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Dell Inspiron 9100 Review

Discussion in 'Notebook News and Reviews' started by Andrew Baxter, Apr 25, 2004.

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  1. Andrew Baxter

    Andrew Baxter - Super Moderator

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    Dell introduced the new <A href="http://www.notebookreview.com/search_results.aspx?productID=7341&amp;productFamilyID=384&amp;manufacturerID=4&amp;productName=Dell+Inspiron+9100" target=_new><STRONG>Inspiron 9100</STRONG></A> at the beginning of March.&nbsp; The Inspiron 9100 uses the same design as the Inspiron XPS, but is marketed as a desktop replacement style notebook&nbsp;rather than a gaming machine.&nbsp; The 9100 is good for those people that want a laptop computer to replace their desktop, but don't need to carry their laptop around to too many places.&nbsp; Following is a full review of my experience with the Inspiron 9100.


    <STRONG>Overview</STRONG>


    The Dell Inspiron 9100 is Dell’s contender in the desktop replacement class of notebooks.&nbsp; It competes with such notebooks as the HP ZD7000, Toshiba P25, Sony VAIO GRT and Acer Aspire 2020.&nbsp; However, the 9100 does not sport a 16” or larger screen as some desktop replacements do, so it’s actually one of the smaller size desktop replacements on the block.&nbsp; The Inspiron 9100 has a 15.4” screen and comes with default widescreen view, you just have to choose between WXGA, WSXGA or WUXGA.&nbsp; The Inspiron 9100 weighs in at 8.92lbs.&nbsp; Once you include the AC adapter, which happens to be very large, and a bag then the 9100 is easily 9+ lbs in travel weight.&nbsp; So yes the 9100 is heavy, that’s why Dell doesn’t class this notebook as a thin and light notebook.&nbsp; Dimension wise the 9100 is 14.1” x 10.8” x 2.0” (width x depth x height).&nbsp; This is actually not all that big footprint wise (footprint is the area the base of the notebook takes up, width x depth = 14.1 x 10.8 = 152.28 sq. inches).&nbsp; However, this machine is thick.&nbsp; I like my milkshakes thick, but prefer laptops thin, this computing tool is twice as thick as my IBM T40 laptop and as thich as my old college textbooks, and I’m talking Calculus and&nbsp;Shakespeare collection sized&nbsp;books and not French 100.&nbsp;


    <IMG height=145 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1902.jpg" width=559 border=0>


    Amazing, the Inspiron 9100 is as thick as my old Shakespeare college textbook that contains all of Shakespeare's works, now that's thick.


    The body and case of the 9100 is actually the same as the Inspiron XPS.&nbsp; Think of the XPS as the evil twin brother to the 9100 – the XPS offers only high-end options with an upgradeable video card and ability to snap on customized looks such as a skull design.&nbsp; Gamers buy the XPS, normal folks looking for a desktop replacement notebook with good multimedia features buy the 9100.


    Our review unit of the 9100 came with the following specs, it is a middle of the road configuration:



    • Intel Pentium 4, 2.8GHz Processor

    • 15.4-in. WXGA screen

    • 512MB,400MHz 2DIMM RAM

    • 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 Graphics card

    • 40GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive

    • 4X CD/DVD burner (DVD+RW/+R)

    • 96 WHr 12 Cell Battery

    • Dell Truemobile 1300 802.11 b/g Wireless card

    • Microsoft Windows Home Edition (English)

    • 1 yr. Warranty

    <STRONG>Total Cost for Configuration:</STRONG> $1348.00 (using coupon code at time of purchase).&nbsp; You can't beat Dell for value, that's a great price, but remember this is not a really-high end configuration and prices can climb quickly as you add features and upgrade options.


