Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Dell XPS M1210 laptop

My new laptop arrived yesterday. If you don't count the day of the order and the day of arrival (I ordered the laptop on a Friday and got it on a Monday), I only waited 10 business days, which is just inside specifications. No idea why they sent me that other e-mail telling me I had to wait another month. I just hope they won't send me another one, it was hard enough to get rid of their last double delivery.

The Dell XPS M1210 is a small laptop, but very powerful. The dimensions and weight of a laptop are pretty much a function of the screen size, and the M1210 has a nice little 12.1" screen. But while other lightweight laptops are designed to run only business applications, the XPS in the name shows you that this is a gaming machine. The Core 2 Duo T7200 CPU is lightning fast. The Geforce Go 7400 with 256 MB RAM is a decent graphics card for gaming. I went for 2 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, thus no memory shortages braking out the performance. And the 160 GB SATA hard drive is big enough to store all my data.

The M1210 comes with an integrated webcam, don't know if I have any use for that. It comes with a bunch of preinstalled software; I had to wrestle some time with McAfee Security suite trial version to get it uninstalled, it always said that it couldn't be uninstalled because it was running, but you couldn't stop if from running without uninstalling it. I hate these modern "security" suites, which totally take over your computer. I just need the Windows firewall and a freeware antivirus program, everything else is just paranoia.

My only complaint is that I ordered the laptop with a Kensington mouse with retractable cable, and got a Kensington wireless mouse instead. I'm not a fan of wireless mouses, because of the batteries. Especially for a laptop you risk your batteries running out when you are somewhere where you can't get a replacement battery.

I installed Futuremark's 3DMark05 and PCMark05 on the laptop, and compared the speed to my desktops. In 3DMark05 the M1210 scored 2096 points, over twice as much as the previous laptop, who had a X300 graphics card with a 996 score. Not bad for a laptop, although my desktop with its Geforce 7800 GTX scores significantly better, at 6800 points. In PCMark05, which measures both graphical performance and a range of other computer tasks, the M1210 scored 4111 points, which is basically the same as my desktop with 4272 points. So what the new laptop doesn't have in graphics card power, it makes up in CPU power, the Core 2 Duo is a great processor.

I'm quite happy how much smaller and lighter the new laptop is compared to the old one. I really want to use it as a *portable* computer, on business trips and holidays, so being small and light is a must. That the screen is necessarily smaller doesn't bother me at all.
My favorite WoW experience has been on a Dell XPS laptop with a 17" widescreen. Now I play on an IBM/Lenovo T60p at 1600x1200 resolution. The number of pixels is great, but I miss the widescreen where CT_RaidAssist could display all 40 raid members but still leave me a lot of room in the middle of the screen.
Heres hoping you don't receive another comp Tobold. I remember from your previous posts the multiple times UPS failed to pick up the old one.
Yeah, that was a nightmare. But *if* they send me another computer, this time I can simply not accept the delivery and tell UPS to take the thing right back to Dell. Last time I received the two computers in one delivery, and only noticed it was two computers when unpacking them.
I just picked up the same laptop (m1210), have been playing WoW on it and am very impressed. I picked up a Logitech VX Revolution wireless mouse, you might want to check that out - it's a little pricey ($100 CAD) but it's an amazing little device and it's great on battery life, is super comfortable to use, and stores really well.
I just pestered Dell into sending me the Kensington mouse with retractable cable which I ordered, instead of the Kensington wireless mouse which they sent me.

The only wireless laptop mouse I would consider is this one. It stores in the laptop's PCMCIA slot, and charges itself from there. Battery based wireless mouses I don't like. Whatever the battery life is, the day the battery is empty is sure to be the day you are farthest away from a possible replacement battery. So you end up adding a spare pack of batteries to your laptop carrying case, where the accessories already outweigh the laptop itself. I'd rather stick to a cable, especially since it's retractable and isn't in the way. :)
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