Dell Inspiron 5000 – Hardware Review

Dell Inspiron 5000 – Hardware Review – Evaluation

Robert S. Anthony

* Configuration: Win 98, 500/600MHz Pentium III, 128MB of SDRAM, 12GB hard disk, 6x DVD-ROM drive, 56Kbps modem, two Type II PC Card slots, one USB slot * List Price: $3,226 * Manufacturer: Dell Computer Corp., 800-WWW-DELL, www.dell.com

COMPARED TO DELL’S BEEFY INSPIRON 7500 desktop-replacement laptops, the new Inspiron 5000 is a relatively skinny 1.5 inches thick–but there’s a meaty 7.5 pounds of hardware and plenty of CPU and graphics muscle within, putting the 5000 into an attractive niche above the entry-level Inspiron 3700.

Our unit was equipped with Intel’s new 600/500MHz Pentium III with SpeedStep technology. The latter aims to save power by slowing the processor from 600MHz to 500MHz when you switch from AC power to batteries (a utility allows you to override this setting). We gained only about 20 minutes of unplugged use with the CPU clocked down, but overall, Dell’s estimate of 2 to 3 hours’ battery life was accurate.

The Inspiron sports a brilliant 15-inch, 1,024 by 768-pixel display, 128MB of SDRAM (expandable to 512MB), a 12GB hard disk, 6x DVD-ROM drive, and an ATI Mobility P 2X AGP graphics accelerator with 8MB of SGRAM. The DVD drive can be swapped for an Iomega Zip drive ($139) or second lithium-ion battery ($99). A full-size keyboard and Synaptics touch pad make for comfortable control.

Connectivity features include a 56Kbps modem, USB port, and two Type II PC Card slots–but no built-in Ethernet adapter is available. A video-out port lets you view DVD movies on a TV set. The unit supports 3D audio, but the sound from its twin speakers wasn’t impressive.

The combined might of the Pentium III and ATI adapter impressed us while surfing the Web. Pages snapped onscreen quickly, even when other applications were busy in the background.

The installed software features Microsoft Works Suite 2000, combining Microsoft’s low-end integrated package with Word 2000 and versions of Money, Publisher, Expedia, Picture It, and Encarta. Dell offers a three-year warranty, with technical support available 24 hours.

You won’t mistake this system for a lightweight traveling companion, but if you need desktop power on the road, the Inspiron 5000 can certainly provide it.

Dell Inspiron 5000 Rating: 7

(A) SpeedStep power-management technology; crisp display

(B) Tinny audio, no integrated Ethernet

RATINGS

HOME OFFICE COMPUTING rates products on a scale of 1 to 10–with few 9’s or 10’s–based on value, performance, innovation [medals go to rare standouts in these areas], ease of use, and suitability for home offices. The (A) and (B) symbols indicate pros and cons.

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