    When buying through Dell.com you of course have various options in how you configure the 9100 which all effect performance and price of the 9100 greatly.&nbsp; Here’s a sampling of options available for the 9100:


    <STRONG>Processor:</STRONG> Pentium 4 2.8GHz, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, Pentium 4 3.2<BR>Screen: WXGA (1,280 x 800 res), WSXGA (1,680 x 1050 res), WUXGA (1920 x 1200 res)<BR><STRONG>Optical Drives:</STRONG> 4 x CD/DVD Burner (DVD+RW/+R), 24x CD-RW/DVD Combo<BR><STRONG>Memory</STRONG> (DDR 400MHz RAM): 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB<BR><STRONG>Video Card:</STRONG> ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 64MB DDR, ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128MB DDR<BR><STRONG>Hard Drive:</STRONG> 40GB 4200RPM, 60GB 4200RPM, 60GB 7200RPM, 80GB 4200RPM<BR><STRONG>Wireless:</STRONG> None, TrueMobile 1350 802.11 b/g, TrueMobile 1450 802.11 a/b/g


    You can of course stack accessories on top of your purchase through Dell, our opinion is to look for better deals elsewhere instead of filling your basket while purchasing the 9100.


    <IMG height=256 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1878.jpg" width=576 border=0>


    A size comparison of notebooks, from left to right: Sony VAIO V505EX, IBM ThinkPad T40, Dell Inspiron 9100


    <STRONG>Design &amp; Input/Output Ports</STRONG>


    <IMG height=269 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1901.jpg" width=443 border=0>


    A look at the back of the Inspiron 9100 where most of the ports are located


    The case for the Inspiron is the now common light silver with a bit of blue coloring splashed here and there, such as surrounding the keyboard.&nbsp; Looks wise the 9100 isn’t all that pretty.&nbsp; It’s fat, there’s no sleek curves, the case by looks is obviously plastic, it’s got “big feet” (I refer to the rubber stands it uses to elevate the notebook for cooling) and there’s no cool flashing lights or uniquely styled buttons&nbsp; A Sony VAIO, Fujitsu N5000 or Apple PowerBook will turn more heads and score you more compliments.&nbsp; But who cares, you won’t be carrying this notebook around too much anyway, so leave your ego at home along with the 9100 and there’s no worries.


    As far as design from a usability perspective, things are pretty good.&nbsp; All of the ports and bays have been placed on the left hand side or back of the notebook.&nbsp; This is especially good for right-handed people because when you’re using a mouse on the right-side there’s nothing plugged in over there to bump into or avoid.&nbsp; Here’s a rundown of the ports and buttons you get and where they are:


    <IMG height=205 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1869.jpg" width=455 border=0>


    <IMG height=153 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1873.jpg" width=349 border=0>



    1. S-video connector

    2. AC adapter connector

    3. D/Bay connector (used to attach external optical, floppy or hard disk drive)

    4. Video Connector

    5. USB connector (3 ports)

    6. Network connector

    7. Modem connector

    8. DVI-I connector

    9. Audio connections (2)

    10. FireWire Port

    11. PC Card Slot

    12. Module Bay

    13. Track Stick

    14. Touch Pad Buttons

    15. Touch Pad

    16. Track stick buttons

    17. Media Control Buttons

    18. Power Button

    Overall Dell has given you most input and output ports you need, some people that like to have a PS2 port or Serial port might be disappointed, but those ports are almost never included in notebooks today because they belong to the dinosaur age of computers.&nbsp; I’m a little disappointed there are no flash card readers whatsoever on the 9100.&nbsp; It’s becoming more and more standard these days to find a Secure Digital card, Compact Flash card or Memory Stick card reader built into a notebook so you can easily transfer files from these media storage types often used in digital cameras, PDAs and MP3 players.&nbsp; The IR placement on the front of the notebook is good if you have a remote control you want to use in conjunction with the DVD player capabilities of the 9100, but you don’t get a remote control with the 9100 as some desktop replacements will give you.


    <IMG height=140 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1872.jpg" width=495 border=0>


    Dell Inspiron 9100 front-side view


    <IMG height=162 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1876.jpg" width=454 border=0>


    Dell Inspiron 9100 left-side view


    <IMG height=138 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1877.jpg" width=409 border=0>


    Dell Inspiron 9100 right-side view


    <STRONG>Screen</STRONG>


    As mentioned before, you have a few choices in how to configure the screen on the 9100.&nbsp; Our review unit came with WXGA.&nbsp; You can choose from WXGA (1,280 x 800 res), WSXGA (1,680 x 1050 res), WUXGA (1920 x 1200 res).&nbsp; I feel the WSXGA is the best way to go, the XGA is very readable but even with the 15.4” screen I find using one application window at a time is the best I can do really.&nbsp; With the WSXGA you could easily have two Excel spreadsheets open on the same screen and be able to comfortably view both.&nbsp; With WUXGA you might even try opening three application windows in the same screen and see everything.&nbsp; But be warned, if you’ve never experienced UXGA resolution before, the text and pixel size is very small and might strain your eyes.&nbsp; If you have bad vision, the UXGA could be disastrous to try and use, but if you crave screen real estate then it might be your choice.


