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Dell Inspiron 6000 2006/01/29

Posted by Dave in Reviews.
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In the midst of a battle with our insurers over the replacement of our Priceless Clevo laptop by a crap Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo, we had waited long enough and had to do something. So we went on-line to look at Dell.

Several of my clients use Dell and they said they were really happy with the stuff as well as the service. I found the web site purchasing a bit peculiar, and resorted to calling them on the telephone — which was difficult as the chap couln’t understand my Scottish accent, and I couldn’t understand his Indian accent. We ended up doing it by e-mail!

Incidentally, I always referred to this range as the “in-spire-on”, but the chaps at Dell say “inspir-on” — to sound like “mysteron” from “Captain Scarlet”. Surprising, eh?

It arrived a full week ahead of time. Here’s the specification:

  • INSPIRON Pentium M 735a 1.7GHz L2 cache, 400 MHz FSB.
  • Intel 915PM Chipset
  • 60GB 5400rpm ATA Hard Disc Drive (Seagate Momentus 5400.2 ST960822A)
  • 768MB 400MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory (One 512MB and One 256MB)
  • no floppy drive
  • no 25 pin parallel port
  • no PS/2
  • no IrDA Infrared port
  • no carry case
  • no VGA out
  • no S-video in
  • PC-Card 1 x type I or Type II; maximum data width is 16 bits (PCMCIA) and 32 bits (Cardbus); PC card connector size: 68 pins; cards supported: 3.3V and 5V, warm-swappable.
  • Integrated SD (Secure Digital) Card Reader
  • IEEE 1394 (Firewire): 4-pin serial connector, non-powered
  • TV-Out (S-video out): 7-pin mini-DIN Connector (optional S-video to composite video adapter cable)
  • Stereo Line Out (external speakers/ headphone)
  • Mic IN Jack (mon)
  • Wireless Cards
    Default: Intel pro/Wireless 2200 (802.11b/g) Wireless Mini-PCI Card (up to 54 Mbit/s)
  • Internal Broadcom 10/100 Ethernet (Integrated on motherboard as standard) 10/100 Mbps 10/100 Ethernet LAN: PJ-45 connector
  • RJ-11 Modem Jack Conexant Modem 56k V92 fax modem
  • volume control
  • Drivers & Utility software
  • 1 year CAR (Collect and Return)
  • Integrated touchpad
  • Two 4-Ohm stereo loudspeakers mounted on the front of the laptop Intel AC97 integrated audio controller
  • no built-in condenser mic
  • CTRL key on bottom left
  • Four USB 2.0 4-pin connectors (non-powered); 2 at rear, 2 on right-hand side
  • Primary 53Watt/hour 6 cell battery (5 hrs)
  • D-series 65W AC adaptor
    input voltage: 100 to 240V AC input current (max): 1.5A, input frequency: 50-60Hz, output current: 3.34A maximum
    Output power 65W
    Rated output-voltage: 19.5 V DC Height 27.94mm, Width 58.42mm, Depth 133.85mm
    Weight with cables 0.4kg
  • Soundblaster compatible and music sound card Audio Controller: Sigmatel STAC9750 AC’97
    20 bit stereo digital-to-analog
    16 bit stereo analog-to-digital
  • weight: 3kg
  • width: 356mm
  • depth: 265.5mm
  • height: 38.7mm
  • 15.4 inch diag Wide Aspect UltraSharp WXGA (1280 x800) TFT LCD panel
  • Microsoft Windows XP Media centre Operating System, full software bundle
  • 8 x DVD +/- RW drive (NEC)

Full retail invoice: £661.53.

Compare this spec with that of the Amilo (https://devine.wordpress.com/2005/09/30/amilo-m-1437g/) — and you will be amazed at what Dell are doing for the money.

Same Operating system and platform, about the same size and weight, comparable wireless and network stuff, like the Amilo, the Dell has no floppy, printer port, PS/2 and all that. They share the same monitor size and general profile, and the warranties are the same too. They even have the same chipset — but the Amilo has an Intel Pentium M730 (Dell has M735a), the Amilo’s 1.6GHz 533MHz FSB is thrashed by the (cheaper) Dell’s 1.7GHz, 400MHz Front side bus.

So far, the cheaper Inspiron is well out in front.

The Fujitsu-Siemens laptop offered a CD read and write combined with a DVD read only — yet the Dell laptop manages to offer a full read and write combo! For a lot less money, I can burn DVDs on the Inspiron.

The Dell has a really good Sound Card and audio profile compared with the Amilo. The Dell has more USB sockets, and a whopping 5 hour battery (as opposed to the Amilo’s 2 hours), both are 6 cell, but the Inspiron runs more efficiently (and much cheaper) — just 65W as opposed to the Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo’s whopping 90W!

  • The Clevo and the Dell have the CTRL key in the correct place. The Fujitsu-Siemens doesn’t. [Why this is important]

The original Clevo from Priceless also ran a 60GB 5400rpm Fujitsu hard drive, but under the old IDE method. The Amilo and the Dell also offer 60GB 5400rpm hard drives, but the Dell has the (better) Seagate Momentus, whereas the Amilo runs another Fujitsu . I am just glad to be away from Fujitsu — remember the famous Fujitsu hard drive recall of 2002?. Some might say the Amilo offers Serial ATA as opposed to plain ATA, but I will say that I am avoiding SATA (and Fujitsu) until they have worked out the all their problems. (Check out their forums).

The Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo did offer some things over the Dell — like a remote control — but I would never use a remote control (and would probably lose it anyway) , so it’s no loss.

The Amilo matched my old Clevo’s 1GB (two 200-pin SODIMM sockets at 512MB), while the Dell’s two sockets have been taken up with one 512MB and one 256MB — giving 768MB in total.

We have noticed no real performance problems running 768MB as opposed to 1GB, if we did I guess we could just buy another 512MB card and stick it into slot B easily enough to give us the same as the Clevo and Amilo.

Our Verdict:

Let’s put it this way… a 512 memory card, a remote control, a condenser mic, and a 4-in-1 card reader do not cost an extra £200.00 — and that’s without taking into consideration the Dell’s better spec overall.

Only a complete idiot would choose a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo laptop with it’s poor specification, high price, rubbish built quality and terrible reputation over the Dell Inspiron!

Edit: August 2006:
OK, so we previously concluded that the Priceless Clevo was better value for money over the Fujistu-Siemens Amilo, and now find that the Dell Inspiron is also better than the Fujistu-Siemens Amilo — but how does the Dell compare with the Clevo? After all, despite the massive length of time this has taken, if the Clevo had not blown up, we would still be using it without a care in the world. Effectively, the Dell is a replacement for the Clevo.

Dell vs Clevo

The Inspiron’s 1.7GHz is not as fast as the Clevo’s 2.4GHz, and the Clevo’s two 512MB memory cards mean that Clevo wins again with 1GB over the Dell’s 768MB. The Clevo offered a floppy drive, printer port, mouse PS/2 socket, Infrared port, S-video-in, built-in condenser mic and VGA out — all missing on the Dell.

At least the Dell matches the Clevo in PCMCIA slots, and wireless, modem and network profile.

But the Dell fights back by offering DVD and CD read and write (the Clevo was DVD read only), two extra USBs, a lower power consumption (65W 6 cell battery of 5hrs compared with the Clevo’s 90W 8cell batteryof 3.5 hrs), and a better audio profile — SoundBlaster compatible Sigmatel soundcard and controller etc. as well as an integrated SD card slot.
The Dell is generally bigger than the Clevo in height, weight, width, depth and height — probably due to the 15.4 inch diag 1280×800 display (the Clevo was just 14.1 inch diag and 1024×768).

Verdict:

These days it is impossible to get a floppy, printer port etc on a laptop, so I guess you could say the Dell is a replacement for the Clevo. We prefer the Seagate hard drive to the Fujitsu of the Clevo, and we do not see much performance difference with only having 768MB memory — we can replace the 256MB card with a 512 MB card if we need to later on. We do like the reduced power consumption, and use the battery more too. The additional USBs and the camera card (SD) slot is very good too. Burning DVDs has proved to be a boon too — we can do a back up to one disc instead of the numerous CDs we used to have to burn all the time.

I suppose we are using the laptop differently now — because we have a baby and we are not travelling around Europe as much. We are also plugging in video cameras and taking more digital pictures than before. The USB flash/ pen/ stick/ key drives have dropped in price, so we do not use the floppy drive as much anymore, and we get by using a USB hub and having a USB printer, USB mouse and so forth. Basically, we have found the Dell suits us very well.

The Dell cost about £660 at the beginning of 2006, and the Clevo cost £200 more almost two years before, weighing up what the Dell offers that the Clevo didn’t, and what the Clevo offered that the Dell doesn’t, I would say that this cancels out that, and the Dell is as good a replacement as one could expect. Factor in the price and how we’ve changed in how we use laptops and computers in general, and the Dell is actually better.

It is therefore stunningly amazing that the insurance company went with the ridiculous and expensive Amilo over the Dell.

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Comments»

1. dave - 2006/09/12
2. Bit of a Vista « devine - 2006/12/02

[…] This is what I have bought (came with the Dell laptop)… […]

3. Daddy Dave - 2007/02/19

I have a small nag with the Dell Inspiron 6000 — the volume is worked by the software.

This means that if you boot up in the middle of the night, you can wake the dead with the windows’ tune and various beeps.

The only real way to avoid problems is to remember to plug in earphones that have an inline volume control with the volume turned down.

All Dell needed was an old-fashioned volume control wheel on the casing somewhere!

4. Pedro Rosas - 2007/05/21

I bought one of this laptops a year ago. I never tried to burn a DVD until last week, and it won’t write on a DVD-RW disc. what can I do? or what do I have to do to burn a DVD? Do I need any software other than what the PC had when I bought it? I’m not burning movies, just data. The DVD is NEC 8x DVD +/- RW drive

5. Daddy Dave - 2007/05/25

I had a problem with Sonic RecordNow. See– http://www.castlecops.com/postp63086.html
and the solution…
http://consumer.installshield.com/kb.asp?id=Q111006
But that was for an annoying dialog dialup thing. I installed Nero because I like it and because it is the one I am used to and trust. Hope this helps!

6. OS Woes! « devine - 2009/06/15

[…] As you know, the monitor on the old Dell Inspiron 6000 died, and rather than throw more money at it, we decided to get a replacement laptop, and went for […]


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