Jason Sares is a Giant Dork

Archive for January, 2010

Cheap Computers

The largest democratizing force in technology is the falling costs.  Moore’s law (and others) established that we can count on increases in performance at the same cost over time. And since the performance needed to run current applications has leveled off the entry costs of technology have finally started to decrease.  Innovators like Nicholas Negroponte saw this and introduced the concept to the masses and spawned a whole new segment of Laptops called Netbooks.  In turn this has put price pressure on the main stream Laptop and Desktop Markets.

The upshot is you can now buy decent Laptops and Desktops for $300 (or less), Netbooks for $250 (or less) and Nettops for $200. I’m going to start tracking the lowest prices on new and refurbished Laptops, Desktops, Netbooks, and Nettops. The Laptops and Desktops should come with Windows 7 or qualify for a free upgrade. The Netbooks and Nettops should come with XP since Windows 7 Starter is a joke.

Cheapest Laptop (15 inch screen):
New eMachines eME627-5583
$299 at MicroCenter
15.6″ Screen
AMD Athlon™ 64 TF-20 (1.6 GHz)
2GB RAM
ATI Radeon HD 3200
Windows 7 Home Premium
DVD Burner
160GB HD

Cheapest Desktop
Refurb Dell Inspiron 546 MiniTower
$269 at Dell Outlet
AMD Athlon X2 7550 (2.5GHz Dual Core)
4GB RAM
Windows Vista Home Premium (Free Upgrade to Windows 7)
DVD Burner
250GB HD

Cheapest Netbook
Refurb Dell Mini 10v
$239 at Dell Outlet
Intel Atom N280 (1.6 GHz)
1GB RAM
160GB HD
Windows XP

or

Asus 1005HAB-BLU001X
$229 at Overstock.com
Intel Atom N280 (1.6 GHz)
1GB RAM
160GB HD
Windows XP

Cheapest Nettop
Acer Aspire Revo AR1600-U910H
$199 at Newegg
Intel Atom 230 (1.6 GHz)
1GB RAM
160GB HD
Windows XP

4 comments

ULV Laptops

I’m really excited by all the new Ultra Low Voltage laptops.  They use either Intel’s Core based chips designated by the SU prefix (such as the Core 2 SU7300 or the Celeron SU2300) or AMD’s Neo line.  The ULV chips hit the sweet spot of performance, heat and cost.  Which means OEM can produce thin attractive laptops at a good price (under $600).

Since they are in slightly higher price point they come with Windows 7 Premium not that bastard step child Windows 7 Starter.

I’ve never been completely happy with the performance of the Atom chips, especially since Microsoft has mandated they only come with 1GB of RAM and Windows 7 Starter.  Even with the new dual core ones or tied with the Nvidia Ion the performance is just below the level I’d like.  The ULV processors are at a minimum 50% faster and cross the threshold for more demanding tasks like playing back Hulu fullscreen :P

I’m looking for something –

  • Around 1 inch thick and under 5lbs
  • HDMI Port
  • Don’t really care about Hard Disk size or Optical Drives
  • 4GB of RAM nice but not required
  • Dual Core nice but not required
  • AMD or Nvidia Graphics nice but not required
  • $600 or less
  • Sexy

Dell Inspiron 11z $475 from Amazon
11.6 inch Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium SU4100
Intel GMA 4500
4GB RAM
Thickness 0.92-1.02
Weight 3.05lbs (3 cell battery)

Dell Vostro v13 $600 from Dell
13.3 inch Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500
Intel GMA 4500
2GB RAM
Thickness 0.65-0.78
Weight 3.5lbs (6-cell battery)

BIG UPDATE

HP Pavilion dm3
$450 from Microsoft Store with Coupon MSStore-PC-40%

13.3 inch Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium SU4100
Intel GMA 4500
4GB RAM
Thickness 0.96-1.23
Weight 4.17 lbs (6-cell battery)

Toshiba Satellite T135-S1300
$520 from Microsoft Store

13.3″ Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium SU4100
Intel GMA 4500
4GB RAM
Thickness 0.87-1.35
Weight 3.88 lbs (6-cell battery)

HP Pavilion dm3z $575 from HP
13.3 inch Screen 1366 x 768
AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core L625
ATI Radeon HD 3200
2GB RAM
Thickness 0.96-1.23

HP Pavilion dm3t $600 from HP
13.3 inch Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Celeron SU2300
Intel GMA 4500
3GB RAM
Thickness 0.96-1.23
Weight 4.17 lbs (6-cell battery)

Lenovo Ideapad U350p $550 from Newegg
13.3″ Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium SU4100
Intel GMA 4500
3GB RAM
Thickness 0.7-1.0
Weight 3.52 lbs (4-cell battery)

Lenovo Ideapad U450p $550 $600 from Newegg
14″ Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium SU4100
Intel GMA 4500
3GB RAM
Thickness 0.9-1.1
Weight 4.6 lbs (6-cell battery)

Acer Timeline AS4810T-8480 $600 from Newegg
14″ Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500
Intel GMA 4500
4GB RAM
Thickness 0.9-1.1
Weight 4.2lbs (6-cell battery)

Acer Timeline AS1810TZ-4174 $600 from Newegg
11.6″ Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium SU4100
Intel GMA 4500
3GB RAM
Thickness 0.87-1.18
Weight 3.08lbs (6-cell battery)

Toshiba Satellite T135-S1300 $600 from Newegg
13.3″ Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium SU2700
Intel GMA 4500
3GB RAM
Thickness 0.87-1.35
Weight 3.88 lbs (6-cell battery)

Toshiba Satellite T135D-S1325 $600 from Newegg
13.3″ Screen 1366 x 768
AMD Turion Neo X2 L625
ATI Radeon HD 3200
4GB RAM
Thickness 0.87-1.35
Weight 3.88 lbs (6-cell battery)

Asus UL20 Series UL20A-A1 $550 from Newegg
12.1″ Screen 1280 x 800
Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300
Intel GMA 4500
2GB RAM
Thickness 0.9-1.2
Weight 4.18 lbs

UPDATE

Gateway EC1435u $400 from Gateway
11.6 inch Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Celeron Processor SU2300
Intel GMA 4500
2GB RAM
Thickness 0.87-1.18
Weight 3.08 lbs (6 cell battery)

Gateway EC1435u $550 from Gateway
11.6 inch Screen 1366 x 768
Intel Pentium Processor SU4100
Intel GMA 4500
3GB RAM
Thickness 0.87-1.18
Weight 3.08 lbs (6 cell battery)

3 comments