Dell boosts Inspiron's media capabilities

Dell has launched the Inspiron 8600 in the US which, the company claims, will improve the multimedia capabilities of its major...

Dell has launched the Inspiron 8600 in the US which, the company claims, will improve the multimedia capabilities of its major consumer notebook line.

The notebook comes with a 15.4in display and has several choices of graphics processors from both ATI Technologies and Nvidia.

Despite the focus on delivering multimedia technology, Dell declined to make the Inspiron 8600 its first Windows XP Media Centre Edition product.

The notebook will ship with Windows XP Home, a simpler version that lacks multimedia enhancements found in XP Media Centre and advanced security and performance features found in XP Professional.

Microsoft's Windows XP Media Centre Edition has been released on several desktops since it was announced last November, but only Toshiba has brought a Media Centre notebook to market.

The operating system allows users to control their PC as if it was a television, accessing media files from the PC's hard drive with a remote control and playing them back on either the PC's display or a digital television.

The base configuration of the Inspiron 8600 comes with ATI's Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics card with 32Mbytes of video memory, but users can upgrade to a GeForce FX Go5650 graphics card from Nvidia with 128Mbytes of video memory.

Intel's Pentium M processor improves the battery life of the Inspiron over the older Inspiron 8500, which used a Mobile Intel Pentium 4-M processor.

The Pentium M, introduced in March, has demonstrated longer battery life and increased performance over the older Mobile Intel Pentium 4-M processors in several reviews.

A base configuration costs $1,699 (£1,075) with a 1.3GHz Pentium M, 512Mbytes of PC2700 (333MHz) DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 40Gbyte hard drive, the ATI graphics card, and a CD-RW/DVD-Rom drive.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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