Dell Inspiron 6000D (2.0GHz, 1GB) Review (pics, specs)

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by Felipe Dana, Brazil

Dell Inspiron 6000D Review

Dell Inspiron 6000D (click image for larger size)

Dell Inspiron 6000D (click image for larger size)

Introduction

I live in Brazil but purchased my Inspiron 6000D system from the United States. At first I was looking at the HP dv1000 or dv4000 as potential notebooks to buy.  However, these HP notebooks did not offer the high-resolution screen I needed.  Dell offers a higher resolution screen on many of its notebooks, so I decided to look there.  The Dell Inspiron 6000 15.4″ laptop was a perfect size for my needs and offered various resolutions all the way up to 1900 x 1200 (WUXGA), so I decided to go with this as my choice of notebooks.

The 6000D is a middle range laptop and is described by Dell as an “Affordable Widescreen Entertainment” laptop.  But, although described as “affordable” it can get expensive depending on how you configure it – such as in my case.   If you’re looking for a high spec powerful notebook the normal route is to look at the Inspiron 9300, but the 9300 was out of question for me because I wanted something more portable to use on location (for the printing and photo processing work I use a computer for).  In addition, I don’t play games so the ATI X300 128MB dedicated graphics card in the i6000D was more than enough for my needs.

After applying a $700 off coupon code, I got my system from Dell.com for around $1,500.  I ordered two batteries and configured the 6000 with 1GB of RAM and a 60GB 7,200RPM hard drive.  Dell charges a lot for this battery addition and upgrade options, but I had very limited places to buy from, if you’re in the US you’re better off getting RAM and a 7k100 HDD at NewEgg and the battery on eBay.

Dell Inspiron 6000D specs as reviewed:

  • Intel Pentium M Processor 760 (2.0GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB) 
  • 15.4 inch UltraSharp WSXGA+ (1680×1050)
  • 1GB, DDR2, 533MHz
  • 128MB DDR ATI’s MOBILITY RADEON X300 PCI Express x16 Graphics 
  • 60GB 7200rpm Hard Drive (Hitachi 7k60 HTS726060M9AT00)
  • 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer (SONY)
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 2200 (802.11b/g) Internal Wireless
  • Dell 350 Bluetooth Internal Wireless Card
  • 80 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion  Battery
  • 53 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • Windows XP Professional

Ports:

  • 1 IEEE 1394 (firewire)
  • 4-USB 2.0
  • 1 SD/MMC card reader
  • 1 VGA monitor port
  • 1 S-Video
  • 1 Microphone and 1 headphone/speaker
  • 1 PC card Slot
  • 1 Ethernet port (10/100)
  • 1 Phone Jack (dial-up)

Build and Design:

(click image for larger view)

(click image for larger view)

(click image for larger view)

The inital look and first impressions people have of the Dell 6000 are very good. The Inspiron 6000 has a silver plastic case and a white trim around the edges.

The notebook body is of solid build, the screen flexes very little, not enough for any ripples on the LCD even if you push it from the back of the lid.

I was hoping to be able to say that the silver finish looks and is fairly scratch resistant, but after a few weeks with the laptop, a few scratches are visible upon close inspection even though I’m very careful with the laptop.

Screen:
 
The screen is beautiful. I got the WSXGA+ version which has a native resolution of 1680×1050. Things look very small on a 15.4″ LCD with this resolution, but this is really great for me, as I use it for photo editing 90% of the time.  Actually this display has spoiled me so much that I bought a Dell 2005 FPW to upgrade from my old LCD, that I currently use on the VGA (monitor-out) port for the 6000d as a second display.

After calibration, the screen showed very good color/contrast accuracy for a laptop screen.  There are no light leakage, sparkles or dead pixel issues either.

Speakers:

The Inspiron 6000D comes with two stereo speakers. I wasn’t expecting much from the speakers, but was quite surprised at their performance which was much better than I expected.

I still recommend external speakers if you listen to music or play games often.

Processor and Performance:

This is where this system really shines. The Pentium M 760 processor with a 7200RPM HDD and 1GB of DDR2 533MHz RAM provides for a really snappy system and all the programs I use load really fast.

I must mention that I tweak all my systems to get the most out of them, I only leave a few programs at the startup and disable all the XP visual garbage.

The system takes around 25-30 seconds to boot into XP Pro (timed from the second I push the power On button to the second I can open the Windows Start bar with the mouse with auto user login).

It takes around 5 to 7 seconds to open Photoshop CS2 for the first time (with others applications running), but it can take less than 2 seconds if I have opened it before.  

Basic programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, Firefox, IE, etc. load REALLY fast — I mean so fast I couldn’t even time it, because they all load right after you click on the shortcut, in less than one second.

As I said before, I’m not a gamer, but I did install the demo version of BF2 to see how the graphic card performance is and I was able to run at 1280×1024 (external monitor native resolution) all mid-low settings very well with no OC.

