I need a new computer
January 2, 2015 4:51 PM   Subscribe

After I don't even know how many years my trusty Asus Eee 701 has finally bit the bucket and I need a replacement. Preferably by Monday...

* Must play nice with Linux (Debian most likely, a couple non-free drivers won't be the end of the world). Most likely I'll just wipe whatever Windows happens to be installed and install Linux instead. Could dual boot but Windows only is not an option and not really interested in anything Apple related. Bonus points if you've actually installed Linux on the machine that you suggest. Please share any relevant details.
* Relatively inexpensive. This is an unexpected expense and with Christmas just passed I don't want to spend a fortune. Under $500 if possible.
* Small/light. The netbook was really the ideal size computer for my needs. Something of comparable size would be preferred.
* SSD preferable. Reasonable size, doesn't need to be huge.
* Available somewhere in Montreal this weekend...or in some reasonable time frame, say 1 week.

Not required:
* Super high specs. I mostly work with text. Some programming but nothing too taxing. (My girlfriend would like to be able to play the newest SimCity but that's not a requirement. Let's call it a bonus - not even remotely critical)
* Brand spanking new. I'm okay buying something used as long as it's decent and meets all/most of the above. Non-dodgy places to buy used computers in Montreal are totally welcome.
* Doesn't need to be the latest/newest/hipest/anything-est model. Slightly older models probably have better support for linux anyway so that's fine.

I'm probably forgetting things but that'll get me started. Linux compatibility, relatively painlesssly, is the main thing. Gotta have me my Debian.
Thanks in advance Hive Mind !
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you don't need x86, get an Acer C720 or other 11" Arm-based chromebook, and replace Chrome with Linux. There are instructions online, like here.
posted by fings at 5:05 PM on January 2, 2015

Best answer: NewEgg.com has quick shipping and usually has the best prices compared to other online retailers. Plus, I just find NewEgg easiest to search for what I want -- you'll be able to filter by and select the exact specs you desire. Not sure what shipping speed you'd need to choose to get it this weekend, but if you're willing to wait until Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, I'd just order from NewEgg rather than run around Montreal.

Personal anecdote -- I've used NewEgg's free shipping option and received my orders in two days. I wouldn't count on that, but I've never had issues with NewEgg delivery or order processing. Been loyally using the site for years now.

(edit: Make that NewEgg.ca for you, eh.)
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:17 PM on January 2, 2015

Target sells netbooks, although it doesn't look like they come with SSDs, but they're in the sub $500 range and you could get one tomorrow if needed be. Like this thing right here
posted by hellojed at 8:03 PM on January 2, 2015

Here's a Thinkpad x201 off kijiji right in town. Throw in an SSD and you'd have one very nice machine.
posted by Poldo at 10:04 PM on January 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think Montreal's Costco has some good deals now.
posted by artdrectr at 12:22 AM on January 3, 2015

Best answer: The C720 actually does have an x86 processor, a fairly fast and power-efficient intel haswell. I like its build quality. just be sure you're ok with a small ssd and either 2gb or 4gb memory in your main machine.

I installed (the appropriate version of) xubuntu and it worked fine, but its a slight annoyance to have to make sure you boot into developer mode properly or you might accidentally restore it to stock.
posted by thug unicorn at 2:24 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

See what deals Canada Computers have in their West Island store. It may be a bit of a hike for you, but they're a very decent chain.
posted by scruss at 12:18 PM on January 3, 2015

Response by poster: So I ordered and Acer C720 chromebook from newegg.ca. Ordered it on the weekend and received it by Wednesday of the following week. So assuming it wasn't shipped until the Monday that's a three day delivery with free shipping. Immediately de-chromed by following the instructions which fings linked to above and installed Debian testing. Had an issue with the trackpad not working at first but that was easily fixed but upgrading the kernel.

Really happy with this, it's pretty much perfect for what I needed it for and newegg.ca (or .com) was great. Thanks for the advice everybody, greatly appreciated!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 1:15 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

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