One tool that I was lacking in my new role as a Senior Consultant for LobsterPot Solutions was a laptop computer. Back in my UniSA days, if you needed a laptop for a presentation or a conference you just borrowed one, so it was never a problem. Post-UniSA I borrowed my Mum’s nice Toshiba, or more recently the small (but capable) HP Mini Netbook that I got from Tech-Ed last year.
Rob and I did a fair bit of research, compared brands and options (including the Sony Z-series which I see Nigel chose), and settled on the Dell Studio XPS 16 model. Being a “laptop-newbie” I particularly valued Rob’s good experience with his previous Dell laptop.
The XPS 16 comes with:
- Intel® Core™ i7-820QM Processor (1.73GHz, 4 Cores/8 Threads, turbo up to 3.06GHz, 8MB Cache)
- 8GB RAM
- 640GB HDD (will replace with SSD soon)
- 15.6” Screen
- ATI Mobility RADEON HD 4670 – 1GB
- Backlit keyboard
The CPU and RAM are similar to the Hyper-V server I built – though happily, while this CPU is also a Core i7, unlike it’s desktop cousin it doesn’t require a great whopping heatsink/cooler stuck on top (which could make shutting the lid a bit tricky!)
Some nice things I’ve discovered so far:
- It looks very nice, though the glossy surface does show up fingermarks very quickly.
- You can do “two-finger zooming” on the touch pad – great for Google/Bing maps.
- Windows 7 x64 runs very nicely.
- Rob noticed you can disable battery charging when on AC power.
- Doesn’t seem to get too hot (though the AC transformer does)
After having a quick play I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dell had shipped it with the latest BIOS firmware - that is refreshing. Nevertheless, after a precautionary backup to my Windows Home Server, I did a clean install of Windows 7 x64 Ultimate and am proceeding to load up all the various “mandatory” applications (Office, SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc).
I’m also thinking I might leverage Windows 7’s “boot to VHD” feature to have separate Win7 instances where I can try out pre-release/beta software without “polluting” my primary OS.
We chose the red ones, because a) they go faster (obviously!) and b) it kind of matches the red of the LobsterPot logo :-)