Help, Please: Laptop Purchase

I need a laptop. I don’t have much money. I will only use it for word processing, e-mail, very basic stuff. So I’ve been looking at prices, etc…

Question 1: Proc

I’ve heard celerons run hotter b/c they’re more cheaply made and slower than pentiums, and this is a big problem in a laptop b/c they tend to fry. Still true? True at all? Can/should I go for a celeron?

Question 2: Brand

I had a gateway laptop a couple of years ago and after two years the screen was shorting out and the keyboard was going dead, and I had done my best the whole time to take care of it. It was not an el-cheapo model, either. So I’m a little worried about gateway quality. But from what I’ve heard, they’re pretty much the same (quality wise) as Dell machines. I’ve heard IBMs are the most solid, but they are also considerably more. Those are the only three I’ve seriously considered.

Question 3: IBM R-series with a 13" screen.

IBM’s cheapest laptop is an “R-series” with a celeron and a 13.3" screen. It isn’t the hot little ultra-portable, it’s just a cheap model. Anyone have one of these? How small/bad is that screen really? Is it worth it? (for the $1200 that costs I can get a gateway with a 14.4" screen and a P4).

I’ve read all the reviews, etc… I could find, but you know there’s always a lot of juvenile “Dell ROOLZ” kind of crap in user reviews, and most of the corporate reviews are paid advertisements. Can’t trust anyone. ‘Ceptin’ y’all, natch’. Help, please! Thanks.

You can get the Dell Inspiron 8100 Laptop P3-1GHz-M/15in UXGA/DVD/256MB/20GB/NIC with a 3 year warranty for only $1128 after a $300 rebate.
go to Dell Small Business
2. Choose Inspiron 8100
3. On top, click on where it says Click here to start with a basic system…
4. Click on customize it for the cheapest model.
5. Change your warranty to 3Yr Ltd. Warranty- 3Yrs Mail-In Service + Lifetime Phone Support
6. Change modem to 10/100 + 56K Capable V.90 NIC/Modem, Internal Mini-PCI [add $30]
4. Rebate Price : -$300.00
Final Price : $1128 + Tax

3 years warrentee! whoa.

Is that really all you’re going to use it for?

Here is the laptop that I’m using right now (minus some upgrades I’ve installed), available on eBay for $575. I would not consider going higher than that–this is ten times as much computer as you need for mere word processing and email and stuff like that. Frankly I think you should be able to score an adequate laptop for under $200, especially if you’re willing to go with a PC laptop instead of a PowerBook. Get some old Pentium 90 or 486 with a 200 MB hard drive in good condition. Paying over a thousand dollars for a G4 or P4 based laptop with 1/4 gig of RAM and a 30 gig hard drive to do word processing and email is like using a bazooka to swat a fly.

(Even if you want to do Photoshop and Bryce and CAD and burn DVDs and CDs and mix audio tracks and compile C++ code and run multiple operating systems and use your laptop as an Apache web server, that $575 WallStreet PowerBook linked above is entirely sufficient).

While AHunter3 is correct re functionality I think Handy is on the right track overall re bang for the buck. I have purchased and sold quite a few notebooks on Ebay in the 300 to 500 category and it’s a pretty big crapshoot no matter what kind of promises the Ebay ad makes. There a difference between “works great” and “works even though it’s beat to death” Some have been OK and some have had pretty rough lives. I would go new if I was selecting a mission critical notebook to last me the next few years. The 600 difference in power and warranty and expected life is cheap in the long run. Nice Toshibas and Compaqs (I have used both) can be had in the 1100- 1300 category at Circuit City and elsewhere when they are running 200 rebate specials. Dells are nice too and Thinkpads are also very nice and typically a bit more advanced than equivalent units, but you will pay more for a Tpad vs other brands.