Dell Unveils Powerful Laptop for Gamers

Dell added a playful side to its laptop line Thursday, launching its first notebook computer aimed exclusively at gaming enthusiasts.

Priced starting from $2849, the Inspiron XPS system will provide processing power, graphics, and sound that gamers crave, Dell says in a statement. It is available from Dell's Web site.

The notebook comes with an Intel Pentium 4 or Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor running at 3.4 GHz and ATI Technologies' Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics card with 128MB of memory. It also features a six-speaker system with a subwoofer, a 15.4-inch UXGA screen and a DVI port, the company says in a statement.

Customers will be able to buy updated graphics cards as they become available, and a Dell technician will be sent to install the new card on-site, meaning users won't need to mail off their notebooks to Dell, the company says. Gamers demand the latest in technology, so the upgrade option ensures that the systems don't become obsolete when a better graphics card is available, says Ketan Pandya, marketing manager with Dell.

Colorful Cases

To spice things up a bit, Dell is offering a QuickSnap kit that lets customers personalize the laptop with three snap-on covers in Cipher (green and purple), Skullz (black-and-white skull and bones), and Plasma (red and black) colors, the company says. The laptop also ships with an XPS backpack.

The laptop includes a 60GB or 80GB hard drive, 512MB to 2GB of DDR RAM running at 400 MHz, a DVD-RW drive, four USB 2.0 ports, and an IEEE 1394 port. It has an S-Video out port, one PC Card slot, and runs on a lithium-ion battery.

It also comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port and a 56 kbps modem. Users have the option to add 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, the company says. Customers can also buy a second hard drive or a floppy drive.

The system weighs about nine pounds without the AC adapter, and can run for one to one-and-a-half hours on a single charge, says Pandya. The battery life is dragged down in part by the power consumed by the three fans in the laptop, he says.

Get in the Game

The system will ship with Windows XP, and games will be available through Dell's XPS Web site, he says. The company is working with games manufacturers to bundle games into future XPS laptops, he says.

Dell isn't the first to offer a specialized gaming laptop. The Inspiron XPS will compete with systems from Alienware, Hypersonic PC Systems, and VoodooPC, which are also trying to lure gamers with high-performing processors and graphics cards.

Laptops are a fast-growing part of Dell's business. The company said earlier Thursday that shipments of its Latitude and Inspiron notebooks increased 40 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003 compared to the same period a year earlier.

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