Buying a cheap laptop is a lot less of a hazardous exercise than it once was. Sure, there are still Pentium machines on the market, but better buys are out there.
Netbooks and AMD Fusion equipped laptops are some of the cheapest buys, but screen size and performance can be limited. If you're after a more powerful mid-size laptop, and you're not worried about the weight, it's now possible to buy one equipped with Intel's 2nd generation Core processor for $600.
Dell is currently holding an End of Financial Year Sale, including one of the cheapest 2nd gen Core machines we've seen on the market. It's this machine, a Dell Inspiron 15R, which is currently discounted by $105 bringing the price to $594.
Dell gives you two options at this price:
Dell Inspiron 15R - configuration 1:
The first machine has a 2.1GHz Core i3-2310M Processor, with 4GB RAM, and 500GB 7200RPM HDD, and Intel HD Graphics 3000.
Dell Inspiron 15R - configuration 2:
The second machine has a 2.9GHz Core i5-2410M Processor, with 4GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics 3000. Apart from the faster CPU, the other main difference here is a 640GB 5400 RPM HDD.
For those wanting faster performance still, Dell is also offering discounts on Core i7 models. There is a $150 discount on the Core i7 Inspiron 15R, bringing the price to $899. The Dell XPS 15, which has a Core i7 and 6GB RAM and 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics, is currently $1039 ($260 off).
[Update: Dell's "EOFY Savings" quoted above expire 30 June 2011.]
Also read: Tech Deals: 4 big-brands with EOFY tech specials
Also read: Dell's Inspiron 15R arrives: Sandy Bridge laptops pushing into budget territory