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Ultra-cheap laptop for my sister (<$500CAD)

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 23, 2009 1:55:49 AM

Hi all,

I'm trying to help my sister find a laptop. She doesn't really know what she wants except that it should be AS. CHEAP. AS. POSSIBLE, and new (she's had bad experiences with used/refurbished).

I'll try to fill in some of what I think she could use:

~15" in screen

Video card doesn't matter. (Only games are years-old adventure games.)

RAM: >=2GB

CPU: Preferably dual-core, but she doesn't do much multi-tasking, so maybe this isn't necessary? (This is the main point I'm looking for input on.)

DVD writer

No need for webcam, card reader, etc.

Nice to have 3+ USB ports, but not necessary.

Basically its max load will be a couple IM clients open, along with a bunch of Firefox tabs, and likely a DVD or AVI movie playing. It'll primarily be used as a desktop replacement, but will travel occasionally. Price is more important than battery life or weight.

She also tends to store a lot of video files and stuff, so a large HD would be nice, but I'm trying to convince her to get an external drive for that stuff and for backup anyway, so it might actually be a detriment! :) 

Finally, we're in Victoria, Canada.

What I've found so far are a couple cheap ones at Future Shop:
http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&...
http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&...

Question is whether the better processor, added RAM, and bigger HD are worth the cost.

Thanks in advance!
a b D Laptop
August 23, 2009 2:28:45 AM

The RAM and HDD space won't really bring anything extra, but you'll see a noticeable speed up with the better CPU. I would get the compaq.
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August 28, 2009 8:05:02 AM

frozenlead said:
The RAM and HDD space won't really bring anything extra, but you'll see a noticeable speed up with the better CPU. I would get the compaq.


You don't think 3GB vs 2 would be helpful for Vista?

They've just changed their prices though.. when I first looked it was $429 vs $469. Now it's $399 vs $499. So they're making the e-machine more attractive and the Compaq less... I'd love to recommend the better machine, but since her key consideration is cost, at $400 vs $500, I think we have to go with the cheaper one... (Unless you/people reeeally think it's worth it?)
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a b D Laptop
August 28, 2009 6:33:33 PM

It is a large speed bump for $100, but if she can't afford it (or doesn't want to) then the e-machines will do fine; just don't expect it to bound out of the gates with speed.
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