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Latitude E4300 first impressions

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by cof, Sep 28, 2008.

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  1. Evil Trunk Monkey

    Evil Trunk Monkey Newbie

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    It's not bad at all. It makes about a 1" thick brick along the back edge. If you carry it around, it's actually a handy grip.
     
  2. Evil Trunk Monkey

    Evil Trunk Monkey Newbie

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    I have 8 of the 4300's so far. 3 of those have experienced the lockup issue and the other 5 have been fine (except for the constant hard drive activity light). I found a temp workaround for the lockup issue in another forum somewhere. Disabling Intel speedstep in the bios will give you a slight performance hit, but at least it won't lock up in the middle of the day. So far the 2 users that the "locker machines" were deployed to them have reported no lockups in the past 2 days since disabling speedstep.

    I am anxiously awaiting the A06 Bios update or a chipset driver refresh, whatever they come up with.
     
  3. pitviper45

    pitviper45 Notebook Consultant

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    Hey guys,

    I just got my E4300 from the Dell Outlet delivered earlier this week and I'm gonna try to get a review (with pics) in once I have it up and running as my main machine but here is a preview.

    I am coming from a D630 (using XP Pro) that i've had for a year (and a D600 before that which I had for 4+ years) so i'll be comparing it to those notebooks. Over the holidays I was at my parents' where my D600 is residing. They also have an Inspiron 1525 which I used extensively when I was there because my D630 got a virus. I have used thinkpads before and will spend some time with my friend's t61 before I type up my review. So there will be plenty of keyboard comparisons. ;)

    I definitely like the Latitude E4300 so far.

    My specs:
    SP9300 processor (2.26 GHz)
    4GB RAM
    Vista Business 32bit
    Intel Wireless 5300
    Bluetooth
    Backlit keyboard
    Webcam
    Latitude On Ready
    160GB 5400RPM HDD (Fujitsu)
    DVD Burner
    No fingerprint scanner/no contactless smartcard reader
    6-cell battery
    90 watt AC adapter
    $1275 (including tax)

    Keyboard
    Ok, so first of all the keyboard is good. It is marginally noisier than my D630 and about the same as my old D600. One thing to keep in mind is that the backlit keyboard is different from the regular keyboard. I looked at the photos posted in this thread of non-backlit E4300 and the keyboard is definitely different. I'll expound on that in my detailed review. Backlit function is amazing, can't tell you how many times i've squinted at my keyboard in the dark looking for special symbols at the top (!@#$%^& etc) that i don't have memorized. Keyboard has flex if you look for it but this is not an issue in regular use. The D630 keyboard is rock solid and sturdy. But I must say that I type fastest on my D600 keyboard which is not as sturdy as the D630 but the keys feel lighter and bounce back quicker I feel.

    Speakers
    The sound from the built in speakers is tinnier than that of my D630 but volume is not an issue and they do their job, which is to be useful in a pinch or when showing stuff to people outside of the apartment so I am happy with them (this coming from a minor audio snob). Otherwise I use external speakers when docked or headphones when in a public place.

    Heat and Noise
    Fan moves a lot of air out the side which is good and keeps the notebook relatively cool. I haven't used it heavily yet so this is a preliminary assessment. Notebook is quieter than my D630 for sure.

    Other
    Notebook is much lighter than my D630 (3.9lbs vs. 5.8lbs)
    90W AC adapter is slim (half as thick as the 90W that came with my D630 docking station)
    Screen is brighter than D630
    Right button under touchpad was damaged and plastic strip above keyboard with indicator lights a little warped but Dell is sending a tech Monday to replace those
    Addition of middle button under trackpoint to enable scrolling (like with thinkpads) is awesome
    Battery has some play if you try to move it around but does not move by itself

    That's about it for now. I'm going to install a 320GB 7200RPM WD Scorpio Black and do a clean install of Vista (I've been holding out on XP until now but I'm gonna give Vista a chance and tweak it according to the guide here on notebookreview). Once I've used it as my main machine for a bit I'll put up a more detailed review.

