Cheap laptop options are getting better and better. Not only are AMD's Fusion chips giving Atom netbooks a run for your money, but now laptops with Intel's new 2nd Generation Core chips are entering budget territory.
Dell today announced a refreshed version of its Inspiron 15R laptop with the new Intel chip (codenamed Sandy Bridge) on board. The laptop starts at $699 for the Core i3 version with prices increasing to $799 for Core i5, moving up to $1,199 for Core i7.
Considering that you can pay in excess of $600 for an AMD Fusion laptop (admittedly, the classy Sony Vaio YB), this makes Sandy Bridge a major rival for the budget laptop dollar. Mind you, as long as you're not concerned about weight - Dell's new Inspiron weighs 2.65Kg.
On the netbook front, prices have fallen well below the $500 mark. For a few hundred dollars more, you can have a completely different league of performance with 2nd generation Core.
So what do you get for $699? Dell's Inspiron 15R is the refreshed version of the Inspiron 15. The new lineup looks like this:
- The $699 base model includes Core i3 2310M, 500GB 7200RPM, and integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics.
- Step up to $799 for Core i5 2410M, 500GB 7200RPM, integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics.
- The $899 configuration has Core i5 2410M, 640GB 7200RPM, Nvidia Geforce GT 525M 1GB
- The $999 configuration has Core i7 2630QM, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200RPM, Nvidia Geforce GT 525M 1GB
- The $1,99 configuration has Core i7 2630QM, 6GB RAM, 640GB 5400RPM, Nvidia Geforce GT 525M 1GB
The Inspiron 17R does not yet have Intel 2nd generation Core on board at time of writing.
Budget Sandy Bridge: Dell's Inspiron 15R
The Inspiron isn't the first Sandy Bridge laptop from Dell. There are also XPS 15 and 17 models, with the 15in models starting at $1,199 with Core i5 and Nvidia Geforce GT 525M 1GB.
If you go to the Dell site, the first thing you'll probably notice is the fancy interchangeable lids. The earlier version of this laptop allowed you to choose from fancy graphical designs. The new 15R lets you swap lids.
The Inspiron 15R joins a number of other Sandy Bridge laptops already on the market, including MSI's CR640 for around the $800 mark. Sony has also recently launched Vaio C Series starting at $1,399 and S Series starting at $1,499.
With old pre-Sandy Bridge stock still being sold, be careful that you're actually getting a good deal. We even spotted a Pentium machine advertised for around the $600 mark. At the time of writing JB Hi-Fi has a "red hot" deal advertised on its web site for a Dell Inspiron 15 with Pentium Dual Core for $598. We'd feel sorry for the person that puts money down for that machine.