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Replacement for Dell Laptop

I need a replacement laptop. The Dell Latitude C810 that I have been using for the last 9 months is about to be repossessed – it was kindly lent to me by a client who now needs it back.

I’m quite happy with Dell and will probably buy another…..but what?

I am a developer; I need a powerful machine as I use .Net, MS Visual Studio 6, SQL Server, Photoshop and often VMWare. I use 1280x1024 screen size, 512kb ram. As a general rule it’ll be fine if it runs Quake/Unreal acceptably well :)

I’m not interested debates about Desktop vs Laptop, CDRW vs DVD, weight vs power, Dell vs other brands etc. I’m quite capable of using Google or Dell’s comparison charts for that kind of stuff. Having said that, if anyone does know of a website with a comparison of models for use by a developer, that would be handy. Do share.

What I’m looking for here is comment/opinion from people who already own an Inspiron/Latitude/Precision.

Was it the right choice? What would you change about it if you were buying again, having used it for n months/years? Has anyone else bought a direct replacement for a C810 or similar?

Justin
Monday, February 23, 2004

I would think about Inspiron for the power laptop...

Evgeny Gesin /Javadesk.com/
Monday, February 23, 2004

I have a Latitude D600 that I love.  I would think twice about going for the biggest, heaviest model out there.  I run the same things you list and I have no problem on this machine with 1.6MHz Pentium M and 1GB of RAM.  The screen is 1400x1050, which looks amazing with ClearType turned on.  And the weight is laptop-normal, not the brick that the 800 series are.  I actually traded away a 2GHz Inspiron for this, and I'm much, much happier.

Justin Johnson
Monday, February 23, 2004

I run my entire company from an Inspiron 8600. 1.5Gb ram, P1700m, and HUGE 17" widescreen (1600* something or other).
I run VS.Net, PhotoShop, Sql Server, and (hears the proof as far as Im concerned), 3ds Max Studio 6. All without any interuptions beyond Outlook crashing as per usual.

MattOffSoftware
Monday, February 23, 2004

"512kb ram"
------------------
Dude, treat yourself to an upgrade!  You deserve at least 512MB, but kudos for getting everything to run in 512kb.  :P

John Rose
Monday, February 23, 2004

Get a Gateway 200 series.  I have worked with them.  They are great

KS
Monday, February 23, 2004

I'd urge you to get a Latitude over an Inspiron for two reasons:

1) The Latitude warranty service is pretty good; I had to get on-site service a couple of times for my old CxJ, and it was always fairly quick and professional.

2) The Latitude line uses a docking station that tends to be stable over several generations.  I love using my current C640 in a docked config, with it driving a second monitor, and I was able to use my dock for three generations of laptops.  The D-series dock should be stable for a while too.

Ben Combee
Monday, February 23, 2004

Bizarre timing. I just put my Inspiron 7500 up for sale.. mainly cos it's got a 400MHz processor which isn't fast enough for some development tasks (runs most stuff ok).

I too want another Dell (this is one of 3 Dells I have) and am having the same problem.

I'm trying to work out what I would like and not.

The 1400*1050 that the 7500 has is great for development but sometimes it would be nice to have a lower resolution (just for ease of prolonged use). I would really like 1280*1024 but that's not an option (just shrinks the screen). 1024*768 doesn't quite cut it and because the natural res is 1400*1050 it doesn't render so well.

I would quite like another 1400*1050 (in the absence of 1280*1024)  but I'm wondering if I could actually get by with a 1024*768.

The 7500 weighs 4.5Kg. Compared to the 2600 I've got, it's HEAVY. Uncomfortable for a prolonged period on the lap. The 2600 weighs 3.5Kg or thereabouts and whilst only about 25% lighter is much more comfortable. I wonder how much more pleasant a 2.4Kg ultra slim model would be? If at all.

I have no experience of the M series processors. 1.4GHz seems a standard option. But how good is this compared to a standard Pentium or Celeron?

Gwyn
Monday, February 23, 2004

I just purchased a Inspiron 8600 with 1.4 Centrino, 512MB, 40gb & GeForce Go something or rather.  The screen is a 15.4' WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050).  I purchased for $1599, no shipping or tax and then got a $300 rebate.  Amount charged to my card was $1299.

I use Visual Studio .Net & Office 2003 primarily, but I also have installed Quake 3.

Battery time is between 4 and a half hours to 5 hours when using the laptop normally.

Quake 3 plays great!  To get it to work with the widescreen you have to edit an ini file to get a custom resolution.

Visual Studio.Net looks great and runs well.  Having the widescreen is awesome as it gives you more space to write code in.  I suspect that the 4200 RPM 40GB drive is responsible for a little slowdown when I load large projects as it loads a little faster on my desktop which is quite buff.

Office 2003 also runs well and again it is nice to have that extra space.

When I first got the laptop I thought the resolution was TOO high because text was mildly difficult to read.  However, my eyes got used to it and now its great.  Still, whenever anyone sees my laptop they make a comment about how small the text is. 

