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The Dell Latitude E6500 is a Champ

The Toshiba Satelite M35X-161 laptop served me well over the last four years. But the Celeron 1.3 GHz CPU has not been keeping up with me lately.  I needed more horse-power.

Enter the Dell Latitude E6500.

Shopping

Aside from performance, my shopping was motivated by price, low price.  This is my primary computer and gets hooked up to a 21 inch monitor. I don’t travel but once a year, so weight is not a factor.

I looked at the typical retailers; Best Buy, Circuit City, Costco, Sony Style, the local computer store, even Apple to get some perspective.

I looked online at ToshibaDirect.com, NewEgg.com, SlickDeals.net, BensBargains.net, CheapStingyBargains.com and others.

In both cases they had a few models from a few brands, take it or leave it.  Many systems had 60% or even 75% of my ideal feature set, but none had 100%.

Best Shopping

I found the Dell Outlet offered the widest range and greatest quantity of optional features and available laptops.  I could quickly sort for the features that appealed to me.  I could make the choices that I wanted.

Shopping for a refurbished computer meant that the prices were very low.

A special Dell Outlet 20% discount on Latitudes I learned of on Twitter ended my shopping days, thankfully.  Follow @DellOutlet on Twitter.

My Twitter Personal Shoppers

I had a lot of help along the way, mostly through my Twitter buddies.  A shout out to most of them follows, including;

@dellservergeek Many Tweet Q and A

@Bruceericatdell Hour long phone call after a few Tweets

@chrislackey Mulitple Phone calls and lots o IM. A good friend.

@lisawood Tweets and IM.

@OnSiteStudios Many, many Tweets

@zestor Many Tweets.

And many more Twitter buds than I can list here offered one or more replies to my hardware and configuration questions.  Thanks to you all. I really appreciate your input.

I know that the folks at Dell will be happy to assist you as well.  You will have to ask the other folks individually because they have jobs that are not at Dell. 😉

Ordering

It just so happened that as my research was culminating I learned that there would be a 20% discount offered on Latitudes at the Dell Outlet in a few days.

I had scoped out the inventory pretty well and printed out my top five choices and made a little feature grid as a kind of crib note.  I didn’t know if there would be a mad rush. I had read somewhere that Dell had sold over a million dollars of computers through Twitter.

On the day of the discount I checked the @DellOutlet account moments after posting the discount code and ordered my laptop.  The code worked too. 😉

I ordered on Monday. It arrived Thursday afternoon. I chose the 5 to 7 day shipping option for $20. It arrived in 3 days.  That’s cool.  Well, they didn’t have to build it did they?  Just ship it.

Features

CPU – My first goal was a faster CPU.  I wasn’t clear on the value / performance curve so I didn’t know if I should look for a 1.8, 2.0 or 2.4Ghz CPU.    I got bits of advice here and there and decided to shoot high.  My laptop has an Intel Dual Core Duo 2.53Ghz CPU. It has two cores, so it’s like a 5.6GHz CPU.

HD – 5400 RPM Hard Drives are pretty standard.  I knew that 7200 is faster but needed to learn if heat or battery usage were relevant issues.  I decided they are not.  My laptop has a 7200 RPM SATA HD.  Disk size was not a concern because the standard (160GB) is well beyond my requirements.

OS – I have a Dell desktop with Vista that my wife and kids use. I use XP day-to-day. I don’t really like Vista, partly because I don’t know it as well.  Lots of people said skip Vista, get XP and that suited me just fine.

Shopping for XP is another story.  Very few stores offer it.  Online you have a better chance.  However, at Dell Outlet, you can search for systems with XP Pro and Vista Business.  I really liked that.  Vista only was a deal breaker.

RAM – Don’t care.  I looked for as little RAM as possible because I planned on buying 4GB from Crucial.

Video – The debate here is interesting. There is no question that embedded video is not superior to a separate video card.  However, learning whether I could tell the difference or had a NEED for a separate video card was well nye impossible.

