The Platform: Inspiron Mini Dissected

The CPU of choice in the Inspiron Mini is Intel's recently announced Atom. I've gone through Atom's architecture before and also looked at its performance, basically what you're looking at is something that's around the speed of a 1.2GHz Pentium M on average. You're not going to be setting any speed records with this thing, but by no means is it slow. It gets the job done.

From left to right (Intel Atom processor, Intel 945G GMCH, Intel ICH)

Clockwise from upper left (8GB MLC SSD, 1GB DDR2-533 DIMM, 802.11b/g wireless adapter, WWAN mini-PCIe slot)

Once again we've got an Atom system without Poulsbo (Atom's ultra power efficient mobile chipset), instead we've got the Intel 945G, which not only increases the required area on the motherboard but also the power consumption of the system. I asked Dell why it opted against Poulsbo and I was told that it was a timing issue - in order to have the Inspiron Mini out today, the design had to be completed using 945G. I'd expect future netbooks to start switching to Poulsbo, but for now we're strictly a 945G shop.

Opening up the Mini is pretty simple, you can gain access to all of the user serviceable components through a door on the bottom of the netbook (two screws are all that separate you from more memory or a bigger SSD). There's a mini PCIe slot for the SSD, one for the WiFi card and a single SO-DIMM slot for your memory.

The integrated mic is located at the front of the unit, you can see it here near the Tripod sticker:

Pricing and Availability Finally Fanless!
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  • Woodchuck2000 - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    ...It's priced at £299...

    Would anyone pay $600 for one of these, and am I alone in feeling ripped-off?
  • bigben - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    I, for one, thought that was brilliant.

    I would give that guy a job...
  • Baked - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    Do a review on that too. Or better yet, get your hands on all the netbooks and do a round up comparison review!
  • Gnyff - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    Nice one. Now we just need to break the cursed trend of glare screens... I like to see what's on the screen - not my self, windows, lights and other reflections. It might add a bit to the fun to be able to see the photographer on a picture like the shown - but that's the first positive thing I've found for "glare" screens :-P

    Anders (Still looking for a 17" 1900*1200 notebook with good anti-reflex coating, seems only Apple and HP are sensible those days. Who would ever have guessed ;-)
  • Sunrise089 - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    Dell has simply created two price points, one for the deal and for everyone else. For example:

    You can price a studio 15 for $699. So add a full-price mini 9 to that and you get $1048.

    With the e-value code and the $99 'promo', you get the exact same studio 15 for $999 and the mini 9 for $99 which is $1098!
  • Pjotr - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    You do not mention Bluetooth anywhere in the article. The Asus 901 has Bluetooth and it's a show stopper for me if it's missing. I need to use Bluetooth to use my unlimited surfing via my 3G mobile phone subscription. Acer One doesn't come with it.
  • piroroadkill - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    Bluetooth is an option on the Inspiron Mini
  • piroroadkill - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    Is bullshit - we get one choice, and it has to be black, comes with XP. Fail, epic fail.
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    However for that single specification, it is a good deal (taking VAT into account) compared with the US price.
  • Jeff7181 - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    How much free disk space is there on the 4 GB version? Just curious how much room there is for additional applications, updates, etc.

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