Well folks after months of scouring these forums for clues to help in the impossible quest of finding the perfect laptop I bit the bullet and laid down a fat wad of hard earned cash to go for the Inspiron 9100 (see sig for specs).
The following is a brief account of my impressions after one month of almost daily use.
After travelling back from France (I bought the laptop through Dell France) to Tokyo with my laptop safely guarded at my feet I went through the inevitable process of weeding out all the useless pre-installed software. In fact I zero filled the hard drive and reinstalled Windows.
I then downloaded the Omega Catalyst drivers from driverheaven.com and played around with a few other tuning options until I felt content with the general workings of the machine.
I found the overall build of this machine to be satisfactory although there are times when I think Michael Dell could have payed compal more money to invest in some better quality plastic for the case and trim; especially the removable corners. I like the look of the machine as it makes its presence felt on my desk and feels like the power house it is made out to be.
In terms of ergonomics I find as most people do that when typing for a considerable length of time the thick body begins to strain the wrists. This is something I was aware of before buying it and besides I rather like using my Microsoft wireless executive keyboard and mouse so that is no problem for me. However when I do use the native keyboard I find it is sturdy and adequately responsive to the touch. The key size is perfect and the few peripheral buttons (sound controls, media player controls etc) are user friendly and come in handy now and again.
I was surprised to find how quiet the fans were when past experiences with Dell desktop machines had left much to be desired. Considering that my machine is running with one of the hottest processors out there the little fans do a great job in cooling the whole affair.
The screen I chose was the wsxga type and it blows me away! Compared with a former Sony Vaio and an IBM laptop I used to own this screen is more crisp and rich in colours. Couple this with the Radeon Mobile 9800 video card and you have some high quality visuals for a laptop worthy to be a part of any designers kit.
In terms of performance I am more than satisfied, I played the Doom 3 demo with ease and finished Far Cry without problems. I can do image processing much faster than before and the hyper threading helps when performing multiple tasks.
If I were to give this laptop a score out of 10, having owned a Sony Vaio and an IBM laptop as well as Dell, Compaq and self assembled desktops I think it would be 8/10. Many people are deterred by this laptop because of its weight and size, that's fair enough but if you are looking for a desktop replacement system this is definitely the way to go.
As a comparative reference I would rate the Sony Vaio at 6/10 and the IBM at 7/10 but both lacked in video capabilities. The IBM build quality was outstanding and the Vaio had great battery life and a superb screen these were truly laptops though, meaning that they were portable and had relatively decent battery life but they would never have been able to handle Doom 3 for example.
Thumbs up for the brilliant screen, the monster performance and the R9800 256MB gfx card! Thumbs down for a few minor flimsy parts of the casing.
All that's left for me to do now is to raise a toast to the pixel gods so that they may watch over my expensive baby while she sleeps... .
post #1 of 4
10/3/04 at 1:53pm