The shopping was very challenging for this component at the Dell Outlet Store.  You can search for 0, 128, 256 or 512 MB of RAM for your video card.  However, the E6500 offers an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M.  Chris clued me into the fact that this is a separate card, which would be much better than the embedded Intel video that is also offered.  Being 160MB, it does not show up in any of the searches except for when you search for All.  I felt this video offering was very hidden.  Thanks to Chris and @zestor for helping me see the difference.

Wireless – The network packages varied as well. The gang on Twitter got me sorted with the alphabet soup that is wireless networking. B A G N in order of acceptance.  Well, N is not widely accepted just yet.  I chose the card that offers A G N.

DVD/CD – This model offers both 8X and 24X speeds.  You have to know that both are available to get the faster one.

Battery – Again two sizes are offered 6-cell and 9-cell. More cells are better. I got the 9-cell for more battery life.  What I forgot to remember is that the larger battery is a feature. It sticks out the back of the laptop a good inch or so. Not an issue because the power and network cables are right there anyway. It just surprised me.

Power – Again two powers are offered, 65 watt and 90 watt.  The 90 watt will charge faster.  I got the 90W.

Display – There are a few offerings here. I chose the LED display (1440×900) for a better view than I have now.

L2 Cache – This is memory for the CPU to work with.  More is better. The E6500 I chose has lots, 6MB.

FSB – The Front Side Bus, again faster is better. This one has a 1066MHz FSB.

Back-lit keyboard – That just sounded cool. However, I haven’t figured out how to turn it on yet. (Update: I figured it out)

I managed to get a configuration without a fingerprint reader, for which I am grateful.  Above is not an exhaustive feature list, just the ones that I considered.

Here are the full specs right from Dell.

Latitude E6500
(System Identifier: FXEYZ02Z)
  • Latitude E6500 Laptop: Intel Core 2 Duo P9500 (2.53GHz, 6M L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB)
  • Genuine Windows XP Pro with Vista Business License
System Price:$969.00

Operating System
Genuine Windows XP Pro with Vista Business License 


Memory
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz (1 DIMMs)


Hard Disk Drive
160 GB Free Fall Sensor Hard Drive (7200RPM)


Video
NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M


Web Camera
Integrated Webcam with digital microphone


Certified Refurbished
Certified Refurbished


Base
Latitude E6500 Laptop: Intel Core 2 Duo P9500 (2.53GHz, 6M L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB)


Media Bay
8X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write capability


Software Upgrade
NO Intel vPro Secure Advanced Hardware Enabled Systems Management


Network Interface Card
Dell Wireless 1510 802.11a/g/n Draft Mini Card


Hardware Upgrade
9 Cell Battery, Primary
90W AC Adapter
Back-lit Keyboard
No Fingerprint Reader


System Color
Brushed Metal Black


Laptop Screen
15.4 inch WXGA+ LED Laptop Screen

Dell Latitude E6500 Setup and Quick Reference Guide

First Impressions

Arrival in three days was awesome. Glad I didn’t pay for expedited shipping.  Providing an initial delivery date of three weeks. Not so awesome.

In the box is the laptop, a simple Setup and Quick Reference Guide and the following CDs.

  1. Dell drivers
  2. Dell Webcam
  3. Cyberlink DVD
  4. Roxio Creator 9.0 DE
  5. Windows Vista 32BIT SP1
  6. XP Pro SP2

Unpacking, I was impressed by the industrial sized power cord. It is very thick and powerful looking.  The “brick” is flat which will make for easy travel.  I don’t remember paying extra for the blond hair under the transformer strap though.

Power Up and Installation

First thing was to install XP Pro.  That was short and easy having done it plenty of times. I enjoyed the Monks humming along, encouraging me. Thanks for the background music Microsoft.

First thing installed was Firefox.  Now I have to go install a lot of software.

Conclusions

A bit early for those. But both of my kids commented on how ugly it is.  What they don’t know is that it will be 10X faster than my current system.  I don’t care that it is black and square. It is a business laptop and not many people will see mine.

It looks solid and reliable and it will be fast and serve my needs for years to come.  Did I say it will be fast?

What features do you look for in a computer?

Where do you prefer to shop?

UPDATE: 4-9-11

Audio Quality Improved dramatically – When adjusting the sound volume a blue indicator used to pop up, but it doesn’t anymore. I decided to poke around and see if I could recover that function.

