Dell's E510n PC comes with no operating system installed and is geared for customers who want to use open-source software such as Linux. This model ships with an Intel Pentium processor and a choice of 512MB of RAM for $704 or 1GB of RAM for $974.
When Dell advertised its latest Dimension N-series desktop, some customers were left dazed in a maze of Web sites and phone conversations with salespeople who also have a hard time finding an entry-level PC that doesn't have an XP sticker on it. We finally found it on Dell's Web site.
For desktops, most vendors pre-install Linux operating systems on servers and high-end workstations such as this HP xw4200. The computer comes with Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS 3 or the HP Installer Kit for Linux (HPIKL) for AMD or Intel processors starting at $956.
U.S. consumers may have a hard time finding a PC without a Windows sticker on it. The overwhelming majority of open-source-powered computers are reserved for business servers. We found this Compaq dx2000 tower selling for $462 only after a salesperson directed us to HP's business section.
A side-by-side comparison on Dell's French Web site shows that Windows laptops often come with better bells and whistles. A comparison between the Inspiron 2200 and the Latitude 110Ln shows the same Intel Celeron processor, but the Windows version has a slightly better display and a more sophisticated Wi-Fi card. It's also preloaded with McAfee security software.
Dell shipped a Latitude 110Ln student laptop in France with a 15-inch screen, a DVD drive, Wi-Fi capabilities and between 256MB and 1,280MB of RAM. The laptop, priced at $911 (759 euros), is installed with Mandriva Linux Limited Edition 2005, which includes various open-source applications such as the productivity suite OpenOffice.org, the image-manipulation application GIMP and the Firefox browser.