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Re: [linux-dell-laptops] couple questions about inspiron 9200

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  • Robert P. J. Day
    ... my laptop is *rarely* not plugged into the wall, so power consumption is not an issue for me. therefore, i ll probably go with the fast drive. ... hmmm
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 8, 2004
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      On Wed, 8 Dec 2004, Haedn Thorn wrote:

      > --- "Robert P. J. Day" <rpjday@...> wrote:

      > I always go for the fastest drives on a desktop, but on a laptop, I
      > was more concerned with battery life, so I went with the slower
      > drive. This is the slowest device in your system, so maximum
      > performance would require this to keep up.

      my laptop is *rarely* not plugged into the wall, so power consumption
      is not an issue for me. therefore, i'll probably go with the fast
      drive.

      > > i've heard some disturbing stories on the fedora list regarding
      > > problems with ATI cards. comments on how well linux (specifically
      > > fedora core 3) deals with the ATI mobility radeon 9700?

      > I think it's ATi drivers in general and not necessarily FC3 (though
      > I'm a Slackware man, myself) if you have the option, go with nVidia:
      > their Linux drivers actualy work properly.

      hmmm ... i didn't see that nvidia was even an option with the 9200.
      if you check the web page, it seems hardcoded to the ATI radeon 9700.
      are you saying there's a choice?

      rday
    • Haedn Thorn
      ... There is probably another model with similar options but with an nVidia chipset ... There are always trade-offs ... In my case it was between the 600m
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 8, 2004
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        --- "Robert P. J. Day" <rpjday@...> wrote:

        > hmmm ... i didn't see that nvidia was even an option
        > with the 9200.
        > if you check the web page, it seems hardcoded to the
        > ATI radeon 9700.
        > are you saying there's a choice?

        There is probably another model with similar options
        but with an nVidia chipset ... There are always
        trade-offs ... In my case it was between the 600m
        (with ATi) and the 8600. If the only difference was
        the video, I would have gone with the 8600 without
        hesitation. But the 8600 is also about 50% heavier and
        a bit larger... Portability as well as battery life
        were big factors for me since I carry this thing
        almost everywhere!
      • R Stewart
        It s definitely worth the short term investment of getting the 512 MB as a single DIMM. That s what I did, and so far the performance with 512 MB is perfectly
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 9, 2004
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          It's definitely worth the short term investment of getting the 512 MB
          as a single DIMM. That's what I did, and so far the performance with
          512 MB is perfectly acceptable. I'll probably add another 512 MB DIMM
          or a 1 GB DIMM in the next 12 months, though.

          I would recommend the faster drive, too. In addition to the fact that
          you said in another post that you keep it plugged into the wall most of
          the time, the 9200 (is that the weight in grams?) has the heft of a
          mid-size bowling ball because the battery is quite large. You will
          still get good battery life with a 7200 rpm drive. I get 4+ hours out
          of my 8600 with a 7200 rpm drive.

          Speaking of which, I bought a Hitachi TravelStar 7200 rpm 60 GB drive
          from NewEgg for about $150, replaced the built-in Hitachi TravelStar
          5400 rpm 40 GB drive, and put the 40 GB drive in a USB 2.5" hard drive
          enclosure that I bought online for less than $20. The portable drive is
          very useful for quickly moving big files between the four different
          computers I regularly use in different locations. It's also nice to be
          able to bring along a bunch of extra movies when I travel.

          For regular usage with FC3, the ATI 9600 card in my laptop works fine.
          I haven't tried installing the proprietray ATI driver, yet, so that I
          can play UT2004. Supposedly, ATI will be releasing a new driver this
          month that is compatible with xorg 6.8. The current requires xorg 6.7.