I double clicked on the speaker icon in the system tray.  The full volume control popped up with its five sliders, Volume, Wave, SW Synth, CD Player and PC Speaker.

At the bottom left is an Advanced button. I clicked on it.

The tone controls were not available, darkened, but below are the Other Controls.

My settings showed 2 SPDIF Interface selected. They have been that way since I opened the box.

I clicked on 1 PC Spk Mute. WOW, what an amazing full sound suddenly came through my external speakers.  I have two shelf speaker and a sub-woofer. Before the sound was thin, tinny and flat. Now the same music is full of body, depth, much more base and even a bit more volume.  I changed nothing, but this one audio selection.  The sound through external speakers is wonderful on my Latitude E6500 now.  And only now do I realize that the sound was horrible before.

NVidia Quadro NVS 160M does not keep up

Overall, I am very pleased with this laptop. I have only one major problem and that is the video.  I thought that the model number represented the amount of Video memory. If you read my description above, you will see it in the text. I was wrong. It actually has 256MB of RAM.

If I run the AverMedia TV tuner, TweetDeck’s Adobe Air application or even Hulu while running a few other apps it doesn’t take long before the CPU hits 100% and cripples the computer. Powering off becomes the only solution.

Recently I reduced the total number of processes running after boot-up from around 100 to around 50 processes.  The thinking was that reducing the processes would allow the machine to run more smoothly.  This has helped, but I can still send the CPU to 100% at will using AverMedia, Adobe Air and a few other applications like QuickBooks and Firefox.

I also installed FlashBlock on Firefox. This seems to have helped reduce resource usage. Clicking on Flash to run it has not been a problem.

Through all of the research and testing I have done, I have come to really hate searchindexer.exe. Unfortunately I really need it for the many Outlook searches I do daily. It does not throttle well and if I am watching video when it is running the CPU will go to 100% nearly. Closing Outlook often tames the searchindexer.exe and I can once again use my computer.

It is for this reason and this reason only that I am starting to shop for another computer.  If I could “fix the video” I would be quite happy to continue using this laptop, well except that I might prefer Windows 7 over Windows XP, but that is not the laptop.

I did try to update the video driver. My recollection is that this did not go well for some reason. There is a slight chance that revisiting the driver update might help. I seem to remember some difference between using a driver from Dell and one from NVidia in terms of the success of the update.

I did ask one Dell representative about the video. He thought it might be upgradable, but later confirmed that it is not. Otherwise the laptop suits me perfectly.

Second Audio Update

I just ran through the Dell Client System Update. This updated a range of hardware drivers, Dell application software, firmware updates and BIOS updates. Now the sound continues to be awesome and those settings have no effect whatsoever.

18 thoughts on “The Dell Latitude E6500 is a Champ”

  1. Hi Jim – I recently bought a new laptop and didn’t do nearly the research you did. In fact, I didn’t do any research at all. I loved my old laptop (a Thinkpad x61T) so I looked on Craigslist and found someone selling brand-new, sealed-box machines. I knew the model he was selling didn’t have enough RAM, so like you I ordered an extra 2GB from Crucial via Amazon.com (it should be here tomorrow).

    Someone told me this is evidence I’m getting old and crotchety (I need to have the same thing as before), but I think it’s just a matter of size, weight and functionality. I learned a few laptops ago that for a business traveler the only thing that really matters is weight. And this machine is small enough that once I wedge myself into a coach seat I can still pop this open and do some work. And the tablet is nice to catch up on my Google Reader feeds late night in bed.

    Good luck with the new machine. I’m sure it’s a lot nicer than your kids are letting on.

    Jim | @jstorerj

  2. Jim, I was intending to buy a 14 inch with airline and conference seats in mind. But the sweet spot is 15 inch and I don’t travel and attend that much.

    I did have to shoo my son away as he was inspecting a few hours later.

    Bruce Eric, thanks for your guidance. Lot’s of value through Twitter in this experience.

  3. I’ve got one and it’s so far so good.
    To get the keyboard lights on go to the control point (sys tray) open it up and go to keyboard backlight and have at it.

