Inspiron 9300 (mini review w/ pics)

ToyYoda03

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Specifications

Processor:
Intel® Pentium® M Processor (1.73GHz, 2MB Cache, 533MHz FSB)
Intel® 915PM Chipset with PCI Express

OS:
Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional

Memory:
512MB DDR2 533MHZ MEMORY (2 x 256MB Modules) I will upgrade this to 1GB once its paid off.

Ports:
IEEE 1394 integrated port
6-USB 2.0 (Universal Serial Bus) compliant 4-pin connectors
Video: 15-pin monitor connector
Digital Video Interface (DVI)
S-Video: 7-pin mini-DIN connector
Audio jacks: Stereo headphones/speakers miniconnector (same as line-out), microphone miniconnector

LCD
17-inch Wide-Aspect WUXGA display with TrueLifeTM Glossy (1920x1200)

Size
Height: 1.6-inches (41.5 mm)
Width: 15.5-inches (394 mm)
Depth: 11.3-inches (287 mm)
Weight: 7.85 lbs. (3.56 kg).

Power:
6 Cell 53 WHr Lithium Ion Primary battery. Approximate operating time: Up to 3.4 hours

AC Adapter: Output power: 90W standard, Input voltage: 90 to 264 VAC

Slots:
Connectors: (1) Type I or Type II card
3.3 and 5 V cards supported

Graphics:
PCI ExpressTM x16
256MB DDR NVIDIA® GeForceTM Go 6800

Storage:
24x CD-RW/8x DVD player
60gb 7200 RPM Hitachi M (Came with a 60gb 4200RPM Toshiba Drive)

Audio:
Integrated stereo sound
Integrated subwoofer

Communication Devices:
Integrated 10/100 Ethernet (Broadcom 440x)
Dell 1350 internal wireless solution (802.11b/g)
What can I say about this laptop? This is by far the best laptop I have ever owned, and probably one of the best out there today for the value. The case is very well built, much more sound than the plastic D600 that I also own. Sound is amazing, the sub actually gives enough bass to make movies sound great, and music sound like it should.

The graphics are amazing, they can take just about anything my desktop could. HL2 runs at 1920 x 1600, max graphics, so does Doom 3. The only thing holding anything back is my memory, 512 isnt enough and I will be upgrading to 1gb when I can afford it. Battery life seems to be about 2 hours with the LCD brightness half-way down, with wi-fi on. I really havent played with the settings yet.
The video card has TONS of headroom for overclocking. I went from a 290 core/ 590 mem to a 370 core / 775 mem using coolbit's auto-detect feature. :eek: :eek: Completely stable, I will push higher some other time. 3dMark05 score was 4815.

The display is one of the things I love and hate. I love the glossy look and the way colors are and how sharp the text is. Blacks are BLACK like they should be, not a dark grey. What I hate is the backlight leakage. When I watch DVDs I can see leakage come from the top and bottom. This isnt noticable from basic web surfing but is slightly noticable in games. More so in Doom 3. Dell is already sending out a replacement LCD and was real nice about it too. They even offered to send me out a brand new laptop, but I told them I am quite capable of repairing it myself with just the LCD part.

Pros:
-Only cost $1256 :eek:
-Great desktop replacement, great for today's games.
-Upgradeable graphics and can support dual-core processors when they come out.
-Well built
-Best sound from a laptop, thanks to the "subwoofer"
-WiFi picked up over 10 access points, not even my desktop could do that.
-Front media buttons work well with winamp
-6 usb ports!
-DVI output

Cons:
-Came loaded with so much shit that I had to reformat, didnt come with a restore cd
-LCD has bleeding problems, hopefully will get fixed with the replacement.
-Large laptop, not as portable as others
-Dell could have fit a standard size keyboard on this thing, but decided not to.
-Wifi seems to cut out, may be a driver issue.