    <IMG height=373 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1870.gif" width=407 border=0>


    The Inspiron 9100 does a nice job for the playing and viewing of DVD movies


    Outside of the resolution you choose, the brightness and crispness of the screen is important.&nbsp; I’m happy to say there are no complaints on this front.&nbsp; I’ve never had a problem with Dell Inspiron screens and the 9100 continues the tradition of providing a bright and crisp display, no dead pixels on this unit.&nbsp; Watching movies on the 9100 is enjoyable due to the Widescreen format of the screen.&nbsp; Some people might find that they prefer an even larger screen than 15.4” if they’re using the Inspiron 9100 as a desktop replacement, however this option is not available.&nbsp; Notebooks such as the HP zd7000, Toshiba P25 and Apple Powerbook offer 17” inch screens – truly desktop replacement size displays.


    <STRONG>Sound</STRONG>


    Very rarely do I come across a notebook in which I think the sound is good.&nbsp; The Inspiron 9100 therefore surprised me, even from going through the Windows XP setup and registration I could tell the sound was going to be good—that XP setup step through with the cool wind instruments in the background has never sounded so good on a laptop!&nbsp; The good sound can be attributed to the Subwoofer that Dell included in the 9100.&nbsp; The subwoofer is actually integrated with the battery, the subwoofer provides deeper richer sound than the typical notebook.&nbsp; So two thumbs way up for the good audio you’ll get with the 9100.&nbsp; The volume doesn’t go quite as loud as I would like it to, I prefer that volume can go all the way up to a level that’s too loud and then you can step in a turn it down from there.&nbsp; However, while watching a movie from 10 feet away I was left wishing the volume would go up a couple more notches.&nbsp; If you plan on sitting close by to the 9100 at all times you probably won’t need to bother buying external speakers though – the quality is that good.&nbsp; If you want more volume, you’ll need external speakers


    <STRONG>Keyboard and Input Usability</STRONG>


    The Inspiron 9100 comes with an 88-key keyboard that is easy and fairly comfortable to use.&nbsp; It’s the size of a full size keyboard you’d be used to on a common desktop keyboard.&nbsp; My only gripe is that because the base of this notebook is so thick I find I have to elevate my wrists a little too much and they ache after typing for extensive amounts of time if the Inspiron is on the desktop.&nbsp; Maybe that’s just a personal peeve though, I’ve not heard this complaint from any others.&nbsp; I can’t give the keyboard a perfect rating, it doesn’t feel as nice as the keyboard on the IBM ThinkPad Series of notebooks&nbsp; The key travel is not as smooth on the 9100 as it is on the ThinkPad T40 for instance.&nbsp; But at least Dell included a Windows toolbar shortcut key, while IBM stubbornly leaves it off all of its notebooks (I suppose IBM doesn’t want to appear tied into Windows in any form, they’re big supporters of Linux too).<BR>In the keyboard area the 9100 also offers a volume control button at the back of the keyboard and on the right-hand side there are media player controls for Play, Stop, Rewind and Fast Forward.&nbsp; There’s certainly no input button overload, but all of the basic extra feature keys are there you might want.


    <IMG height=336 alt="" src="http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/1875.jpg" width=448 border=0>


    The Dell Inspiron 9100 has a nice touchpad, pointing stick and dual mouse input locations


    The 9100 offers dual-pointing devices in the form of a touchpad and pointing stick, there’s also dual mouse buttons that can be used that correspond with whichever input device you’re using.&nbsp; I find the pointing stick to be my favorite, the touchpad works perfectly well though if that’s more your style.


    <STRONG>Battery</STRONG>


    The Inspiron 9100 comes equipped with a 12-cell 6450mAh battery.&nbsp; In general you’ll get about 2 hours of battery life from the 9100.&nbsp; It’s no champ on battery life, but if very much so on par with other desktop replacement notebook battery life stats.&nbsp; The Pentium 4 is a power hungry chip that’s used in desktop computers.&nbsp; If you want battery life you need to get a notebook with a Pentium M chip.&nbsp; If you absolutely insist on working unplugged with the 9100, you can of course extend battery life by performing the usual tricks such as dimming screen brightness, turning off wireless and avoiding processor intensive applications such as 3D gaming.