The only thing I’m thinking about upgrading is the 1GB of RAM to 2GB of RAM (the max this system allows), I actually regret getting just 1 gig from dell, I use Adobe Photoshop a lot  for opening very large RAW files and that eats system RAM really fast.

Benchmarks:

Dell Inspiron i6000d (2.0 GHz Pentium M) benchmark results:

SuperPi (calculated to 2million digits of accuracy): 1m 34s

 Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Dell Inspiron 6000 (2.0 GHz Pentium M) 1m 34s
Gateway 7426GX (AMD Athlon 3700+) 1m 39s
IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz Pentium M) 1m 45s
Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M) 1m 48s
IBM ThinkPad T41 (1.6GHz Pentium M) 2m 23s
Compaq R3000T (Celeron 2.8GHz) 3m 3s
Dell Inspiron 600m (1.6 GHz Pentium M) 2m 10s
Dell Inspiron 8600 (1.7GHz  Pentium M) 2m 28s

Below are the HD Tune benchmark results (Hitachi 60GB, 7200RPM hard drive)

Below is the PcMark 04 benchmark result (run only once)

Keyboard and Touchpad:

(click image for larger view)

I love the Inspiron 6000 keyboard. The keys are easy to press and don’t require much force to register a key-strike. Before I got the notebook, I read some reviews with complaints about the “delete” button being on the top (near the backspace key), but I actually like it a lot. In a few hours I was used to the keyboard already. There’s no flex in the keyboard — or at least not enough that I can tell.

The touchpad is nice, it has both horizontal and vertical scrolls and is OK to use. I have used it only a few times because I have a Microsoft Bluetooth mouse (by the way, the Bluetooth is a great feature) and a Wacom tablet for photo editing, so the touchpad is only used on the occasions I’m on the road and don’t have a mouse handy.

Input and Output Ports:

On the rear of the Inspiron 6000 is an Ethernet port, phone line port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, S-video and VGA output and the AC adapter plug (click image for larger view)

The right side has an SD card reader, Mic-in, headphone-out, 1 FireWire (4pin) port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and 1 PCMCIA type II slot (click image for larger view)

On the left side is only the DVRW drive and the notebook’s lock slot.

Wireless:

I got the Dell 6000 with the Intel PRO Wireless 2200 (802.11b/g) internal wireless card and Dell 350 Bluetooth Internal wireless card.

First, let me say the Bluetooth works great, as I said above, I have been using a Microsoft Bluetooth mouse and the range is impressive, and not having to deal with a single cable is great.

On the other hand, I do not recommend getting the Intel 2200bg card, pay a few extra bucks for the 2915abg card and you won’t have any headaches.

I use a Netgear Wireless 802.11g router in my house and there was nothing I could do to make them work together. It connects to the network, but doesn’t receive or send any data packages. I also have an old Netgear 802.11b router witch worked great, so I tested the laptop with other routers and found out that it works with some but not with others (even if they are the same model and brand). Updating the drivers on the card and/or firmware on the modem DID NOT fix the problem for me at the time.  I had the opportunity to exchange my router for another one (same model, Netgear 802.11g) and mysteriously it’s working now.

If you go to the NotebookReview.com forums, you will find that there are many people using this card and having problems (not only with Dell systems), and the last driver from Intel seems to have it fixed for most. I updated the driver this week but haven’t had the chance to try it with some routers that did not with work before.

One other note too, it may sound like it’s the router problem, but it’s not. The routers that had problems with this card were all working fine before with other laptops before, and I even tested them at the same time with another 2200bg card on a Toshiba laptop and it worked flawlessly.

Battery:

I got the 6-cell and 9-cell batteries. They are the same size, but the 9-cell version is heavier.
The battery life on the i6000D is impressive. Even with a 7200RPM HDD, the 9-cell battery gives me around 5 hours with the screen at brightness level 5 (on a scale of 1 to 8) with Wi-Fi and using the notebook for browsing the web etc.

One very cool feature I should mention about this battery is that it has a button you can push to light up an indicator that shows how much charge remains, this works even if the battery is not connected to the notebook.

OS / Bloatware: 

Bloatware (unwanted software) on the Dell 6000 is REALLY bad! When you fisrt boot up there are about 13 icons in your system tray and many, many applications running in the background, this is all really degrading to the overall system performance. There is so much to get rid off that I strongly recommend reformatting the system with a fresh XP disk. All of my review observations and stats are based on a fresh Windows installation, I reformatted the system after about 10-minutes of using the Dell initial setup!

One other thing to mention, the Dell restore partition takes up about 5GB of space on your hard drive, so if you’re not planning on using this restore partition (like me), when formatting the drive, don’t forget to delete the partition.

Conclusion:

I really like the Dell Inspiron 6000D, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a 15.4″ notebook.

Pros: 

  • Well priced
  • Great performance (cpu, hdd)
  • Nice Screen
  • Looks great
  • Great battery life

Cons: 

  • Excessive bloatware 
  • No Software/OS CDs included

Pricing and Availability: Dell Inspiron 6000D

Other Dell Inspiron 6000 Reviews from NBR:


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