The Tank, my fusty, creaky, heavy desktop replacement-style notebook, is rapidly approaching obsolesence for much of what I need to do with it these days. The battery’s dead, and I don’t feel like spending a hundred bucks on a new one when battery life pretty much sucked, anyway. I’m on my third AC adapter, and it’s starting to bite the dust. I find myself upgrading the hard drive every six months, and notebook HDDs aint cheap. I even bought at used slimline CDRW on Ebay and dremeled down the bezel to get it to fit into my case.
Basically, I’ve upgraded it as much as a geek can reasonably be expected to upgrade something that was never intended to be upgraded in the first place. On the occasions where I need to haul it around with me, it’s a giant pain in the ass, and the marketing guys make fun of me at work.
I’ve got about $1200 to spend, and I’m going to put half of that towards a relatively sweet desktop system.
I’d like to put the remainder toward a used sub-3lb notebook that I can actually carry around with me. Problem is, I don’t really know where to start looking.
After doing some initial poking around, it looks like the Sharp Actius MM10 comes pretty close to my absolute minimum requirements. Unfortunately, you can’t upgrade the memory or the disk, but for what I want it for, I think I can make it work, and they seem to go for 500-600 on Ebay.
Here are my must haves:
[ul][li]Battery life: 3+ hours actual.[/li][li]CPU: 800mhz or better. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a Transmeta or whatever; I’m not going to be encoding divx on this machine.[/li][li]Memory: 256MB or more. Preferrably upgradable.[/li][li]HDD: 15GB or more. I’m a Linux geek, and a Debian install will get the lion’s share of the space. Four or five GB will be the XP partition.[/li][li]A PCMCIA slot. For my hardware modem card. I’m not counting on being able to use the internal modem (if it even has one.)[/li][li]USB 2.0: Two or more ports. I’ve got external hard and CD drives out the wazoo.[/li][li]Screen: I don’t want one of those 1/3 size things like on the old Picturebooks. 1024 by, uh 600 or something would be fine.[/li][li]Bootable from USB. Obviously, I’ll need something to install Debian with.[/li][/ul]
Would be nice:
[ul][li]Internal Prism or Orinoco-based wifi. I’ve had no end of trouble with Realtek cards, and I’m still a little leery about the state of the Intel drivers for Linux.[/li][li]Firewire: I don’t really need it at the moment, but who knows?[/li][li]Optical drive: At least a CD-RW. If it’s just a CD/DVD-ROM, I’d almost rather do without the extra weight.[/li][li]A serial port, so I don’t have to keep track of any adapters.[/li][/ul]
Anybody got any ideas? If I can at least get a list of models, I can do more research on Linux support. I know next to nothing about tablet PCs, but I figure it’s a place to look for my specs, even if I expect to be using it in clamshell mode 99% of the time.
One more thing: While I agree that iBooks are nice, cheap little machines, I absolutely must be able to run an actual Windows installation on this machine. VirtualPC isn’t going to cut it, in my case. Especially since I don’t feel like spending the money on it.