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Dell Inspiron 6400 vs Acer Aspire 5670

by Dataspeed / April 21, 2006 3:23 PM PDT

I've been looking around for a laptop for my first year of University next year. Basically, I find that these 2 suit my requirements. They are both using Intel Core Duo, 15.4'' screen. So now I need to figure out the best of the two although I haven't had a laptop before. Your help and opinion is very appreciated:

Here are the tech specs for each:
1. Dell Inspiron 6400
http://www1.ca.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_6400?c=ca&cs=CADHS1&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn&~tab=specstab#tabtop
2. Acer Aspire 5670
http://www.acer.ca/acereuro/page9.do?dau34.oid=14768&UserCtxParam=0&GroupCtxParam=0&dctx1=27&CountryISOCtxParam=CA&LanguageISOCtxParam=en&crc=2883677377

I'm trying to rely on these factors to determine the better of the 2, but I'd like to know about other information as well:
Performance (For school work, internet, and a few games)
Battery life (The more the better obvisouly)
Heat generation (The less the better)
Video card (I read somewhere that the Dell uses half onboard memory and half system memory, while Acer was only onboard memory, can anyone confirm?)
Screen (Is Truelife the same as CrystalBrite Technology?)
WiFi (I'll probably be using wireless internet a lot)

I also read a review in which the person said that the Acer used 2 hard drives instead of one. Does that generate more heat?

It seems that many people think that the Acer's bottom has is made with a fragile plastic, do I risk craking it?

If the hard drive is formated using FAT 32 as opposed to NTFS, does it change anything?

In other words, which one would you get?
Thank you again

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Dell I6400

Hi !

Personnaly, I would take the Dell Inspiron 6400.

Why ? Because the quality of their laptop is very nice. My father have an ''old '' Dell Latitude D600 ( which is not really old but it contains old technology ) and the quality of it is wonderful. And has I read on many forums, the Dell support is really nice.

To anwser your questions :

Performances : For school work and Internet, the dual-core processor is unnescessary. But this can be a good investment to have the Core Duo for the future because we will be able ( at 99 % ) to upgrade the Core Duo Processor for the future Intel Pentium M codenamed MEROM. Both processors are pin-to-pin compatible. The only thing to have is the BIOS upgrade, which I can beleive that Dell will put it available to download because it's exactly the samething that happened when the Pentium 4 HT came out on the market : People wanted to upgrade their processor but you must have the BIOS upgrade ! So DELL came out the BIOS upgrade two days before they got out their desktop with the Pentium 4 HT.

Battery Life : both are the same I think.

Heat generation : I read that the Dell Inspiron 6400 has a very very good heat generation and repartition on the case. Even if you watch a DVD, the fan won't start and the case is relatively warm, but not hot, only a little normal heat.

Video Card : both laptops has the same. The ATi Mobility Radeon X1400 has the Hypermemory. What's this technology ? First, you must know that the X1400 has 128 MB of VRAM on-board. S it's like you have a 128 MB graphics controller. But if your game needs exemple 256 MB of VRAM to works with all the details at the maximum level, the Hypermemory will adjust the system RAM in case. In other words, the HyperMemory will ''rent'' RAM to the main RAM to transform it in VRAM. So if you have 512 MB of RAM, this will drops the RAM at 384 MB, but you'll have 256 MB of VRAM. But if you only watch a DVD or you are on the battery, the graphics card will only use 128 MB to save power or because the graphics controller don't need all its performances.

Screen : The TrueLife is eaxactly the samething than the CristalClear. What's that ? This is a screen with a ''glossy'' finish on it. Personnaly, I prefer it to the other standar display finish. When you compare both finish, you see that the TrueLife technology has more vivid color, better contrasts and more beautiful gaphics. But all good things has a default : you'll have more lights reflections in the screen because of this glossy finish...

Wi-Fi : The lastest Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 B/G will probably be nice for you. One thing is sure : never buy something that doesn't have the Intel Wireless.

Two hard drive will do more heat : it's a fact. The more components run, the more heat you'll have and less battery life you'll have.

Acer display plastic : as I said, I think the ACER quality isn't the same than the quality of Dell.

But many users complaint about the Dell display : it has a kind of white line in the bottom of the screen. Many users return their laptop and it came back with a new screen with no default who works well.

FAT32 Vs NTFS : NTFS is better because it's the big brother of the FAT32 system, a more evoluated version of FAT32. You can have bigger partitions with this file system and many users say that it's more stable.

Don't forget the Windows recovery CD is you want to format the hard-drive to have a clean install of your Windows. Many manufacturers ( Dell is the worst on that point ) installs junk useless programs. Format the hard-drive take less time than earase all that junk programs.

In summary, I think both are good. Read reviews on the CNet website about the two lines :

http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2827

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1786092,00.asp

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1878510,00.asp ( exactly the same than the 6400, but with the traditionnal Pentium M Single Core and without CD/DVD programs, the kin of application that you can start even not booting up all Windows to save battry when you watch a DVD or listen to music ).

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1908402,00.asp ( samething than the 6400, but with a 17-inch widescreen display - 15.4-inch widescreen display in the case of the 6400. This 9400 is the fisrt '' version '' of this model beacuse it has a GeForce Go graphics solution. Now, it's ATi graphics solution that DELL decided to put in this model ).

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1949617,00.asp ( the best model of HP Pavilion Line ; IMportant to take the nVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 graphics solution with the TurboCache technology ( exactly the same technology than the Hypermemory tech. ) )

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1907126,00.asp ( another popular laptop from HP, but only with an Integrated graphics chipset that steel you up to 224 MB of your main RAM, without any on-board VRAM ).

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1933653,00.asp ( high-end laptop )

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1933392,00.asp ( very very very good laptop, Windows Compatible with Boot Camp software. Apple has a little bit more high-end graphics solution ( the ATi X1600 ) than Dell ( ATi X1400 )


Read this ... than make your choice depending of your budget. Don't forget to compare the external ports : media card reader, number of USB ports, monitor ports, etc.

I gave you different models from Dell. It's always good to see the results of other tests about the same constructor.

HP laptop are also very good.

Avoid Sony laptops : too expensive for nothing more than other brands.

A phone call to the client service at the different manufacturer is good. You can have nice deals calling to the service number.

Good luck in your buying ! If you have oter questions, write to us !

Thank you !

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(NT) (NT) ty for the detailed answer!
by Dataspeed / April 24, 2006 6:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Dell I6400
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