Dell Inspiron 8600: a first look

Dell has revamped its flagship consumer notebook, whose spec sheet now reads like a Who's Who of components. Check out our first impressions.
Written by Tom Dunlap, Contributor
Dell's new Inspiron 8600 does more than just update the Inspiron 8500, the company's flagship consumer notebook. It also introduces a potent new feature: Nvidia's GeForce FX Go5650 graphics card with 128MB of memory. Most consumer notebooks top out at 64MB of video memory.

Dell Inspiron 8600: a fast, wide-screen desktop replacement notebook with top-notch 3D graphics.
The Inspiron 8600 has a spec sheet that reads like a Who's Who list of components: a 1.7GHz Pentium M processor; a 15.4in. wide-aspect display; up to 2GB of DDR RAM; hard drives up to 80GB; optical drive choices that include a DVD+R/RW drive; and integrated 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless networking. That's a strong lineup, particularly if you use your notebook to watch DVD movies, play games or music or edit video. At over 3kg, the Inspiron 8600 is a big and heavy desktop replacement. That's fine if you leave it on your desk, but thin-and-light or ultraportable notebooks are a better bet for frequent travellers. The notebook is backed by a standard warranty that lasts only a year, although you can pay for longer coverage.

The Inspiron 8600 is at the vanguard of a new breed of wide-screen, souped-up multimedia notebooks. We're eager to see how it will handle our benchmark testing. Check back soon for the full review.
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