Compared to my D600






 
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Thanks for the review, i've found my experience to be quite similar with my new 9300 as well. I've run into some confusion last night with my ram however. I havent opened the bottom yet but i have 512mb of ram in the thing and not sure if its one stick or two but my ram timings seem to be sitting at 4-4-4 and 400mhz :confused: i was really excited that i'd have this fast fsb only to be confounded by these timings :mad: i suppose i didnt check the ram info when i bought it but is your ram running at these same settings? anyone else? Does the chipset even support these higher ram speeds? I just noticed this last night and haven't yet played around in the bios, or really garnered much more info. I'll add more info if i can make any changes tonight. - other than this slight confusion i've found my 9300 an amazing experience as well.
 

ToyYoda03

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The_Engineer said:
Thanks for the review, i've found my experience to be quite similar with my new 9300 as well. I've run into some confusion last night with my ram however. I havent opened the bottom yet but i have 512mb of ram in the thing and not sure if its one stick or two but my ram timings seem to be sitting at 4-4-4 and 400mhz :confused: i was really excited that i'd have this fast fsb only to be confounded by these timings :mad: i suppose i didnt check the ram info when i bought it but is your ram running at these same settings? anyone else? Does the chipset even support these higher ram speeds? I just noticed this last night and haven't yet played around in the bios, or really garnered much more info. I'll add more info if i can make any changes tonight. - other than this slight confusion i've found my 9300 an amazing experience as well.
I seem to have the same settings on the ram, if its dual channel its two sticks, not one. Also the ram timings are this high because of the nature of DDR2. Higher speeds, but longer timings.
 

ilkhan

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If you stick with the base 256MB its a single stick. 512 or above and its 2 sticks/dual channel.

On a side note you can hit 1.25GB of ram for $175 + tax, if you feel like going with transcend for your memory. (1GB transcend stick of PC2-4200 is $175 at the egg).
 

UltimaParadox

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How bad does yours bleed, mine does only a little, but I have no dead pixels. So its sort of a toss up on what i want to do?
 

atlwriter

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Great review! Those pics make me wanna pull the trigger on one of those beasts, too. The 9300 has gotta be the absolute best bang-for-the-buck notebook deal ever. I've been looking at the Acer Travelmate 8104 and Asus V6V, both of which cost $2199. That's several hundred $$ more than a well-equipped, better performing 9300. :eek: :eek: :eek:
 

Superfly3176

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Seems like a good deal to me, my worry is even though i've heard good things about the pentium-m i don't think at 1.73ghz it will keep up with my a64. Secondly, if theres only 2 memory slots, can you choose a single stick of 512mb?
 

m0unds

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at $12xx for it, that's a killer deal.

i got my inspiron 8600 + 1.7GHz + 512MB RAM + Radeon 9600 Mobile Pro for... $1090 shipped from dell..right before they discontinued(?) it.


i like the background, also.
 

Superfly3176

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Is there a coupon you need for this deal because every time i spec one out with a 6800, 512-1gb ram and a 60gb hdd, cd-rw/dvd-rom it comes to like 2000+.
 

Timmay!!!

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superfly you can just use 1x512 stick of ram. It won't run in dual channel mode though.

I just bought the 9300 today using the $800 off coupon found here I can't wait to be able to play games anywhere. This is my first laptop and I hope to enjoy it for a long time.

How much was the lcd bleeding? What should I look for on my screen? Just light coming out from the plastic?
 

UltimaParadox

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Timmay!!! said:
How much was the lcd bleeding? What should I look for on my screen? Just light coming out from the plastic?

Basically when you put your background to all black, due to you see the light evenly on the background. Typically if the light appears to be "bleeding" you can see lighter spots typically in the lower and upper parts of an LCD screen
 

Superfly3176

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Okay now it came down to 1305 thats a killer deal on a notebook. I'm not looking to get one now but if they keep running these coupons itll be awesome. 17" w/ 6800go is drool.
 

blbrchnk

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Heh I got the same stuff as you Toyyoda, only I got the 1.6 P-M and the 3 year completecare warranty, because I don't trust myself. It's "Boxing" right now, I can't wait til it comes in next week. I'm dying :D
 

ToyYoda03

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I got the background from deviantart, under widescreen wallpapers.

