Low End Linux Netbook Prices Continue To Drop

By Caitlyn Martin
June 29, 2009 | Comments: 12

Last month I wrote about netbooks powered by the MIPS processor, originally developed by SGI. I also pointed out that the price for the Belco Alpha 400 had dropped to $149 last December and January. That is now the regular price for the lowest of low end Linux netbooks at Geeks.com. Last week they had a special and the price dropped to $139.

Believe it or not that doesn't sound like a bargain right now. A number of vendors are closing out the much more capable Asus EeePC 900A. Geeks.com is offering it for $149, the same price as the Belco Alpha 400, and they're thowing in an mp3 player. If that special disappears by the time you read this, NewEgg is offering the system for $169. Unless you have a compelling reason to run a MIPS processor the Asus is clearly the better deal.

If you think you'd find the 4GB SSD and the 512MB of RAM limiting you can also consider the Syvania g Netbook from Amazon.com with 1GB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive for $179. Yes, this is the same machine I described as a nightmare. Since then I've received numerous e-mails telling me that my two hardware failures were just plain bad luck and that the Via Nano based Sylvania is a solid platform. What really makes the Sylvania g Netbook an absolute nightmare for someone who isn't an experienced Linux user is the horrendous implementation of gOS, the Linux distribution preloaded on the system, which lacks even the necessary drivers for proper operation. If you happen to be an experienced Linux user who is up to the task of installing a current distribution the Sylvania g Netbook may actually be a good deal for you. As I reported in my original review it worked quite well with Ubuntu or VectorLinux until the hardware failed.

It almost goes without saying that you won't find anything that runs Windows at anywhere near these prices. Oh, and no, that doesn't mean that Linux is somehow inferior as Windows fans would want you to believe. It is, however, free of charge. More importantly Windows simply won't run well from a 4GB SSB or run at all on a system with a MIPS processor. Besides, as I wrote earlier this month, performance of most Linux based netbooks will be far superior to a similar system running Windows. particularly if you have the obligatory anti-virus, anti-spyware and personal firewall software installed on the Windows system. If you've wanted a new netbook but price was the issue you now have a nice financial incentive to try Linux if you haven't already. At $150-$180 these are netbooks almost anyone can afford.

UPDATE: As of June 30 Geeks.com has dropped the price of the Belco Alpha 400 again. It's now $134.95. The $149.95 price on the Asus Eee PC 900A is good until July 7.


You might also be interested in:

12 Comments

I bought an Asus Aspireone (linux) for 300 bucks Canadian 6 months ago and love it.

1.6ghz dual cpu 1.5gb ram, 250 gig hd. Running Ubuntu GNU/Linux on it. I got the black case version, it is sooo sweet. Much easier to carry around than a huge heavy lap top.

I highly recommend the Aspire one.

The Aspire One is made by Acer not Asus.

@FreeBooteR: This article is about the Asus Eee PC 900A which is on sale. The Acer is a fine machine but it is significantly more expensive.

In terms of "high end" netbooks, Archos is also releasing a 500GB netbook with 2GB ram running Ubuntu for nearly the same price as a regular Windows XP 160GB and 1GB ram netbook: http://archosfans.com/2009/06/15/archos-10-ubuntu-with-500gb-hard-disk-and-2gb-ram-released/

I bought a Asus EeePC 901 with 12 gb. 2 SSD disks on it. one of 4 gb for Win XP and 8 g for files. Price 140 Euros or 190 US Dollars.

Bought it in Europe UNited Kingdom

I have the older eeepc 900 with the 900mhz Celeron, running at 600mhz. I've installed Debianeeepc and it exceptionally well. I generally get 2.75 hours out of the battery, which is good enough for me. The 9" netbook is the optimum size, imo.

I have the older eeepc 900 with the 900mhz Celeron, running at 600mhz. I've installed Debianeeepc and it performs exceptionally. I generally get 2.5 hours out of the battery, which is good enough for my uses. The 9" netbook is the optimum size, imo.

It's important to note that
*COBY Electronics is UPPING the screen size in the ultracheap category.*
http://www.cobysz.com/newEbiz1/EbizPortalFG/portal/html/CategoryList.html?ProductMultiCategoryPicker210_action=Searchcategory&ProductPicker_action=Searchcategory&CategoryID=c373e91c17a62c958f7bb9bfe8b52750

The Champ of Cheap now has netbooks (despite repeated denials) -- and their entry into the fray makes all the diff in the world. The 10-inch NBPC1022 supposedly will sell for $240 or less and will be right under everyone's noses in Macy's, etc., not just online.

You can verify this recent development on their site linked above.

The main contenders do not want to see Coby on their turf nor ultralow prices on larger and larger screens.

Many thanks for your useful article,I am submitting a link of this article to www.linuxine.com in order to share it with more people

If you buy the Eee 900A, you WILL want to wipe the Xandros Linux that comes with it and use Easy Peasy, MoonOS, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Moblin--a distro that does NOT use UnionFS.

Xandros does use UnionFS, and the pitiful little 4 GB SSD is immediately filled up with updates that are automatically downloaded as soon as it gets a network connection, rendering it unusable. Easy Peasy, OTOH, will leave you with over half a gigabyte free on a default install.

$20 to max it out on RAM is a trivial cost, and bigger and faster SSDs aren't too outrageous. The Eee 900A is a far nicer experience with those and with the change of distro.

I generally get 2.5 hours out of the battery, which is good enough for my uses.

Where is the best place to buy a linux based netbook without a hard drive?

News Topics

Recommended for You

Got a Question?