  4. Let me amend that a little
    go to the dell control point and open it. Then open display and devices. Then manage display +devices, then have at it.
    How long a warranty did you get?
    You paid like 500 less then me. Wow I got a lot of clicking to do to make up for that.

  5. @Clay Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it. I also found the screen brightness adjustment using the Fn key and arrows to work quite well and are very accessible. I turned off the auto-adjust.

    I also love how the volume buttons are well located and positioned. Much better than the volume dial on the side that I have before.

    Shopping the Dell Outlet and using a 20% off coupon has its advantages. 😉 Keep typing.

  6. Nice review.
    I’ve got this laptop and it’s very nice, I love it! Although I got it through work, so I didn’t spend any money on it.
    The backlight can be controlled using the ‘fn’ key and the arrow key’s, you will see there are symbols on the arrow keys and you press them a few times and you will have a backlit keyboard! There is no reason to get into the software to control this.

  7. Jim, you made me smile, then do an almost immediate double-take. You see, I’ve been perusing the Dell Outlet site all day as well looking for the best bang for the buck. Your inscrutable logic in getting what you wanted really paid off handsomely, and that’s awesome. I went through almost the exact same mental process and steps.

    What really helped me out was keeping in mind that I can easily go to Newegg and pick up 4GB of RAM for $35, or a 320GB 7200rpm drive for $70, etc. Just to further make it easier for me to buy something from the Dell Outlet that wasn’t *perfect* but COULD be *perfect* with a few additional nickels and dimes, I came up with the following checklist:

    1.) Gotta have the WXGA+ LED screen. They’re super-sharp, lower battery consumption, brighter, better color reproduction, etc. The WUXGA 1920×1200 is absolutely idiotic to pay extra for because it is CCFL (not LED), and it is crazy tiny in font size. The standard WXGA is a bit too coarse, though it is LED, whereas the WXGA+ hits the perfect sweet spot of 1440×900. Bingo.

    2.) Gotta get me some of that webcam with the automatic facial recognition login/logoff. I video desktop-conference a lot, and having a built-in webcam and microphone inside the bezel is something I cannot do on my own.

    3.) Gotta love me some of that backlit keyboard. I am often in bed with my wife and do some research or writing, coding, whatever and have to have the overhead light on to see what I am doing usually, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering mate. Anyhow, the backlit keyboard can actually be purchased and installed yourself after you get the laptop, but it is quite the hassle and will also invalidate the warranty since it is a fairly invasive upgrade.

    4.) As far as the GPU (onboard graphics processing), it mattered not because I win either way. If it comes with the integrated graphics from Intel, that means better battery performance and I am not a gamer anyhow. If it comes with the nVidia discrete/dedicated graphics card with the 256MB option, then I can watch movies and do some more intense graphics without any worries even if it does eat up a bit more battery. One of the only compelling reason in my mind to go with the Lenovo T500 over the Dell E6500 is that it comes with both integrate and discrete graphics which tyou can switch back and forth as per your immediate need. Seems like a great idea from the power savings angle, but then again it is more moving parts to have go wrong.

    5.) The worst processor speed they have is the 2.4Ghz, and it goes all the way up to 2.9Ghz. In all practicality, this is the one area that the average consumer can really rack up the savings by using some self-control. You will not see any appreciable performance increase in daily tasks like web surfing, spreadsheets, or even multi-tasking by bumping it up above the lowest speed they offer, at 2.4Ghz. One would pay several hundred dollars more for a processor that will give them perhaps 10% better performance, and that comes at the expense of more heat and faster battery depletion due to the higher speed. It makes no sense. The economic sweet spot is 2.4Ghz. Anything else is throwing money out the window for an imperceptible difference in overall performance, but quite a perceptible difference in resource consumption.

    6.) The 9-cell battery is definitely preferable. I will caveat this by saying that there are many e-tailers out there who will sell you OEM or non-OEM 9-cell batteries, or even the extended power slices that provide an additional 10 hours, for about HALF the cost of what you would be paying through Dell. So even if the Dell Outlet system has only a 6-cell battery, no worries. You’re only a hundred bucks away from buying a 9-cell as a second or even primary battery. However, it does seem that at least half of the business laptops on the Dell Outlet site already have the 9-cell battery along with the nicer 90W power supply.