    <STRONG>Processor &amp; Performance</STRONG>


    The Inspiron 9100 was supposed to be available with the new Pentium 4 3.2GHz Prescott generation processor.&nbsp; That’s the most recent Pentium 4 chip, it’s a faster chip than the older Northwood generation because it has a larger L2 cache (1MB) and longer pipeline.&nbsp; However, Dell says the Prescott Pentium 4 is in short supply so it is shipping the 9100 with the Northwood Pentium 4 instead.&nbsp; The Northwood has 512KB cache and is slower than the Prescott.&nbsp; However, the Northwood chip runs cooler than the Prescott, so that’s actually an advantage.&nbsp; Some people are fairly mad to find out that they’re getting the older generation P4 chip, but given the fact it runs cooler and this is a notebook I’m not so sure you’d be completely happy with a Prescott chip anyway.&nbsp; You can raise an issue about this with Dell if you wish, they do advertise the 9100 as coming with the newest P4, and try to get free shipping or some other free upgrade through your complaining.


    Prescott or Northwood debate aside, the performance of the 9100 will depend a lot on the processor speed, hard drive and video card that you choose.&nbsp; If you trick out the 9100 with a 3.2GHz Intel Pentium 4 Hyper Threading processor, 60GB 7200RPM Hard Drive and ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 with 128MB RAM then your notebook will veritably fly through anything thrown at it.&nbsp; Games such as WarCraft III, Quake III and UT2004 play fluidly on the 9100, 3D rendering in CAD design will be fast and multimedia applications will chew through video editing tasks.&nbsp; With a low-range configuration of say a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 chip, 64MB of Video RAM and 4200RPM Hard Drive you’ll still have a fast performing machine, and for most people it will be fast enough, but for high-end games or computational intensive applications (CAD Design, Video Editing, Database Engines) you might be left waiting from time to time.&nbsp; Please do yourself a favor and DO NOT configure the 9100 with any less than 512MB of RAM.&nbsp; If you buy the 9100 with 256MB of RAM you’ll be very upset with performance, nobody should be buying a desktop replacement notebook with any less than 512MB anyway.


    <STRONG>Benchmark Numbers for 9100<BR></STRONG>3DMark2003: 3,358 (very good)<BR>MobileMark 2002: 193 (good)<BR>SysMark2002: 297 (good)<BR>BatteryMark2002: 130 minutes (poor)


    <STRONG>Software</STRONG>


    Microsoft Windows XP Home is the default operating system for the 9100, you can choose to upgrade to XP Professional.&nbsp; I won’t go into the differences of the OS’s here, it’s well documented and you can visit an existing FAQ we already have for this issue.<BR>The multimedia software bundled with the 9100 is a decent fare.&nbsp; PowerDVD, Sonic MyDVD (a $99.99 value, allows you to burn DVDs, <A href="http://www.mydvd.com/">www.mydvd.com</A>), Sonic DLA ($29.99 value, gives you the ability to easily drag-and-drop your files directly to a recordable CD or DVD disc and make the disc compatible with almost any Windows computer and Sonic RecordNow ($29.99 value, allows you to burn data + audio CDs), Dell Picture Studio, Paintshop Pro 8.


    As far as Office productivity applications go, the 9100 comes standard with Word Perfect.&nbsp; Immediately upgrade to Microsoft Office or the cheaper Microsoft Works Suite if you don’t have the disks and license for that.&nbsp; I didn’t even know Word Perfect was still available.<BR>Dell includes the McAfee line of Security software.&nbsp; The McAfee Security Center is a nice software application that allows for virus scanning and feedback on how secure your machine is.


    Unfortunately Dell also includes annoying software installs such as America Online 9.0 and Microsoft Encarta.&nbsp; Like I don’t get enough AOL CDs every week for 1000 free hours if I “sign up now” which I haven’t done in six years.&nbsp; Get that garbage off my machine I say.&nbsp; Oh, and Microsoft Encarta is in my opinion obsolete once your connected to the web – that’s a good enough information resource in my opinion.


