Laptop/Tablet for IT Work (Maybe Light Development)

Hello Forum!

So recently my wife and I decided to buy a 17" MacBook Pro off of eBay only to find out that the battery was in bad condition (barely holds a charge to 1h20m) and the trackpad on the right-hand side doesn’t click, which tells me a previous battery may have popped which is a no go. SO, I initiated the return for her MBP tonight for her and she will now take over my MacBook Pro (2015 retina with a 1TB SSD, 750m, i7, and 16GB of RAM), which will last her such a long time! (We have to get the keyboard replaced soon)

This brings me to my point, and desire for help… I need a new laptop/tablet/Chromebook, something haha, for about $250. I love MacOS, but since my budget is so low I don’t plan on getting even close to something like that (without something being seriously wrong or taking a giant leap of faith). My use-case is primarily IT/development-oriented, and nothing too intense. Most of my gaming is limited to something like Minecraft, Terraria, or another indie-type game that won’t kill the machine, and then everything else is streamed from my desktop.

I don’t know if it matters, but in case it does, I’m looking at going back to school next fall (so 2020), so ideally something that isn’t going to die on me before then would also be preferred. I love all things Cyber/Infosecurity, but that type of learning/working will probably reside on my desktop as well, and I’ll just keep upgrading that as I need (since the parts will be cheaper than a new machine) until I hit a roadblock with it.


I’m in need of a new machine for IT-type work mainly, going to on-sites for clients (until I change jobs in the summer, but may still need to perform that work), and because of that maybe I can pick-up a tablet, but not sure if that’ll work for me? Then I’d like to start doing some basic developing which would be PHENOMENAL to get into, but not sure how powerful of a PC I’ll need. I’ll be running Linux, unless my job absolutely forces me to use Windows. Any help you can all provide would be greatly appreciated, love you all!!

Tagging you four, because you’ve all helped me so much.
@AnotherDev @Goalkeeper @SgtAwesomesauce @Eden


Thinkpad X200 or X220 (I would get the X220 i7)

Get the ones with the touch screen. For a almost mint i7 X220 you are looking at $200 max on ebay. Should be able to get it at $150 easily there however.

If you have an ewaste place nearby you can get them even cheaper

Unfortunately no e-waste places at my current location, but when I move there’ll be something available.

Thanks for the suggestion though I totally appreciate it! I meant to tag you too since you’re so active now haha. I’ll take a look for them on eBay, like I said, bad experience on there, but I’ll see if there’s anything promising that I could pick up! Is there any reason why you suggest the touchscreen variant, I’m not too keen on them, I had a bad experience with my old laptop, so I avoid them when I can.

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Ya ebay is kinda tricky, we all have been there with bad experiences

well you can flip it around and use it as a notepad like device.

Its a walcom sensor so it’s really snappy, I have had some pretty crappy touch screens but my X220 has been great. I like the way you can move the screen around too, show someone something without moving the whole laptop (dumb I know but I do it a lot lol)

I am a bit of a fangirl of thinkpads right now lol However for school, coding, pretty much anything besides games, 1440 and up video editing X220 is king in price, performance, and durability.

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Oh, that’s a tough one. I’d recommend the X220 at your budget.

You’ll want to install a SSD, but aside from that, you’ll have a solid system.

Here’s a cheap one that’ll get the job done:

Highly recommend using something like Deepin or i3 rather than a full-featured DE on this thing, since it’s a bit limited on the ram side of things.

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cough cough sorry

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I mean, if you want a fully-featured laptop for that price, the thinkpad is really the best option. I think the X220 can be corebooted and ME-Cleaned as well, so you can have a fully Libre system if that’s a thing you’re concerned with.

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Yup, cleaned but not fully liberated. Kinda a process, need a pi and a special clip… but it would make a great thread @WolfTech716 :laughing:

I’m glad I’m not 100% a loon, cuz 100% agree


@MFZuul Yeah the gaming is a little bit of a bummer, but honestly not too bad to be honest with you. The only reason I’m super worried about it right now is, I can’t afford to get a laptop for it not to work and then have to return it all and start the process all over again.

Don’t get me wrong though, I love Thinkpads, my previous two computers were actually a T430s and a T440p and I don’t own either (donated and sold respectively) anymore. I’ll go ahead and check the eBay listings for that model and see what I find then!

@SgtAwesomesauce I’d definitely be all for using i3, my favorite wm of all time so no worries there haha. I’ll admit though that PC is sounding better and better all the time, almost just makes me wish that an iPad/tablet could work though with IT, but I guess they’re just too locked down in this case.

Certainly not worried about the corebooted and ME-Cleaned functionality, but I could use a new project if I got the laptop, hmm… :thinking:

I’d be tempted to do a video on it.

Chance of bricking it, so don’t do it on hardware you can’t afford to lose.

Yeah, it’s a pretty sweet laptop. I’m excited for the pinebook pro. I have a 54WHr battery with 80% cap from my XPS 15 that I want to try to hack into it to see if I can get it to last a week :joy:

With your budget, you’re sacrificing all gaming above things like FTL in lieu of a decent quality display and usable input devices.


If you do a video on it, you’ll definitely have a like from me! :smiley:

Well never mind that then haha, not doing that.

Haha if you do it, that’ll require another video and thread, just keep that all in mind. :wink:

Which honestly isn’t all that big of a deal because I’m more of an emulator (and light-weight games such as Axiom Verge) person anyway, and this’ll force me to use my 3DS more, so not too bad haha.


I will say I have played games on mine, I played beyond good and evil, Anachronox, league, idk if I got starcrft 2 running but I did play warcraft 3 fine

so maybe some older games, but those are better am I right :sweat_smile:

I am just now learning how on my X131e, O love it (even though I am lost and need a guide next to me at all times still)

Yes yes engagement challenge!

There will be a thread on it, I just have to remove the boot locker on my X200

Oh yeah, that’s a-okay to me, older games are perfectly fine, if I get a true hankering to play something newer I’ll honestly just boot up my desktop and perform some Steam in-home streaming.

It’s been awhile since I’ve used it or set it up, but I’ll get back into the groove of things again, as well as make sure I make a full thread on setting up my newly purchased laptop (if I go with that one of course).

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Did I mention you can use an EGPU? Cpu would be a bottle neck I’m sure… but ya.

random guy on the i5 playing stuff like Doom and witcher 3

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I’ll admit that’s pretty cool, but I’d probably just start saving up for a higher-end laptop at that point in time haha. It’s a cool concept, but just not sure if it’ll be worth me pulling out my R9 390 and then still having to buy the enclosure and whatnot.

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I would just get this and mount it to a scrap piece of wood tbh

(this one is a bit much, can find cheaper ones for like $25-35)

Slap a card in there, maybe a second hand one or your 390. Be fun, but ya maybe not a full solution though lol

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Haha appreciate the suggestion still! One thing about the laptop, it doesn’t seem to have Bluetooth or mini DP, but I wanted to confirm with someone who actually has one. Seeming like a really good deal still, I’ll just have to go through and see what pros and cons I end up with!

Mine has it, never tried to use but seems to be standard


ya iirc mini DP will not work, has DP however

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Well I’ll have to do a bit more research, but the laptop sounds extremely promising! I’ll update the thread with whatever purchase I make, but thanks for all the input!


I have a Lenovo ThinkPad T460. Perfect for the needs you describe. If you find one with HD screen, go with that. I love that those things have SIM slots, so I can work anywhere really. The small battery is sometimes lacking, so I got myself an extended one. Now I can work on it all day. Oh yeah, and it’s VERY Linux friendly, everything works out of the box with Fedora.