The blacklight problem is very noticable during movies, not so noticable in games and hardly noticable during surfing. Hopefully my replacement LCD will fix this.
 

Arkanian

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ToyYoda03 said:
I got the background from deviantart, under widescreen wallpapers.

The blacklight problem is very noticable during movies, not so noticable in games and hardly noticable during surfing. Hopefully my replacement LCD will fix this.
I have a 9100 that has bleeding problems as well. Like the entire bottom of the LCD is shining though. I don't think a replacement will fix it because I think it is inherent with the LCD design for this Laptop.
 

GUNZ

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I just got mine this week as well but have barely had time to get the damn thing out of the box. I did notice the plethora of crap they have installed on it and will probably follow suit by reformatting. Most of that stuff is useless garbage that they put on there to try and get you to spend more money....either with them or with one of their affiliates. AOL.....lmao....yeah sign me up! ;)
Hopefully this weekend I can play around with it some and post some more pics for those of you still on the fence about this purchase. I personally am not a big fan of laptops and to be perfectly honest with you, I can't stand Dell (or any of the other big companies). But I need to be portable these days so I looked around and when I applied that 35% off coupon to the rig I configured, I couldn't say no. Very good price/performance ratio IMO. :cool:
 

Arkanian

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GUNZ said:
I just got mine this week as well but have barely had time to get the damn thing out of the box. I did notice the plethora of crap they have installed on it and will probably follow suit by reformatting. Most of that stuff is useless garbage that they put on there to try and get you to spend more money....either with them or with one of their affiliates. AOL.....lmao....yeah sign me up! ;)
Hopefully this weekend I can play around with it some and post some more pics for those of you still on the fence about this purchase. I personally am not a big fan of laptops and to be perfectly honest with you, I can't stand Dell (or any of the other big companies). But I need to be portable these days so I looked around and when I applied that 35% off coupon to the rig I configured, I couldn't say no. Very good price/performance ratio IMO. :cool:
Let us know if you have backlight bleeding problems. Look at the black screen that is on before windows loads and see if you see any light.
 

ir0nw0lf

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Excellent review and pics! You mentioned "Upgradeable graphics and can support dual-core processors when they come out." Where did you read/hear the dual-core support from, 'cause I am VERY interested to know if this laptop will actually run one!

I just bit the bullet and ordered a 9300 myself, going to lan game with it and possibly replace my gaming desktop with it (or relegate my gaming desktop to "backup" duty):

Inspiron 9300 Intel® Pentium® M Processor 740 (1.73 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)
Display 17 inch UltraSharp™ Wide Screen UXGA Display with TrueLife™
Memory 256MB DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz 1 Dimm
Video Card 256MB NVIDA® GeForce™ Go 6800
Hard Drive 40GB Hard Drive
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Network Card Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 6.0
CD/DVD Drives 24X CD Burner/DVD Combo Drive
Wireless Networking Card Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200 Internal Wireless (802.11 b/g, 54Mbps)
Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) WordPerfect® 12 - Word processor only
Security Software No Security Subscription
Digital Music Dell Jukebox - easy-to-use music player and CD burning software
Primary Battery 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery (53 WHr)
Carrying Cases Dell Nylon Deluxe Carrying Case
Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options No Extended Service, Support or Ltd Warranty
Internet Access: Dial-Up 6 Months of America Online Membership Included
Digital Imaging Photo Album™ SE Basic
Financial Software No QuickBooks package selected- Includes limited use trial
Media Center Enhancements Remote Control for Windows XP Media Center Edition

Configuring this [from Dell] with >512MB right now is not hot, I will be ordering either 2x512MB ($80/ea) or 2x1GB ($154/ea) from Kingston (ETA on stock is next week) and saving me some nice $$$, plus I can sell off the 256MB coming with my laptop. $160/shipped/no tax for 2x512MB from Kingston is better than +$250 to go from 256 --> 1GB from Dell. I'll order a 7200 RPM drive later on.

