Dell Inspiron 8600 2007 review: Dell Inspiron 8600 2007

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The Good Fast; comes with cutting-edge components, including the GeForce FX Go5650 GPU; has DVD+RW drive and built-in 802.11a or b/g antenna.

The Bad Expensive.

The Bottom Line The Inspiron 8600 desktop replacement is one of the best and fastest notebooks on the block; it's great for business or personal use.

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8.2 Overall

Last spring's Inspiron 8500 and the brand-new Inspiron 8600 are like twins: the two desktop-replacement notebooks share the same case design, but they part ways at components. The 8600's fresh lineup of high-end parts makes it the faster, more chic, and of course, more expensive of the two--perfect for home and small-business users alike.

The cool case measures 1.5 by 14.2 by 10.9 inches and weighs 7.2 pounds--an average size for a desktop replacement but too big for frequent travel. Such girth allows an awesome 15.4-inch, wide-aspect screen; a broad, firm keyboard; and a swappable bay that supports floppy, DVD, DVD/CD-RW combo, and DVD+RW drives. The case also offers plenty of ports, including parallel, FireWire, and two USB 2.0. Finally, the case lid supports unique snap-on covers in five colors, ranging from Red Lava to Burlwood.

Even better, Dell offers the Inspiron 8600 with the Intel Pentium M, which has speeds up to 1.7GHz, and the 128MB Nvidia GeForce FX Go5650 graphics chip. (The Inspiron 8500, in contrast, ships with older parts, such as mobile Pentium 4-M processors and the 64MB Nvidia GeForce4 4200 Go graphics chip.) Rounding out its lineup of excellent specs, the Inspiron 8600 includes a 7,200rpm, 60GB hard drive; 2GB of 333MHz SDRAM; and integrated dual-band antennae that support 802.11a or 802.11b/g wireless signals.

This system isn't cheap, but you can lower the price by ordering it with a variety of cheaper parts, such as a smaller hard drive and less memory. Operating system options include Windows XP Home (most 8600 models come with XP Home) and Professional. Software choices consist of a range of office suites, plus Dell productivity apps.

The Inspiron 8600 that we reviewed showed lightning-quick speeds in CNET Labs' benchmarks. In light of the display's superhigh native resolution of 1,920x1,200 pixels and the system's extrafast hard drive--both of which require plenty of battery power--the 8600's 219-minute battery life wasn't half bad.

A one-year parts-and-labor warranty comes standard with every Inspiron 8600, and toll-free, 24/7 tech support lasts the length of your service plan. This run-of-the-mill policy is similar to the standard policies offered by most notebook manufacturers.

Mobile application performance (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating
Velocity Micro NoteMagix B50
Dell Inspiron 8600
HP Compaq nx7000
Battery life (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life in minutes
Velocity Micro NoteMagix B50
HP Compaq nx7000
Dell Inspiron 8600
Maximum application performance (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo SysMark2002 rating
SysMark2002 Internet content creation
SysMark2002 office productivity
Velocity Micro NoteMagix B50
Dell Inspiron 8600
HP Compaq nx7000
3D graphics performance (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
Futuremark 3DMark2001 SE
Dell Inspiron 8600
HP Compaq nx7000
Velocity Micro NoteMagix B50

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