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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
What netbook to purchase from ebay for $150 +/- ?
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Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 5056
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Sat 31 Aug 2013, 19:45    Post subject:  

Hey, Mike, any updates on your Thinkpad?

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Joined: 16 Jun 2008
Posts: 3535
Location: 500 seconds from Sol

PostPosted: Tue 10 Sep 2013, 21:25    Post subject: Answering my own question, sort of  

Hi All,

First, thanks to all those who responded with suggestions. I considered each suggestion carefully, using them as “jumping off” points from which to conduct further research. Primarily, that research consisted of examining each computer's specifications, searching for posts comparing a computer to others in its class, reading the reviews of experts and, especially when possible, reading the reviews on Amazon and other sellers by those who purchased and used a computer. As I was primarily interested in finding a computer to be taken while traveling and that I could obtain on ebay for about $150 –and I already owned an Eeepc 701sd-- some of the computers suggested were eliminated as too big, too small or currently too expensive.
As my trip was scheduled shortly –and who knows what complications shipping and setup might present-- I reluctantly eliminated the dual-core Acer One recommended as I could find none employing the Athlon II Neo processor currently offered on ebay. While I am partial to Thinkpads and Lenovos, the older ones were too heavy, and I could find no reports regarding the compatibility with Linux on some of the newer models, while others were beyond my price-point.
Ultimately, my “wish-list” consisted of the following, in this order:
The Samsung NC10-14GW: On Amazon, roughly 450 users had given it a rating of 4 or 5, and none that I recall under 4. [Caution to the paranoid: When most reviews are positive, I have a tendency to quickly forget a few negative reviews, chalking them up to the occasional lemon one can expect from any mass production process, to cranks, or to disinformation].
The Msi Wind U-100: The average rating on Amazon of the 109 users was about 4.5. The most significant complaint was that the slightly truncated from full-size keyboard resulted in some difficulty becoming accustomed to the placement of the ?/ key.
The Acer Aspire One (various models). Nothing particularly wrong with them, just not receiving as many or frequent raves.
The Samsung, the Wind and most of the Acer Aspire One's employed a single-core Atom N270 Processor operating at 1.6 Ghz. Hard drives generally varied between 80 and 250 gbs, mostly 120's.
So now to open my browser to ebay, log on and buy something. Check out “Buy Now” first to see what things are selling for. Neither the Samsung or the Wind are being sold “Buy Now.” Eliminate “Buy Now” as a requirement and check which auctions are ending soonest, and which auctions will close within my time frame. There must be a good reason ebay auctions close using Pacific Time. Somehow that works out to dinner time or about 11 PM east-coast time. So, you're distracted or tired as well as being rushed.
It's been a while. I seem to have forgotten my technique for winning auctions. The only Samsung NC10. Dinner-time. Lost it. The only Msi Wind U-100. Eleven o'clock. Lost it.
Double-check for new listings that will close within my time frame. Nothing new. Expand my criteria to include the Aspires and not specify the N270 Processor. Scroll down the list. Ah! What is this? Acer Aspire One D270, dual-core, @ 1.6 Ghz, 320 Gb hard-drive, “like new” Buy Now $95 plus $12.95 shipping. What's a D270? Quick google search confirming represented specifications including stock Windows 7 Starter. And new ones are still being sold in stores for $300. Well, from the replies here, I had already decided that while I would prefer XP that I'd rarely use, a Windows 7 I'd almost never use was acceptable. Click “Buy Now.” Click “Confirm.” Log into Paypal and authorize payment. Go to sleep with an uneasy feeling.
Wake up with Buyer's Remorse. There's an old saw: If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't. Equally pertinent: after analyzing a problem and reaching a conclusion, don't second guess yourself without having an articulable reason. And never make a decision when you're tired. Great advice. Unlikely to come to mind when you're tired. Perhaps, knowing these, ebay doesn't authorize mulligans.
Lest you fall into despair sympathizing with my plight, this story has a sort of happy ending. http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=724955#724955.

