Cadalyst Labs Review: Dell Inspiron 6000 Notebook

31 Jan, 2006 By: Patrick Davis

Desktop replacement is a good buy if you don’t need high-end power

If you're looking for a value-priced desktop-replacement notebook, consider one of the many variations of the Dell Inspiron 6000. To sweeten the deal, Dell is offering some terrific discounts on this laptop at the moment.

Dell Inspiron 6000.
For this review, I tested a Dell Inspiron 6000 (Advanced model) with a 1.73GHz Pentium M 740 processor (with 2MB cache and 533MHz front-side bus) and 1GB DDR2 533MHz RAM module installed. The system is configured with a 60GB 7,200rpm Ultra ATA hard drive, 15.4" WXGA LCD display, an ATI Mobility Radeon X300 PCI Express x16 graphics card with 128MB of RAM, 24X combo DVD/CD-RW and a 9-cell lithium-ion primary battery.

The Inspiron 6000 supports an array of connectivity options, including an S-Video port (7-pin mini D-sub), a 15-pin VGA port, four USB 2.0 ports, Intel Pro/Wireless 2200 internal wireless (802.11b/g, 54Mbps), integrated 10/100 network card and modem, SD slot, IEEE 1394 FireWire and a Type II PCMCIA slot.

The 15.4" wide-screen display supports a maximum resolution of 1280x800. Dell gives you a choice of the default WXGA, WSXGA+ (1680x1050) for an additional $100 or WUXGA (1920x1200) for an additional $150. The Inspiron 6000 measures 14"x 10.5"x 1.5" (WxDxH) and weighs less than 8lb with the AC adapter.

The Inspiron 6000 did not fare so well when I tested it using Cadalyst Labs' benchmark suite. However, in actual production, it performed well on large 2D drawings with multiple xrefs and moderately sized models in Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006, Revit Structure 2 and AutoCAD 2006, as well as on small models in Autodesk Inventor. Rendering in Architectural Desktop, Autodesk VIZ and 3ds max was far too time-consuming compared with the performance of my 3.6GHz Pentium 4 Alienware workstation with 1GB RAM and an NVIDIA FX 1300 graphics card.

This notebook registered a total index score of 75.8 on the Cadalyst Labs C2001 benchmark using the default WOPENGL8.HDI driver. For the MaxBench4 benchmark, the high score was 24.8941 and the low score 43.5568, for an average of 34.23. The SPEC ViewPerf proe-03 viewset benchmark score came in at 12.48.

Battery life with the Cadalyst Labs benchmark running continuously and screen brightness set to maximum was 4 hours, 15 minutes. Battery life for the idle system, running only normal background processes, was 6 hours, 8 minutes. These battery discharge times are impressive compared with some other portable workstations Cadalyst has reviewed. Recharge time from fully depleted was about 2 hours, 25 minutes.

As tested, the Inspiron 6000 sticker price is $1,582 and includes the Dell three-year CompleteCare protection. A 20% discount running on the Dell Web site at press time brought the price down to $1,266. For future consideration, check out Web sites that list current Dell deals and valid coupons, including my favorite, My thanks to Brian Lord for helping to locate the numerous Dell coupon Web sites.

Pros: Superb battery life; responsive keyboard; media control buttons; decent price.
Cons: Subpar performance running certain applications.
Price: $1,582 ($1,266 with coupons)

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