    -Phil

    P.S. For those who thought E4300 was too expensive, there are some great deals to be had on the Dell Outlet:

    http://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnline...line/en/InventorySearch?c=us&cs=28&l=en&s=dfb
     
  4. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes NvGPUPro

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    Vista 32-bit?
    Call Dell and request the 64-bit Vista. As mentioned before, it's more polished, allows you to unlock the full potential of your CPU, and allows you to use the 4GB of RAM (rather than 3.2 to 3.8GB of RAM) that you have, but also enjoy without any slow down (Windows, like all 32-bit OS, performs hacks so that the OS boots from 4GB of RAM, many people claim that they do see visually a slow down when using 4GB of RAM using Windows 2000/XP/Vista 32-bit).
     
  5. pitviper45

    pitviper45 Notebook Consultant

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    From what I have gathered so far, 64-bit seems to be worth it if you use software that is RAM intensive or for better security encryption and that you don't notice much of a speed boost otherwise because most software is 32bit. I figured I would jump up to 64bit with Windows7.

    Do you really think it is worth it to do 64bit? Would I notice a performance difference?
     
  6. ohmslaw51

    ohmslaw51 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Just received an email telling me that the hold on the E4300 shipments has been lifted. The note indicated that a group of Dell and Intel engineers figured out the fix for the bios that was causing the lock-ups , and that it has been tested and released for installation.

    Maybe I'll get my replacement before Christmas 09
     
  7. kitir

    kitir Notebook Consultant

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    To find difference, here pictures of the backlit and non-backlit keyboards.
    thread on forum
     
  8. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes NvGPUPro

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    On my desktop (AMD Athlon X2 4400+ S939 (not AM2) (equivil: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 - 2.0 GHz), 4GB of RAM DDR1, Nforce 4 16XSLI, Geforce 260GTX, Western Digital 7200RPM 16MB Buffer 250GB) system, I did see visually a speed increase. Nothing drastic, or something like that.. but it's there. Games goes 5-10fps faster, even for HalfLife 2 I got 20fps more over Vista 32-bit. Also day-to-day task you do have a slight increase of speed. Videos plays with less resources, specially HD 1080p movies.

    Why is that? Let me answer that question... because:
    - ALL Vista 64-bit processes are in 64-bit. And having an OS (which is heavy (I don't mean that Vista is bad... just that it's not DOS or Linux command line)) running everything on 64-bit advantages you in day-to-day tasks. Meaning because the OS gets to run on 64-bit, your 32-bit takes advantages of this... it gives this "Windows is lighter than what it actually is" type of effect, which helps other applications.
    - 64-bit drivers, and better OS polished, means less bugs (most issue mentioned about Vista only affect Vista 32-bi and not 64-bit). This gives you this slight fps increase in your games and again helps out for the above point. If you want to test Vista, test the 64-bit one, as again, it's more polished as it's the "original" (if you want) windows.
    - 64-bit codecs. That is correct, you get to use 64-bit codec with your 64-bit media player. Don't have/know one? how about the not set as default (32-bit version is set as default), Windows Media Player 11 64-bit (found in Program Files (not in "Program Files (x86)"). Codec pack like ths one:
    http://shark007.net/x64components.html, comes with a tool to convert the file association and shortcuts from WMP 32 to 64-bit. Using 64-bit codecs means less resources used (especially visible with fancy HD movies), means a little bit more battery life. How much? well that depends on the video you play. One note on this: Vista comes with, apparently (well I sure can't find one), the only 64-bit DVD codec (which is very good) for Windows. However, its only in the Home Premium and Ultimate edition (I guess Microsoft made a deal with a company to have this codec with Media Center, so only these edition have it). In any case, it won't give you anything as it's your optical drive motor that eats the battery like no tomorrow. But you do gain a little bit battery life if you have an ISO of your DVD and play it from there.

