Bought myself a used Latitude E6420 a few weeks ago to be used solely for Linux computing.
The specs are the following:
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2520M CPU @ 2.50GHz with turbo to 3.2 GHz
Intel HD 3000 Integrated GPU
4GB DDR3 RAM
250GB 7200 WD Hard Drive
Not the most impressive of specs, but for general use computing and light programming I figured it would do just fine. It came with a new replacement battery, which gets about 3 – 3.5 hours per charge with the screen brightness set to 50%, which is a lot better than I expected for such an old laptop and a processor which would not be benefiting from the efficiency of the new Intel CPUs.
After getting the laptop, taking it apart and cleaning the inside, my first task was to install a Linux distribution on it. I initially went with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Unity as the DE, but after using it for a few days, performance was far from optimal. While using the system itself worked fine, opening any sort of web page caused significant slowdown. Switching browsers did not alleviate the issue.
I took a browse through Distrowatch.com and eventually decided to give Antergos Linux. I installed it using the MATE desktop environment. It went pretty smoothly for the most part, except a bug in the installer that did not configure the MATE panels. A few minutes of manual configuration and the DE was good to go.
I noticed a significant speed improvement with Antergos and MATE, though not as much as I would like. After a few days, I jumped distros again and found myself trying out Slackware.
I ended up doing a full installation of Slackware 14.2 with KDE 4.14.21. The performance of the laptop thus far using Slackware 14.2 & KDE has been phenomenal. Initially, I was a little weary of having to compile my own packages if they weren’t included with the install, but with SlackBuilds.org, it is actually very easy to compile new software using their build scripts.
I am thinking of writing a review on Slackware 14.2 in the upcoming future. But for a $200 refurbished PC, I could not be more happier with my purchase.
As a side note, all Linux distros I tried picked up the hardware with no fuss whatsoever. No non-free drivers required.