Cheap Windows 8 notebook [Gift Guide 2012]

Three decent notebooks for under $300 that have what it takes to run Microsoft new Windows 8 operating system.

Quick question from today's Hardware 2.0 mailbox:

I'm looking to pick up a cheap notebook. The only catch is that I want it to come with Windows 8 rather than Windows 7. Any suggestions?

Normally, the run-up to the December holiday season is a good time to pick up a great deal on a new PC or notebook, but this year it seems that PC OEMs failed to take advantage of the shopping rush . However, if you shop around you can find some very good deals.

The best place to find some solid deals this year seems to be Best Buy, which stocks a number of Windows 8 notebooks for under $300.

Three notebooks stand out above the rest. 

First is a 15.6-inch Dell Inspiron, which features a 1.7GHz Intel Celeron processor, 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), 320GB hard drive, and Intel HD graphics. This is not going to win any benchmark competitions, but for $250, it's a decent Windows 8 machine.

Another good deal is the 15.6-inch Toshiba Satellite. This features a 1.3GHz AMD E-series processor, 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 16GB), 1366 x 768 resolution display, 320GB hard drive, and AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics. It's a relatively decent machine for $280.

Finally, we come to the 15.6-inch Lenovo IdeaPad. With a 1.4GHz AMD E-series processor, 4GB RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), 1366 x 768 resolution display, 320GB hard drive, and a AMD Radeon HD 7310 graphics chip, this hardware combination makes this notebook a great candidate for Windows 8.

This system comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit but is upgradeable to Windows 8 Pro for the low price of $14.99. The notebook itself costs $300, with Windows 8 Pro adding another $15.

Any one of these systems will make a solid, portable Windows 8 workhorse.

Image source: Best Buy.