I’ve come to the conclusion that its about time to retire the relatively ancient Dell Inspiron 8200 that I use for teaching. I bought it from the Dell Outlet back in mid-2003 for the princely sum of $1700. It had a 1.8GHz Pentium 4M processor, 256MB of RAM, a decent NVidia video chip, and 1600×1200 resolution. Since then, I have maxed out the RAM to 1GB, and put a 60GB 7200rpm hard drive in it, and even though it still runs Windows Server 2003 pretty well, it just seems intolerably slow to me now, four years later.
Since I will need a replacement, I’ve started getting back up to speed on the latest Intel Mobile CPU’s (not that I would not consider an AMD Turion). The new Intel Core 2 Duo (aka "Merom") has just hit the streets about one week ago, while the still pretty recent Intel Core Duo (aka "Yonah") may be an attractive bargain in the next few months. The Core 2 Duo has a 4MB shared L2 cache, 1066MHz FSB, and speeds between 1.86GHz and 2.66GHz. The older Core Duo has a 2MB shared L2 cache, 667MHz FSB, and speeds between 1.66GHz and 2.33GHz.
The general specifications that I am looking for are a dual-core processor, 2.0GB of RAM, an 80GB 7200rpm drive, 1600×1200 resolution, and good enough graphics to run Vista Aero Glass if I want to. I’m hoping that I can stay in the $1500-1800 range for this.