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MikeC
02-05-08, 06:33 PM
I finally bit the bullet a couple weeks ago and bought my first laptop computer. Sure, I've purchased laptops before, but they were for the kids who have been off in college. Man, times have certainly changed since having attended college myself some 30 years ago. Back then we were using punch cards to submit our Fortran programs in batch, which were processed at an off-site computer :cool:

The main purpose of the laptop is to serve as a wireless mobile device that can be used anywhere in the house. I wrote most of this post in the family room and really enjoy the ability to move about. However, in order to accomplish this task, a multi-purpose cable router was necessary to make use of the laptop's wireless capabilities and to provide continued support for our existing 4-port wired network. Network connectivity was provided by D-Links's GamerLounge Wireless 108G Gaming Router, which supports wired and wireless connections.

An important requirement for the new laptop was that it be capable of providing reasonable 3D graphics performance in modern games. Although the laptop will primarily be used to run productivity applications, it should also be capable of providing a minimum of 30 frames per second to support casual gaming - preferably at the display's native resolution. Since this requirement will not be met with Intel's mobile graphics chips, I began looking at laptops with NVIDIA graphics solutions.

The model I selected was Dell's Inspiron 1520 Series, which I outfitted with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 (2.2GHz/800Mhz FSB/4MB Cache), 2GB of DDR2 memory running at 667MHz, a 15.4-inch widescreen LCD with a native resolution of 1440x900, and a 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics card. Although I wasn't a big fan of the desktop version of the GeForce 8600 GTS, the GeForce 8600M GT performs quite well in this laptop. With an additional cost of only $90, the GeForce 8600M GT was a steal considering the capabilities it brings to an otherwise underachieving 3D graphics sub-system.

Below are photographs of Half-Life 2: Lost Coast with 4x AA/High Quality (36 fps), Stalker with Static Lighting/Medium Quality (41 fps), and The Witcher with Medium Quality (29 fps) being displayed via a VGA connection on Vizio's 42-inch LCD TV, which sports a resolution of 1360x768. Note that the first photograph is of a pine tree that fell during Hurricane Isabel, which hit the area in 2003.

http://www.nvnews.net/reviews/dell_inspiron_1520/images/photograph.jpg

http://www.nvnews.net/reviews/dell_inspiron_1520/images/lost_coast.jpg

http://www.nvnews.net/reviews/dell_inspiron_1520/images/stalker.jpg

http://www.nvnews.net/reviews/dell_inspiron_1520/images/witcher.jpg

One feature that I was unaware of is that with Dell you can choose the native resolution of the display. The resolutions available for the 15.4-inch LCD were 1280x800 (default), 1440x900, and 1680x1050.

breathemetal
02-05-08, 06:34 PM
Sweet deal! congrats!

SH64
02-05-08, 06:36 PM
Did you run Oblivion by any chance ? i'm curious to see how Oblivion performs under an 8600M GT. (max settings of course).

crainger
02-05-08, 06:45 PM
I just bought a Dell 1520 too, same specs and all!

Mine is still on it's way though. I'm hoping for early next week. ::D:

Bearclaw
02-05-08, 06:46 PM
Did you run Oblivion by any chance ? i'm curious to see how Oblivion performs under an 8600M GT. (max settings of course).
He tried. The computer exploded. Found later that it was not the game and that in fact it was a bigman virus.

SH64
02-05-08, 06:51 PM
He tried. The computer exploded. Found later that it was not the game and that in fact it was a bigman virus.
:headexplode:

stncttr908
02-05-08, 07:25 PM
I have the 1420, and it's basically the same aside from an 8400M GS instead of the 8600, but it's a great machine. It's a little bulky, but other than that, top notch!

MikeC
02-05-08, 07:30 PM
Did you run Oblivion by any chance ? i'm curious to see how Oblivion performs under an 8600M GT. (max settings of course).No, but I'll be glad to install it and report back my findings.

|MaguS|
02-05-08, 07:32 PM
What the hell happened to your TV? Were you watching a hot and steamy movie and got caught up in the moment?

MikeC
02-05-08, 07:33 PM
I just bought a Dell 1520 too, same specs and all!

Mine is still on it's way though. I'm hoping for early next week. ::D:Awesome! You know how the saying goes - something like great minds think alike :)

I also got the matching mouse since I don't particularly care for touchpads.

