Get an "old", proven, robust IBM Personal Computer (or "PC", as it is abbreviated) for a few bucks. You can find them in thrift stores all over the world. If you fail to find such an ancient gem, go for something as close as possible to robustness.
Processor power should be in the range of Pentium III-IV, nothing faster, newer, fancier are normally necessary for 99% of the tasks most people in the world need from computers (networking, office software, communication, file and data management, audio and video processing, games, etc.)
Make sure that the PC you are buying is big. Avoid small, "compact" computers, as they usually come at the price of compromises. They are usually noisier, slower, and it is more difficult to find spare parts for them or extend them with modules.
Needless to say: get a big enough apartment or office room to host your PC and provide for its transportation (it might be heavy). None of these will matter while you work with it though.
This is our recommendation for getting the most out of your "old" hardware. For operating system, we recommend that you "install" nothing on your PC. If you like you can also buy computers without any fixed internal storage, even such storage capabilities if you like. Do make sure that your PC has at least one device to boot from (optical drives are preferred, USB second, or network boot as a backup).
As some of you may not be familiar with Linux, we recommend that you start with the Subdivision version of Simplicity Linux (from now on: SS LInux). It is quite familiar to what most people on this planet once used or still use: Microsoft Windows XP. It is, however, better than that in many instances:
1. No need to "install" is, just boot and use it. 2. Persistent files can be used to save your work, and these single files can be easily moved, copied anywhere (=backup). 3. It runs entirely in RAM if there is enough RAM installed in your computer, but it works also very well if not. In other words, it is incredibly fast. 4. With the help of a Virtualbox installation you can even run Windows in a window: your true, portable computer solution.
With the above configuration you have your entire computing environment installed on a keychain USB drive and you are set free: you can continue working anywhere in the world, on virtually any computer without tying yourself to any one device or location.
1. Get a cheap PC.
2. Get a CD-RW (rewritable compact disc or DVD).
3. Get a fast 8GB or larger USB flash drive.
5. Boot your PC with the boot disc you just burned.
6. Wait a few seconds, and answer prompts if any.
7. Your Subdivision Linux runs for the first time.
At this point, you can just freely use the computer already, however, any modifications you made will disappear at the next boot. So it might be useful to save an environment for yourself.
8. Reboot the computer. It will ask you to save your work somewhere. Give a name to your file, choose a size, and choose your USB flash disk as the location.
9. After reboot you are ready. You can repeat the above process for every other person using your computer (e.g. family). Everyone should carry two items: a boot CD (burn as many as you like) and their own flash drive with their own save file.
Alternatively, if your computer supports booting from USB, you can "install" SS Linux to the flash disk and then you won't need the boot cd/dvd to boot.