So in the morning I begin an exhaustive search to figure out what kind of a mess I've gotten myself into. Skip back a paragraph and notice that the CPU commonly used by netbooks is the N270. What chip does the D270 use? The N260. Deceptive ain't it. How do you design a dual-core CPU which users complain runs slower than a single-core? Well, maybe its not the chip. Tests seem to indicate that the N260 isn't slower than the N270. And frankly, anyone coming from Windows XP or Linux will find that a computer with only 1 Gb of memory running Windows 7 (or later) will be slow. The real problem seems to center around the graphics chip employed: From a user's view-point, if graphics run slow, the computer appears slow. The graphic chip used by the D270 is variously referred to as Cedarview, gma600_gfx, Intel GMA-3600, but despite the latter name, it isn't really an Intel chip, merely licensed to it by PowerVR. Of the couple of graphics chips using the PowerVR design, Microsoft withdrew support for one. Intel, and apparently, PowerVR, produces no Linux drivers for the other, employed in the D270.
Posts expressing problems with the graphic chip immediately and have subsequently showed up on the Archlinux, Fedora and Ubuntu forums. If I recall correctly, silence on the Slackware forums. When the D270 first reached market, Ubuntu –then in its Precise Pangolin release-- developed drivers for the graphics chip. It has apparently not chosen to do so for versions based on subsequent kernels. Things looked pretty bleak until I decided to do a "Well-Minded" search to see if any of the Puppy Dev's had tackled the Cedarview chip. Why didn't I look here first? Sure enough technosaurus, 01micko and pemasu had come to the rescue. Ubuntu's inaction was not because those later kernels are unable to support that graphics chip. As indicated in the above referenced thread, pemasu's upup raring ran OOTB on the D270, and using xorgwizard the screen could be set to 1024x600, the D270's default resolution under Windows7. Additionally, several of the hardware controls accessed under Windows7 by pressing the Fn key + another key also work under upup raring. Others might. I'm still exploring.
Running under Puppys the D270 isn't a speed demon. But it runs web browsers, gimp and LibreOffice reasonably fast. I'd say more than adequate performance for a “travel-mate” or –for what I've read others are using it-- taking notes, sending emails and other college stuff.
If I knew then what I know now, would I buy it? Well, for my purposes it's fine. But I worry about what support there will be in the future for its graphic chip. Still, $115.65 including shipping. Some of my computers still run Lupu three years after playdaz published it. $38.55 per year. Definitely. Maybe.

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Joined: 18 Sep 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun 22 Sep 2013, 14:59    Post subject:
Subject description: Netbooks

slvrldy17 wrote:
An IBM X-30 series would be good or an X-60. I would avoid the X-40 series because the hard drives for them can be hard to find. The X-20 series will also work. Precise Puppy and/or Retro Precise should run well on any of them though. Their big advantage is a near full size keyboard - some of the netbooks almost require hobbit size hands to be able to type comfortably.

Hmm, bought an X40 for running Slacko 5.6. Running it purely off a tiny £5 Sandisk Cruzer Fit 8GB USB Stick. Bought the X40 with dock and HDD for £40, sold the HDD for £23 (and yes they are a bit rare) and still have the dock listed for £16 on Ebay so laptop will cost practically £7 when the dock sells. The only memory expansion I'm planning is slinging in an SD card in the built in reader as a photo and music storage,
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Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 2288

PostPosted: Fri 01 Nov 2013, 15:36    Post subject:  

I have that much now invested in my http://www.macomp.com/companionpc.asp

I have bought 2 more of these on ebay (the seller had 20 of them) for $45.00 a pop complete but without operating system or a a/c adpater.

I found that Lenovo IdeaPad S9 S9e S10 S10e S12 fits it. I am going to sell one of the 3 for 100 bucks locally with Slack0 5.6 on the 30gig zif 1.8" hard drive. It has a broken right arrow key but I remapped the right arrow key to use the right shift key instead.

xmodmap -e "keycode 62 = Right NoSymbol Right"

I already sold my eeepc 701SD and 900 locally and got what I asked for them also running Puppy Linux.

That seller does not offer that netbook anymore. They have a bunch of

Apple MacBook 13.3" Laptop A1181 C2D 2.20GHZ 2GB 120 GB SATA COMBO WIRELESS

instead in various states of condition and prices. They are not as cheap though as what I got mine for. More like $200.00 more expensive. Though they have some lower spec apple netbooks for under a hundred bucks. PM me if you want the ebay sales site link.
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Joined: 04 Oct 2013
Posts: 159
Location: N.E. USA

PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov 2013, 04:07    Post subject: Look for Eee 900a
Subject description: Should be under $100

I have both an original Eee-702 (8G Linux--Retired as of 11/1) and a 900a "BestBuy" model (4Gb-easily bricked by OS) that has been in storage 4+ yrs. waiting for the former's retirement. Plus, I also found another one w/16Gb SSD in it (swapped out the 4Gb) for under $100. On the first 900a, I put Slacko-Puppy 55-XL in it off CD then to thumb. Works very well and is up to date (using it now).

The 8.9" screen and 600x1024 is a standard i915/gme945 resolution, and keeps things portable. I sprung $35 for a 88mah battery to get 6+ hrs. but the battery weighs as much as the Eee Laughing

There is an issue with wifi, but Frisbee will solve... to use ethernet, SNS will work.

Sum it up... under $100 for a 900a and maybe get a new battery, or big battery. These older Eee have very good/excelent keyboards, and a Gig of RAM.
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Joined: 23 Nov 2006
Posts: 11281

PostPosted: Sun 03 Nov 2013, 08:53    Post subject:  

An ongoing thread it seems...

Perhaps we should include what not to by.....

Avoid like the plague HP2133 netbooks...they look shiny but are crud underneath. In fact anything with a sniff of VIA in it should be avoided.
Stock hardware failures and a nightmare with video drivers on linux...poor performance giving abysmal battery life. None of this mentioned in the adverts lol.

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