The laptop is SILENT. No moving parts aside from the HD.  If you play Q3 long enough a fan will come on, but other than that all you can hear if you really pay attention is the HD. 

My friend is looking for a laptop and wont consider a centrino as he believes they are too exensive.  I got a good deal so it didnt bother me and further more I havent had any speed issues with the centrino so I am happy.  Although in retrospect, I should have gotten the most buff centrino I could so the laptop lasts that much longer. =) 

Right now Dell has my same Inspiron with a buffer centrino and a Radeon 9600.  I recommend it if you can afford it or if there is a rebate offer.

Steve
Monday, February 23, 2004

I've both an Inspiron 8200 and an 8600.  Both have the SXGA+ (1400x1050 and 1600x1050) display.  They are both great machines.

The 8600 is a 1.4GHz Pentium M, and it's lighter than the 8200.  I'd encourage that.

Karl Perry
Monday, February 23, 2004

I'd second that a 15" Dell screen at 1400x1050 w/ClearType is a thing of beauty...

Bill Carlson
Monday, February 23, 2004

I've got a ThinkPad T40, 1.6Centrino, 1GB memory, 40GB 5400RMP, ATI FireGL 64MB and beautiful 14.1", 1400x1050 screen. I use it exclusively for development (VC++ 2003, Oracle 9i, etc). It rocks. Much better than the Dell I've got at work. 

DP
Monday, February 23, 2004

What is Clear Type, I have a D810, and use 1920X1200.  I only use it because it seems to be the clearest of all the resolutions.  I would like to have everything a tad larger. 
Help a guy out....

Christopher Hester
Monday, February 23, 2004

Justin, our shop (like many) use Dell exclusively for the last few years. It's served well, although service and response time isn't exactly steller. You should go for one of the heavier machines and save on cost. The ultralights are underwelming. Use a well stocked Clie/Zaurus pda with connection to a cell phone to cover mobility, I haven't met a single person who enjoys pulling a 12 pound laptop out of their back pack on a subway to look up phone numbers.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, February 23, 2004

I use a an Inspiron 5150 and a Latitude c640 regularly.  The 5150 has a better screen (some of this may be ClearType; the C640 doesn't have it).  I enjoy using the Latitude series better, though.  Get the best screen and RAM you can afford; that'd be my priorities.  As someone else mentioned, the Latitude series has accessories that are available for quite some time after the rollout, and interchangeable accessories to boot.

Rich
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I'm on my first Dell notebook (Lattitude C600) and I am not impressed:

- Noisy HD
- Mediocre screen
- Difficult I/O port placement
- noisy cooling fan
- "audible" screen or video chips

this last one is strange: when you scroll, you can actually hear a faint high piched "scream". My Dell is not the only one that has this problem. I know others, even with different problems, that complain of this same thing.

I'm not inclined to go with Dell for my next purchase

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

For those of you complaining about noisy Dell laptops
get this small utility: http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/
It works also on Lattidudes
I have noticed considerable reduction of the fan noices
due to the intelligent fan control handling
Dell BIOS just handles fans in an inefficient manner to say the least

Seemore
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Just Me, the D series fixed those problems pretty well.  I know what you're talking about, since we have a bunch of Cs that we foist on the salesmen; the Ds don't have the same.

Justin Johnson
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Dell has recently started to offer a new Inspiron XPS. It boasts a full Pentium 4 processor and 7200 RPM hard drive. If performance trumps mobility for you, it may be what you're looking for.

I currently run a 2-year-old Inspiron 8200, 1.4 Pentium M, 512 MB RAM and a 40 GB, 4200 RPM HDD. I use it for development as well and have had no complaints.

The one problem I've noticed is that the screen seems to rub against the keyboard when the cover is closed, eventually leaving faint rub marks on the screen. I understand that this might be covered under their CompleteCare warranty, but I have yet to call on it.

Ian Lowe
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Christopher,

ClearType is Microsoft's trade name for sub-pixel font rendering, which takes advantage of the fact that LCD panels stack the red, green, and blue elements uniformly side-by-side, each making up about a third of each pixel, such that a 1024x768 panel is actually 3072 discrete elements wide.

By tweaking the color of surrounding pixels, you can borrow a chunk of a pixel to make the text appear less ragged.  Apple II's did this almost 30 years ago, and somebody at Microsoft "discovered" it in about the Win98 timeframe to apply it to LCDs.  This link describes it really well:

http://grc.com/cleartype.htm

veal
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Get a Dell Inspiron 8200, It's great! I have been running Visual studio.net for a couple of months now and I enjoy it.

wilson musoke
Friday, February 27, 2004

I have an inspron and I use it for serious 3d cad work. As a machine its fine but one major fault and I expect it may effect you if you will be spending long hours on it. It is very Noisy. It drones on and on. I have checked out everthing to silence it and it not a mechanical noise but electrical. from this point of view I would not buy a machine like it again. I know its minor but it drives me nuts.

BMurphy
Friday, April 30, 2004

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