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Dell ships out Pentium M notebooks

The PC maker launches the new Inspiron 500m and Inspiron 600m notebooks, aimed at consumers and small businesses, and the Latitude D500 for corporations.

Dell Computer floated a trio of new Pentium M models into its notebook armada on Thursday.

The Round Rock, Texas, PC maker launched the new Inspiron 500m and Inspiron 600m notebooks, aimed at consumers and small businesses, and the new Latitude D500 for corporations.

The new notebook models are part of an effort by Dell to overhaul its entire notebook product line. The company has now replaced or refreshed all of its notebook models, except for the Latitude X200 and Precision M50 mobile workstation.

As previously reported, the pair of Inspirons are based on the same 5.5-pound chassis and will broaden the Dell notebook line by offering relatively low prices on Pentium M systems with built-in wireless networking.

Prices for the Inspiron 500m begin at about $1,200 before rebates and special offers, the company said. At that price, the machine includes a 1.3GHz Pentium M and a 14.1-inch display, along with 128MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, built-in graphics from Intel and a one-year warranty.

Most Pentium M models have launched in the range of $1,400 to $1,800.

Adding Intel's 802.11b wireless module--the third member of the company's new Centrino family of chips--to the Inspiron costs an extra $49. Dell also offers its own combination 802.11 b/g and 802.11 a/b/g modules for $69 and $89, respectively.

Dell's new Inspiron 600m is similar the 500m, but it uses a Radeon graphics board from ATI Technologies instead of relying on built-in graphics. A model configured with a 1.3GHz Pentium M, a 14-inch screen, 256MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM and an Intel wireless module starts at about $1,400.

The Latitude D500, meanwhile, is designed to offer corporations a lighter-weight Pentium M model as an alternative to Dell's existing Pentium M Latitudes. The new model starts at about $1,550 with a 1.3GHz Pentium M, a 14-inch screen, Intel's wireless module and a three-year warranty.

Dell plans to finish its notebook facelift later this year.

The company is expected to unveil a new Latitude D400 that weighs about 4 pounds, along with a new Latitude X300 that weighs about 3 pounds. The machines, due this summer, are expected to offer Pentium M processors paired with 12-inch screens, sources have told CNET's