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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Benchmark comparisons - Dell Inspiron 1520

I will be using this post to compare the benchmarking results of my notebook with those of similar models.

(Updating as and when i get my results & comparable results)

HDTune - A 7200rpm drive beats a 5400rpm drive by a huge margin.
A Samsung 160 GB 5400 rpm drive

The Seagate 160GB 7200 rpm drive has almost 1.5-2 times the transfer rates and burst rates. And access time is less by 25%.

A faster HDD helps reduce the load times for applications and games and also helps to get video encoding jobs done faster. Though the difference is simple usage will be hardly noticeable, you feel the difference while moving from one section of a map to another in a game.

Super Pi - I have a score of 1min 2sec without any overclocking. I haven't found any review with the super pi score for the Asus G1S.

Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300) 0m 59s
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300) 0m 58s
Asus G1 (Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz) 1m 02s
Acer Aspire 5920G (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300) 0m 58s
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500) 0m 54s

Mine is a couple of seconds on the slow side, there were too many background processes running, most of which i had never heard of, so i didn't turn them off. Also i had this review open in Word, was also open & wifi was on, since these were all in idle state i thought they won't affect the test. I will have to retry again by shutting down as many applications/processes as possible.

Review - Dell Inspiron 1520

Finally, the review of my new Dell Inspiron 1520 notebook. The review template is the one from and some sections are still to be complete. It should be done by the weekend.

1.Overview and Introduction: The Inspiron 1520 from Dell which is a 15” supposedly budget laptop depending on how you configure the specs. The main specs of what I got are –

Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo CPU T7300 @ 2.00GHz (L1 32KB, L2 4MB)
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 256MB DDR2
1x2GB + 1x1GB 667 MHz RAM
Motherboard - Dell 0UW306 (PCI, AGP, PCI Express)
Battery - 6 Cell 53Whr LI DELL TM9787
Windows Vista (TM) Home Premium
160BG HDD 7200 rpm Seagate
Intel(R) Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN
15.4” widescreen WXGA+ 1440x900 TrueLife
3 year Complete Cover

2.Reasons for Buying: Foremost I needed a laptop. A 15” or a 14” one, since 17” would have been too huge to carry around and anything less than 14” is hardly suitable for gaming. Since I needed the laptop for gaming primarily, wanted the best available GPU & Dx 10 too; settled for the nVidia 8600M GT. CPU, just wanted one of the new Santa Rosa ones, and the T7300 over the T7100 since it had the 4MB cache. Since no 14” comes with 8600M GT my choices were limited to 15” models.

The other notebook models I looked at were the Asus G1S & the Acer 5920 Gemstone. The Aussie G1S model was 30% costlier than the US version and even after that huge markup sticker came with a 4200 rpm drive. It was almost AUD 500 costlier than the Dell 1520. The Acer one was AUD 300 cheaper but with a less impressive config and I tried a 4920 on display at (maybe) the OfficeWorks store, the keyboard had quite a bit of flex and the build quality wasn’t really up to the mark. Since 5920 has the exact same design as the 4920 and general opinion in forums about Acer’s quality & support was not good, I was not very eager to even seriously consider the 5920.

If the Aussie G1S had been better priced and came with atleast a 5400 rpm drive I would have settled for that since it comes with a DDR3 GPU whereas the Dell & Acer only have DDR2 GPU.

3.Where and How Purchased: Purchased directly online from Dell Australia for AUD 2495. Had been watching the Dell site for 2 weeks and hit dirt when the offers I wanted came up. Otherwise stuffing in an extra GB RAM & 7200rpm drive would have been difficult on a budget of $2500, considering that comparable G1S & 5920 come with only 2GB RAM & at the most the 5400rpm drive on overseas models.

4.Build & Design: In next installment

5.Screen & Graphics: 15.4” widescreen WXGA+ 1440x900 TrueLife. The screen is quite bright on 100%. The different power plans allow you to adjust the brightness levels while running on Mains or Battery. I found the display rather dull on less than 90% brightness and am just running in on 100%. No dead pixels yet. There are no light leaks & no uneven backlighting.

The viewing angle on the sides goes up to 60-70 degrees before the colours start fading. While viewing the screen from an elevation of 50 degrees or more the display starts fading.

The only 2 latest games that I have played on this notebook till now are “CodeMaster’s DTM Race Driver 3” & “SiN Episode 1: Emergence”. While playing on 1440x900 Race Driver is just ok enough, but SiN looks marvelous. Both of them, on the highest settings play out between 40-50 fps usually, just dropping once in a while to 25 something fps when under some real stress.