    7.) The following are “nice to haves”: Wi-Fi card capable of N or WiMax, DVD burner as opposed to a burner, and an internal Bluetooth card. You can buy a really nice A/B/G/N wireless networking mini-card from eBay for $22, and you can buy a half card for Bluetooth for less than $20. The optical drives are also quite inexpensive, depending on if you need just a reader, burner, or dual-layer DVD burner. A new one you can pop in yourself will set you back about $40 up to $90 for a dual-layer burner.

    Well, I am glad I was patient. I got the exact configuration I wanted, and then some:

    – Latitude E6500 Laptop: Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 3M L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB)
    – 256MB NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M
    – Back-lit Keyboard
    – 24X CD RW/DVD Combo Drive
    – 9 Cell Primary Battery + 90W AC Adapter
    – 4 GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz (2 DIMMs)
    – Integrated Webcam with digital microphone
    – Intel WiFi Link 5300 802.11a/g/n Draft Mini Card
    – 250 GB Free Fall Sensor Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
    – 15.4 inch WXGA+ LED Laptop Screen
    – Genuine Windows XP Pro
    – Vista Business License w/ free Windows 7 upgrade in October

    Dell Outlet Price: $849
    Coupon Code: Subtract $127
    Shipping: FREE
    Bottom line: $722, delivered by 6-Aug-09

    Just to feel extra smug, I ran the price configurator on their retail small business site, and the exact same configuration came to a whopping $1,685 before discounts, which brought it down to around $1,450. That’s almost exactly TWICE what I just paid this evening. Yay Dell Outlet!! Yay coupon codes!! Yay patience and research!!

    Some final thoughts:
    – Get an InvisibleShield to protect the gorgeous yet easily scrateched magnesium-alloy casing. Go to http://www.zagg.com/hotgadgets/index.php and fill out the form, and it’s $40 WELL SPENT. I have used their products for years, and it’s as tough as nails. Plus you have a lifetime guarantee that if it does not apply correctly or peels off or gets damaged, they will send you one out to your house FREE right away. I’ve taken them up on this for my LG EnV Touch smart phone a couple of times. My phone looks brand-new even after several months of abuse. Zagg makes a great product, and they custom-cut it to match your device precisely. For an ultra-high-end laptop like the ones we just bought, it’s excellent peace of mind.
    – Call up Dell customer service and inquire Windows 7 upgrade, their return policy for refurb stuff, and making sure that the 3-yr warranty that comes with refurb laptops is valid. I also think it is a smart idea to go ahead and tack on the $149 accidental damage insurance that will cover mishaps during that 3-yr period, because as that Progressive Insurance commercial says, life comes at you fast.

    Congratulations again on your bargain of a purchase.

  8. Jim, you made me smile, then do an almost immediate double-take. You see, I’ve been perusing the Dell Outlet site all day as well looking for the best bang for the buck. Your inscrutable logic in getting what you wanted really paid off handsomely, and that’s awesome. I went through almost the exact same mental process and steps.

    What really helped me out was keeping in mind that I can easily go to Newegg and pick up 4GB of RAM for $35, or a 320GB 7200rpm drive for $70, etc. Just to further make it easier for me to buy something from the Dell Outlet that wasn’t *perfect* but COULD be *perfect* with a few additional nickels and dimes, I came up with the following checklist:

    1.) Gotta have the WXGA+ LED screen. They’re super-sharp, lower battery consumption, brighter, better color reproduction, etc. The WUXGA 1920×1200 is absolutely idiotic to pay extra for because it is CCFL (not LED), and it is crazy tiny in font size. The standard WXGA is a bit too coarse, though it is LED, whereas the WXGA+ hits the perfect sweet spot of 1440×900. Bingo.

    2.) Gotta get me some of that webcam with the automatic facial recognition login/logoff. I video desktop-conference a lot, and having a built-in webcam and microphone inside the bezel is something I cannot do on my own.

