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What Laptop To Purchase


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So I am somewhat new to network security but I have some knowledge with linux and I have played with knoppix-STD on my old laptop but I had to buy a wireless dongle to do anything interesting. So now I am looking to get into it a lot deeper and I would like to purchase a laptop dedicated to this. So essentially Ill be installing back track on this machine and thats it. I would like if it was small, thin and light but that usually means spending more money. I would like to keep my price range under $1000 but don't wish to really spend that much either. So I am wondering if I could get some suggestions for laptops to buy perhaps give me a couple suggestions starting with the lower price ranges of a few hundred dollars.

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If its just a machine for backtrack (which is not an OS, its an application, if you want to use it for things other than shenanigans dual boot it), then I would suggest buying a 2nd hand machine. A Dell D620 would be fine, and you can use the spare cash to buy some form of wireless NIC with all the natty functions and a semi-legal output power rating.

If your looking to purchase new, my advice never changes. Get a Dell Latitude, pay for pro-support. They last for years, you can buy spare parts anywhere on the planet for years after they stop making them, you can field strip them with kitchen knife, drivers are always available, pro-support will replace pretty much any part next business day on-site and will deal with you no matter what OS you run. Plus, you can tweak the spec to match your budget. Solid bits of kit, no one else matches what Dell do (HP have similar options, but there site is a nightmare. Apple Care requires easy access to an Apple Store or you have to ship it. Acer, Toshiba, Sony etc, none of them come close). You might get something that runs faster, looks nicer, comes with a free printer etc, but IME a Dell Latitude is pretty much the AK47 of laptops.

But for the love of [insert deity] do not buy from Dell Home/Consumer, they are utter cunts from start to finish.

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Essentially this laptop will be for shinanigans and some web browsing at the coffee shop. I'm not trying to game/edit photos or video or do anything besides networking fun and internet browsing, as I already have machines for said uses. I suppose I should have stated is that I was wondering if there was a place to buy a laptop with either no-OS or with a linux distro on it because that would cut a lot of the cost I'm sure. I did a little research into the no-OS laptops but I couldn't find much?

Essintially Im wanting this thing to be light and thin and able to run with the lid closed in a bag or something if need be. If you still recommend the Dell Latitude Ill look into that some more.

Another question is what wireless NIC do you suggest?

I looked at the latitudes and that seems like a pretty good deal, althought I dont specifically want windows 7 on it I can always dual boot just for fun. I'm looking at the the latitude 2100 its small 10.1" screen and light 2.98 lbs has 3 usb ports and seems powerful enough to run a distro of linux and backtrack? Its also cheap which is a plus Or would you recomend something else?

Edited by Thyphen
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My old Dell X300 Latitude will run Backtrack fine, even though its about 6 years old now. 2nd hand might not be a bad choice, if you can find one, a Dell D430 would be quite nice.

I recommend Latitudes simply because I use them a lot, and they just work well. And if they don't, I place a 10 minute call to Dell, and they send a guy over the next day with the spare part.

As for the 2100, if your going to get a netbook, that's a pricey choice. Robust yes, but you might want to look at the newer Pineview Atom netbooks or the Ion ones, which Dell don't make. To me (and this may not be the case for you) a Netbook is cheap enough not to care about anything beyond the standard 12 month ship and return warranty.

As for wireless, anything it comes with will be pretty shit. Get a Alfa 500/1000watt USB device + larger antenna and velcro mount it to your laptop. Subtle? No, but its powerful, does all the natty stuff and works with linux so its all good.

And Windows 7? It comes with it, but who cares? The cost to ship without it is usually a penny difference, and you could always use another coaster.

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Thanks for the info I got one of the alfa 500w's on order I read a couple other posts saying there great. I also had an idea which is that my girlfriend just got a new computer and was going to ditch her laptop. Its about 4 years old or so but probably plenty fast enough to run back track etc. I dont remember the specific model or specs but I have a feeling it will be alright. Then if I find im really interested in network pen. then I might splurge for the light weight netbook.

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