Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Geeking Out in Cheap Computer Lands or How I'm about to Become a Freek

Yesterday I posted a question about finding a cheap laptop. So far there has not been too much response but that's okay as I've been doing some research anyway. Here are some of my findings.

Craigslist

Over the past couple weeks I've been keeping my eye on the computer section of Portland's Craigslist. A few days ago I took the leap & actually responded to a few ads. The results were as follows: One person got back to me via the phone who was not a native english speaker & I had some trouble understanding him. I feel bad, but if I'm buying a used computer I want to make sure I'm clear about all details. One person responded via email that had an email address that was like this techbuy2008@somecrappyemail.com. That scared me because this person could be a seller of many possibly used but stolen laptops & I'm not going to go there! The last person seemed legit. This lady lived in a Portland suburb and worked in Vancouver, WA & said she & her husband already had a laptop & PC at home & needed to downsize. We decided to meet the next day & then when the next morning arrived I changed my mind after having some gut feeling. Checking CL again I saw another computer and guess what, it was the same lady, different computer, same contact number. Egads!

Online retail stores

It was suggested that I look online at some different tech specific stores. The first place I looked was Newegg.com. A brand new Acer with good memory & speed is only $499. The few reviews on it show that's it's decent for what I need, mainly internet & word processing. But being the cheap girl I am I looked for even cheaper notebooks.

I know Dell is not a lot of peoples favorite, but some folks I know really love theirs. So I checked out Dell's refurbished & off lease laptops at DFS Direct Sales. And for about $450 one can get a good running but slightly heavy Dell Latitude D800. There are cheaper Dell's but may not be as fast & after reading several reviews Dell just may be too much of a hassle.

IBM or what's now Lenovo one coworker said was great. So I went a-lookin' for some good cheap ones. For $550 to $680 you can go to the Lenovo website & order direct a pretty fast & hearty laptop (or as they call it a ThinkPad or IdeaPad). Not bad if they last.

Of course there are those Mac nazi's who start screaming in German if you think of anything other than a Mac. My co-worker & I were talking about laptops and hey said "vergessen Sie alles und erhalten Sie a Macintosh!" Which means only get a Mac. Compuvest had Mac's around $750 and Gainsaver had iBooks for less but were quite old (4 years). Plus that company didn't get very good reviews.

Free Geek

Last but not least I wanted to check out Free Geek. They have a thrift store where a laptop or two comes though everyday. The trick there is calling often to see if one is available & then you only get a half an hour to check it out & purchase it. Their laptops range from $80-$250 with the higher prices resulting in better quality & faster speeds. So when calling you have to try this:

"Hi. Do you have any laptops available?"

"Why yes we do."

"Umm okay what is the brand and speed?"

"oh oops it was just bought. Sorry dude!" Click (just kidding)

Anyway I decided to go to their Geek Fair last Saturday and check out the thrift store (which had a nice laptop I should have bought). It's really geeky in there & I felt a bit out of place among the nerds with my doggie stroller and all. But the place made me want to take a tour of Free Geek & see what goes on behind the scenes. The place is cool & vast. Holy hell! And because of Free Geek's mission & values I've decided to volunteer (starting tomorrow) and earn myself a FreekBox. That's right kids. A free PC! What about my laptop you wonder. Oh that's coming too. I still have a little time to get it & I may very well go with the Acer or wait until a fast enough notebook comes through Free Geek & get that. In the meantime I'm excited to get my nerd on & join the Free Geek community. Look for updates on my experiences.

Have fun y'all! I'll be back on Sunday for Frank's Services!

1 comment:

Grumpy Granny said...

Interesting stuff! I think I'll be checking out the FreeGeek site, for sure. Who knows, maybe you'll end up selling me a computer!

GG