I am suspecting that the 1249 price was after I received my refurb. Promos and prices change a lot. Almost impossible to keep up with them. And for the record, right before I ordered the refurb, I did a price comparison with a new one...
The following software updates are available on dell.com for the 8600
BIOS, Version A05
Sigmatel Audio drivers, Version A09
Intel Mobile chipset, Version A06
Notebook system software, Version A10