Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gadget of the Week #12

My latest gadget is my new Dell Latitude D830. This replaces my older Dell Precision M70 and includes all the available bells and whistles. 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 160GB 7200RPM drive, 4GB memory, 802-11a, g, and *n*, thumbprint reader, TPM, theoretically long battery power, and, of course, Windows Vista Ultimate. It is also thinner and lighter than my former laptop (and the Dell latitude D810's we have here).

The battery life is nowhere near the claimed "up to 9 hours" (which I didn't expect it to be, given how I use the system), but it does last about twice as long as my former laptop with the same relative workload -- about 5 hours now, easily going the entire cross-country flight either direction which I tested last week. With the old laptop I had to bring along a spare battery and used them both up pretty well on the same trips (or I brought a power adaptor).

This is a screamer of a system. About the only thing I can say negative about it is that it only came with the integrated graphics card (they did not offer an option for an enhanced graphics card at the time I ordered -- they do now, but there doesn't seem to be an option to add it to an existing system).

So far Microsoft Vista has been OK. There are some things I like (recent places). There are some things that I miss from Windows XP (hardware profiles being one of them). I'll make a separate report later on Vista as I get more used to it and figure out the tricks.

One other note of interest: While the system does have 4GB of memory installed, the fact that I am running a 32 bit operating system (Vista) which can only address a total of 4GB and has memory reserved for hardware i/o mapping (and some shared memory for the graphics card), the net amount of memory I have is around 3.4GB. Much lower than I thought. I'm thinking about making the jump to a 64 bit OS next time.

I did come like this close (picture me with my thumb and index finger almost touching) to jumping on the Macbook Pro bandwagon this time. I just couldn't give up the 1900x1200 display and the availability of real docking stations. Perhaps next time.

As part of this upgrade, I have done my part for the tech economy, choosing to buy/install upgraded versions of most of my like 5 billion utilities that I use. I guess Microsoft does cut a wide economic swath within the tech industry.

This is the first system upgrade in more than 2 years for me and it was worth it. I've been looking for a while and waited for Intel's Santa Rosa platform to become available.

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