          Robert

          --- "Robert P. J. Day" <rpjday@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > i'm getting close to finalizing my choices for a 9200, and i was
          > interested in feedback on the following:
          >
          > first, my current 8100 has 512M RAM, and i know that more RAM
          > generally equates to better performance. since i'm not quite ready
          > to
          > spring for 1G RAM, i decided a good compromise would be to spend the
          > extra $50 US and get a single DIMM of 512M. then i can always
          > upgrade
          > down the road with another 512M if i want in that open slot. seems
          > like the happy medium for now.
          >
          > next, re: disk speed, i wasn't sure it was worth the extra $100 US
          > for the 7200 RPM 60G drive versus the regular one, but i only now
          > noticed that the regular drives are 4200 RPM. i'd thought they were
          > 5400 RPM, but now, i'm thinking that it might just be worth the extra
          > cash to make the big jump up to the faster drive. anyone have
          > experience with the 7200 RPM drives? good stories? bad stories?
          >
          > dang, i just noticed there's now a 2.1GHz option for CPU, but i'm
          > going to save a few bucks and go with 1.8GHz. i can't imagine my CPU
          > is going to be the bottleneck here.
          >
          > i've heard some disturbing stories on the fedora list regarding
          > problems with ATI cards. comments on how well linux (specifically
          > fedora core 3) deals with the ATI mobility radeon 9700?
          >
          > guess i better order the carrying case. i don't think a regular
          > targus bag is going to work here, is it? :-)
          >
          > thanks for any info.
          >
          > rday
          >
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        • Peter Teuben
          ... wow, is that 4+ hours on 1 battery? I have the 8200, and have batteries. Rated to go or 6:30, but one battery is already in bad shape and after a smooth 4
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 9, 2004
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            On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:

            >
            > It's definitely worth the short term investment of getting the 512 MB
            > as a single DIMM. That's what I did, and so far the performance with
            > 512 MB is perfectly acceptable. I'll probably add another 512 MB DIMM
            > or a 1 GB DIMM in the next 12 months, though.
            >
            > I would recommend the faster drive, too. In addition to the fact that
            > you said in another post that you keep it plugged into the wall most of
            > the time, the 9200 (is that the weight in grams?) has the heft of a
            > mid-size bowling ball because the battery is quite large. You will
            > still get good battery life with a 7200 rpm drive. I get 4+ hours out
            > of my 8600 with a 7200 rpm drive.

            wow, is that 4+ hours on 1 battery? I have the 8200, and have batteries.
            Rated to go or 6:30, but one battery is already in bad shape and after
            a smooth 4 hour sailing it suddenly starts dropping like crazy and perhaps
            i get 4:15 or 4:30, but that's 2 batteries.

            > Speaking of which, I bought a Hitachi TravelStar 7200 rpm 60 GB drive
            > from NewEgg for about $150, replaced the built-in Hitachi TravelStar
            > 5400 rpm 40 GB drive, and put the 40 GB drive in a USB 2.5" hard drive
            > enclosure that I bought online for less than $20. The portable drive is
            > very useful for quickly moving big files between the four different
            > computers I regularly use in different locations. It's also nice to be
            > able to bring along a bunch of extra movies when I travel.

            I usually test speed with hdparm, but I've not been impressed with the speed
            advantage. Real time performance is a different matter, but I don't have
            any hard evidence on it.

            As for the enclosure, i did basically the same thing. The furstrating thing is
            that USB is 1.1 on my machine and useless, but I have firewire, and it's
            actually faster (according to hdparm) than the internal drive!!!! The
            external enclosure needs to be powered thogh, or via a USB->power cable
            that came with the enclosure. I found out that the USB port on the 8200 doesn't
            give enough juice to power up the HD. It's quite scary to listen to the sawtooth
            noise as it tried to come up, and then stops when it reaches the maximum but
            not being enogh to spin it...

            - peter
          • R Stewart
            ... Yes. I was pretty amazed. I used to have a high end ThinkPad, but it didn t have nearly as long battery life. Of course, the ThinkPad also weighed 3 pounds
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 9, 2004
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              > wow, is that 4+ hours on 1 battery? I have the 8200, and have
              > batteries.