    <STRONG>Dell Service &amp; Support</STRONG>


    Let me start by saying I didn’t need to contact Dell Service or support for the 9100.&nbsp; That’s a good thing.&nbsp; So Dell is batting 0 for 0 in my case, and in the world of customer support math that’s a 100% batting average.&nbsp; However, based on others comments I know the level of customer support from Dell ranges from excellent to abysmal.&nbsp; Remember though, people are always more vocal about problems they have with computers than when things go right.&nbsp; In a recent PC World survey it turned out that Dell was actually tops in customer support and satisfaction as rated by consumers themselves.&nbsp; On a scale of 1 – 100 Dell got 72.&nbsp; Dell placed 10 points ahead of HP in customer ratings of satisfaction with support.&nbsp; But, Dell sells more laptops than any other company in the world, so of course you’re going to hear more about problems that exist with Inspiron notebooks just due to the sheer volume shipped.&nbsp; I’m not defending Dell, and I know in some cases the support they provide is miserable, especially if you connect with a call center person in India (where a lot of their Inspiron issues are handled) that does not speak good English, then it’s an absolute nightmare.


    Your hope as a consumer is that you’ll never have to call customer care because the machine will never give you problems.&nbsp; Knowing that laptops have a greater tendency to have issues after a year of use, you might be wise to purchase one of Dell’s extended warranties.&nbsp; Dell offers up to 4 years of service and care plan.&nbsp; For a 3-yr service and home care plan (in which a technician will come to your house to fix the 9100, instead of you having to ship it back) you’ll have to tack on $270 to the cost of the default 1 year service plan.&nbsp; For peace of mind in knowing your laptop will be fixed if it breaks within 3 years, you can’t go too wrong with this extra money.&nbsp; If&nbsp; you’re on a budget though then $270 is a lot and maybe you should skip this and take the risk.&nbsp; It’s an individual call and depends on your situation as to what service and care plan you get.


    <STRONG>General Complaints Section</STRONG>


    There are a few gripes I have with the 9100 that should be aired out.&nbsp; One of those being that at least one fan on the 9100 will run constantly, and that adds up to some loudness, although it does keep the machine cool of course.&nbsp; The 9100 cannot be called whisper quiet because of this though, several people have commented to me that my laptop is rather loud when they walk into the room I have the 9100 sitting in.


    The build and ship time on my 9100 ended up being 1 month, this was due to issues Dell was having in first releasing this notebook.&nbsp; Ship times are much faster now, but Dell didn’t handle the delay very well, all I got was a terse email about 3 weeks after the order was placed saying the order was being delayed.


    The AC Adapter on the 9100 is huge, just too big.&nbsp; It’s literally the size of a brick.&nbsp; I don’t get why it has to be so big and it makes an already tough to carry around notebook even more immobile.&nbsp; Finding a bag that the AC adapter fits comfortably in along with the notebook is tough.&nbsp; On the positive side, if you whirl the adapter around on the end of its lead it serves as a great bludgeoning weapon for protecting against intruders into your house or other such occasions for defense.


    <STRONG>Conclusion</STRONG>


    But don’t let my few and relatively insignificant gripes turn you off from buying the Inspiron 9100 if you have your mind set to it and you feel it’s the right desktop replacement notebook for you.&nbsp; I like the 9100, it probably offers the best performance and most features at the most reasonable price point of any desktop replacement class notebook.&nbsp; The question you’ll have to determine is if it offers the right features for you.&nbsp; If you’re set on having a 17” screen then you’ll have to look elsewhere.&nbsp; However, if you want a notebook that can match or outdo the performance of a desktop computer, and provide nice sound and be purchased at a good price then the Inspiron 9100 might be right up your alley.


