The Dell Latitude E6400 as configured has more than enough speed and storage space to handle most users needs. The high-end Intel Core 2 Duo P9500 and nVidia Quadro NVS 160M combined with a reasonably fast hard drive make this laptop an excellent performer, for both lightweight multimedia uses and number crunching. Below are benchmarks to give you an idea of how this laptop might compare up against other notebooks on the market.
WPrime 32M comparison results
wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi.
|Notebook / CPU||wPrime 32M time|
|Dell Latitude E6400 (Intel Core 2 Duo P9500 @ 2.53GHz)||30.497s|
|HP EliteBook 8530w (Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 @ 2.53GHz)||30.919s|
|Lenovo T400 (Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 @ 2.8GHz)
|Lenovo T500 (Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 @ 2.8GHz)
|Lenovo T61 (Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz)||42.025s|
|Dell Vostro 1500 (Intel Core 2 Duo T5470 @ 1.6GHz)||53.827s|
|HP Pavilion dv6500z (AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz)||40.759s|
|Systemax Assault Ruggedized (Core 2 Duo T7200 @2.0GHz)||41.982s|
|Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @2.2GHz)||37.299s|
|HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz)||40.965s|
|Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz)||76.240s|
|Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz)||42.385s|
|Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)||37.705s|
|Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz)||38.720s|
PCMark05 comparison results:
|Dell Latitude E6400 (2.53GHz Intel P9500, Nvidia Quadro NVS 160M 256MB)||5,780 PCMarks
|HP EliteBook 8530w (2.53GHz Intel T9400, Nvidia Quadro FX 770M 512MB)||6,287 PCMarks|
|Lenovo T400 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, ATI Radeon 3470 256MB GDDR3)||6,589 PCMarks|
|Lenovo T400 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, Intel X4500)||N/A|
|Lenovo T500 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, ATI Radeon 3650 256MB GDDR3)||7,050 PCMarks
|Lenovo T500 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, Intel X4500)||5,689 PCMarks
|Lenovo T61 Standard Screen (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA NVS 140M 256MB)||4,839 PCMarks|
|Dell Vostro 1500 (1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5470, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS)||3,585 PCMarks|
|Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS)||4,925 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||3,377 PCMarks|
|Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS)||4,591 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||4,153 PCMarks|
|Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||3,987 PCMarks|
|Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB)||4,189 PCMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||4,234 PCMarks|
3DMark06 comparison results:
|Dell Latitude E6400 (2.53GHz Intel P9500, Nvidia Quadro NVS 160M 256MB)||1,818 3DMarks|
|HP EliteBook 8530w (2.53GHz Intel T9400, Nvidia Quadro FX 770M 512MB)||5,230 3DMarks|
|Lenovo T400 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, ATI Radeon 3470 256MB GDDR3)||2,575 3DMarks|
|Lenovo T400 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, Intel X4500)||809 3DMarks
|Lenovo T500 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, ATI Radeon 3650 256MB GDDR3)||4,371 3DMarks
|Lenovo T500 (2.80GHz Intel T9600, Intel X4500)
|Lenovo T61 Standard Screen (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA NVS 140M 256MB)||1,441 3DMarks|
|Dell Vostro 1500 (1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5470, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS)||1,269 3DMarks|
|Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB)||1,329 3DMarks|
|Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||532 3DMarks|
|Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB)||1,408 3DMarks|
|Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU)||1,069 3DMarks|
|Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB)||2,344 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66 Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB)||2,144 3DMarks|
|Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB)||1,831 3DMarks|
|Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)||1,819 3DMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||827 3DMarks|
HDTune storage drive performance test:
For those who are interested in replacing the standard hard disk drive in the E6400 with a high performance solid state drive (SSD), the E6400 is available with the following SSD options and prices:
The speakers on the E6400 were better than average for most laptops, comparable to speakers found on most small midrange televisions. While lower bass was lacking, volume levels were quite loud, and distortion at peak levels was not present. The speakers also have a great location that directs sound up and toward the user.
Speaking of great locations, it's also worth mentioning that the fingerprint reader is now located beneath the right speaker. This is a much better location than the palmrest or in between the touchpad buttons (where most manufacturers put the fingerprint reader) because it means you're less likely to accidentally trigger the fingerprint reader when you pick up the notebook or use the touchpad buttons.
