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Dell Inspiron 8600 (or 8500)

Hi there !

It's time for me to get a new notebook and I'm wondering if anybody here has a Dell Inspiron 8600 (or 8500) with the 15.4" WUXGA screen ?

Most reviews about the wide-screen I've read mainly seem to focus on playing DVD's. Well, it's good to hear that it's a joy to watch them on this notebook, but for me that's not the reason that I'll buy one. I'm a developer and will be using this notebook as my main development machine.

A resolution of 1920*1200 sounds great but unfortunately I don't have the eyes of an fighter pilot.

Any developers out there that would like to share their experiences (good & bad) about this machine ? 

Thanx

Ricardo

Ricardo
Thursday, December 18, 2003

I have the 8500 and love it.  Out of complaint's I've heard, most refer to the keyboard which tends to be from people have heavy fingers or just like to pound hard on their keys.  I'm not sure if they alleviated this or not with the 8600.

I like things small, so the 1900-wide pixel resolution is awesome.  The wide-screen display (first I've worked with) makes me not want to ever go back to standard sized screens.  I had an Insprion 8000 prior to this and I can say without a doubt that I'll continue to stick with Dell.

Wade Winningham
Thursday, December 18, 2003

I bought an 8100 about 2 1/2 years ago. In all that time, the only problem I ever had with it was a bit of a finicky DVD drive. Other than that, it has been (and still is) a real trooper. My favorite thing about it? I bought it loaded, so everytime I need to hook some external device to it, I ALWAYS find that it has the right connector. I can use it for any/everything.

HeyCoolAid!
Thursday, December 18, 2003

Also, look at Widescreen laptops from HP and Compaq. They have better pricing and quality as far as Widescreen models are considered.

Anon
Thursday, December 18, 2003

I got an 8500 with the ultra-high resolution screen last month.

The screen is fine for development.  Also, it has excellent dual-monitor support.

Dell Owning Dude
Thursday, December 18, 2003

I was looking at the Dells recently and was wondering what the attraction to the 8600's was over the 5150's. Is it the wide angle monitor? The weight?

The 5150 comes with a 3.2 GHz (max) P4 and a 533Mhz front side bus, whereas the 8600 is something like 1.7 MHz (max) with a 333 MHz front side bus.

I priced similar options on both (except for the processor, of course) and the 8600 came in about $1000 more.

So what gives?

How much for a laptop dance?
Friday, December 19, 2003

5150 is heavy, bulky, generates lots of heat(may not be such a bad thing in the winter :) ) and battery life is low.

Anon
Friday, December 19, 2003

As anon says the 5150 uses a desktop processor. Fine if you are going to use it as a desktop and only use it's portability when you move house, but not a truly mobile solution.

The Mobile processors cost more because there are less economies of scale and also because it costs money to engineer them to use less power.

Stephen Jones
Friday, December 19, 2003

Certainly, for developers who use their laptops typically tethered to a desk and power, and who want to play games, the 5150 is the superior choice.

Oh, no, wait... Elite Notebooks is the superior choice. :) 800MHz FSB, and RAID. Not just desktop chips, but desktop chipsets. This is an actual desktop shoehorned into a laptop, not a desktop-caliber laptop.

http://www.elitenotebooks.com/

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, December 19, 2003

Thanks for the feedback guys !

@How much for a laptop dance?
I also looked at the 5150. There sure is a price difference with the 8600 for a similar configuration, but no way near $1000. (at least not on the Dutch Dell site)
Dell seems to be changing prices every few seconds and you also might want to check out the different 'entry points' (Home / Small Business etc).

@Brad Wilson
What makes you say that the 5150 is the superior choice ? You might be correct but I sure would like to hear your motivation.

Ricardo
Friday, December 19, 2003

For developers who are looking for a desktop replacement, it is a better choice. Higher speed CPUs with Hyper threading support alone are reason enough to consider it.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, December 19, 2003

Just as I thought I had made my mind up  ...... ;-)

My grandma used to say:  'Always trust a guy who listens to Rhapsody and Fates Warning', so I guess I'll have something to think about this weekend.  ;-) 

Ricardo
Friday, December 19, 2003

Elite Notebooks looks pretty impressive. How's their reputation for quality and service?

How much for a laptop dance?
Friday, December 19, 2003

Don't forget Evergrey! :)

I have no personal experience with Elite Notebooks, but I have seen a few posts here and there suggesting the quality is very good. I don't know about service if something goes wrong; clearly, people don't buy Dell because of the stellar deals, but because of the service quality. So if that's a primary factor in selection, you'll probably never do better than Dell.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, December 19, 2003

I recently purchased the 8600. It is a fairly good laptop but does have a couple flaws ... the mouse buttons that go with the touchpoint stick are very mushy and hard to use (usually takes 2-3 clicks to register for me) while the trackpad buttons are very firm and require a lot of effort to push in. I use an external mouse and then everything is good.

