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Dell Inspiron 8100 Notebook

The Machine

  • Dell Inspiron 8100
  • Regular Gray Bezel
  • Pentium III-M 1.0 GHz
  • 512Mb DIMM of 133mhz SDRAM
  • 48 GB Ultra ATA-6 Hard Drive, 9.5 MM
  • 1.44MB 3.5" Internal / External modular floppy drive
  • 24X CD-ROM, Internal modular DVD-ROM drive
  • 8X write / 4x rewrite / 32x read modular CD-RW drive
  • 2x Lithium Ion Battery (Lasts about 7 hours)
  • 3D Positional Sound and Wavetable
  • Integrated 56k modem and 10/100 NIC
  • nVidia Geforce2Go 4X AGP w/ 32Mb
  • 15.1" XGA Active Matrix Display
  • Microsoft Windows 2000

Why Buy from Dell?

That's a good question! In the past, I've had reasonably good experiences with Dell. That was about to change. I originally was going away to college, and thus needed a laptop computer. I priced out a computer and placed the order on August 3, 2001. When I called to inquire how long manufacturing would take, I was told two weeks, and that I would definitely have my Inspiron 8100 by August 16th, which is the day I left for college. Time passed, and the day before the 16th I was getting curious as to its status. According to Dell's order status page, it was still "in production." I called, but they claimed they couldn't help me.

I went to college, and continued waiting for the laptop. On September 11, 2001, cowardly terrorists struck the World Trade Center. Priority was given to survivors of the terrorist acts, which I must commend Dell for. With such an event, the delivery of my Inspiron 8100 seemed so small and insignificant. Although I had been waiting a long time, I could wait longer. Finally on 9/27/2001, Dell's order status indicated that the computer had shipped. Shortly thereafter, I received the package.

My Inspiron 8100 is an extremely powerful computer, given that it took almost 2 months to receive. Nonetheless, I'm happy. The only problem I've had is the metal strip on the top cover peeled off. I attempted to glue it back on, but to no avail so I just removed it. Such is life.

Lessons Learned

  1. It pays to complain :)
    When my computer wasn't showing up, I made sure Dell knew about it. And did they ever! In fact, much due to my numerous phone calls, they knocked $500 off and upgraded my hard drive from 20 to 48Gb. This alone is worth more than $800, so although I had to wait, I was happy.
  2. Dell is a tradeoff
    Few computer manufacturers can compare to Dell when it comes to performance/price. Although their products may be less expensive, their service and support has dwindled in the past few years. Dell can offer great deals, but be prepared for long hold times while calling customer service.

On-line Notebook Retailers

Nice computers at competitive prices. The three-year warranty on notebooks sold is the best in the industry.
Gateway's prices are very affordable, but I couldn't get the right combination of screen size and processor speed that I wanted. Either they configured the screen size too small or the processor speed too fast.
IBM offers notebooks that rival Dell's, however, they also cost quite a bit more. IBM was a possible candidate, but given that their prices were at least $400 more for the same configuration I had, I chose to go with Dell.



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