              Yes. I was pretty amazed. I used to have a high end ThinkPad, but it
              didn't have nearly as long battery life. Of course, the ThinkPad also
              weighed 3 pounds less. I realize the battery life diminishes over time,
              but I'll enjoy the honeymoon while I can.

              > I found out that the USB port on the
              > 8200 doesn't
              > give enough juice to power up the HD.

              Sorry to hear about that. I guess I'm lucky that my 8600 has USB 2.0
              and is able to power the drive without problems. The enclosure does
              require the use of both USB ports to get enough power, though.

              Robert

              --- Peter Teuben <teuben@...> wrote:

              >
              > On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > It's definitely worth the short term investment of getting the 512
              > MB
              > > as a single DIMM. That's what I did, and so far the performance
              > with
              > > 512 MB is perfectly acceptable. I'll probably add another 512 MB
              > DIMM
              > > or a 1 GB DIMM in the next 12 months, though.
              > >
              > > I would recommend the faster drive, too. In addition to the fact
              > that
              > > you said in another post that you keep it plugged into the wall
              > most of
              > > the time, the 9200 (is that the weight in grams?) has the heft of a
              > > mid-size bowling ball because the battery is quite large. You will
              > > still get good battery life with a 7200 rpm drive. I get 4+ hours
              > out
              > > of my 8600 with a 7200 rpm drive.
              >
              > wow, is that 4+ hours on 1 battery? I have the 8200, and have
              > batteries.
              > Rated to go or 6:30, but one battery is already in bad shape and
              > after
              > a smooth 4 hour sailing it suddenly starts dropping like crazy and
              > perhaps
              > i get 4:15 or 4:30, but that's 2 batteries.
              >
              > > Speaking of which, I bought a Hitachi TravelStar 7200 rpm 60 GB
              > drive
              > > from NewEgg for about $150, replaced the built-in Hitachi
              > TravelStar
              > > 5400 rpm 40 GB drive, and put the 40 GB drive in a USB 2.5" hard
              > drive
              > > enclosure that I bought online for less than $20. The portable
              > drive is
              > > very useful for quickly moving big files between the four different
              > > computers I regularly use in different locations. It's also nice to
              > be
              > > able to bring along a bunch of extra movies when I travel.
              >
              > I usually test speed with hdparm, but I've not been impressed with
              > the speed
              > advantage. Real time performance is a different matter, but I don't
              > have
              > any hard evidence on it.
              >
              > As for the enclosure, i did basically the same thing. The furstrating
              > thing is
              > that USB is 1.1 on my machine and useless, but I have firewire, and
              > it's
              > actually faster (according to hdparm) than the internal drive!!!!
              > The
              > external enclosure needs to be powered thogh, or via a USB->power
              > cable
              > that came with the enclosure. I found out that the USB port on the
              > 8200 doesn't
              > give enough juice to power up the HD. It's quite scary to listen to
              > the sawtooth
              > noise as it tried to come up, and then stops when it reaches the
              > maximum but
              > not being enogh to spin it...
              >
              > - peter
              >
              >
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            • Robert P. J. Day
              ... final question about the faster drives. any thoughts on: 1) reliability? 2) noise? it may be irrational, but i just assume that a faster drive will be
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 10, 2004
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                On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, Peter Teuben wrote:

                > On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:

                > > I would recommend the faster drive, too. In addition to the fact that
                > > you said in another post that you keep it plugged into the wall most of
                > > the time, the 9200 (is that the weight in grams?) has the heft of a
                > > mid-size bowling ball because the battery is quite large. You will
                > > still get good battery life with a 7200 rpm drive. I get 4+ hours out
                > > of my 8600 with a 7200 rpm drive.

                final question about the faster drives. any thoughts on:

                1) reliability?
                2) noise?

