I am writing this on a computer I got for under $240. It’s an Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431). I paid $220 to Newegg for a refurbished model, and $20 for an extra year of warranty coverage.
By the way, the Wirecutter speaks highly of Acer Chromebooks, saying they are the best budget models.
I am also writing this post using Xubuntu Xfce. This is thanks to the program Crouton from Google. It lets you run Linux as a tab in the Chrome browser, so you can easily drop from ordinary Chrome mode into Linux, and back! It is a brilliant use of Linux’s “chroot” capability.
I find this magical. If not magical, it’s certainly cheap.
I do all my coding on Linux and publish it via Github, so I don’t need much local storage.
A couple of years ago I paid about $1300 for a Google Chromebook Pixel LS (Ludicrous Speed). I just sold it for about a $1000 on ebay. I think I got more than I expected because Google recently announced they won’t be making any more Chromebooks with the word Google in the name. (I think this to protect the brand association of Chrome with Google’s phones.)
What I definitely find magical is that when I got the Pixel LS, I got three years free use of 1 terabyte of storage for Google Drive. I took advantage of this by uploading ALL of Mozart’s music from a set of 120 CD’s I got a few years back.
I use the Clementine music player on Linux. I just opened it up, and noticed that I can connect to my Mozart music on Google Drive.
Open Source is wonderful. It provides a way for we programmers to take care of each other, from operating system kernels to compilers to browser tabs to Mozart.
And all for free.