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.

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.