Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 5 Tech Purchases For 2010—#2



Dell Precision Mobile Workstation M4500.

I haven’t used a desktop computer in 10 years. We have three personal computers at my house and all three are laptops. We have a couple servers too, which aren’t. I recently had to change the DVD drive on my wife’s HP laptop and I was reminded once again why I’ll never buy anything but a Dell again.

Yes, Dell has had some issues in recent years. They started cutting corners on cost, which made their computers less reliable. They also shipped all their phone support off shore at the same time. So, they had bad phone support at a time when they needed it most. Not a good combination to say the least.

They seem to have learned from their mistakes. Support is back on shore and the quality is back up. And they understand that even laptops need parts changes occasionally, and that needs to be as simple as possible. That’s something that has always been a feature of Dell computers.

The Dell Precision M4500 is almost their top of the line laptop. Many laptops bill themselves as desktop replacements. This one really is. It has two quad core Intel i7 processors and a nice big 15.6” screen, and a much better than average video card. My dock has two HDMI outs, and I have been able to run anything I desire. Video card can keep up with all the current games, and my 500 GB hard drive is big enough to store whatever I need. My system rating is a 5.9. The slowest part is the disk drive or I’d be up near 7.

This is a wonderful machine.

Pros:

  • Dual Quad i7’s
  • nVidia Quadro FX 1800M video card
  • Dual HDMI outs
  • 500 GB HD

Cons:

  • 8 GB RAM. That’s the max that can go in this beast. The 6500M can handle 16 GB and actually has an even better video card as well as a 17” screen upgrade. However, the 6500 costs about $1000 more than the 4500 once you load it up, and the 4500 ain’t cheap. In fact…
  • Cost. While you get a good bang for your buck with Dell, to get this many bangs, you’re still spending quite a few bucks.
  • No WiFi support for 802.11n. Limited to 802.11g.
  • No USB 3 support.
  • SSD’s are still too small and too expensive. I had a Crucial 250 GB SSD in the machine for a while, but it was unreliable for my usage style.

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