    <STRONG>Pros<BR></STRONG>•&nbsp;Great performance at a good price (look for Dell coupon codes to get better deal)<BR>•&nbsp;Subwoofer gives the notebook good sound<BR>•&nbsp;Nice dual pointing devices, good keyboard<BR>•&nbsp;Good layout of I/O ports<BR>•&nbsp;Nice sharp screen that gives wide aspect ratio


    <STRONG>Cons</STRONG><BR>•&nbsp;No memory card reader<BR>•&nbsp;Body is very thick at slightly over 2”, weighs 8.92lbs, huge AD adapter<BR>•&nbsp;Somewhat loud with fans running<BR>•&nbsp;Generally ugly, blocky design with hard plastic casing – no design awards.<BR>


    <STRONG>Pricing and Availability</STRONG>


    The Inspiron 9100 is only available via Dell.com, check back to NotebookReview.com often for the <A href="http://www.notebookreview.com/search_results.aspx?productID=7341&amp;productFamilyID=384&amp;manufacturerID=4&amp;productName=Dell+Inspiron+9100">latest pricing and coupon codes available&nbsp;for the Inspiron 9100</A>


    <STRONG>Tip Jar and Word From the Author</STRONG>


    Hello! I hope you enjoyed and found this review of the&nbsp;Dell Inspiron 9100&nbsp;informative and helpful.&nbsp; I'm a freelance writer and programmer based in New York.&nbsp; If you did find this review helpful and have a $1.00 to spare as a tip or contribution to the "Baxter Fund for Buying More Tech Gadget Junk" it would be greatly appreciated, just click the button below to donate via PayPal.



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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015 at 9:20 PM
  2. bdholmes

    bdholmes Newbie

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    I just purchased the Inspiron 9100. Ordered it and received in less than a week so the delays must have been resolved. Overall, I am pleased. Went with the upgrade of the screen (WSXGA), video card (128 MB) and RAM (512 MB) ...defintely recommend this as well. The power supply size and weight (laptop itself as well) is a little annoying - good for standing curls. Haven't had a lot of time to play around with it...looking for advice though on a possible AC/Auto Adapter (power inverter?) for this monster...hardware challenged myself to be honest...the power adapter is 150 W...also any suggestions on a backpack carying case large enough to house this puppy around in...thanks.
     
  3. stevenlit

    stevenlit Newbie

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    I, too, recently purchased the 9100 and am pleased with it. I also am in need of a 12V auto adapter capable of running the unit. I use a laptop for navigation in my motor home. I tried a 400 Watt inverter and it's just not enough. The power requirements peak at about 9 amps when the battery needs charging. A beeping inverter (overload alert) every four seconds can be a bit annoying. Also, the AC adapter would just shut down, probably because of low voltage when power is drawn.

    Steve
     
  4. stevenlit

    stevenlit Newbie

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    Oh, great review by the way.

    Steve
     
  5. bdholmes

    bdholmes Newbie

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    Dell has recently added a new backpack large enough to house this beast:
    Mobile Edge
    Backpack for Dell Inspiron 9100 Notebooks
    Manufacturer Part# DNBPP1-M1
    Dell Part# A0334433
    So now it is still a matter of the mobile power adapter:
    Dell gave me a contact number, 1-800-357-3355
    In the review, there was a mention of the maximum volume on the laptop not being loud enough. I'm a Musicmatch Junkie so I have found the use of the DFX sound enhancement greatly boosts the volume loud enough for anyone's tastes...still good quality as well. Now have added a Linksys wireless B adapter...works sweet. Had some problems with web-based apps (IE and Musicmatch) hanging and locking up the CPU...also after closing them associated processes could not be ended. I believe this is due to Neoteris used for work to get through firewall...removed and haven't had problem since. Will contact Dell and get update on power adapter...
     
  6. gram

    gram Newbie

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    Hi,
    Great review.
    I am now thinking of getting the Dell 9100. I have a couple of second-thoughts, however, which someone might be able to overcome.
    I want to run WIN 2000 Pro on the machine, but am having trouble finding the driver for the ATI Mobility Radeon, and also the audio output. Is this going to be a major problem or are they available somewhere?
    Thanks, Gram.
     
  7. bdholmes

    bdholmes Newbie

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    It now appears it might be quite a wait or even not possible to get the auto/air adapter. For the juice that it demands it will be quite a tailored product specifically designed for the XPS aND 9100 models. If this is not holding you back I would suggest investing in purchasing one of these monsters...also have tried the backback mentioned in a previous post and highly suggest this as a must for peripherals with this model...it's a tad heavy.
     
  8. stevenlit

    stevenlit Newbie

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    Hi Gram,

    Compared to any other laptop/desktop replacement, the audio of the 9100 is excellent. Of course, you won't get the bass of a 12 inch subwoofer from the subwoofer on the 9100. Still the audio is quite nice considering you don't have to attach extenals to it.