I tried the Dx 10 demo for Lost Planet and there is a performance test mode in the game and the notebook scored an average of 25 fps. But the game was so terrible and with no visible options to play with a keyboard, I didn’t even bother playing.

Am looking forward to getting GRAW2/RainbowSix:Vegas/Crysis to really push the system to its limits. More on the graphics later.

6.Speakers: The speakers are located on both sides in the front. They are quite loud and the sounds are still crisp on high volume. I don’t think a pair of external speakers is required unless you are an audiophile. And headphones are really required only if you don’t want to disturb anybody nearby.

You can really enjoy a movie or a game on this display & speakers.

7.Processor and performance. The Santa Rosa processor helps to enhance the battery life. Performance wise the system is very responsive & with the 3 GB RAM, all programs load up quite fast and time taken for level loading in games is hugely reduced compared to by last desktop (a 2.4 GHz P4 with 768 MB RAM).

Other than NFS MW’s extensive countryside (on the highest settings) causing the framerates to fall below 20 fps while going at top speed, no other performance problems so far. Even in idle state with Word `07, Firefox 2, IE 7, Media Player 11 open, Avast scanning in the background and wifi on, the memory consumption is at 35% or a little more than 1GB. So atleast a 2GB system is necessary to run Vista on Aero smoothly. Resource Monitor at idle state as above -

8. Benchmarks:

Super Pi - calculate Pi to 2 million digits of accuracy; make sure there are minimal processes running in the background. 2M completed in 1min 1.8secs

PCMark05 - In next installment

3DMark05 - In next installment

3DMark06 - In next installment

HD Tune - Run the test pattern for temp and high and low throughput speeds.

9. Heat and Noise: In next installment

10. Keyboard and Touchpad – Both are quite easy to use, but I never did like notebook keyboards and so got a Logitech Ultra Flat Keyboard & a Razer Diamondback Gaming Mouse. I hardly use the notebook keyboard unless am not at my desk and it’s not possible to connect the Logitech keyboard.

For this review I decided to use the laptop keyboard and this is the first time I used a laptop keyboard for such a long time. It’s comfortable and there is no flex. The keyboard and palm rests don’t get hot at all, not even lukewarm.

The media buttons on the front can control any media player. While a media player is in focus, the volume control buttons control the volume in the player. If no media player is in focus, the volume control buttons control the system volume. Even when Windows Media Player is not in focus, the Play/Pause, FWD/RWD & Stop buttons control it; else if another media player is in focus, it gets the control. The media controls works with the lid closed. The Mute button unfortunately doesn’t work on Windows Media Player when it is in focus; it mutes the system volume as a whole. It works well on other media players.

11. Input and output ports: In next installment

12. Wireless and Networking:

Intel(R) Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN – Well the N portion hasn’t been tested yet since there aren’t any Wireless N routers around. But the Dell WiFi Catcher is fabulous at catching weak signals and I am able to enjoy free WiFi courtesy Azure and maybe the Gloria Beans coffeehouse located in the ground floor of my apartment building. I receive quite a number of open WiFi networks at different times of the day and most of them don’t show up on my flatmate’s Toshiba notebook, so the WiFi Catcher is a nice addition.

Additionally there is a “Dell Truemobile 355 Bluetooth + EDR” module & for wired LAN a “Broadcom 440x 10/100 Integrated Controller”. There is an IR port just below the media keys, in the front of the notebook. I also got the Dell IR Travel Remote, which fits into the ExpressCard slot.

13. Battery: The battery is a 6-cell one and with the processor & display at highest settings, I was able to watch 2 episodes of Kill Point (1.5 hrs) then a couple of music videos (10-15min), keep the system idle for some time (10 min) , start a photo slideshow for another 15 min before even reaching 85% battery level. Then I just got bored and stopped. Still, the battery lasted more than 2hrs.

Next I will be trying games on the battery and also usage on reduced performance settings.

14. Operating System and Software: In next installment

15. Customer Support: In next installment

16. Conclusion: In next installment

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dell Inspiron 1520 review - coming soon

I ordered myself one of the new Dell Inspiron 1520s 2 weeks back and now i feel am obliged to make my visitors sit through its review :D

I got it on 20th, Monday and the burden of project work and unavailability of pirated games in Melbourne has made the task of writing a review a really tough one. It came with Vista Home Premium and this would be the first time am using Vista after trying out a Longhorn build for quite some time in the mid of 2004. So far no problems with Vista other than a couple of my old pirated pc games from 2005 crashing a lot, so i don't plan to rant about Vista/XP. Though i do intent to load XP asap on another drive to compare gaming performance, but that's all to do with XP, time to move on.

