Next generation Centrino: Dell Inspiron 6000

Intel has launched the next gener­ation of its Centrino technology (code­named Sonoma) which includes the latest Pentium M processors and improved wire­less capabilities.

The new Centrino platform brings key technologies afforded to desktop PCs by last year's Grantsdale (915x) chipset to mid and lightweight notebook computers.

These include a power opti­mised 533MHz front-side bus, PCI Express, Serial ATA hard disks, 400MHz or 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM sup­port and Hi-Definition Audio. Models based on the 915GM/GMS chip-sets will use Intel's integrated DirectX 9-compatible Gra­phics Accelerator 900.

However, PC World's $3313 Inspiron 6000 featured a gamer-friendly 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X300 graphics controller, helping its WUXGA 15.4in wide-aspect display deliver a maximum resolution of 1920x1200 pixels. Our model also used an Intel Pentium M 750 processor (1.87GHz), 1GB of DDR2 memory, an 80GB hard disk and a fixed dual-layer DVD+/-RW drive.

Peripherals can be attached through four USB 2.0 slots, a FireWire port, an integrated SD/IO card reader and support for one Type I/II PC Card.

This model's perfor­mance was marginally higher than the current crop of Centrino notebooks (293 in SYSMark 2001 and 9487 in 3DMark 2001), but the performance gain was not at the expense of the battery life. If you are looking to buy, this gain may be compelling. But whether you go with existing Centrino products, or these new models, make sure you know which generation of Centrino you're getting.

In brief: A solid contender with all the performance, battery, wireless and security benefits that Sonoma brings. Price: $3313 (including delivery) Vendor: Dell Phone: 13 3355 URL: www.dell.com.au

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Danny Allen

PC World
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