Dell Dream Machine: High End.

I’ve had my Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop since Aug. 2008 – it is now well over two years old. This is the longest I’ve had a laptop in quite some time. I’m not planning on buying another one anytime soon – but as a “quick fix” to the urge I decided to price out a few machines…Here is what I came up with as my dream machine from Dell’s site:

Dell XPS 17 (High-End):

  • 17.3″ HD+ WLED Display with 2.0 MP webcam1This is the standard display for this unit. Any unit I buy must include a webcam – which also means microphone…I won’t look at a unit without it.
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.2Windows 7 is a must! Yeah, yeah, I probably don’t need ultimate and could stick with Home Premium if it came down to it. 🙂
  • Intel Core i5-560M (2.66 GHz, 4 threads).3This isn’t the fastest CPU out there, but going up another level really jacks up the price. In spite of the fact that I’d like an eight thread…I’ll cut the costs here.
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 435M 1GB Graphics Card with Optimus and TV Tuner.4Honestly, this is way overkill for me. For the longest time I stopped caring about any video card with over 128 MB RAM, then 256 MB, then 512 MB. And in each of these cases I’ve only ever found them necessary for gaming – which I don’t do much of (but the Total War series does have some hefty requirements). I could drop the TV tuner without batting an eye – don’t watch tv now and the future is web-based anyways.
  • 56 WHr 6-Cell Lithium Ion Battery.5I never run my laptop off batteries (okay, very rarely) and I don’t like to travel, so no need for an upgrade here…but perhaps once cars drive themselves or wireless becomes ubiquitous on air flights.
  • 6 GB RAM.6You can (almost) never have too much RAM…though I have to question the efficacy of 6 GB for anyone other than developers, designers, and gamers.
  • 500 GB SATA 7200 RPM HD.7I won’t consider a machine with a hard drive slower than 7200 RPM. I don’t care too much about the size of the hard drive – I rarely use more than 100 GB. A lot of computer manufacturers sell you 5400 RPM drives with all the rest of the specs ramped up – intentionally or otherwise this means your machine has a much shorter lifespan. To me, the hard drive is one of the most important components for speed.
  • 3 Yr NBD Warranty.8I get this with every Dell I purchase – and it is always worth it. Perhaps not for the casual user, but I have parts sent to me all the time and even have tech.’s sent out on occasion. For the number of AC adapters that go dead and are replaced for free alone, the cost of the warranty is worth it.
  • What isn’t included:
    • Microsoft Office. Yes, I can upgrade to it – but it is too expensive! Guess I’ll stick with OpenOffice and Google Docs.
    • Solid State Hard Drive. No, I don’t want a huge SSD drive, but what if you gave me say a 20-30 GB one and then a normal SATA drive. The SSD would only be for the OS!
    • Option for a Second AC Adapter. I always purchase two AC adapters – because they go dead all the time, and I don’t want to wait a day or two until the replacement arrives.
  • Total Cost: $1500.

Not a bad price for a really sweet machine…so if you are looking for a new machine, here is my “high-end” recommendation. Maybe in the next few days I’ll post a mid-level and low-end machine spec as well.

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