    3.) Gotta love me some of that backlit keyboard. I am often in bed with my wife and do some research or writing, coding, whatever and have to have the overhead light on to see what I am doing usually, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering mate. Anyhow, the backlit keyboard can actually be purchased and installed yourself after you get the laptop, but it is quite the hassle and will also invalidate the warranty since it is a fairly invasive upgrade.

    4.) As far as the GPU (onboard graphics processing), it mattered not because I win either way. If it comes with the integrated graphics from Intel, that means better battery performance and I am not a gamer anyhow. If it comes with the nVidia discrete/dedicated graphics card with the 256MB option, then I can watch movies and do some more intense graphics without any worries even if it does eat up a bit more battery. One of the only compelling reason in my mind to go with the Lenovo T500 over the Dell E6500 is that it comes with both integrate and discrete graphics which tyou can switch back and forth as per your immediate need. Seems like a great idea from the power savings angle, but then again it is more moving parts to have go wrong.

    5.) The worst processor speed they have is the 2.4Ghz, and it goes all the way up to 2.9Ghz. In all practicality, this is the one area that the average consumer can really rack up the savings by using some self-control. You will not see any appreciable performance increase in daily tasks like web surfing, spreadsheets, or even multi-tasking by bumping it up above the lowest speed they offer, at 2.4Ghz. One would pay several hundred dollars more for a processor that will give them perhaps 10% better performance, and that comes at the expense of more heat and faster battery depletion due to the higher speed. It makes no sense. The economic sweet spot is 2.4Ghz. Anything else is throwing money out the window for an imperceptible difference in overall performance, but quite a perceptible difference in resource consumption.

    6.) The 9-cell battery is definitely preferable. I will caveat this by saying that there are many e-tailers out there who will sell you OEM or non-OEM 9-cell batteries, or even the extended power slices that provide an additional 10 hours, for about HALF the cost of what you would be paying through Dell. So even if the Dell Outlet system has only a 6-cell battery, no worries. You’re only a hundred bucks away from buying a 9-cell as a second or even primary battery. However, it does seem that at least half of the business laptops on the Dell Outlet site already have the 9-cell battery along with the nicer 90W power supply.

    7.) The following are “nice to haves”: Wi-Fi card capable of N or WiMax, DVD burner as opposed to a burner, and an internal Bluetooth card. You can buy a really nice A/B/G/N wireless networking mini-card from eBay for $22, and you can buy a half card for Bluetooth for less than $20. The optical drives are also quite inexpensive, depending on if you need just a reader, burner, or dual-layer DVD burner. A new one you can pop in yourself will set you back about $40 up to $90 for a dual-layer burner.

    Well, I am glad I was patient. I got the exact configuration I wanted, and then some:

    – Latitude E6500 Laptop: Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 3M L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB)
    – 256MB NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M
    – Back-lit Keyboard
    – 24X CD RW/DVD Combo Drive
    – 9 Cell Primary Battery + 90W AC Adapter
    – 4 GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz (2 DIMMs)
    – Integrated Webcam with digital microphone
    – Intel WiFi Link 5300 802.11a/g/n Draft Mini Card
    – 250 GB Free Fall Sensor Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
    – 15.4 inch WXGA+ LED Laptop Screen
    – Genuine Windows XP Pro
    – Vista Business License w/ free Windows 7 upgrade in October

    Dell Outlet Price: $849
    Coupon Code: Subtract $127
    Shipping: FREE
    Bottom line: $722, delivered by 6-Aug-09

    Just to feel extra smug, I ran the price configurator on their retail small business site, and the exact same configuration came to a whopping $1,685 before discounts, which brought it down to around $1,450. That’s almost exactly TWICE what I just paid this evening. Yay Dell Outlet!! Yay coupon codes!! Yay patience and research!!