The review will be out soon, might be too since the laptop is blazing fast with 3GB RAM. My previous desktop just had 768MB RAM... and i really notice the difference while loading levels in games and moving from one section of a huge map to another.

Config -
2 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4MB cache
nVidia 8600M GT (256 MB DDR2)
Wireless N
160GB 7200 rpm HDD
Razer Diamondback gaming mouse

edit : oh... forgot to mention. couple of unsecured wireless routers near the apartment, so sipping away on free internet too :p

Friday, July 27, 2007

How to download pretty much everything from the Internet, except the Internet itself

Whenever I check the traffic statistics of this blog, more than half the traffic is coming from web searches about saving qtch/mov/quicktime files from a web page and people end up on the page How to save QuickTime streaming media onto your hard disk which is almost 2.5 years old now, though the post contents were ok for those times, the world has moved on. In the meanwhile Firefox has taken over the browser market and Linux is the desktop of choice…wait that is supposed to happen pretty much every year, but never does!

But Firefox has really gained strength and I run it all the time (ya, that makes it good for you too and solves all of humanity’s problems; now all we need is enough bandwidth to download the entire Internet). IE7 is good and I use that too sometimes for some sites but it lacks all the goody extensions. So here we are, the main theme of this post, two awesome Firefox extensions that help you save almost any media on a web page.

What do they do? What do you think?

Download Embedded – “Downloads all or selected embedded objects on a webpage. Can be used for downloading movies, mp3s, flash, quicktime, or other embedded files (although this does NOT work on video embedded in flash [ youtube,, etc....”

What Download Embedded lacks VideoDownloader makes up for it ;)

VideoDownloader - “Download videos from Youtube, Google, Metacafe, iFilm, Dailymotion, ... and other 60+ video sites ! And all embedded objects on a webpage (movies, mp3s, flash, quicktime, etc) ! Directly ...”

So forget what I wrote 2 years back, download ahead with the times. So how do you start?

Step 1. Get Firefox
Step 2. Get there 2 extensions/add-ons for Firefox from here.
Download Embedded (Download Embedded from Firefox extensions site)
VideoDownloader (VideoDownloader from Firefox extensions site)
Step 3. Enjoy the freedom to download stuff from web pages.

BTW, its difficult to get some content like streaming audio/video straight forward. For these try some stream rippers

Thursday, April 26, 2007

testing 1 2 3

came across a really ingenious site that offers downloads only if you link to them. hence this -> MSG for PC

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum

Crazy line to start a song with but Hilary really pulls it off with her new album "Dignity"

Now you may wonder why did i chose this particular song which is supposedly about stalkers :) to start this post. Well its just happened that yesterday when on the way home i was staring at the girl sitting opposite to me on the tram. After a couple of minutes i finally noticed that she was listening to something on her music player and i decided to do the same. So i whipped out my clix and pressed the shuffle and voila i was listening to "Dreamer" for the first time.

" Then hang around and stare at me and complicate mine
Your eyes must burn so bad cause you haven't blinked
You and me will never be
If that's what you think "

It was so funny, the entire song was so appropriate for the situation that i felt as if the girl i was staring at was actually doing the singing. I had trouble controlling my laughter and i just kept on smiling till the end of the song.

Now returning back to Hilary Duff, the new album "Dignity" is doing quite well and is to be released this week. One sign of the popularity and expectations with this album is the rate at which bootleg copies hosted on the net have been popping up & been taken down pretty soon. So if you are interested ;) get yourself a crash course in stenography and get cracking on this picture. Don't worry its a very basic puzzle. But hurry, if you are too late the goodies might be long gone.

Now my favorite songs from the album are -
"With Love"
"Never Stop"
"Between You & Me"
"Dreamer" - of course
"I Wish"
"Play With Fire"

I really like 9 out of the 14 songs in the album. Wow that's a really good ratio, now i would be really surprised if this album doesn't do good and Hollywood Records doesn't make a truckload of money on this.

So did you crack the album cover above and get the links yet ;)?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The 2007 Melbourne International Motor Show

I went to the 2007 Melbourne International Motor Show on Monday 12th march, the last day of the show in the evening and the show was over by 6, so i just got to spent some 1.5-2 hours there. Anyway the show wasn't really huge and concept cars were almost negligible. I did point my camera at anything hot either with 4 wheels or 2 legs and tried my best to get some decent shots.

Cars - Very few good ones (Gallery yet to be uploaded. Will do soon)

Booth Babes - Either the booth babes in Australia are not enthusiastic as their American & European counterparts or since it was the last day of the show, most were hardly interested in getting shot. Gallery (nothing much :( when compared to the booth babes at CeBIT 2007!)