Latitude 2120

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I had my eye on this little baby for over 5 months. A colleague used an earlier model to trouble shoot some network issues and I fell in love. It will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine.

My go-to portable has been a Dell Mini 9 since Christmas of 2008. The low resolution screen, ageing graphics, and slow processor have started to limit usability. Now the 2120 isn’t a speed demon, but it does sport a high resolution touch screen, updated graphics, and double my processing power. All it took was a 35% off coupon to seal the deal.

It shipped with Windows 7 Professional which surprisingly runs pretty well, but I’ll probably load Kubuntu LTS on it. I got a deal on a 64gig SSD the same week so an upgrade is in order. I also found out it will accept my Broadcom HD Video Accelerator. Lastly, the geniuses at Dell Repair managed to screw the keyboard through the power line. Parts are pretty easy to get so for $3 I’ll have that fixed too.

Even though it is half a pound heavier, I think it will make a nice new portable for me. Now to find the perfect bag to carry it in!

Optiplex 760 USFF

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Every day I check multiple web sites for “deals”. I had already spent a lot of money this month on gadgets, so why not go for broke and get one more.

Newegg had advertised a Dell Optiplex 755 refurbished computer for $185. I love this machine, it has been my linux workstation at the office for the last few years. Getting one for home would be great, but how good a deal was this?

A quick search on Ebay proved not that good. However, I did come across a Dell Optiplex 760 USFF for $72 shipped. Now we are talking. It needed a hard drive and ram, both of which I had in my spare parts bin. It has double the processing power of my current machine, and the ultra small form factor was a cosmetic bonus.


I tried to share my enthusiasm with friends, but they couldn’t understand the value in 3 year old hardware. You can’t buy an equivalent speed CPU for under $50 and I got a whole system for an extra $22! Whatever.

When I get used equipment I like to clean all the sticker goo, fan dust, pop stains, etc to make it look as close to new as possible. Goo Gone is my preferred cleaner, but I couldn’t find it so I used a can of Goof Off instead.

Warning: Goof Off is apparently just turpentine, which ate the paint right off the plastic case. I might be able to live with the big smudge, but if not at least it is under $20 for a new side panel.

So I maxed out the ram at 4GB, added a 1TB 7200 RPM drive, and for the first time in years went with a XFCE Desktop instead of KDE. Most Dell hardware is Ubuntu Certified, so everything was detected without issue. I was right, this box runs great even before any tweaks.

Now the fun of moving all my data over begins.