Input and Output ports
Port selection was not a problem, although I would have enjoyed seeing a HDMI port, but the inclusion of a DisplayPort is a reasonable compromise and probably more useful in a corporate environment. Going around the notebook, we find the following ports
Left: Kensington Lock slot, VGA out, powered USB port, combo USB/eSATA port, heat exhaust, SmartCard reader, and hard drive bay.
Front: Screen latch release and SD card reader.
Right: PC card slot (ExpressCard slot optional), Firewire, optical drive, Headphone/Mic, wireless switches, and two USB ports.
Rear: Modem, LAN, battery, DisplayPort, Power connector.
Heat and Noise
The E6400 controls heat extremely well ... even when the dual-core processor and GPU are crunching numbers and the hard drive is actively reading and writing data. Even after running PCMark05, 3DMark06 and wPrime multiple times during a one-hour period the exterior of the E6400 barely reached the triple-digit range in degrees Fahrenheit. More importantly, the hottest parts of the notebook are confined the the areas where you are less likely to touch the notebook. For example, if you're using the E6400 on you lap in an airport the hottest part of the notebook is located between your legs rather than directly where your legs come into contact with the notebook.
Simply put, the E6400 with hard drive stays remarkably cool even when the system is being heavily stressed. If you configure the notebook with a SSD instead of a hard drive you should have a notebook that runs even cooler. The images below show the external temperature readings in degrees Fahrenheit:
The fan noise was rarely loud enough to be heard in a quiet room unless the notebook was under extreme stress such as benchmarking or serious gaming.
Under normal web browsing use the 9-cell battery performed quite well, pushing out 4 hours and 22 minutes of life before going into hibernation mode at two percent. Screen brightness was at maximum and other items were set to "High Performance" in Dell's ControlPoint Power Manager. I also never let the notebook so to sleep during the battery test, so users should be able to get more than 4 hours and 22 minutes of battery life by selecting the "Dell Recommended" mode or "Power Saver" mode and letting the notebook go into sleep mode when not in use.
Dell's Latitude team takes a great deal of pride in the development of the new ControlPoint software. This one-stop control center for power management, display settings, network connections, and security settings. ControlPoint is indeed a great interface for novice computer users or anyone who wants to control these features in one location. However, if you're used to using the Windows power management interface, you're in for a rude awakening when you change settings for screen brightness, or sleep mode only to have the Dell ControlPoint software override your changes and reset them to what it believes they should be. Of course, if you simply use the ControlPoint software everything is fine, or you can just turn off the ControlPoint application if you prefer to use the Windows interface.
In any case, more than four hours of battery life gives you more than enough time for taking notes, surfing the web, or responding to emails throughout the day away from an outlet. For those road warriors who require "all-day" computing, Dell also offers a 12-Cell High Capacity Battery Slice ($399) that connects to the bottom of the E6400. Dell claims the when the E6400 is running on both the 9-cell battery and the 12-cell battery slice it can provide a full 19 hours of battery life. Unfortunately, we didn't have access to a battery slice for testing, but it's safe to say that such a configuration would easily produce double-digit battery life with the screen brightness turned down.
The Dell Latitude E6400 is a great performer and a solid replacement for the Dell Latitude D630. It seems to be built well enough to be thrown around in day-to-day use, and it's clear that Dell is trying to improve the Latitude line and offer compelling features ... like 19-hour battery life.
We really couldn't find any major reason to dislike the E6400, but there are a number of "minor annoyances" that could make some businesses look elsewhere. As we mentioned, although the E6400 proved to be quite durbale during our tests, the alloy chassis is thin in some locations which makes the notebook "feel" less durable than it actually is. We're certain the thinner alloy sections where used in order to keep weight as low as possible, but flex is something you don't want to see in a business notebook.
Overall, corporate clients who are looking for the next generation of business notebooks from Dell have plenty of reasons to buy the E6400. Dell made every effort to improve the Latitude family, and the E6400 is a great 14-inch business notebook. That said, there is some pretty strong competition such as the Lenovo ThinkPad T400 and HP EliteBook 6930p ... and those notebooks might prove to be better alternatives for some.
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