                it may be irrational, but i just assume that a faster drive will be
                more inherently unreliable and failure-prone than a slower drive. or
                is that even an issue anymore?

                at the moment, the pricing for the hard drive for the 9200 is kind of
                funky: normally, there's a $100 diff between the 4200 RPM and 7200
                RPM 60G drives. however, there's a free 40->60G upgrade so, in fact,
                this represents a $149 difference between the two 60G drives. and i
                have to ask, is the extra speed worth $149?

                my thought here is that, since i have an inspiron 8100 with a 48G
                drive that's at least a couple years old, i might go for the regular
                speed 4200 RPM 60G drive to take advantage of the free upgrade, and
                then consider swapping that drive out and into my 8100 to get a newer
                larger drive in that one and buying a fast 60G drive somewhere on the
                net for the 9200 down the road.

                so ... what are the recommendations for good places to buy fast
                notebook drives that would fit a 9200? thanks.

                rday
              • Robert P. J. Day
                ... ah, i missed that the first time. but newegg.com doesn t show any 60G fast drives, just the 40G drives. dang. rday
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 10, 2004
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                  On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, Peter Teuben wrote:

                  > On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:

                  > > Speaking of which, I bought a Hitachi TravelStar 7200 rpm 60 GB drive
                  > > from NewEgg for about $150, replaced the built-in Hitachi TravelStar
                  > > 5400 rpm 40 GB drive, ...

                  ah, i missed that the first time. but newegg.com doesn't show any 60G
                  fast drives, just the 40G drives. dang.

                  rday
                • R Stewart
                  The bizarre thing is that they do have it, you just can t find it by searching on their website. I found it by searching on a price comparison site. You can
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 10, 2004
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                    The bizarre thing is that they do have it, you just can't find it by
                    searching on their website.

                    I found it by searching on a price comparison site. You can get to the
                    link via DealTime. Look on the following page for NewEgg.

                    http://www.dealtime.com/xPO-Hitachi_TravelStar_7K60_60_GB_08K0939

                    It was $144 there when I last looked.

                    FYI, make sure you get the 7K60 and not the E7K60. The E7K60 is a
                    desktop/server drive in a small form factor. It won't spin down to save
                    power.

                    Robert

                    --- "Robert P. J. Day" <rpjday@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, Peter Teuben wrote:
                    >
                    > > On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:
                    >
                    > > > Speaking of which, I bought a Hitachi TravelStar 7200 rpm 60 GB
                    > drive
                    > > > from NewEgg for about $150, replaced the built-in Hitachi
                    > TravelStar
                    > > > 5400 rpm 40 GB drive, ...
                    >
                    > ah, i missed that the first time. but newegg.com doesn't show any
                    > 60G
                    > fast drives, just the 40G drives. dang.
                    >
                    > rday
                    >
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                  • R Stewart
                    The 60 GB 7200 RPM Travelstar is no noisier than the original 5400 RPM drive in my I8600. As for your concerns about rotational speed, you can now get 15,000
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 10, 2004
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                      The 60 GB 7200 RPM Travelstar is no noisier than the original 5400 RPM
                      drive in my I8600. As for your concerns about rotational speed, you can
                      now get 15,000 RPM drives, although I don't think as 2.5" drives. I
                      don't think the rotational speed difference in going up to 7200 RPM is
                      likely to have a significant impact on reliability (but I didn't do a
                      scientific study, so what do I know).

                      But, the speed difference is definitely not worth $149. Even $100 would
                      be pushing it, especially for the same-sized drive.

