Dell Unleashes New Inspiron Multimedia Notebook

By Michael Singer

August 28, 2003

The computer makers in Round Rock tap into all the popular features -- Wi-Fi, lots of video memory, and CD/DVD burning to combat similar offerings from HP and Apple.

Never one to let the mobile multimedia parade pass it by, Dell Thursday unveiled its latest Inspiron to compete with similar offerings from Apple , Sony and Hewlett-Packard .

The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker is positioning the new 1.4-inch wide Inspirion 8600 laptop to sell to video gamers and people who love digital music or editing video. The new notebook includes an Intel Pentium Mobile chip with speeds of up to 1.7 GHz. Baseline units start at $1,699.

The units come with a 15.4-inch UltraSharp display. Graphic card options include a choice of NVIDIA's GeForce FX Go5650 graphics card with 128MB of video memory, NVIDIA's GeForce 4 4200 Go at 64MB or ATI's Mobility RADEON 9000 with 32MB of memory.

"The Inspiron 8600 is a dream machine for multimedia enthusiasts," Dell product group director of notebook marketing Jay Parker said in a statement. "This notebook is packed with enough power to handle demanding tasks previously relegated to desktop computers such as video editing and playing graphics-intensive games."

Storage-wise, the new Infineon offers up to 80GB for large digital media files and all systems include two USB 2.0 ports and one Ethernet port for fast data transfer. The 8600 also comes with one 72-watt hour Lithium Ion battery. Dell did warn that discs burned with its modular optical drive may not be compatible with some existing drives and players. The company suggests using DVD+R media for best results.

The systems come with internal 802.11b Wi-Fi support but can be configured with optional internal Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and 802.11a/b/g, as well as Bluetooth .

The new notebook comes with Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition operating system, WordPerfect Productivity Pack, Dell Juke Box powered by MUSICMATCH for listening to digital music, Dell Picture Studio for managing, sharing and printing digital photos, and RealOne Player for watching streaming video.

Editor's note: You can read HardwareCentral's complete review of the Inspiron 8600 here.

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