    - And of course, you have the opportunity to run 64-bit version of applications. And, as mentioned before, get to use your your 4GB of RAM at full without slowdowns. Meaning faster system. Which also explains the faster results that I am having.
    So in conclusion, it's all the little things that ads up which makes visible results. Heck just the fact that you have less bugs on your OS is worth the switch, especially when it's free and just a phone call away (or ask a friend near you for a Vista SP1 disk (any edition, OEM or retail, it's the product key that decide what to install), and use the product key under your machine.
     
  9. xls

    xls Notebook Enthusiast

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    Never ending story: first E4300 arrived in the beginning od December - wrong assembled hinges.
    Replacement was confirmed for 23 December, arrived yesterday - dead pixel in the center of display, I have not accepted it. After more then 2 months from the order and 1,5 months with NBD I am without NB. Incredible quality of service.
     
  10. slammers

    slammers Newbie

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    I've had my E4300 now for 2 months and have had no problems with it. I upgraded to the backlit keyboard after using the regular one for a month and didn't like the feel of it. Use it everyday for work and it runs great!
     
  11. alexrud

    alexrud Notebook Enthusiast

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    Well, I bit the bullet and ordered a Black e4300 from Dell Outlet with the 20% coupon. Also got the NBD service for $99 (a necessity IMO)

    Specs are as follows:

    Intel Core 2 Duo SP9400
    4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz (2 DIMMs)
    128GB Mobility Solid State Drive
    Intel WiFi Link 5300 802.11a/g/n Draft Mini Card
    6 Cell Primary Battery
    Integrated Webcam
    Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
    No Fingerprint Reader
    65W AC Adapter
    Back-lit Keyboard
    Bluetooth Wireless Card 365
    Genuine Windows XP Pro with Vista Business License
    8X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write capability
    Roxio Creator DE


    Get 20% off any refurbished Latitude E4300 laptops with this coupon! - $207.80

    Lat E4300: 3Yr Basic Ltd Warranty and NBD On-site Service

    Order Subtotal: $930.20
    Shipping and Handling Total: $19.99
    Shipping Discount: -$19.99
    Tax Total: $81.38
    Total Amount: $1,011.58

    Not too bad of a price I think. Will post up my impressions/review and some photos if anyone is interested.
     
  12. Smooth_J

    Smooth_J Notebook Deity

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    Not to bring back the dead, but I am interested in getting this laptop new or from outlet. I read all 42 pages, and I feel quite informed :)

    I heard about the MBs being replaced cause of issue(s) described here: http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/19245498.aspx

    Should I buy, wait for the next one from dell, or buy another make/model all together?
     
  13. Dillio187

    Dillio187 Notebook Evangelist

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    the motherboard issue has been fixed for a few months now. Purchase away.
     
  14. alexrud

    alexrud Notebook Enthusiast

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    I second that statement. My new E4300 that was assembled mid August is running perfectly. I wouldn't worry about a thing.
     
  15. nataz

    nataz Notebook Guru

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    I have a referb and it runs fine as well.
     
  16. Smooth_J

    Smooth_J Notebook Deity

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    Well, I contacted our rep and I hope to get a quote for a E4300 with the following specs (this is to replace my D420 that I gave to my brother). I was going to order it in blue, but my wife and I decided on black.

    Intel Core 2 Duo SP9600 (2.53 GHz)
    4 GB RAM
    160 GB HD
    Webcam
    Dell Wireless 365
    Intel WiFi Link 5300
    6-Cell Battery
    3 year complete care with NBD support
    Dell Latitude ON Reader
    Internal Backlit English Keyboard
    Vista Home Basic Service Pack 1 (will be replaced with windows 7)
    Intel vPro set to Off
    8X DVD+/-RW

    I hope the price is decent, but we will soon see...
     
  17. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes NvGPUPro

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    Sorry but Vista Home Basic users are NOT illegible for a the free Windows 7 upgrade.
    You need Vista Home Premium minimum to access to the free Windows 7 upgrade (says so on Dell page, where you pick your OS)

    Second problem, is that your OS is 32-bit, you need a 64-bit operating system to unleash the full power of your CPU, run 64-bit applications, and be able to use your 4GB of RAM (and only ~3GB). If you pick a 32-bit Vista, your free Windows 7 will be in 32-bit as well. 64-bit is the future, embrace it.