MikeC
02-05-08, 07:35 PM
What the hell happened to your TV? Were you watching a hot and steamy movie and got caught up in the moment?


I don't understand what do you mean?

SH64
02-05-08, 07:35 PM
No, but I'll be glad to install it and report back my findings.
Cool thanks! i think those stream processors will do good in Oblivion (esp in the non CPU-limited parts of the game).

|MaguS|
02-05-08, 07:37 PM
I don't understand what do you mean?
It looks like the front was cracked open in the middle... isn't that a big gap in the front?

MikeC
02-05-08, 07:49 PM
It looks like the front was cracked open in the middle... isn't that a big gap in the front?Yeah, I see what you mean now, but that is the way it was designed.

http://www.vizio.com/products/detail.aspx?pid=31

They have similar designs on other 42-inch models:

http://www.vizio.com/products/detail.aspx?pid=30
http://www.vizio.com/products/detail.aspx?pid=35

nrdstrm
02-05-08, 07:55 PM
Mike, I just wanted to make sure that you knew. With your Vizio, if you have a DVI to HDMI cable, it will run computers at 1080P....(instead of the 1360 x 768 res via VGA)...Nice laptop btw, I'll be looking to get one in a few months myself...Grats...

grey_1
02-05-08, 07:57 PM
Nice setup Mike! gratz on the lappy - I'd be dead in the water without mine (cheapo Dell 620). I does the job though.

crainger
02-05-08, 08:12 PM
Awesome! You know how the saying goes - something like great minds think alike :)

I also got the matching mouse since I don't particularly care for touchpads.

Me either. I'll actually miss the accupoint my old Toshiba had. ::(:

SLippe
02-05-08, 08:25 PM
Nice rig, Mike. Great photos.

911medic
02-06-08, 07:50 AM
Nice purchase, Mike.

I bought my Dell Inspiron 9300 a couple of years ago with the same requirement (some gaming performance). Ended up swapping out the vanilla 6800 it came with for a 7800GTX.

How's battery life? That's one big sacrifice with mine; I'm lucky to get 2 hours out of it, and that's with all power saving features enabled and the LCD turned down to just above half brightness.

The other sacrifice is the portability, but I guess that comes with the territory when buying a 17" laptop. It's a beast.

MikeC
02-06-08, 07:52 AM
Mike, I just wanted to make sure that you knew. With your Vizio, if you have a DVI to HDMI cable, it will run computers at 1080P....(instead of the 1360 x 768 res via VGA)...Nice laptop btw, I'll be looking to get one in a few months myself...Grats...Thanks for the tip! Now that I think about it, I recall hooking up the PS3 to that TV via HDMI a while back and was suprised to find that the PS3 set the resolution to 1080P.

However, the laptop has a VGA connection so I would need to attach a VGA-to-DVI adapter first. Would this connection still provide 1080P using a DVI to HDMI cable?

nekrosoft13
02-06-08, 08:49 AM
i bought my first laptop with gaming in mind, won't do it next time.

if i would get another laptop any time soon, i would look for something that has a very good battery life.

nrdstrm
02-06-08, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the tip! Now that I think about it, I recall hooking up the PS3 to that TV via HDMI a while back and was suprised to find that the PS3 set the resolution to 1080P.

However, the laptop has a VGA connection so I would need to attach a VGA-to-DVI adapter first. Would this connection still provide 1080P using a DVI to HDMI cable?

Good Question. I don't have anything VGA at home at the moment (all dvi) so I can't test it. If you try, let me know the results. It would be good to know!

DiscipleDOC
02-06-08, 01:20 PM
Yeah, I see what you mean now, but that is the way it was designed.

http://www.vizio.com/products/detail.aspx?pid=31

They have similar designs on other 42-inch models:

http://www.vizio.com/products/detail.aspx?pid=30
http://www.vizio.com/products/detail.aspx?pid=35
My 37 inch tv looks just like that.

hirantha
02-06-08, 01:29 PM
Wow he is playing witcher and Stalker on it? thats a good Lappy.. Grats old man!! yeah i work with a few from that time frame where you have to punch a card key to execute your programs and i saw a machine 3 months ago.. pretty amazing.

LORD-eX-Bu
02-06-08, 01:46 PM
wow cool, I am thinking about getting a 13" dell myself :D