    Some final thoughts:
    – Get an InvisibleShield to protect the gorgeous yet easily scrateched magnesium-alloy casing. Go to http://www.zagg.com/hotgadgets/index.php and fill out the form, and it’s $40 WELL SPENT. I have used their products for years, and it’s as tough as nails. Plus you have a lifetime guarantee that if it does not apply correctly or peels off or gets damaged, they will send you one out to your house FREE right away. I’ve taken them up on this for my LG EnV Touch smart phone a couple of times. My phone looks brand-new even after several months of abuse. Zagg makes a great product, and they custom-cut it to match your device precisely. For an ultra-high-end laptop like the ones we just bought, it’s excellent peace of mind.
    – Call up Dell customer service and inquire Windows 7 upgrade, their return policy for refurb stuff, and making sure that the 3-yr warranty that comes with refurb laptops is valid. I also think it is a smart idea to go ahead and tack on the $149 accidental damage insurance that will cover mishaps during that 3-yr period, because as that Progressive Insurance commercial says, life comes at you fast.

    Congratulations again on your bargain of a purchase.

  9. This is my 3rd computer from DELL and they have been unable to make the DVD burner burn a DVD. They also refuse to refund as I let the 30 day window pass while working with them to let them: uninstall and reinstall soft and drivers, flash the Bios, wipe the drive and reinstall the operating system, and replace the optical drive. On the two prior laptops (not E6500s) they did all of the above repeatedly and changed out the hard drive. In exasperation I have been scouring the web trying to find someone who has solved the problem. I see lots of people that have DELLs that will not recognize a DVD the way mine won’t but I can’t seem to find a solution. I have lost 100s of hours in work time. I finally admitted that DELL just can not make their machine burn a DVD. Since I bought the original DELL laptop to burn DVDs and be able to do seminars I now plan to buy a machine from another comapny and have crossed DELL off my list of suppliers.

  10. This is my 3rd computer from DELL and they have been unable to make the DVD burner burn a DVD. They also refuse to refund as I let the 30 day window pass while working with them to let them: uninstall and reinstall soft and drivers, flash the Bios, wipe the drive and reinstall the operating system, and replace the optical drive. On the two prior laptops (not E6500s) they did all of the above repeatedly and changed out the hard drive. In exasperation I have been scouring the web trying to find someone who has solved the problem. I see lots of people that have DELLs that will not recognize a DVD the way mine won’t but I can’t seem to find a solution. I have lost 100s of hours in work time. I finally admitted that DELL just can not make their machine burn a DVD. Since I bought the original DELL laptop to burn DVDs and be able to do seminars I now plan to buy a machine from another comapny and have crossed DELL off my list of suppliers.

  11. Great piece, Jim.

    CarterBarns.

    Sorry to hear about your experience with the E6500(?). I’d like to help out. If you’re on Twitter, follow BillatDell and DM me your service tag and email addy. If you are not on Twitter, Jim should be able to give you my email address. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll make sure we fix you up proper.

  12. Great piece, Jim.

    CarterBarns.

    Sorry to hear about your experience with the E6500(?). I’d like to help out. If you’re on Twitter, follow BillatDell and DM me your service tag and email addy. If you are not on Twitter, Jim should be able to give you my email address. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll make sure we fix you up proper.

  13. Little Note for Carterbarns Re DVD burning,

    I got my new Dell E6500 for work with XP Pro, and experienced the same issue, After having the DVD drive replaced by dell,(after a firmware update failed and rendered the DVD drive US), i was still not able to burn DVD’s, However our local smart in house Tech thought that the issue i was having was similar to one they had with other dell laptops (we have thousands of them in the company) He Gave me a dell driver update number R213316 which is for the Intel raid sata controller. After installation and reboot, I am now able to burn Cd’s and DVD without issue. Hope this Helps,8months after your post.

  14. Hi, I find this blog because I am checking online for new DELL high-performance laptop. I have a Inspiron laptop bought it in UK and have enjoyed it a lot. However, the video stopped functioning recently but it didn’t fail immediately, it failed gradually. My laptop was working fine for the first 14 months. One day I turned it on and the screen had some odd characters all over. I restarted the laptop immediately and after that the video worked fine for a few days. Finally, today my laptop video failed thoroughly even though the Dell Inspiron e1505 battery still works great after 14-month usage. The bad thing is the laptop just isn’t covered by the warranty anymore. I am thinking about finding a new high performance laptop. You made some great points & I am so delighted I found your help here. I’m sure I’ll visit here again soon.

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