Help me find a cheap computer
December 8, 2012 6:09 PM   Subscribe

What is the best computer I can get right now for ~200 bucks? Wifi and FireWire port are the only requirements.

I'll be using this to replace my 2006 MacBook pro which fulfilled all of my computing needs.
posted by kittensofthenight to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Desktop? Laptop? Is Windows ok? At that price you won't find a new computer with a FireWire port but you can get an add-on card for $15-$20ish.
posted by zsazsa at 6:31 PM on December 8, 2012

Firewire is the problem here. It isn't very common any more because it's been largely superseded by USB. You'll have to search to find any computer with Firewire, no matter the price.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:51 PM on December 8, 2012

Hmm. Ok. USB works I guess, it's just my protocols interface. I assume pc desktop will be the most practical but any windows or Mac is will do handily.
posted by kittensofthenight at 7:03 PM on December 8, 2012

The other thing is that "the best" is very transient, as prices change constantly. But you can get a very decent notebook computer in that price range. Just keep in mind that five minutes after you receive it, something better and cheaper will become available elsewhere. Just grit your teeth and accept it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:15 PM on December 8, 2012

Sorry, I meant to link this.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:16 PM on December 8, 2012

You could probably get a Firewire to USB adapter along with a Chromebook for around $250. That's probably what I would get today if my computer died and I just needed a cheap one for word processing and internet access.
posted by deathpanels at 7:40 PM on December 8, 2012

I have never, ever seen a Firewire-to-USB adapter.
posted by adamrice at 8:29 PM on December 8, 2012

I'm fairly certain that Firewrie-to-USB adapters are for suckers, or at least, I've never seen one that works (incompatible data rates and protocols preclude you from just wiring one's pins into the other's).
posted by axiom at 8:43 PM on December 8, 2012

I've got a Dual G5 PowerMac that I've been meaning to get rid of for a while, and can deliver to Seattle. No wifi, but it has at least one Firewire port and several USB ports.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:50 PM on December 8, 2012

Yeah, the firewire is kind of a killer here. Firewire and USB are fundamentally incompatible- there are not adaptors. You can get firewire 400-800 adaptors though, and also if there is an expresscard slot, that can get you firewire connectivity. I would look around for an older Macbook Pro (2008-2009), perhaps one that has had screen damage that would force it to be used as a desktop with an external monitor. That would allow you to also run a fairly modern operating system, always a good thing.
posted by rockindata at 8:57 PM on December 8, 2012

In Chocolate Pickle's Newegg link there are a few refurb Dell Latitude E6400s that I know for certain have 4-pin FireWire ports.
posted by camcgee at 11:07 PM on December 8, 2012

You're right, camcgee - the port is labelled on one of the pictures.

I'm pretty surprised that Newegg doesn't breakout the expansion ports in the specs.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:23 PM on December 8, 2012

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