Mine came out to:
$2,219.00 - $800 (code found on any deal site) - $35 DPA - $49 (free s&h) - $35 ($35 off 300 code) + $101.17 tax = $1,450.17

Dell wants $1,000 to go from 256MB --> 2 GB of RAM for this thing!!! :eek:

Edit: Anyone who reads what I ordered closely is probably wondering, "WTF? XP Pro and a MCE 2005 Remote Control?" Well, I have a full OEM MCE 2005 from my Microsoft Action Pack, minus the remote. I wanted to play around with it and if I didn't like it, I have the XP Pro above that I can just put back on. I'm sure someone up at Dell is scratching their head, wonder if they will call me to verify this. :D

Edit #2: Kingston 512MB PC2-4200 SODIMM
Kingston 1GB PC2-4200 SODIMM
ETA: 4/12 - 4/13, looks like free Fed-Ex 3-day.
 

lopoetve

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Quote in with my opinions on mine... I've got the true life display, no leakage, barely noticable sparkle issue... I love the thing.

With the 9 cell battery, Wifi on, full bright, full gpu, I got 2hrs playing HL2. Turn the screen down 2 notches, the gpu to half ,and it's still mroe than playable at full resolution and you now get 2:45 in battery life. I love this beast, it's just amazing.
 

mikeblas

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How is the heat? And is there a fan?

My current laptop is unbearably hot. It has three fans, and is noisier than get-out.
 

Timmay!!!

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UltimaParadox said:
Basically when you put your background to all black, due to you see the light evenly on the background. Typically if the light appears to be "bleeding" you can see lighter spots typically in the lower and upper parts of an LCD screen
Thanks for the heads up. It will be over 2 weeks before mine ships out :(. I will definatly try this out though. I am beating myself up for not getting the WUXGA screen :(
 

blbrchnk

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ir0nw0lf said:
Configuring this [from Dell] with >512MB right now is not hot, I will be ordering either 2x512MB ($80/ea) or 2x1GB ($154/ea) from Kingston (ETA on stock is next week) and saving me some nice $$$, plus I can sell off the 256MB coming with my laptop. $160/shipped/no tax for 2x512MB from Kingston is better than +$250 to go from 256 --> 1GB from Dell.
It sounds nice and all but actually if you use the 35% off coupon, the $250 upgrade of RAM to a gig is actually only $162.50 and then it is covered under warranty through them. Just a thought :p
 

lopoetve

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mikeblas said:
How is the heat? And is there a fan?

My current laptop is unbearably hot. It has three fans, and is noisier than get-out.
It runs warm with full gpu use, but not hot. Fan yes, but it's quiet in comparison with all the ones I've heard. I've only heard it go to full speed once: Playing doom3 while installing HL2 :)
 

GUNZ

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ir0nw0lf said:
Edit: Anyone who reads what I ordered closely is probably wondering, "WTF? XP Pro and a MCE 2005 Remote Control?" Well, I have a full OEM MCE 2005 from my Microsoft Action Pack, minus the remote. I wanted to play around with it and if I didn't like it, I have the XP Pro above that I can just put back on.
You don't get a copy of XP Pro. It comes installed and that's as far as it goes. They enclose a little card that says, "Your new computer does not require an operating system CD or drivers CD. Instead, if you ever need to reinstall your software, use one of the following methods." The methods they list are System Restore and Dell PC Restore. This kind of pisses me off as they had me thinking probably the same as everyone else.....that we are buying XP Pro. Well you do...but you pay for a license while they charge you for full retail. :mad:
That's a bunch of bullshit....although, I'm sure it says this somewhere in the tiny, tiny print.
 

ir0nw0lf

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I know of no active 35% off coupons right now, so I still stand by my previous comments about the RAM. There was an active 35% off I believe two weeks ago or so, it would have cut down on the sting of upgrading the RAM.

