuntu (linux). Ubuntu is great, but it might not work for you if your OBDII software is XP/Windows based. A little $300 Asus eeePC 904H (9" screen, XP, 160GB HD) might be just perfect for you. It's just a matter of whether it has enough connectivity and processor power to do what you need to do. I bet it'd have enough raw power to work for you. I'd just be a little concerned about the connectivity aspect. With a netbook, you're going to have to use that RS232/USB dongle to make this work. And I don't know if that will be even more problematic when using a netbook.

A buddy has an eeePC that he just absolutely loves. He has a nearly brand new $2,500+ gaming notebook, but he seems to adore that silly little $300 netbook more. ;\) They are pretty sweet. The size and value is simply unbelievable.


Edited by PeterChenoweth (06/01/09 11:09 AM)
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

Top
#262223 - 06/02/09 12:06 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: PeterChenoweth]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder
Thanks Peter. Those gadgets might just be my only other option. I canít find a laptop with RS232. I did find a couple used ones on Ebay, but Iím not a computer guy, so Iíd rather not take my chances on buying used.

The Netbook looks like cute, but not really what I need. I do not plan on using it for anything that would require on-line access, other than my home LAN.

The mini laptops are out as well.... I need a 15" screen or better for my display calibration software. It's tough to use if I can't see it.

Out of the laptops on this page, which one looks to be the best? I think Iíll just order one of them and be done with this.

http://dealnews.com/features/Weekend-Lap...ore/299732.html
_________________________


Top
#262225 - 06/02/09 12:17 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: michael_d]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
Definitely get a Core 2 Duo laptop--the Celerons and Pentiums are right out.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

Top
#262231 - 06/02/09 12:58 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: Ken.C]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6469
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Definitely get a Core 2 Duo laptop--the Celerons and Pentiums are right out.

And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it." Amen.
_________________________
Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

Top
#262233 - 06/02/09 01:22 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: medic8r]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
You obviously badly need one of these. My wife won't let me order one but I might anyways and keep at the office.

Plush Killer Bunny from Monty Python
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

Top
#262236 - 06/02/09 01:39 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: Murph]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
oh ya, and one of these.

"Every time you Can Has" T-Shirt
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

Top
#262237 - 06/02/09 01:45 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: Murph]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder
 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Definitely get a Core 2 Duo laptop--the Celerons and Pentiums are right out.


Is #2 and #3 the only ones wiht the Core 2 Duo? Or do others have it and just call it something different?
_________________________


Top
#262238 - 06/02/09 01:54 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: michael_d]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
#5 seems to have a Core 2 also.

I like how Mike just gathers information and then decides. It's so refreshing for somebody to not belabor the intricacies of a technology purchase.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

Top
#262273 - 06/02/09 04:54 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: tomtuttle]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA

Top
#262366 - 06/03/09 08:10 AM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: oldskoolboarder]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
A great price but you may want to read this review first. Sounds like the touch interface is still in a bit of an 'early adopter's' stage, if you know what I mean. Other reviews are similar in comments. It has more processing power than most of the other touch options in the netbook world though so it depends what you need.

I only mention it because I have been researching touch, tablet PCs and stuff lately as a more portable document manipulator for travel.
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

Top
#262378 - 06/03/09 10:32 AM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: Murph]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder
Hu.... I ordered the Toshiba last night for $450, opened the link posted above again this morning and they now have several more Core 2 machines all under $400. Sonofabitch! Oh well...this is done and I can concentrate on something else now.
_________________________


Top
#262381 - 06/03/09 10:48 AM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: michael_d]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
 Originally Posted By: mdrew
Hu.... I ordered the Toshiba last night for $450, opened the link posted above again this morning and they now have several more Core 2 machines all under $400. Sonofabitch! Oh well...this is done and I can concentrate on something else now.


Can't you cancel & reorder? I would!
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

Top
#262390 - 06/03/09 12:00 PM Re: Cheap laptop recommendations? [Re: PeterChenoweth]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
Man, tech will catch you every time. I finally pulled the trigger on my new build, and all of the sudden (yeah, Computex), Intel finally announced their new midrange. My processor will probably be discontinued, and the socket will be very expensive to upgrade. Oops.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  alan, Amie, Andrew, axiomadmin, Brent, Debbie, Ian, Jc 
Forum Stats

15,260 Registered Members
16 Forums
24,053 Topics
424,763 Posts

Most users ever online:
883 @ 03/04/17 05:06 PM

Top Posters
Ken.C 18044
pmbuko 16437
SirQuack 13576
CV 11677
MarkSJohnson 11444
3 registered (Zunami, Wid, Gr8_White_North)
188 Guests and
7 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newsletter Signup