Make sure to check out the Dell forums before purchasing to make sure you get the full lowdown on this and other issues people have seen.

Sanjay Sheth
Monday, December 22, 2003

Ah yes.. one more note regarding the resolution. I think it is far too high (at least for my poor eyes). I have a 1600x1200 model but I scaled it down to 1280x1024 and everything looks much clearer now.

Although it is possible to change the fonts to make things bigger for 1600x1200 mode and the 1920x mode, it tends to screw up my programming since I don't end up seeing the same dpi used on my end client's screen .. i've seen that lead to some subtle visual bugs.

Sanjay Sheth
Monday, December 22, 2003

I actaully own and 8500 and just bought an 8600 with more memory and a bigger HD.    LOVE THEM BOTH..

I do alot of develpement and having two full screens open at once is fantastic...

Buy it, like it, love it...

JW

JW
Thursday, January 15, 2004

I bought an Inspiron 8600 about two weeks ago. 1 GB DDR 333 ram, DVD+RW burner, 80 GB HD 7200 RPM, Radeon Mobility 9600 PRO, Centrino 1.5, Wide UXGA 1920 x 1200 Pixels. Sounds very interesting, and is a very fast computer, indeed. However...
First it took about 20 working days to deliver the computer, nothing compared to the J+10 advertised.
Then it was sent to a wrong address.
And finally, when I received the machine, the keyboard was badly screwed, then the fan began to make some very annoying noise, and finally a few days later the CD/DVD reader/burner stopped working. So basically this computer is nothing better than my good old reliable AMD K6-2 400 MHz. At least the latter computer works. Not the Inspiron 8600. It crashed just when I was in big need for a CD reader. Now I'm just using my old AMD, and waiting for the support to send a new drive.
Finally, if one spends so much cash on Dell's flagship, I had expected a much better support. As they told, the drive should come in about one week; still waiting. Nothing compared to the J+1 advertised on their site. I feel as if I would spare much more time and energy by just throwing away this computer in the waste basket.

My conclusion:
DO NOT BUY THE INSPIRON 8600.
You will pay a huge amount of money for an unreliable delayed computer and a failing support. Not to speak about the time and energy lost contacting the support, making the hardware tests, and writing this report. Do not trust Dell's advertisement, they seem not to take care of the customers and are using untrue advertisement.

Casey Anders
Monday, January 26, 2004

I CAN'T STAND DELL AND THE WAY THEY TREAT THEIR CUSTOMER'S.  I PURCHASED AN INSPIRON 8500 IN APRIL OF 03 AND IT'S BEEN A LIVING HELL SINCE I'VE HAD THIS LAPTOP!  I'M CURRENTLY ON THE PHONE WITH A DELL (SO-CALLED TECH) AND SHE IS PRETTY CLUELESS ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THESE INSPIRON'S.  I ASKED HER WHY DELL ISN'T SELLING THEM ANYMORE AND SHE COULDN'T EVEN ANSWER ME, I JUST TOLD HER THAT THEY NEED TO STOP COVERING UP THE REAL PROBLEMS WITH THESE INSPIRON'S IN WHICH THEY A PIECE OF CRAP!!!!!  THEY ARE SENDING ME ANOTHER POWER ADAPTER BECAUSE AS OF NOW I CAN'T EVEN SIT IN MY BED AND USE MY LAPTOP BECAUSE THE BATTERY DOES NOT STAY CHARGED AND THIS IS SOME BULLSH*t!  ONCE I RECEIVE THE ADAPTER HOPEFULLY THIS WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM IF NOT THEN IT WILL BE RETURNED AND DELL WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER PENNY FROM ME!

SHONNA PRENTISS
Monday, March 22, 2004

I love my 8600.  Sorry to hear about the bad experiences.

Playing with either font size and/or DPI setting you can have the right size text and lots of real estate for having code next to GUI windows that you are developing etc.

Martin Gregory
Saturday, April 03, 2004

I love my Dell 8500, it has been great for school. The only problem I have is setting the screen resolution for playing games, since I have a wide aspect screen there seems to be problems setting it up.

All my computers have been Dell, you can't go wrong with the quality.

If anybody has a solution to my problem that would be great.

wonderboy
Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I just ordered an Inspiron 8600, and the big factor in this choice was the 128M graphics card.  I do a lot of 3D modeling and rendering in 3Dstudio max, FormZ, etc. and no other computer could deliver the graphics I needed at the price I got (I found a 20% off coupon code online that saved me over $400!)  I also considered getting the 5150, or the 600m, since I don't feel like hauling a large brick around with me everywhere.

archstudent
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

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