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Dell Inspiron XPS

Dell Inspiron XPS

Dell charges into the gaming laptop arena today, unveiling the big, fully loaded Dell Inspiron XPS, the company's first laptop aimed squarely at the gamer crowd. The 9.4-pound desktop replacement (Dell's largest notebook ever) starts at about $2,849 and will, for the first time, feature an upgradable graphics chip.

Upside: We'll be surprised if this laptop's top-shelf specs don't result in dramatically impressive performance. Specs include a choice of a 3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor or a Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, also at 3.4GHz; 512MB to 2GB of DDR RAM at 400MHz; the Mobility Radeon 9700 with 128MB of memory (ATI's new graphics chip); a 15.4-inch screen; a subwoofer to beef up the sound; Gigabit Ethernet; four USB 2.0 ports; FireWire; and a 60GB hard drive spinning at a fast 7,200rpm. If and when you want to upgrade the graphics chip, a Dell technician will be dispatched to install the upgrade at your home.

Downside: Starting at $2,849, the Dell Inspiron XPS costs more than you might be willing to spend for a laptop. At 9.4 pounds, it's also more machine than the frequent traveler will want to lug around.

Outlook: From what we've seen so far, the Dell Inspiron XPS looks capable of taking on the tough requirements that gamers demand. Will it set a new standard for powerful gaming laptops? Check back for a full review.

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