We have already taken a look at Dothan, which is basically an update of Banias, and it provides enough benefits and features to keep us happy with the Pentium-M platform. And as previously mentioned, the 2.0GHz Pentium-M 755 is easily the best chip that money can buy for a notebook. The increase performance and lower power consumption of Dothan clock for clock over Banias makes it better for notebook manufacturers seeking that thin and light, ultraportable, or traditional notebook form factor.

While notebooks with wide-aspect ratio displays continue, more or less, to flood the consumer market, there is still nothing like the good ol' 4:3 ratio display that generally marks the traditional notebook format - with which we are comfortable. These notebooks are still the bread and butter of the business, school, and all-purpose buyers. With three Dothan notebooks of the like in the labs, we decided to take a look at what the new Pentium-M is offering as a system, as opposed to the CPU itself.

Dell's Latitude D600

  • 2.0GHz Dothan Pentium-M 755
  • Intel 855PM chipset
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 w/32MB
  • 2 x 256MB Hynix PC2100
  • 4x DVD+RW/CD-RW (HL-DT-ST DVD+RW GCA-4040N)
  • 80GB Hitachi 4200RPM Hard Drive
  • 14.1" SXGA+ display (native 1400 x 1050)
  • Intel's 2200BG 802.11b/g WiFi card
  • Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet
  • Dell TrueMobile 300 Bluetooth
  • 6 cell primary battery (11.1V, 4.7AH, 53WH)
  • 6 cell modular bay battery (11.1V, 4.32AH, 48WH)

Gateway's M320XL

  • 1.7GHz Dothan Pentium-M 735
  • Intel 855GM chipset (w/32MB UMA memory - max setting)
  • 2 x 256MB Samsung PC2700
  • 4x DVD±RW/CD-RW (HL-DT-ST DVD+RW GWA-4040N)
  • 80GB Hitachi 4200RPM Hard Drive
  • 15.0" XGA display (native 024 x 768)
  • Intel's 2200BG 802.11b/g WiFi card
  • Intel 10/100 Ethernet
  • 6 cell primary battery (11.V, 4.4AH, 48WH)

HP/Compaq's Business NC6000 Notebook

  • 2.0GHz Dothan Pentium-M 755
  • Intel 855PM chipset
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 w/64MB
  • 2 x 256MB Samsung PC2700
  • 4x DVD+RW/CD-RW (HL-DT-ST DVD+RW GCA-4040N)
  • 60GB Hitachi 5400RPM Hard Drive
  • 14.1" SXGA+ display (native 1400 x 1050)
  • Intel's 2200BG 802.11b/g WiFi card
  • Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet
  • HP's Bluetooth
  • 8 cell primary battery (14.4V, 4.4AH, 63WH)
  • 8 cell modular bay battery (14.8AH, 3.6AH, 53WH)
While we would have liked to have received a 2.0GHz notebook from Gateway, the selection was limited, and we were unable to stretch uniform specifications across all platforms. Originally, we were planning for the 200XL, but Gateway took that off the market just as they were preparing to send that to us.

Dell Latitude D600: Construction – Build, Appearance, Size
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  • Gholam - Saturday, October 02, 2004 - link

    IBM not performance machines? X-series, yes, but find me a performance laptop that weighs just over a kilo :) T42 on the other hand, can be configured with Pentium M 745 and Mobility Radeon 9600, which should give you pretty decent gaming capability. Of course it isn't as powerful as those Mobility Radeon 9800 based models, and the price ($3000-3500, depending on other components) is somewhat uncomfortable, but it's by no means weak. Reply
  • Souka - Saturday, October 02, 2004 - link

    Oh yes... I forgot to mention that I oversee the people who do the purchasing, repair, and I get feedback on reliablity of over 2000 units in the field and office....

    :)
    Reply
  • Souka - Saturday, October 02, 2004 - link

    Actually, I find these laptops between the IBM X40 and the T42.

    My company uses only IBM laptops both at the corporate level, the branches, and our sales force. Office workers use the T series...from the T20 on up to the T42p. (I'm typing on a T41 right now and will be using a T42 soon). The X series....from the X21 on up to the X40...are used by most of the sales-team....with some T series tossed in there.

    Let me say HANDS DOWN, that IBM has proven their value to us....Period. Occasionally we evaluate Toshiba, Gateway, Dell.....they don't last the mininum 3 year life cycle....

    For public use, I don't always recommend IBM...they're definetly not performance machines....Games? forget it...


    Nuf Said.
    Reply
  • Gholam - Saturday, October 02, 2004 - link

    #17, I'm a technician, and I can say this: HP assembly quality _SUCKS_. Really it does. It looks like they use 10lb hammers and chisels to make the parts fit somehow, and don't give a damn what happens afterwards. Some parts rattle; others are wedged in so tight there is no way to remove them without breaking something, and it's been the case with pretty much every HP laptop that I came across in the last couple years. I'm not a big fan of Dell either, but at least they are better than HP. Reply
  • andyman7 - Friday, October 01, 2004 - link

    why not try testing some laptops besides the big name brands?
    im typing this on a compal cl56
    it is 6lbs, has a 1.7ghz dothan, 512mb ram, 60gb 5400rpm hd, 128mb mobility radeon 9700, 15in sxga+ screen, dvd/cd-rw, and over 4 hours of battery life when using light applications
    and i got it for $1600
    also what about the sager line of laptops?
    most of those are definately DTRs but should definately be looked at

    notebookforums.com has a lot of info on many other oem laptops too
    anyway, the cl56 im using has become REALLY popular so it might be a good idea to try testing one (if you can get a review sample)
    Reply
  • stateofbeasley - Friday, October 01, 2004 - link

    Gholam - HP/Compaq is actually superior to Dell IMO when it comes to business notebooks.

    People sometimes say "brand X sucks," but don't realize that quality and service can vary significantly among a company's many product lines.

    As for Powerbooks - they don't compete with business machines like the nc6000 and D600. It would be more appropriate to compare them with Dell's 8600/D800 line and Compaq's X1000 type (widescreen 15" multimedia platform).
    Reply
  • Gholam - Friday, October 01, 2004 - link

    #15, if there was a Thinkpad in the review, it would've been unfair, as no onther notebook vendor is even remotely close to standing up to IBM in terms of quality and engineering. I rank the top four notebook vendors in the following order: IBM, Toshiba, then Dell, and lastly HP/Compaq. Reply
  • Boardmonger - Friday, October 01, 2004 - link

    Can we say IBM Thinkpad T42p? I would love to see it thrown in the review ;) Reply
  • trikster2 - Thursday, September 30, 2004 - link



    One thing that struck me is how much dell just seems to ignore how important battery life is. My D800 gets about two and a half hours, miserble. My C400 is not much better.

    I'm in the market for a laptop, considering everything including the macs and this review was very helpful.

    just want to say, since my above post could be taken negatively:

    Great review!
    Reply
  • trikster2 - Thursday, September 30, 2004 - link


    Another vote for the macs. For most business laptop use, as these are designed for they are fine subs for their pc brethern.

    I find it amazing that the 17" power book is only 6.9lbs close in weight to these ugly (comparitively) PC bricks.
    Reply

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