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Help buying a netbook


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#1
o2mcgovem

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Hello, I've decided to buy a netbook for my studies. My friend pointed me to a (reputable) site where they are sold very cheaply but I'm having trouble choosing.

He himself is planning to buy this HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (£145). It is the nicest looking of the lot but I'm not so sure about its 1.2GHz processor. Would that be able to handle YouTube videos and stuff?

There's also a Dell Mini 9 (£160). It doesn't say how fast the processor is but Wikipedia says that it's 1.6GHz and it's an Intel Atom N270 like the other Acer ones I'll post next.

The final ones are all Acer models. I'm most confused with these because they all look the same except for operating system, perhaps I'm missing something. Would the operating system make much difference to price?
It seems that the Dell one retails at roughly the same price as the Acer ones but has 8GB less storage and Ubuntu rather than XP Home. Is Dell just a better brand than Acer?

Sorry if I seem a bit clueless, your help is much appreciated :)
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#2
fleamailman

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since netbooks are not used for games, they don't need much processing power like desktops do, and even an old computer will handle youtube streams, but since you ask about operating system here, I would go for the linux system myself, reasons being

no malware,
anonymity
faster
more stable
easy install
live CD test
you're in control
nothing hidden
open office for excel and word
firefox for browser
easy to clone

anyway, with netbooks, it might be an idea to look at second hand models or those end of stock models, for example if you come across one with manufacturer's linux per installed, it is usually not a very complete linux, buy it and just install a full linux like ubuntu, or fedora or whichever you like, and you will be laughing
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#3
hawklord

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http://leiron.be/inf...1-adv-menu.html - for the advanced menu on linpus netbooks
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#4
o2mcgovem

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Okay, so if I were to buy that 1.2GHz HP would I be able to listen to music, type a document in Word and have pidgin & Facebook open at the same time? That's what I'm typically doing on my laptop and there's no real problem multi-tasking with them, I know my laptop has a 1.6GHz processor which is the same as those acer ones (although my laptop has 2GB of RAM). Is it processor or RAM that determines how easily it can muti-task? Or both? Ideally I want rid of my laptop. Which would you opt for? :s

Also, OS isn't really a problem since I can get Windows 7 from my uni for free. I think I'd like to use the ubuntu netbook remix though, I've used it on my friends netbook and I really liked it. Only thing is I heard Windows gets better battery life than ubuntu, is there any truth in this?

Thanks for the help so far :)

(Also sorry for editing this about a million times, keep noticing spelling/grammar/clarity issues lol.)

Edited by o2mcgovem, 29 November 2009 - 07:14 PM.

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#5
fleamailman

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not only would you be able to do them at the same time, (something observed since my children do exactly that all the time), you would also be able to do them across screens too, that is, since, with linux, four screens come as standard, so pressing "Ctrl with Alt with right or left arrow" toggles between screens, while one can also drag drop any "open window" across screens, far easier than trying to do everything with only one screen I feel

I have looked at each of the above links, I have an acer with a 160gb harddrive, which had "linpus" linux, which I bought for peanuts second hand, although not a bad linux in itself, it was probably a linux meant for a flashdrive type computer where space in a premium, so if I were you I would buy a netbook with a harddrive since linux runs things fast anyway, I am not convinced about the advantage of flashdrive yet

you would find the performance of your netbook very sluggish if you were to try to install vista on a netbook that has only 1gb ram, really it needs 2gb, that is why most netbooks run on windows XP, and also, because you would be installing it yourself, there would be no guaranties about finding the right drivers for vista, whereas if you try mint linux with any of the acers types there, I know that all drivers are recognized, not only because the live CD test would tell you beforehand, but also because I myself have repeatedly installed "mint linux" to people's acer netbooks

cloning is very easy with linux too

Edited by fleamailman, 30 November 2009 - 12:35 AM.

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#6
o2mcgovem

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Don't worry, I'd never install Vista. Don't get me wrong, I like Vista... it worked well on capable hardware like my laptop, it's just completely out of place on a netbook. Windows 7 is supposed to work well on netbooks though, it works fine on my parents desktop PC which has 1GB of RAM -- much better than Vista did. I don't want it anyway now I've played with linux. :)

To be honest, I think I'd quite like an SSD rather than a hard disk -- I'm quite clumsy and I've broken three laptop hard disks now. I know that an SSD doesn't have any moving parts so it's a lot less likely to break, which is what I need :).

So, between the 145 acer one and the 160 acer one, the only difference seems to be operating system. I don't want Windows XP, I want linux. Would I be alright to go with the £145 one then?

Out of interest, what is cache? The HP one has 128kb and the acer ones have 512kb -- is this important?

Thanks so far.

Edited by o2mcgovem, 30 November 2009 - 08:16 AM.

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#7
fleamailman

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Cache (pronounced cash) memory is extremely fast memory that is built into a computer’s central processing unit (CPU), or located next to it on a separate chip. The CPU uses cache memory to store instructions that are repeatedly required to run programs, improving overall system speed. The advantage of cache memory is that the CPU does not have to use the motherboard’s system bus for data transfer. Whenever data must be passed through the system bus, the data transfer speed slows to the motherboard’s capability. The CPU can process data much faster by avoiding the bottleneck created by the system bus.


still can't see a speed issue with a netbook, a desttop doing on line game yes, but not a netbook

anyway I can vouch for the acer types with mint linux, for netbooks I love linux,
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#8
o2mcgovem

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Ah right, makes sense :)

Well in that case I've changed my mind again and I think I'm gonna go for the HP one now. It doesn't have an SSD but I'll just try to be careful. And if you don't think speed will be an issue then I guess it'll be fine. Also it's the nicest looking of the lot. A quick question, I can just get rid of "SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop" and put the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on instead... right?

I'm not ordering it until the 10th Dec (when I get paid) but I'll post back with how things are. Thanks for all your help :)
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#9
fleamailman

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I don't know straight off, I would ask on the ubuntu forum, that is, since each distro has it's own forum, "open SUSE" I hear is good distro too, also you could try looking at distrowatch, link below, as many people say looks don't matter but the screen shots there give you a rough idea on what you're getting

http://distrowatch.com/
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