Got it…

God forgive me, but I bought that DELL 640m laptop today. The special offer they had just for today was just too good to pass. The only additions I made to the default was to get the higher-res screen and the internal Bluetooth module. Overall, this laptop costs $1203 normally, but I paid only $859 because of the -$344 special offer (and with free shipping).

Thom tells me that this laptop won’t last more than 2 years (he has the same casing for his Inspiron laptop and he has already seen parts of it falling apart), but for the price I think it was a good purchase. I made sure that the laptop came with an Intel card instead of ATi/nVidia (for better Linux compatibility) and WiFi. The special offer includes a free upgrade to DVD-+RW drive, 2 GBs of RAM, the enhanced 9-cell battery (instead of the normal 4 or 6 cell batteries) and a 120 GB drive. I like the fact that it has a firewire port, 4 USB ports, Express card slot, S-Video out, SD/MS flash reader. Because I am pretty sure that this laptop won’t last for too many years, I decided to purchase it with a Core Duo CPU instead of a 64bit Core 2 Duo (I saved $125 this way).

Overall, I am very happy with these hardware specs and the 5.50lbs it weighs. The only thing missing from the laptop is an integrated webcam in my opinion. I am looking forward to resizing the Vista Home Basic partition and install Linux there too. Hopefully, this trick will let me enable Aero on Home Basic too. As for Linux, I am toying with the idea of going Ubuntu instead of Arch Linux simply because of the desktop-oriented conveniences that Ubuntu features compared to labor-intense Arch.

Regarding a Macbook, I decided to get one only if my Powerbook dies for good. Until that happens, I will just purchase the Leopard OS for use with my PPC Powerbook when it’s out.


Luis wrote on March 6th, 2007 at 1:16 AM PST:

Congratulations ! That laptop looks really good. And it was a great offer.

I bought a cheap computer more than 3 years ago and it works wonderfully. Never had a single problem with it. Well, it’s a desktop, not a laptop, but still if you take a bit of care of it, it should last long enough to be a worthy purchase.

2GB of RAM sounds great. And a core duo is not too far from a core 2 duo. And who needs more CPU power? RAM is more important for personal use. Maybe a 7200 rpm HD would have been nice, but not sure it was worth those extra $45.

The intel graphic cards work really good with Linux and you don’t have to care about installing drivers manually. I think that xorg 7.2 has improved drivers for the latest intel cards (Ubuntu Feisty has it and is stable enough already, for my limited testing with it). I still prefer Arch, though. Oh, and today I was trying PCLinuxOS 2007 beta 3 and have liked it much. I think it’s a good option to test the laptop before you install Ubuntu or Arch, since it has good hardware detection and you will learn how to make things work on it.

Good luck, and enjoy it :)

Tom wrote on March 6th, 2007 at 1:48 AM PST:

I’ve had an Inspiron 9300 for nearly two years and no part is showing signs of break, only scratches and worn portions. I take it to work every day in a laptop bag, and did the same thing in school, so it’s been traveling near full time. Either manufacturing varies, or it’s all in how well you care for it. :)

Tom Dison wrote on March 6th, 2007 at 5:26 AM PST:

How does the Intel video do with OpenGL? What kind of GLXGears score does it get? Just curious.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on March 6th, 2007 at 5:44 AM PST:

The laptop comes with the Intel 950, which is the latest graphics chipset from Intel. It’s pretty fast, and it has good Linux drivers. And because the nvidia/Ati drivers are pretty bad under Linux, it pretty much cancels out the reason to get them instead of the Intel one. The nvidia/ati cards make more sense if you want to run Windows, but on Linux, overall it’s better to get the Intel one, especially if you have lots of RAM to spare.

I will be having the laptop in about 10 days btw. I expect about 3800 fps on a coreduo CPU, from what I read online.

peejay wrote on March 6th, 2007 at 12:50 PM PST:

Considering you go through mobile phones at the rate of about 1 per week, I’d say it’ll be a more impressive feat if you’re still using this in two years than if it lasts two years. ;)

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