eHam Forums => Computers And Software => Topic started by: KG4HLZ on May 18, 2004, 01:12:22 AM

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KG4HLZ on May 18, 2004, 01:12:22 AM
Wal-Mart is selling cheep PCs with a Linux version called Lindows. They start aground $200.  They also have one with SUN's Java system based on Linux. Has anyone bought one for the shack? Looks like a good machine for Ham applications but "you get what you pay for" comes to mind.


Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: K7LS on May 18, 2004, 01:25:16 AM
In order to let you know how good a deal you are getting you would need to provide more information about the actual computer.  Lindows is probably not the best but it can easily be removed from the computer and you can then install a version of Windows 2000, XP or whatever your preference is.  If the computer itself is decent it may be a cheap way to get a good computer.  But again, you would need to provide more details on the computer itself.

73 Eldon K7LS

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KG4RUL on May 18, 2004, 08:16:49 AM
Don't sell this system short.  Remember that a Linux machine does not need nearly as much RAM and Hard Disk to accomplish the same tasks as a Windoze system.  Less expensive components translates to a cheaper computer.

Dennis / KG4RUL

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: W7DJM on May 18, 2004, 09:50:38 AM

""""""""OUT     OF      STOCK""""""""""

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KG4HLZ on May 18, 2004, 04:46:36 PM
Your right. I see that that model is out of stock. I would like to keep the discussion going though because my basic question is; Are the Microtel boxes OK considering there cost?

I actually prefer Linux for many applications, including a shack computer. My concern is about the quality of the box, not it's power. The E-Machines come to mind. Low price but a weak power supplies and marginal components.


Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KC2MMI on May 18, 2004, 08:14:04 PM
It's a cheap computer with a free "beta" operating system, no more no less. The hardware is about the same level that you will get from any major vendor in a $500 bundle, which includes about $300 worth of other stuff ($125 Windows, $125 monitor, $75 printer) so the bottom line is that this is nothing specail--just a bare bones price on a box with a free OS.

Lindows is using a different name these days, MS's legal department finally got them on that. And last time I checked they called the OS they were shipping with those machines a beta, I don't know if that's still true.

Finally, you may be very well STUCK with that machine. The hardware is not on the Windows Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) so if you decide that Lindows is not for you...the machine may never run any other OS properly. Although it might run DOS or Win9x.<G>

It's incredible how cheap hardware has become, but be very sure you can live with this box "as is" forever before you buy it. Will it do word processing, give you web access, play music? Sure. Just not with the apps that someone else might be using under Windows.

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: AA6YQ on May 18, 2004, 11:13:17 PM
If the software applications you care about run well on this machine, then its great. If they don't, then its a waste of $200.


        Dave, AA6YQ

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: W4ZLG on May 19, 2004, 02:26:50 AM
I have to agree that the hardware is probably the same quality as in the lower cost Windows machines that sell for around $400 to $450.  You're just not paying the Micro$oft TAX!   Even if Microsoft XP is pre-installed and you decline to accept the EULA, you don't get a refund on the operating system unless you take the entire unit back.   Ever wonder why they never include Microsoft OS installation disk anymore?   Because you can't return for a refund what Microsoft says you need to do in the EULA to get a refund from them.  So this way, you get to load what you want for an OS, not pay the "TAX", and if you want to load Windows, then you pay for it!  But this way you have a choice.  That $200 PC should work just fine!

73's de Ken

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KQ6EA on May 20, 2004, 10:15:30 PM
If you don't care for Lindows, it should be able to run any other version of Linux.

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KG4HLZ on May 22, 2004, 12:55:09 AM
From what I have seen, it will run other flavors of Linux OK. You can also get is with the new Sun version or without any OS. I wander if it will run with OpenBSD?


Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KQ6EA on May 22, 2004, 07:59:05 AM
The only thing I'd be wary of would be the modem, which is moot if you have broadband. Everything else should work just fine. All the BSD's have good hardware support. Extreme Tech had an excellent comparison article between the BSD's and Linux a while back.

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: WA9SVD on May 22, 2004, 12:02:44 PM
If you buy this computer, be prepared to use the operating system with which it came.  (Lindoze.)  There is no guarantee it will work with other flavors of Linux; you are taking your chances there, and if you change, as the saying goes, "who you gonna call?"
    And as already mentioned, installing Windoze is also not guaranteed a success; XP can be very persnickity about hardware, and Win 9x support (including bug fixes and security patches) will be stopped shortly.  That would mean no safe Internet access if you installed (successfully) Windoze 9x.
    Also consider the software you wish to run.  Windows software won't run under Linux of any flavor, so you will be limited in the software you have available.
    If you are just looking for a home computer, for basic word processing, spreadsheet, and Internet access, then a Lindows box might suit your needs.  But if you have specific programs or functions in mind, I'd suggest you investigate whether there are Linux versions available before making the computer purchase.
    Otherwise, the $200 computer will shortly take up valuable space in a closet or become an expensive doorstop.

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KG4HLZ on May 23, 2004, 01:57:23 AM

Thanks, I hear your concern. If I bought this thing, then I would be using some type of open source OS. I haven't seen the numbers but I think that there is more ham software for Linux then Windows. I  have learned that Microtel sails these systems with Windows. Looking at the prices, it does appear that the big savings is the low or no cost OS.

Also, it is my understanding that Lindows can run a limited set of windows applications. That is suppose to be the big thing about it. I wouldn't trust it though. :)


I think that you are right. This is a bare bones system. The only unknown animal is the modem. It can probably do OK as a standard compatible. Who cares though, I have a cardboard box full of modems out in my shop.


Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: KI4DLK on June 15, 2004, 07:54:40 PM
It all depends on what you wanna do with the computer if you just wanna run ham radio applications it should work fine but if you want it for more than that like gameing and graphics i wouldnt buy it.

Title: $200 PCs ???
Post by: N6AYJ on July 18, 2004, 08:19:42 PM
I bought such a system from Fry's (the kind you have to run right down there and buy before they're all sold out).  It's a 1.6 GHz AMD K7 system with a 266 MHz bus, I think it is, and 128 megabytes of memory.  The $200.00 price quoted in the previous posts usually doesn't include a monitor.  I paid $150.00 for the computer and $125.00 for the monitor.  Got rid of Lindows and am running FreeBSD Linux, the fluxbox window environment and Mozilla which I was lucky enough to have been able to clone off another computer.  I still haven't got it working quite right.  It doesn't display video quite right because I'm using a different monitor than the system I cloned, and I don't understand how to configure the monitor using XF86Config.  If anybody could help me, I really would appreciate it.  Thanks es 73.