                      Robert

                      --- "Robert P. J. Day" <rpjday@...> wrote:

                      >
                      > On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, Peter Teuben wrote:
                      >
                      > > On Thu, 9 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:
                      >
                      > > > I would recommend the faster drive, too. In addition to the fact
                      > that
                      > > > you said in another post that you keep it plugged into the wall
                      > most of
                      > > > the time, the 9200 (is that the weight in grams?) has the heft of
                      > a
                      > > > mid-size bowling ball because the battery is quite large. You
                      > will
                      > > > still get good battery life with a 7200 rpm drive. I get 4+ hours
                      > out
                      > > > of my 8600 with a 7200 rpm drive.
                      >
                      > final question about the faster drives. any thoughts on:
                      >
                      > 1) reliability?
                      > 2) noise?
                      >
                      > it may be irrational, but i just assume that a faster drive will be
                      > more inherently unreliable and failure-prone than a slower drive. or
                      > is that even an issue anymore?
                      >
                      > at the moment, the pricing for the hard drive for the 9200 is kind of
                      > funky: normally, there's a $100 diff between the 4200 RPM and 7200
                      > RPM 60G drives. however, there's a free 40->60G upgrade so, in fact,
                      > this represents a $149 difference between the two 60G drives. and i
                      > have to ask, is the extra speed worth $149?
                      >
                      > my thought here is that, since i have an inspiron 8100 with a 48G
                      > drive that's at least a couple years old, i might go for the regular
                      > speed 4200 RPM 60G drive to take advantage of the free upgrade, and
                      > then consider swapping that drive out and into my 8100 to get a newer
                      > larger drive in that one and buying a fast 60G drive somewhere on the
                      > net for the 9200 down the road.
                      >
                      > so ... what are the recommendations for good places to buy fast
                      > notebook drives that would fit a 9200? thanks.
                      >
                      > rday
                      >
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                    • Robert P. J. Day
                      ... i didn t think so, so given that an upgrade from a 4200 RPM 60G drive to a 7200 RPM 60G drive effectively costs $149 in building the system, it obviously
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 11, 2004
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                        On Fri, 10 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:

                        >
                        > The 60 GB 7200 RPM Travelstar is no noisier than the original 5400 RPM
                        > drive in my I8600. As for your concerns about rotational speed, you can
                        > now get 15,000 RPM drives, although I don't think as 2.5" drives. I
                        > don't think the rotational speed difference in going up to 7200 RPM is
                        > likely to have a significant impact on reliability (but I didn't do a
                        > scientific study, so what do I know).
                        >
                        > But, the speed difference is definitely not worth $149. Even $100 would
                        > be pushing it, especially for the same-sized drive.

                        i didn't think so, so given that an upgrade from a 4200 RPM 60G drive
                        to a 7200 RPM 60G drive effectively costs $149 in building the system,
                        it obviously makes more sense to just get the slower drive in the
                        system, and buy the faster drive online.

                        weirdly, that means that instead of spending $149 extra for a single
                        60G fast drive, i'd only spend $144 extra and get *both* a slow and
                        fast 60G drive. cool. can't beat that as a bargain.

                        rday
                      • Robert P. J. Day
                        ... final resolution. rather than paying $149US for the 60G 4200- 7200 RPM hard drive upgrade (based on the current special online at dell), i configured the
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 11, 2004
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                          On Fri, 10 Dec 2004, R Stewart wrote:

                          > The 60 GB 7200 RPM Travelstar is no noisier than the original 5400 RPM
                          > drive in my I8600. As for your concerns about rotational speed, you can
                          > now get 15,000 RPM drives, although I don't think as 2.5" drives. I
                          > don't think the rotational speed difference in going up to 7200 RPM is
                          > likely to have a significant impact on reliability (but I didn't do a
                          > scientific study, so what do I know).
                          >
                          > But, the speed difference is definitely not worth $149. Even $100 would
                          > be pushing it, especially for the same-sized drive.

                          final resolution. rather than paying $149US for the 60G 4200->7200
                          RPM hard drive upgrade (based on the current special online at dell),
                          i configured the system with the slower drive and ordered the fast one
                          separately from newegg. total cost of additional drive from newegg,
                          including all taxes and shipping: $148.84US.

                          yes, i saved 16 cents, and got a free 4200 RPM 60G drive thrown in.

                          rday
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