I am pretty angry to hear that Dell is sticking it to ya on the OS, I will be calling Dell on Monday and grilling them, I may end up canceling the order, if it hasn't gotten past that point yet.
 

ToyYoda03

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ir0nw0lf said:
I know of no active 35% off coupons right now, so I still stand by my previous comments about the RAM. There was an active 35% off I believe two weeks ago or so, it would have cut down on the sting of upgrading the RAM.

I am pretty angry to hear that Dell is sticking it to ya on the OS, I will be calling Dell on Monday and grilling them, I may end up canceling the order, if it hasn't gotten past that point yet.
I wouldnt be so quick to cancel, but yes it does suck. I have found that if you call Dell and grill them, you either get something free or get some money back. Please dont abuse this, I know some do but if you are serious about returning your laptop, they MAY offer you another discount.

Also to your previous question, the graphics are upgradeable since they are PCI-E, but I only read that this chipset will support dual-core processors when they come out. I cant confirm it though.
 

ds-

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Where did you get that awesome wallpaper?! :D

Edit: saw the post
 

ToyYoda03

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palabared said:
is it easy to replace ram and a harddrive?
Very easy, first thing I did when I got it was replace the harddrive with a 7200rpm hitachi. Memory would be even easier to do. Remove two screws, take off cover, add memory, and put back together.
 

steal

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GUNZ said:
You don't get a copy of XP Pro. It comes installed and that's as far as it goes. They enclose a little card that says, "Your new computer does not require an operating system CD or drivers CD. Instead, if you ever need to reinstall your software, use one of the following methods." The methods they list are System Restore and Dell PC Restore. This kind of pisses me off as they had me thinking probably the same as everyone else.....that we are buying XP Pro. Well you do...but you pay for a license while they charge you for full retail. :mad:
That's a bunch of bullshit....although, I'm sure it says this somewhere in the tiny, tiny print.
Um yes you do.

I only ordered my i9300 with XP home, and it came with the XP cd...
 

GUNZ

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steal said:
Um yes you do.

I only ordered my i9300 with XP home, and it came with the XP cd...
Ok you're right...I'm lying. :rolleyes:

You might have gotten a CD but, I did not. It came with a card explaining exactly what I wrote in my previous post.
 

steal

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GUNZ said:
Ok you're right...I'm lying. :rolleyes:

You might have gotten a CD but, I did not. It came with a card explaining exactly what I wrote in my previous post.
So call Dell and tell them to send you a CD, since you're the only person I've heard of not getting a windows cd with their notebook.
 

ToyYoda03

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steal said:
So call Dell and tell them to send you a CD, since you're the only person I've heard of not getting a windows cd with their notebook.
i didnt get one either, just a card
 

palabared

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steal, if you read notebookforum.com then you will know that tons of people have not received a windows cd.
 

ir0nw0lf

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Stupid Dell holes. Dell rep calls me, tells me there is a configuration "anomaly" with my order--the factory is NOT capable (??) of putting XP Pro on the laptop and also including the MCE remote control, which is the way I wanted it. I have a MCE 2005 from my Action Pack subscription and wanted to try it, and if I didn't like it I would go back to XP Pro. So I told him to go ahead and put MCE 2005 on instead. I then asked about whether or not I would get the physical CD's of MCE 2005 or if they were on a system restore partition. He told me a system restore partition and there was no way to create a backup CD set. I got pretty pissed off and told him to cancel the order, that was unacceptable. After reading the info above and checking out notebookforums.com, it seems there is a program included that lets you make a backup CD set.

I am still debating whether or not to re-order the laptop or give Dell a big F-U.
 
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