Originally Posted by pstojanov
So who here will conduct the definitive test and drill their laptop? I would but I don't have it yet...
I've done almost that now! I went to the Dell Direct store here in Bondi Junction, Sydney, where they had a 9200 on display that seemed to have a case of gravel rash (looks like someone had scraped the base of it up against a brick wall or concrete walkway or something). Clear layering - the bottom-most black layer of paint, a really thick white plastic layer and the unmistakable dull-grey of laptop magnesium alloy. One corner of the 'bump' near the SD card slot actually chipped a little.
So if the 9300 is the same chassis as the 9200, then yes it has a magnesium alloy base! I think in fact that the white surround is also metal - there were some scrapes there and I'm pretty sure I saw metal under that too (but they weren't big enough to tell for sure if it was metal or dark grey plastic).
It had been running for a while so the cold-to-touch test didn't work but tapping, pressing and feeling various parts of the laptop, I've come to the following conclusion:
Base - definately all magnesium alloy (or some aluminium alloy that I've never seen before)
Base surround (the white bit) - 85% sure it's the same magnesium alloy
Deck/keyboard surround - either metal coated in plastic or really thick plastic. I'm leaning towards metal coated in plastic as to get the same stiffness in plastic would require a huge volume of plastic and/or many braces underneath.
Screen back - definately a panel of metal over the outside of the screen (covered in a thin layer of plastic) but I don't think it goes all the way to the hinges. It almost feels as if that metal panel is 'floating' somehow (not connected to the metal screen frame by anything other than the plastic trim).
Overall I was very very impressed with the build quality ... with the screen folded back, I could lift it from one corner of the base and the thing would hardly flex. I was tempted to try the same thing holding the corner of the screen but I don't think the screen hinge would have survived! Resistance to twisting of both the base and the screen was very good - I wouldn't have any qualms about throwing this into my backpack and jumping on my bike with it.
Anyone care to confirm/elaborate/counter?