Using a Pentium 4-M processor running at 2.4GHz together with 512MB of DDR SDRAM (from a 2GB limit), our evaluation Dell Inspiron 8500 had a 15.4in wide aspect (16:10) display capable of a maximum resolution of 1920x1200. It blitzed the 3DMark 2001 SE benchmark: its new 64MB NVIDIA GeForce 4 4200 graphics controller drove the notebook to score 9570 at 1024x768 in 16-bit — the highest 3D result we’ve seen in a notebook, and more graphics grunt than some PCs!
Our test model used a 40GB hard disk (up to 60GB drives can be used) and rounded out its multimedia feature set with the inclusion of a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive, S-Video TV-out, VGA-out (for external monitors) and a FireWire port. Additional ports include two high-speed USB 2.0 ports and single serial, parallel, microphone and headphone connectors. CD/DVD control buttons have been placed on the right of the keyboard.
The 8500 is no slouch in application performance, with a blistering result of 199 from the SYSMark 2001 productivity benchmark. Our machine certainly met day-to-day connectivity needs with the provision of both Ethernet and a 56Kbps modem, support for one Type I or Type II PC Card and dual-band 802.11b/a courtesy of an included Mini-PCI card. Support is also provided for optional Bluetooth and GPRS functionality.
Dell provides several items of custom software designed to make using the Inspiron 8500 easier (particularly regarding resolution). A one-year, next business day on-site warranty can be upgraded to three years for an additional $369. CompleteCover, protecting against accidental damage, can be obtained for another $99 for one year or $170 for three years.
In brief: Dell Inspiron 8500
Weighing just 3.8kg with power supply, this wide-screen notebook has exceptional graphics performance, speedy application operation and an overall feature set in keeping with its flagship model status.
Price: $4599 (inc. delivery)
Phone: 13 3355