Tuesday 17 January 2023

I got a Dell Vostro 3300 for a bargain price and it works just fine after a few upgrades.

 A charity I used to volunteer from put a Dell Vostro 3300 on their eBay and idly just put the minimum bid on, 20 quid, thinking I would probably not get it, got outbid once, but then put a bid on an hour before it ended, won it with that 22 quid bid, absolute bargain! It's got a 2.27Ghz i3 CPU, and arrived with a single 2GB RAM stick and 320GB HDD installed. 

There's just two screws to remove to release the bottom panel to access Memory and hard drive and two screws to release the HDD. There's a Windows 7 COA under the battery but I doubt I will ever need that. I run Linux on all my laptops.

I then did a bit of musical chairs with parts in my other laptops. I took 8GB of RAM from a poorly Thinkpad X201 and put that in my 2012 Macbook Pro (been meaning to do that for a while) and put the MBP's original 4GB in the Vostro. Then I replaced the 320GB hard drive in the Vostro with the SSD from my Dell Latitude E6500, which has Manjaro KDE on. The E6500 is one of the oldest laptops I have in use and is a bit tatty, so the Vostro makes a good replacement for it. I won't bin the E6500, it'll go on the spares shelf. Once the SSD was in and everything put back properly, it booted up the Manjaro KDE install with no issues.      

The only slightly annoying downgrade from my other laptops, but particularly the E6500, is it only has VGA out rather than DisplayPort. There's an eSATA port which I doubt I will ever use, 2 USB 2.0 ports (one either side) and an Ethernet port. The trackpad is good, just as good as the one on my ThinkPad T430s and the keyboard is decent (though has no back light, like the Thinkpad does, though Dell did have one as an option on a slightly better spec model). 

The Vostro has a reasonably decent 13.3 inch anti-glare screen with a default resolution of 1366x768, which is a bit low compared to the 14 inch on the Thinkpad T430s, which runs at a very nice 1600x900 resolution. The Vostro was basically a midway point between the consumer garbage Inspiron range and the Latitude business range, so this laptop doesn't quite have the best components compared to Latitudes but is still a solid machine. In terms of other specs, it has a slightly slower i3 M350 CPU than the i5-3320M in the Thinkpad and a few less ports, and no USB 3. There's an SD card slot but no Express Card slot to add more ports. Overall, it's a handy little laptop, especially for just 20 quid! It runs Manjaro KDE perfectly fine, and is a useful replacement for the E6500, so I am pleased with it.

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