Before we get started, let me say that I am not a Dell reseller, nor do I make a commission from the sales of any Dell computer you’ll read about here. In other words, I am not connected to Dell Computer in any way. I’ve just done some research on Dell laptops and I am sharing it with you here, no strings attached.
OK, got it? Let’s go.
As you know, Dell produces a large collection of laptops and notebook computers under lots of different brand names. Here’s a brief outline/rundown of what they offer:
Dell’s Dimension is being phased out and a “value-oriented” line of laptops — Vostro (Latin for “yours”) — has been created for the small business market. One great thing to note: Dell claims the Vostro line will not come with “trialware” (or “crapware”) pre-installed. The other thing is that the Vostro laptops have an “upmarket” — classier — black finish with chrome trim.
The following laptop models were released during July, 2007 in Canada and the US.
- Vostro 1000
- Vostro 1400
- Vostro 1500
- Vostro 1700
Dell’s Latitude laptops are targeted at the corporate market, e.g., the road warriors. Latitude uses standardized, interchangeable parts throughout the line. After all, businesses want fast and cheap product service, right? In addition, the specs are meant to NOT change for several years (also for support purposes).
Note: This contrasts with the Dell Inspiron line which is aimed at the (fickle and flighty?) consumer market whose specifications change regularly.
Dell Latitude computers are also built with a more durable casing and internal metal frames. In addition, many offer hard drive protection systems in case the computer is dropped or suffers a severe impact.
Current Latitude models include the ATG, X1, D430, D520, D600, D620, the newly launched D630 and the D830. Select models based on the Intel Core Duo, Core Solo and Core 2 Duo are now available. The D420, D620, and D820 feature wide aspect LCD screens: 12.1″, 14.1″, and 15.4″ respectively.
The Latitude D620 weighs 4.7 pounds, and the base model includes a 1.67GHz Intel Core Duo T2300 processor (667MHz front-side-bus) and 2M of L2 cache. There is an option to upgrade to a Core 2 Duo T7X00 processor (667Mhz font-side-bus) with 4M of L2 cache.
It comes standard with 512M of DDR2 RAM, expandable to 4GB, and four USB ports.
For graphics, it offers the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950, and an option to upgrade to NVIDIA discrete graphics at the expense of lower battery life.
The Precision brand name features the most powerful laptop computers that Dell makes. These include the M4300 and M90. The M4300 is a little less in quality compared to the M90. These computers, when configured for extreme computing, can exceed $3,000. The Precision line top-shelf: its nVidia Quadro FX 1500M – 3500M gives you super-high-end video graphics.
Inspiron is targeted at the consumer laptop market. As of June 26, 2007 the Inspiron name also refers to Dell’s desktop systems as well.
Dell updated their Inspiron series in June of 2007 with the 1420/1420 N, 1520/1521, and 1720/1721 models.
- Inspiron 1420/1420 N
Small (5.39 lbs), portable models based on the Intel Santa Rosa platform. Both models have an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (up to 2.2 GHz), 14.1″ display (up to 1440×900), SATA hard drive (up to 160 GB), and 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (up to 4 GB). The 1420 features an integrated Intel X3100 or NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS. The 1420 N has an integrated Intel X3100. Dell also offers Ubuntu Linux as an alternate operating system on this laptop. Available in 8 colors.
- Inspiron 1501
Mid-size (6.19 lbs), mainstream model with an AMD Turion (up to 2.0 GHz) or Mobile AMD Sempron 3500+ processor, 15.4″ display, ATI Radeon Xpress 1150, SATA hard drive (up to 120 GB), and DDR2 SDRAM (up to 2 GB).
- Inspiron 6400/E1505 N
Mid-size (6.18 lbs), mainstream models with an Intel Core 2 Duo (up to 2.00 Ghz), 15.4″ display, SATA hard drive (up to 160 GB), and DDR2 SDRAM (up to 2 GB). The 6400 features an ATI Mobility Radeon X1400. The E1505 N features an integrated Intel Media Accelerator 950, ATI Radeon x1300, ATI Radeon x1400, or NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300.
