These are ramblings about my few purchases from Dell; perhaps you got to this page from a search engine and my comments may help someone with similar interest.
My initial good news / bad news general comment is that not everyone pays the same price at Dell. Certain groups such as students may get different deals, and there may be different deals depending on whether you start browsing from Home & Home Office vs Small Business. Then there is the full price but value conscious people like me may find coupon(s) to apply for significant savings. While it can be frustrating to wait for the right time and carefully configure a system for max value, perhaps such value is sort of subsidized by the less aware customers paying higher prices. Don't forget that Dell requires UPS to get your adult signature in person for delivery.
Other than a few purchases of non-Dell equipment such as a digital camera, My first purchase was the nice UltraSharp 2001FP 20.1-inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor; it is great.
My second purchase was Axim X51v 624Mhz (PDA). I didn't initially realize that some different power adapter was necessary for travel (my configuration was the Cradle; I later ordered a ZIP-DATA-P32). I applied a couple ROM image updates (and had to disable the Legacy USB support in my Intel motherboard BIOS to keep the update utility from crashing). I don't like the way ActiveSync 4.1 keeps waking up every five minutes (I prefer a manual sync); my solution is to hard-power-off.
My most recent purchase was Inspiron E1705
notebook (sometimes known as Inspiron 9400). I used a $650 discount off
$1999+. I don't play games so I didn't choose the popular NVidia 7800
graphics, and I normally plug into AC so I didn't choose a 9-cell battery.
I chose the minimal warranty because purchasing with my premium credit card
should double my warranty, and I might be ready to upgrade to new technology
after 1-2 years. A change I would consider if ordering again is the backup
CD. I got the Intel 3945 wireless which works well with my A/G router, and
the DVD burner. I chose the UXGA screen but wish more programs handled its
high DPI better. I got 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 (dual channel - two SODIMMs) but
considered getting the cheapest then replacing immediately with DDR2 SODIMMs
purchased elsewhere such as NewEgg or Outpost. Partially because I was trying to
reach $1999+, I got the internal Bluetooth and chose the 60GB 7200rpm drive
(which is Hitachi's SATA) but considered the 100GB 5400rpm (Toshiba
MK1032GSX?) (almost 5GB gets
taken up by Dell's recovery partition, and ~8% was never there since sizes are
advertised in "billion bytes"). To be clear, I paid around $1500 after
discount with sales tax and ground shipping; my system took one week from order
to delivery (quicker than original estimate).
This is a large notebook with the 17" screen, and I choose it for Intel's Centrino Duo (mine is Core Duo T2400 1.83GHz). If available earlier, I might have considered some 15.4" screen like my previous notebook form factor (not some premium small notebook but about 16% lighter/smaller). With my lower screen brightness, the battery indicator says it might last a few hours (but I have not tried it).
My E1705 as configured weighs around 7.6lbs. The AC adapter (90W) weighs about 1.1lb including cords which can be wrapped around it using an included rubber strap.
I shopped for new carrying case and ended up with two (from Fry's): Tucano BFXXL (.63lb) for minimal protection when I'm somewhere near my parked car such as a local library (AC adapter carried separately), and Sumdex PON-303 (~2.6lb) when traveling farther such as bus downtown or air to another city (on rare occasions such as going to a conference at a hotel I might pack one inside the other).
I usually prefer external mouse over the built-in TouchPad.
I'd like to read my camera's CompactFlash cards so I wish it had a CardBus slot. I wish the built-in SD slot worked faster (it seems limited to around 3.3MB/sec write and 7.2MB/sec read). I also wish it had Gigabit Ethernet.
I updated CyberLink's decoder file CLVsd.ax file from version 126.96.36.1994 to 188.8.131.521 to avoid weird blocky band of video during HD playback.
I eventually replaced memory with 2GB when Mushkin was on sale (at Fry's). I bought a spare Hitachi SATA drive for cloning/testing. Before cloning you have to use a Hitachi utility to raise the disk capacity to manufactured size because Dell hides their MediaDirect stuff using lower capacity.
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