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Dell Laptops

If money wasn't a concern, which model of Dell laptop would you choose?

Also, as an aside, what is the performance difference between a laptop that contains:

A) Intel Pentium 4 Processor with HT Technology at 2.80GHz and 800MHz Front Side Bus

versus

B) Intel Pentium M Processor at 1.50GHz and 400MHz Front Side Bus

Basically, I'm trying to decide if I should purchase an Inspiron 9100 or an Inspiron 8600. Or any reason I should pick a different one? By the way, I'll basically be using it as a "desktop for a remote location" so small size and being as lightweight as possible isn't a concern for me.

Edward
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"...small size and being as lightweight as possible isn't a concern for me."

Well, you've already ruled out my pick.

Kyralessa
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I believe the Pentium M runs much cooler and quieter (less fan noise) than the P4.

Speed-wise, a given Pentium M is apparently somewhat comparable to a P4 at twice the clock speed. (But a top-end P4 probably has the edge.) The Pentium M gives a better speed/battery life trade-off.

I use a P4 based Latitude (2.4 Ghz), and it gets really hot. The CPU fan spins up and sounds like a jet engine whenever I do big compiles and stuff. Not only that, but the fan comes on at a lower level even when the machine is idle.

If money is not a concern, and you are considering top-end Inspirons, you might want to look at the new Latitude models too. The D800 got a really good review recently--the only downside seemed to be the proprietary expansion bay.

Ian
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I'd go with the Pentium M based system as battery life has been more important that raw performance for me for a long time.  The Pentium M with a gig a ram would do almost everything I'd want a laptop to do.  The P4 are running so hot I think they get uncomfortable when on an airplane, etc.

christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I use a D800 at work as my primary.  Nice machine.  Could use a bit more HD, but then again I dual boot XP Pro/Linux.  (Probably should've made the XP partitions smaller, since I spend a lot more time in Linux than I do in XP.)  It's a bit heavy, but a good bag can help counter that.  Also it won't matter as much if you don't move it a lot.  Nice screen, too.  Honestly, I have no complaints.  (On the flip side, I do have a friend who refuses to buy a Dell based on horror stories he's heard.  Given my personal experience versus third hand stories...sorry, Jim, I'm happy with it.)

Aaron F Stanton
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

For a "have desktop, will travel" model, my top three criteria would be:
1) RAM
2) Screen size/resolution
3) Hard drive speed

1 & 3 will cripple any CPU, and 2 is essential, esp with 15" screens and 16x12 resolution available. You might also verify their ability to dualhead (newer laptops can use the installed LCT and an attached monitor as two heads)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

If money is no concern together with the brand of the laptop, I would go a different way. Stay away from Dell's if you can, unless you are planning to spend money on customer service. If you are going to go the cheap way on that, then pick IBM.

grunt
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

What happened to Transmeta powered laptops? I saw some in Japan a fews years back and the battery life at least was amazing.

Matthew Lock
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Mostly dumped because performance was abysmal.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

If money was no object.  I'd get an IBM.

SNT the evolution of RMS
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I just got a 9100 a month ago.  Great for development with the WUXGA screen if your eyes are up to it.  There have been several complaints about the WSXGA+ screen made by Hitachi.  I was originally planning to hook up a secondary monitor like I always do...but with the huge resolution it pretty much turns out I just don't bother.

The laptop itself is a giant.  People often ask if the bottom is a docking station...when it's actually part of the laptop.  And the battery lasts two hours tops. But like you said, it's a desktop replacement, which is exactly why I picked the 9100.

From prior experience, having the virtual dual processors created by the HT technology also keeps the OS far more responsive.

Visit www.talknotebooks.com and the Dell XPS/9100 forum for way more info.

Richard Kuo
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I am writing this on a corporate Dell Latitude D600, which stinks. The morons who designed the pointing stick/touch pad features apparently never tried to use it. You can't disable the pointing stick/touch pad keys unless you switch the BIOS to "Serial Mouse". This is inconvenient as hell if you use a docking station. EVERY TIME I boot the machine I have to modify the BIOS to adapt to standalone or docked mode.

Why do I want to disable the pointing stick/touch pad keys? Because you can't avoid touching one of them while using the keyboard, so your cursor goes off into the wild blue yonder and you find yourself typing passwords into text boxes, etc. It is truly brain dead. If you don't believe me, check out the Dell forums.

The only laptops worth considering are Apple iBooks and IBM Thinkpads. I have had four Thinkpads, going back to the "ancient" 486-50, and they are still the best of the non-Apple notebooks. The T40 is brilliant.

The high end HP wide screen is pretty darn good, too.

DataMiner
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

You could probably snap the mouse pointer stick thing off with a long nose pliers.

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I loved my Dell Inspirons (8000/8600), and I also really like this Compaq Evo N800. Another consideration, which may only serve as a tie-breaker: the Evo has its DVD drive on the side, which means I can't open it when it's in the docking station (monitor leg is in the way). A front-load would be fine.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I've had a couple of Dell Inspirons. They've both been great but I wish they'd have a better native resolution. 1024x768 is too big and 1400x1050 is too small. I want the same as a 17" flat screen: 1280x1024. They do it but not natively. It's all anti-aliasing. And it's horrible

Don't really like IBMs. Prefer the touchpad to the little clitoris. Also, why the bollocks don't IBM put a Windows key on their laptops? That's got to be one of the biggest annoyances of the lot!

gwyn
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Dell Laptops = 80% worth of you money

HP Laptops = 100% worth of your money.

Aryeh
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

>1024x768 is too big and 1400x1050 is too small.

my toshiba portege tablet runs at 1400x1050.  I changed the dpi from 96 to 120 dpi - looks beautiful.

nathan
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I woud not get a D600 - I had a couple and returned them - They get way too hot on top of the left palm rest (The bottom is always hot, but I expect it to be) - Get a ThinkPad...

Jose Sandoval
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I have an Inspiron 8100. Likes:
- Good price.
- Great screen resolution (1400x1050, but you can choose 1600x1200 or 1024x768). I use "Large Fonts" to make everything readable. BTW, it sounds like Longhorn is supposed to be a step in the direction of resolution independence.
- Nice graphics chipset (nVidia GeForce2go)
- Expandable. I think you can even replace the video chipset.
- Great service plan.

Dislikes:
- Flimsy. It creaks when I pick it up, and the weak screen hinge gives the top of the screen about a 2" give.
- Something related to the video display makes that high-pitched buzzing noise that doesn't come through the speaker.
- Built-in sound has the staticy telltale sign that Dell uses cheap parts.
- The laptop gets uncomfortably hot when it's been on for a while.

If I were to do it over again, I would probably pay the extra money ($200-300) for a Thinkpad.

Derek
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"Something related to the video display makes that high-pitched buzzing noise that doesn't come through the speaker."

I have a C640 with the same problem. I can't stand it.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, June 03, 2004

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