Recent Intel Mobile CPU’s Decoded

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.

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