Dell launching Penryn-based Inspiron, XPS notebooks

Dell is refreshing Inspiron and XPS notebooks with Intel's newest 45-nanometer mobile processors.

Dell XPS M1330
Dell's XPS M1330 uses the Penryn chip. Dell Computer

Dell is in the process of updating its notebook line with Intel's newest 45-nanometer mobile processors. As reported earlier this week, Dell indicated it would refresh its lineup with Intel "Penryn" processors.

This comes as Dell moves much of its AMD-based lineup to retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Staples.

Dell will offer the Penryn processors in its Inspiron and XPS lines, according to a Dell spokesperson. One of the first U.S. models is already available online. The XPS M1330 can be configured with a Core 2 Duo T9500 (2.6GHz, 6MB cache), 2GB of memory, Intel X3100 graphics, and a 120GB hard drive. The system is priced at $1,674. The same basic configuration with a T8300 chip (2.4GHz, 3MB cache), drops the price to $1,274.

Dell, in the coming weeks, will also offer Inspiron models with the new Intel processor.

Though announced in early January, Penryn-based mobile systems are just now starting to hit the market in volume. For example, Toshiba announced this week a 4.6-pound, 13-inch form-factor model, the U305-S2816, that uses the Penryn T8100 (2.1GHz, 3MB cache). It starts at $1,349.99. And Hewlett-Packard bulked up its consumer notebook lines with Penryn-based models last week.

The simultaneous introduction of new Penryn-based models and the repositioning of some AMD-based notebooks from Dell's online store to retailers such as Wal-Mart and Staples is coincidence and not related, said Anne Camden, a Dell spokesperson. She also said that models in the Inspiron, Vostro, and Latitude notebook lines are available currently with AMD processors.

At retail, at least, AMD has a strong presence. For instance, of the seven Dell systems and package deals listed on Wal-Mart's Web site, only one of them is Intel-based. The rest are AMD. The question is whether a retail-heavy presence--where profit margins are typically thin--bodes well for AMD or not.

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