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Dell 8600 or 5160 ?

by sms1295 / November 30, 2004 2:29 AM PST

I've been trying to decide between two Dell notebooks, the 8600 or 5160. One of my consideration is battery life which I have not been able to find a good article on. I've read pros and cons on their tech support, so I'm not sure how it rates to other brands. 've been able to configure both under 2000 which included the warranty option. Would appreciate any advise or a suggestion on another brand.

Thanks,

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Re: Dell 8600 or 5160 ?
by Ryan T / November 30, 2004 4:07 AM PST
In reply to: Dell 8600 or 5160 ?

Well I just bought an 8600, because it has Centrino technology. It uses the Pentium M processor. You don't sacrifice any speed by going with the Pentium M, and you gain a laptop that is lighter, (nearly 2 pounds in this case) runs cooler, and whose battery lasts longer.

If you value Battery life, you have to go with something that has Centrino.

However, there are lighter Centrino notebooks out there (the Compaq X1000 for example, is 0.4 lb lighter). Ken says the case is weak, but I can't comment on this as i haven't received mine yet.

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Re: Dell 8600 or 5160 ?
by KenSanramon / November 30, 2004 9:21 AM PST

The Dell 8600 case is adequate but it doesn't have the metal bezel surround the HPZT3000 or Compaq X1000 has.

The Dell 8600 though has all the options you could possibly want (with the ATI 9700 video card with 128mb dedicated video and the Hitachi screaming fast 7200rpm hard drive options).

Make sure, however, that you get any notebook today with a built in minipci 54G wifi (Intel 2200b/g or equivalent) as you will regret being stuck with b. G has a longer range, is more stable, and it is up to 5x faster when transferring files wirelessly to another computer)(DSL and cable modem speed won't allow the 54G speed but you will get a faster and more stable connection with G over b.

Right now, you can get a built in 54G minipci card built into to nearly any quality notebook over $1,000 so this is a big drawback to buying a 1 year old notebook with b wi-fi or no internal wi-fi at all (Like Ryan did).

Of course you can use a PC card slot wi-fi adaptor or USB adaptor on any notebook with those ports but that takes the all internal factor away and also it is not as energy efficient on batteries running an external plug in card versus the built in wi-fi card which is optimized to run efficiently on a Centrino notebook with the chipset and Pentium M Cpu.

Some manufacturers like IBM and HP/Compaq will not work with an aftermarket minipci card (on the HPZT3000 / Compaq X1000 it will work up to the F34 bios but not at the newer F42 and F50 notebook bioses) so getting the right internal wi-fi card upfront is critical if you will use it.

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Re: Dell 8600 or 5160 ?
by sms1295 / December 7, 2004 3:01 AM PST

Ryan:

How do you like your 8600? Any problems?

Thanks,

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Re: Dell 8600 or 5160 ?
by Ryan T / December 7, 2004 4:09 AM PST

I do love it. I haven't had one problem, albeit I've only had it a week. It's fast, the screen is beautiful, and the touchpad even stays out of my way. I have yet to bump it and cause a typing snafu.

The case feels very solid, particularly the LCD. Yes the bezel is plastic but compared to my older Inspiron it's much stronger. It has a metal frame and brace inside the LCD cover which keeps you from being able to twist it or even make the image distort by pressing on the back. Overall I'm extremely satisfied.

There is one ergonomic advantage I would give to the Compaq, and one I would give to the HP. The Compaq has more USB Ports (4 I believe), compared with the 2 on the 8600.

However the headphone jack for the 8600 is on the side for when you use it to jack into the stereo to play tunes.

Example: Sunday night at a party i used iTunes to play 5 hours of music from my 8600. I was streaming over 802.11b (soon to change to G), using 256 kbps stereo MP3s stored on a file server in another room.

Not once did it skip (unlike the Inspiron 4000).

But anyway. The point being if you're concerned about battery life, the 5150 will not give it to you. The Pentium M Centrino of the 8600 is the way to go if you're deciding between those two computers.

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Re: Dell 8600 or 5160 ?
by sms1295 / December 7, 2004 5:14 AM PST

I'm glad to hear you are satisfied. I forgot. What are the specs of your system?

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Dell = Fail
by daveclarkvibe / December 1, 2004 12:09 AM PST
In reply to: Dell 8600 or 5160 ?
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Re: Dell = Fail
by KenSanramon / December 1, 2004 3:46 AM PST
In reply to: Dell = Fail

Its too bad the Dell notebooks are not up to the much better reputation of their desktops but unfortunately many people assume the notebooks have the same manufacturing standard but that is no the case (Dell notebooks are contractor manufactured in China like everyone else so you have to compare each notebook to see if it is built solidly and has a good keyboard, etc).

Note that the LCD's, harddrives, motherboards, etc are not built by Dell or HP, etc but rather are stock parts although notebook motherboards are more proprietary then desktops.

The HPZT3000 / Compaq X1000 I have is built by Compal in China and also the Acer 2000 series is built off the same core platform for example.

Dell and HP/Compaq both have their consumer service support mostly overseas so that does not differ much but many Dell notebooks have very plastiky case construction and the keyboards are not up to snuff.

But, again, for desktops they are top notch and they seem to do much of the assembly for those in the US as well. That is not the case for the notebooks.

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Re: Dell = Fail
by vercon67 / December 1, 2004 1:22 PM PST
In reply to: Re: Dell = Fail

I would recommend the 8600 over the 5160. The pentium m is much more preferable over the P4 (in my opinion). Also the standard graphics card in the 8600 is far better than the integrated graphics of the 5160. The Inspiron line (consumer based)is more "plasticy" than the Latitude line (business based). Tech support for basic waranty is located outside of the states and you get a level one tech. If you get the gold tech support - it is US based and you get level 2 techs. Oh, and FYI...alot of the desk tops are manufactured in the USA - Tennessee to be exact. I hope this helps...

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Dell fail
by tankdriver / December 19, 2004 3:19 AM PST
In reply to: Dell = Fail

You know all you hear from is from people who have problems and very few times does someone post a postive. They may reply, but most do not start one. I have purchased computers since 1989 for work, and in the last few months, I have purchased at least 20 Dell destops, 7 Laptops, and 4 Axiums. I had had 3 problems with the desktops with Dell sending someone out the next day to take care of it. To hear some people talk, everyone they build is bad, but I do not believe they could stay in bussiness long if that was the case, and I sure have been happy with the ones I have purchased. That is why I contuie to purchase Dell. Beleive me, if they made my job harder, I'd purchase something else.

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Dell a decent notebook choice but desktops a higher standard
by KenSanramon / December 20, 2004 4:57 AM PST
In reply to: Dell fail

Dell has outstanding desktops (and their reputation in desktops leads many to think the notebooks are at the same quality level).

Also, Dell moved back its business support from overseas to the US after complaints.

But the consumer support is still overseas.

Many models like the Dell 8600 have excellent video card and hard drive options not available on many other notebooks. The main drawbacks at least in the consumer models is that the case integrity and keyboards are not as good as others.

But Dell is midpack along with Toshiba And HP/Compaq overall in reliability and service so it is a matter of taste and priorities between these 3 large companies.

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