    I STRONGLY suggest to call Dell, and modify your order before it's too late.
     
  18. Smooth_J

    Smooth_J Notebook Deity

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    Thank you for your help, and I totally agree, but I am covered since I was part of the beta program I received a free copy of windows 7.

    EDIT: On another note....I may just use that free copy on my desktop, and get another one. Thanks for the heads up!
     
  19. nMeden

    nMeden Newbie

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    I'd second the buy statements as well. Mine has been running well since early January (apart from all bloatware my company puts on it, but that's hardly the computer's fault). Just make sure to get a 6-cell as my 3-cell drains "instantly" (2,5 hours or so).
     
  20. Smooth_J

    Smooth_J Notebook Deity

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    Well, I bit the bullet and I purchased it. Not that bad price for the specs (I didn't change the OS, cause I may just put linux on there instead) :)

    1 224-6287 Latitude E4300, Intel Core 2 Duo SP9600, w/ Latitude ON 2.53GHz, 1066MHz, 6M L2 Cache Dual Core
    1 311-9160 4.0GB, DDR3-1066 SDRAM, 2 DIMMfor Latitude
    1 330-1375 Internal Backlit English Keyboard for Latitude E4300
    1 330-1652 Documentation (English) Latitude E-Family/Mobile Precision
    1 320-7022 Mobile Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD , Latitude E4300
    1 341-7476 160GB Hard Drive 9.5MM 7200RPM FFS for Latitude E4X00
    1 330-1365 NO Internal Fingerprint Readerand NO contactless smartcard reader for Latitude E4300
    1 320-7410 Wide Screen WXGA White LED forLatitude ON, Latitude E4300
    1 420-8732 Vista Home Basic Service Pack 1, with media, English Latitude
    1 430-3195 Dell Wireless 365 Bluetooth Module, Latitude E4X00
    1 420-9159 Dell Latitude ON Reader Latitude E4X00
    1 330-1384 65W 3-Pin, AC Adapter for Latitude E-Family
    1 330-0879 US - 3-FT, 3-Pin Flat E-FamilyPower Cord for Latitude E-Family
    1 313-6824 8X DVD+/-RW, Black, Latitude E4300
    1 421-0536 Cyberlink Power DVD 8.2,with Media, Dell Relationship LOB
    1 421-1189 Roxio Creator Dell Edition 10.3, Media, Dell RLOB
    1 320-7414 Integrated VGA web cam Latitude E4300
    1 420-8666 Dell Webcam Central Software for Dell Latitude/Mobile Precision
    1 430-3362 Intel WiFi Link 5300 (802.11 a/g/n 3X3) 1/2 MiniCard for VPRO Latitude E/Mobile Precision
    1 330-0885 Intel vPro set to Off for future use for Latitude and Mobile Precision
    1 330-1366 Resource DVD with Diagnostics and Drivers for Latitude E4300Notebook
    1 312-0756 6-Cell/60-WHr Battery for Latitude E4300
    1 320-7417 Black Wide Screen WXGA LED Panel with Latitude On with WLAN AND Camera, Latitude E4300, Dual Core
    1 990-3562 Basic Support: Next Business Day Parts and Labor Onsite Response 2 Year Extended
    1 990-5810 Basic Support: Next Business Day Parts and Labor Onsite Response Initial Year
    1 991-8628 Dell Hardware Limited Warranty Plus Onsite Service Extended Year(s)
    1 991-8627 Dell Hardware Limited Warranty Plus Onsite Service Initial Year
    1 900-9987 Standard On-Site Installation Declined
    1 990-3952 CompleteCare Accidental Damage Protection, 3 Year
    1 988-7689 Info, Complete Care
    1 310-8759 You have chosen a Vista Basic System
    1 330-1153 Intel Centrino 2 vPro Core DuoProcessor
     
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