    I'm disappointed about the auto adapter. I ran the 9100 through a Kill-A-Watt to see what kind of wattage draw it has on 110V. It is consistently about 85 watts draw with peaks of about 110 when graphic/CPU intensive apps are run. Haven't tested it with a depleted battery yet to see what the additional draw is when the battery is also being heavily charged. Dell states not to use smaller than a 160 watt source.

    I tried using a 400 watt inverter in my motorhome (the cigarette lighter plug-in type). While watts should have been plenty, I think the size of 12V wires (and possibly length) to the lighter receptical are too small and it was letting volts drop too low, kicking off the Dell AC adapter plugged in to the inverter. Next step is to get an inverter to hardwire to my MoHo house batteries. Anyone know of a true sine wave approximately 300-400 watt inverter? I'd prefer that over a modified sine wave since I think modified sine isn't the best for laptop battery life.

    Steve
     
  9. Dar

    Dar Newbie

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    Great review--I stumbled across this while looking for an auto/air AC adapter for my 9100 as well... No such luck!

    I've had my 9100 for about three months now, and I do love it. It is a bit heavy and the power adapter *is* a brick, but it's got everything I needed to replace my desktop machine, go on the road, and get my work done as a computer consultant.

    I ordered mine with 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, and WinXP Pro. I ensured IIS was installed and configured correctly, then installed SQL Server Developer's Edition and both Visual Studio.Net 2002 and 2003. I love it because I can be on the road and work on my .Net development assignments--whether Windows or web apps, with or without database requirements--it's all here on this box.

    Then I can put in a DVD later and enjoy the movie on the widescreen instead of paying the hotel for a PPV movie.

    Now if I can just find a power adapter, my life would be complete!
     
  10. rpietsek

    rpietsek Newbie

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    Hi all,
    What a through review. Appreciate it. I am planning on buying the Dell 9100 Notebook today. Need a couple of questions answered........
    #1. Can the pointing stick and the touch mouse pad been turned off - eith by a button or in the bios?
    #2. Somebody in a review talked about DFX sound enhancement - what is this?
    #3. The two wireless cards that are offered are 1350 (b/g) and a 1450 (a/b/g/). I know that there are not very many (a) systems around anymore, but if I got either card, would they work equally as well?
    Resepctfully,
    R.P.
     
  11. Clearday

    Clearday Notebook Evangelist

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    isnt it big?how can u say that is mobil? I think and of course I can show you this one,more powerful,more slim,more elegant;

    Fujitsu Amilo D 1845<br>

    Mobile Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 532 3.06 GHz
    (533 MHz FSB, 1MB 2L Cache)
    1024 MB DDR PC333 RAM [2 max]
    80 GB 7200 rpm
    15,4 " crystal view WXGA <u>(23 million)</u>nodeadpixel
    ATI 9700 128mb
    DVD+RW+R
    price:1750 usd
    photo:http://www.notebooksbilliger.de/images/amilod1840_320x294.jpg

    Benchmark Numbers for amilo D
    3DMark2003: 3470 (very good)
    MobileMark 2002: 243 (very good)
    SysMark2002: 347 (very good)
    BatteryMark2002: 190 minutes (not so bad)

    <font style="background-color:#000000;size:2px;color:#ffffff">
    Fujitsu Amilo M 1420-1.7 Dathon,1gb(333mhz),Ati 9600Pro 128br
    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;15,4 " crystal view WXGA (23 million),7200 rpm,DVD+RW+R&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </font>
    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<font style="background-color:#000000;size:2px;"><a style="color:#9933FF ;" href="http://www.notebooksbilliger.de/images/m1420_big.jpg" target="_blank">M 1420 photo</a>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015 at 10:22 PM
  12. bdholmes

    bdholmes Newbie

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    (sniff...sniff)...I smell salesman

    Anywho, I believe most people buy this as a desktop replacement...to get the best of both worlds...a purchase that gives you mobility (though you better have some strong biceps) and the multimedia benefits of desktop (subwoofer, sound, screen size, etc.)
     
  13. dynamicpoetry

    dynamicpoetry Newbie

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    I just bought this beast...and so far it is great!

