Another shameless product endorsement

I am sometimes accused of being a fanboy, and rightfully so. This will be one of those times, so if you’re turned off at all by rampant enthusiasm, change the channel now.

I am so totally in love with my little 1Ghz Dell Inspiron 8000 that I cannot praise it too much. This one was shipped in June 2001, and I’m only the second owner; the first owners were exceedingly careful with it. So cosmetically, it’s in near-perfect shape.

I put in a 1Ghz chip (it was practically free), 512Mb of PC133 (a little pricey, but worth it), a bay for a second hard drive ($19 and invaluable!), an 8x dual layer DVD+-RW, a 64Mb Nvidia Geforce4 440 Go (expensive, but also worth it!) a solid wireless card and replaced a screen with a minor flaw with another (with an even more minor flaw, actually. But it was free).

I couldn’t be happier if you had dropped a new dual-core in my lap. This machine runs Linux with almost no configuration required, can handle Beryl at 1600×1200 without effort and has never failed me (fingers crossed 😉 ). I can play Savage and Astromenace at native resolution with frame rates at 21+, Wolfenstein ET and Regnum Online … and so forth. You get the idea.

My only disappointment comes in the USB 1.1 ports, which are a bit slow for my liking. I keep telling myself that USB 1.1 is better than USB 0.0, but if I ever find a way to swap those out for 2.0 ports, I’m doing it.

I have considered buying a MiniPCI wireless card; apparently this series can swap out the card in the base for an integrated wireless model, but I’m not sure I really want it. My PCMCIA card — a Linksys WPC11 — works fine, is fast enough and gives me no hassles, so I don’t see a need.

If you’re considering a secondhand laptop that is flexible, cheap and reliable, I would heartily recommend this series. If I, personally, were putting together a new one, I would look for an 8200, since the CPU in those machines is more flexible. The 8000s stopped at 1Ghz, but the 8200s can run up to 2.2Ghz or something like that. It’s worth the extra moola, really.


3 thoughts on “Another shameless product endorsement

  1. Solon

    Hi, I’ve got an 8000 too. Am I being stupid? Where did you get the new DVD drive from? It’s the only thing I would really want to replace on my machine, cos mine is broken. My machine came with the Go 2 video card so I’m not sure I can replace it with the one you have.

  2. K.Mandla Post author

    I picked up an NEC ND-7550A off ebay about nine months ago. It’s a side-mount DVDRW that hits 8X and can do dual layer, even if I never buy one. I heartily recommend it.

    And believe it or not, a GeForce4 440 Go will fit nicely in your laptop. The same card that Dell put in the 8200 fits the 8000 series, so if you’re using the Geforce2, you can bump it up to a Geforce4. They’re easy to change out too, even if they are a little pricey.

    The DVDRW will probably run around $120 and the video card could be a little more. Then grab yourself a MiniPCI wireless and a modular hard drive and you’re set! 😀

  3. Solon

    Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.

    Found a cheap DVDRW you specified for £35ish delivered, and a 440 but have to find out which manufacturer my screen is before I get it. Apparently only samsung screens work when upgrading to the 440.

    Like you i’m sad about the USB1.1 but I have a 11g card in the pccard slot and the second one is dead so I’m stuck.

    Thanks for the info and the reply again.


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