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A few days ago I was doing a random search on Craigslist for computers that cost $30 or less.  One of the results was an Acer Chromebook that had a damaged Chrome OS install for $25.

 

I picked it up today and once I was home downloaded the restore image on another computer, wrote the image to a USB drive, restored the image and updated the OS within 30 minutes or so.  It looks like it has been well taken care of.

 

How is Chrome OS?  If you like Chrome you'll feel right at home. :)  It's different just like any other operating system.  I recall when I bought my first Mac - a Centris 610 - it took about a week to get the hang of it.

 

This particular one is a C710 with SO-DIMM slots and a 320GB hard drive.  It's nice to have that much storage space despite Chrome OS not needing it.

 

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Edited by quinterro
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New Chromebooks around here are at least $150.  I wasn't willing to spend that much to try out Chrome OS, but for $25? Yes, please!  I figured if I couldn't get it to work it could be stripped for parts.

 

I took a quick look for a vintage Mac emulator.  I found a java-based one but not much else.  I tried it out and it was rather sluggish.

 

If I put Linux on here I'm sure I could find an emulator. :)

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I Had a C710 Chromebook. It is a good machine. THe cool thing is that it is easily upgradeable. I had put 8GB of RAM in mine, and you can swap out the drive if you want. For $25 you got a great deal.

 

How many "Aw, Snap"s did you get?  They have been fairly frequent on this one.  Updating it again has helped to a degree but they still appear from time to time.

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We have a little over 100 of those Chromebooks, Acer C720s.  A word of advice, when you open the lid, open it from the middle of the screen.  If you open it from a corner, the plastic will flex and there's a decent chance of the LCD glass cracking.  I've seen it first hand, a student simply opened the screen, with an audible CRACK.  There goes the LCD.  We've had 4 of our Chromebooks break this way.  Fortunately it's covered by warranty.

 

Another problem is that super thin, uber tiny power connector.  We've had a couple of those break off both in the power port and in the microphone port... because they made the microphone and power port the exact same size.

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I had no idea that any of those things could be upgraded. I wonder if my current-model 11" Acer has any DIMM sockets?  Really love how most routine updates can be completed in seconds, and almost all time is spent actually doing stuff rather than housekeeping duties (updates, antivirus and what-not).

 

The older ones were more expandable than the newer ones.  From the reviews I have read on this one it appeared to be a converted Windows model of sorts.  While it makes it expandable (there is a large panel on the bottom with access to 2 dimm slots and the hard drive) there are some trade-offs:

 

1) An older Celeron 847 that runs at 1.1ghz with no turbo option.  

2) A fan is needed for the processor.

3) While the memory is upgradable it isn't low-voltage.

4) That battery life is average.  With a full charge it lasts about 3 hours.  A replacement battery may help here.

5) The hard drive - while spacious - isn't as fast as a SSD would be.  Tempted to buy a cheap one to put in.

6) For Chrome OS a 320GB hard drive is overkill. :)

 

Newer Intel-based Chromebooks have much longer battery life and run much faster.  However the memory and storage are soldered to the motherboard and can't be upgraded.

 

I've been using it since last Friday and so far I like it a lot.  For browsing it works well enough, but on occasion browser tabs will crash.  Adding memory helped in that regard.

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The Chromebook has been retired.  It has been too unstable to run reliably for any length of time.

 

The hard drive went to a machine that needed one.

 

I did find a distribution of Chromium OS called CloudReady that works very well on an old Gateway Pentium dual-core laptop with 2GB RAM.  No crashes yet!

 

When I have the time I may take another look at it but for now I'm good leaving it where it is.

Edited by quinterro
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That could probably be said for any computer manufacturer, not just Acer.  I can recall several Dell, HP and Gateway laptops in the past that I have worked on that had issues with the hinges and others that were prone to motherboard failures.  No laptop flambes on this end yet.

 

Now as far as recent laptops, the Chromebook and an Aspire model that was bought for a sales guy at work are the most recent models I have worked with.  The Aspire seemed nice enough but I haven't used it long enough to see how well it would work.  They have also bought several HP Stream 13 laptops for the sales people to use while they are at trade shows to allow them to remote into their workstation.  They love them - just the right size and weight.  Since the sales guys don't work locally the 32GB storage is just fine for them. 

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 I actually have a chromebook but there are many pros and cons. One good thing about it is that it takes about seven seconds to turn on, plus the computer runs off of you gmail and that helps a lot. But the chromebook runs off apps which means you can not download a lot of things like PC games or google earth, you can only download apps from the store. Also ive heard a lot of complaints especially when my brother got one about how the tracpad does not work well and how the mouse does not go in the direction you want it. 

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