    Unfortunately the USB ports on my system do not work...I discovered this while trying to install a Soundblaster Audigy USB external sound card...according to tech support I have to send it in for a motherboard replacement...I will let you know how the whole thing transpires...

    It should be mentioned that the USB ports are USB 1.1...only some of the latitude lines carry usb 2.0...this surprised me considering this is one of dell's "premium" laptops...anyone have any experience with hooking up a USB hard drive...I have a 250 Gb external on the way...

    Peace!

    [:D]
     
  14. vbscript2

    vbscript2 Newbie

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    I'm using my 9100 and it's great.

    To correct something posted, my 9100 has all USB 2.0 ports, reverse compatible to 1.1.

    Also, I don't see why people are bashing the mobility so much. I mean it's a little heavy, but I carry it to school every day along with an extra battery (the 128 WHr secondary,) 2 college textbooks, and a 3-ring binder completely filled without any problems. The Targus backpack works great for this and costs far less than anything Dell will offer. (I got mine for $20.) Also, I use the computer about 5 hours a day on batteries (the 96 and the 128 combined) w/o recharging. This occasionally (though increasingly more rarely, due to work) includes 3D gaming. Also, I am constantly connected to a wireless network. The only thing I have off is the sound at school. I reserve it for home, as people sitting by me would probably not appreciate it. I love the WSXGA+ res. It's even better when at home to plug an extra moniter into one of the 3 video out ports on this thing (I use the VGA port,) for even more desktop space. Like one of the people mentioned earlier in this thread, I also am running MSDE (MS SQL Server Dev. Ed.) with VS.NET 2003 and IIS on here. I also installed PHP and MySQL. MySQL, SQL Server, and IIS are all constantly running in the background, yet I have no performance problems whatsoever, even with my 512 MB RAM configuration.

    Also, I can usually barely hear my 9100 running. Perhaps they have improved the fan situation since the review was written. You can definately hear when the fans are cranked up, but this rarely happens. Usually my fans only crank up after long periods of 3D gaming or running programs that heavily use the processor (such as a program I wrote to see how far C could compute the value of the harmonic series [for my fellow geeks out there, it got to a little over 15, before dx got too small with the float data type.])
     
  15. Zero_One

    Zero_One Newbie

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    Pleased with the Inspiron 9100 so far. I work with a bunch of IT guys, who constantly feel the need to remind me how big the thing is. (suggestions to outfit the thing with wheels, etc.) And they just laugh when they see the PowerBrick.

    Doesn't really bother me, though, because I've got so much power I don't know what to do with it. Went with the 3.2 P4 HT, Radeon 256MB, 60 GB HD (rpm speed for this particular drive was the best). I've got a problem with the DVD burner only working with + DVD media, but I guess this is a minor gripe (firmware upgrade, which sometimes will allow for +/- capability, did not do the trick). Integrated wireless also a plus.

    For those concerned with the heat issues (it is, after all, a Desktop chip), I recommend this fan GUI utility (link provided below). Works great on the 9100: I'm now in full control. Various settings for different operating environments (Office, Games, etc.). Displays CPU temp in the system tray, as well as temp/usage graphs (similar to that of the Task Manager).

    http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/
     
  16. gram

    gram Newbie

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    Hi all,
    My 9100 is OK so far, although battery doesn't seem to last long. Can anyhone help with latching up a printer to it? I only have USB ports and an older printer cable which is definitely not USB.
    Thanks,
    Gram.[:I]
     
  17. dynamicpoetry

    dynamicpoetry Newbie

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    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Originally posted by dynamicpoetry
    [br]I just bought this beast...and so far it is great!

    Unfortunately the USB ports on my system do not work...I discovered this while trying to install a Soundblaster Audigy USB external sound card...according to tech support I have to send it in for a motherboard replacement...I will let you know how the whole thing transpires...

    It should be mentioned that the USB ports are USB 1.1...only some of the latitude lines carry usb 2.0...this surprised me considering this is one of dell's "premium" laptops...anyone have any experience with hooking up a USB hard drive...I have a 250 Gb external on the way...

    Peace!

    [:D]
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
     
  18. surfdude

    surfdude Newbie

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    I read the very nice review and I'm glad with the other positive replies. Now I'm also having difficulties finding a car adapter and I'm wondering if somebody found a solution yet? :)
     
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