- Inspiron 1520/1521
Mid-size (6.40 lbs), mainstream models based on the Intel Santa Rosa platform (Model: GM 965 or PM 965). The 1520 features an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (up to 2.2 Ghz) with an integrated Intel X3100 or NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS/8600M GT. The 1521 features an AMD Turion (up to 2.2 GHz) with an ATI Radeon Xpress 1150. Both models have a 15.4″ display (up to 1680×1050), 160GB SATA hard drive (option for 5400RPM or 7200RPM), and 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (up to 4 GB). The notebooks also have the option to come installed with a Blu-Ray drive. Available in 8 colors with webcam.
- Inspiron 1720/1721
Large (7.62 lbs), high-end models based on the Intel Santa Rosa platform (Model: GM 965 or PM 965). The 1720 features an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (up to 2.4 Ghz) with an integrated Intel X3100 or NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS/8600M GT. The 1721 features an AMD Turion (up to 2.2GHz) with an ATI Radeon Xpress 1270. Both models have a 17″ display (up to 1900×1200), support for dual SATA hard drives (up to 500GB – 2 x 250GB drives), and 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (up to 4 GB). The 1721 also features RAID 0 or 1 hard drive configurations, an option which is strangely missing from the 1720. They also lack DVI or HDMI connections, which would be expected for a high-end desktop replacement, given their HDCP compliant graphics card and Blu-ray Disc option. Both models are available in 8 colors.
Dell has marketed this brand as an all-in-one multimedia system.
- XPS M2010
Software includes Dell’s “Media Center” with an instant-access button to quickly start the system direct in this application, and it is equipped with an 8 speaker plus subwoofer audio system.
On the downside, the battery is only good for about 2 hours, but you are probably not buying this laptop to take on the road — the system weighs almost 18 pounds. That said, it is fully portable and self-contained.
The case design includes a detachable keyboard with full-size keys and integrated trackpad, and flexible approach to screen placement. The base unit cannot be detached from the monitor, although the monitor offers articulation in two locations. The design incorporates a large handle which also forms part of the display hinge – the optional carry case uses this and does not provide a handle to lift the system, but it does feature casters and a telescopic handle to wheel the case around.
The keyboard is often reported to attach magnetically. It uses two large spring-loaded locating catches, but does not fix rigidly to the chassis. Instead, the folded screen holds everything together. But when open the keyboard does detach easily.
M2010 features a wide, flat CPU section with a symmetrical design – the optical drive is flush to the top surface and motorised. Internally the symmetry is maintained with the centrally mounted CPU flanked by two SATA HD drives and two cooling systems – the GPU and CPU coolers vent on opposite sides of the base.
The M2010 also features a unique option, the Dell Premium Remote developed by Gyration Inc. Using 2.4GHz RF on an internal board. Referred to in the service manual as a Wireless USB board. it uses the Cypress “WirelessUSB” chipset, which predates and does not conform to the Wireless USB standard. the remote offers basic HID functions and control for Windows Media Centre with an additional LCD allowing navigation of the music library in a style akin to an iPod or similar device.
The remote had been exclusive to the M2010 from launch. In August 2007 Gyration announced the Ultra R4000 remote which offers the same LCD-display functionality and has a similar appearance.
- XPS M1710
The higher-end mobile XPS computer available in black or red that features a 17″ widescreen, Intel Core 2 Duo processors, NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900GS or 7950GTX video cards, 7200 RPM SATA hard drive, and DDR2 SDRAM. The Inspiron E1705/9400 offers similar features, notably the Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processors, 17″ screen, and the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900GS for a lesser price (about $1000 less than the M1710). The M1710 does offer unique user- and software-changeable LED lighting in the touchpad and fan outlets/inlets, as well as the lid, also including BluRay Disc Drive in some models. The system was marketed to gamers. It was physically identical to the Inspiron 9100. This computer was later replaced by the Inspiron XPS Gen 2 and ultimately the current XPS M1710. This model is highly expected[weasel words] to be replaced in the coming weeks.
- XPS M1330
This high end laptop, released in June of 2007, features the Intel Centrino’s Fourth Generation Santa Rosa platform. It features a 13.3″ screen either with CCFL or WLED. The WLED version will have a 0.3 Mega pixel camera, as opposed to the 2MP camera with the original CCFL screen. Moreover, XPS 1330 also features a biometric fingerprint reader, which was usually found in business class laptops like the latitude series. The XPS 1330, with the WLED screen is thinner and brighter than the previous XPS 1210 version. The XPS M1330 also offers the NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS graphics card as an option.
There you have it — the Dell line of laptops. Hopefully you gained an appreciation of the similarities and differences between the different brand names.
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