I quite like my new Dell Inspiron 8600. It seems to the perfect meld of performance and portability. My other laptop, an Averatec 3150 while ultra portable (~4lbs) lacks the performance I need to replace my P4 desktop system. This new dell is definatly big but it’s still lighter and smaller than a lot of the desktop replacements out there.
The WUXGA screen at 1920×1200 is amazingly clear and bright. The 1.8 Ghz dothon core processor is deceptively fast while still maintaining 3+ hours of battery life. It’s definatly faster than my P4 2.4Ghz desktop processor and it seems to run cool (sometimes I think my averatec is going to melt into a puddle on my desk). The fans are also quite silent and come on very rarely.
The 100GB drive is HUGE for a 2.5 inch notebook drive. I have dedicated 60GB to Windows XP and 40GB to Fedora Core 2. The ATI Radeon 9600 pro turbo is a fast graphics card, I would say it is faster than my Nvidia FX5600. Unfortunatly ATI’s linux driver support is still not as refined as nvidia’s but most of my 3D gaming is on my XP partition anyway.
I really like the wifi range with the dell, places in my house where the averatec is seeing 30% signal the dell is still seeing perfect signal. I would attribute that to better antenna design but it could also be the integrated intel wifi.
My main gripe with this new laptop is it’s integrated CDRW/DVD+RW drive. Although the drive performs flawlessly I wish it used the more popular DVD-RW format. My other DVD burner is a -RW format so all my -RW discs are wasted on this new drive. Maybe I’ll get an external USB enclosure so I can still burn my old -RW format. Anyway, that’s a small issue.