Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Light cheap Laptop/Notebook with Windows that can have Linux installed

Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
Share
August 6, 2011 7:39:14 PM

Background: I've been a Unix person since '83 and had Macs since '91. Used various versions of Windows on client sites. Currently doing php/mysql web development.

To avoid taking my 17" laptop on holiday with flight weight restrictions I'm thinking of getting a cheap, small, light Netbook/Notebook/Laptop to keep two weeks of emails under control. If I leave them till I get home I lose another couple of days catching up as I'm then less ruthless with the delete key. My preferred eventual solution would be for it to run some version of Linux. I also need access to Windows 7 for website testing.

My thoughts are to buy a Windows 7 Netbook/… that can have a Linux installed instead after this holiday, leaving me a Windows 7 license that I can run under WMVare on my iMac. This assumes that I would have installation DVDs for Windows 7, which I gather is not automatic.

Can anyone please suggest a suitable Netbook/… and recommend a source? It needs to be cheap, ideally £200 or less as its purpose is holiday only. If it costs a little bit more to get the Windows DVD than so be it - that's a work budget, but I guess it would be a cheaper way to get the DVD.

Any other thoughts welcome (except for "leave it at home" :-) ).

David

a c 572 D Laptop
August 6, 2011 7:48:26 PM

Hello DavidLedger;

If you're OK with the 10" 1024x600 LCD format you can get a dual core Atom netbook in your price range
Samsung N150 Plus £199 Windows 7 starter included.
You're right - you wouldn't have the Win7 install media, just the installation partition on the HDD.
Samsung N150 Plus Review
Related resources
August 7, 2011 1:45:18 PM

WR2 said:
Hello DavidLedger;

If you're OK with the 10" 1024x600 LCD format you can get a dual core Atom netbook in your price range
Samsung N150 Plus £199 Windows 7 starter included.
You're right - you wouldn't have the Win7 install media, just the installation partition on the HDD.
Samsung N150 Plus Review


WR2 said:
If you want to look at the higher 1366x768 / 1280x720 resolution 'Netbooks:
Acer Aspire One 522 or HP Mini 210
Acer Aspire One 522 Netbook review
HP Mini 210 Review



Thanks for that. Very useful. The Samsung looks like the sort of thing I'm looking for. One thing I hadn't appreciated is the use of the Atom in these devices, which could make quite a difference. I imagine a Windows for a Atom isn't going to run in a VMWare environment (?), so that really splits the Windows for web testing back into its own project. Would there be a version of Linux that would run on Atom and be installable on the Samsung N150? If I did eventually put Linux on one, would 1GB of memory be a practical restriction?

Web testing on a screen small enough to take on holiday isn't really an option for the site I'm working on, and as my normal working setup has four screens in a row driven by one keyboard and mouse, I wouldn't want to add a fifth. For me in the Unix world the 'normal' Intel chip has been Integrity, with the …/i5/i7 being the low end. I'd only been vaguely aware of the Atom.

David

a c 572 D Laptop
August 7, 2011 3:13:28 PM

The dual core Atom CPU has about the same CPU power as a single core Celeron of five or six years ago.
Linux would probably be more suitable for a low powered, 1GB RAM, 'Netbook than Win7, especially a 'Netbook version like Ubuntu Netbook Remix.
VMWare might run but I hate to think how slow it would be having to swap to the HDD all the time. Upgrading to 2GB of RAM would cost about £10.

August 7, 2011 5:02:40 PM

WR2 said:
The dual core Atom CPU has about the same CPU power as a single core Celeron of five or six years ago.
Linux would probably be more suitable for a low powered, 1GB RAM, 'Netbook than Win7, especially a 'Netbook version like Ubuntu Netbook Remix.
VMWare might run but I hate to think how slow it would be having to swap to the HDD all the time. Upgrading to 2GB of RAM would cost about £10.


Looking at Ubuntu Netbook Remix I see that 1GB isn't really enough for Windows either, but it the 2nd GB is £10 it's a no brainer.

I also see that the Atom 'supports' the same instruction set as the _x86 series. Does that mean that it _is_ the x86 instruction set? The VMWare I mentioned would be running on an iMac, not the Netbook - it would just be a way of running Windows 7 and it IE browser on a large screen in front of me rather than on the Netbook. Would the Windows 7 shipped on it run on an x86 box if I could extract it?

I realise that some of this is probably googleable, but sorting out the 'ifs & buts' would take days.

Thanks again,
David

a c 572 D Laptop
August 7, 2011 5:31:09 PM

Netbooks have just the 1 RAM slot. And 2GB is the max it will handle.

Amazon UK is carrying the N150 Plus with prices from £240 to £280 from what I saw.

Atom is an x86 CPU, no doubt about that. You might be interested in reading this THG article: Pentium 4 Vs. Atom: A Battle Of The Generations It's the desktop D510 Atom which is only slightly more powerful than the mobile N550.

I'm pretty sure your only challenge re-using Win7 is the terms of the license.
Otherwise a dual boot setup Win7 Starter / Linux is an easy option with that 250GB HDD.


August 16, 2011 4:24:00 PM

Thanks for all your good information. On Friday I received an email offer from HP for one of their minis at £189. The spec looks the same as the Samsung, so I ordered it. It arrived today and so far looks as it it will do all I need. I wouldn't have jumped in and bought If I hadn't learned here.

Hopefully my future questions will be answered in the archives.

David
!