Normal hardware should be quite adequate, movies and light multitasking are not particularly demanding taks for a computer. I don't know what currency your 500 is in but if that's pounds you can get an adequate laptop for your purposes for less than half of that. Don't worry too much about the exact type of internal hardware, for most latops it's more or less the same. Stay away from "windows rt" and other such things that are just glorified tablets, reject gimmicks of touchscreens or swivelling tablet things. If you want to run linux make sure to get a laptop which doesn't have secure boot, secure boot can in some cases be beaten if needs be but it is much easier to just get a laptop that is what you want from the start. If you want to run windows i think your only option for things on sale today is 8.1, you might be able to buy a disc for 8 or 7 and install that onto the new hadrware for yourself but once again this is extra difficulty. make sure to get a USB mouse to work with it, laptop touchpads are almost impossible to use for most types of computer use. When you get the laptop check over it for bloatware and uninstall this, make a clean system image from before you take it online, connect to the internet and immediately get your antivirus up and running, update windows (if do get a windows 8 device do not allow the updates KB2871389 or KB2973544 to install, if you get an 8.1 device then let every update be installed), download firefox, install noscript and adblock plus, install your favourite programs (personally i keep a couple of USB sticks with backups of installer exe files on them for this purpose, you may have to download each program one by one), make another system image, scan your computer with malwarebytes and then you are ready to go. Also take advantage of having a new laptop and set up your main account to be non-admin, only log into the admin one to update programs/install and uninstall programs/change system settings, doing this gives better security. In the case of windows 8 or 8.1 another helpful thing to do is when setting up the system ensure that all file types are opened by default with desktop programs, not with metro apps.
When setting up a new device(windows 8) the following list shows the steps i take and in what order:
1.Turn it on
2.uninstall bloatware programs one by one
3.setup default programs for file extensions to avoid the metro interface as far as possible
4.install personal favourite programs from usb stick(don't install things that must be downloaded just yet, that comes later. if you don't have installers on a usb stick or cd-rw disc then ignore this step )
5.connect to internet, but don't even open browser yet
6.update windows defender(it's not much good as an antivirus but it will protect you for the few minutes it takes to complete the next few steps)
7.update windows, avoid KB2871389(keeping windows up to date helps maintain security, you don't know how out of date it migth be when the laptop has not been used yet, KB2871389 and KB2973544 are the only updates that should be avoided as both of them attempt to force your system to become 8.1, a change which is almost impossible to undo)
8.use the current browser to visit mozilla's site and download firefox(this gets you away from internet explorer as quickly as possible because internet explorer is not very secure)
9.use firefox to navigate to malwarebytes's website and install the free version of MBAM
10.use firefox to install noscript and adblock plus, they are both firefox extensions(now you aren't risking malvertising on every page you open)
11.install my antivirus (for me this is AVG free, but there are other free options and paid options)(your system is now technically safe to browse with but don't start doing that just yet, best to get everything done before you start uing the machine)
12.make system image on external drive (USB stick or external harddrive)(this way you have a copy of the system in a good clean state should anyting go wrong later)
13.install other programs i use which i haven't got backed up copies of the installers for(this is installation for any program which you have previosuly used and know can be trusted, this is not the time for experimenting with new programs, just install programs you have used may times before)
14.update all programs(get rid of any vulnerabilites that might have been in programs preinstalled in the system and also get the programs which you installed from the usb up to date, the installer fules you had backed up would likely be out of date, thye will get you the old version fo the program but this will need updating)
15.full system scan with antivirus and MBAM (you could also scan with a third tool like eset online scanner or kaspersky virus removal tool at this stage)(this gives you a good assurnace that you have not been infected yet and that the system image you have made and the one you are about to make are both clean)
16. make a second system image(the first one is the basic system setup, this second one is a setup for a system in the state you like it, if you have a disaster later this is the first system image you will attempt to return to, unless your problem was caused by something that happened between the first and second system images being made in which case you need to restore from the first image)
17. computer is now ready for use(but be careful nonethless)
Edited by rp88, 23 November 2014 - 10:28 AM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB