Comments on my proposed DELL Precision M90 purchase please - before I spend any money!

I'm a Dell fan so It's no surprise I intend to buy a Dell. I have 'built' the following online and invite comment. I looked for the
graphics card on the SW compatability list but couldn't see it. I'm also a little confused about the Duo processor. I picked it from the vailable options because it was not the slowest but not the most expebnsive.
Anyone already using an M90?
PROCESSOR    Intel® Core™2 Duo T5600 (1.83GHz 2MB L2 cache 667MHz FSB) OPERATING SYSTEM    Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2 (NTFS) (+ Media) - English BUSINESS SUPPORT    3 Year Business Support (incl. e-Learning Pack) DELL RECOMMENDS COMPLETECARE    3 Years CompleteCare Accidental Damage Cover from London General Insurance LCD    17" WUXGA (1920 x 1200) UltraSharpTM display with non-reflective technology (anti-glare) GRAPHICS CARD    NVIDIA® Quadro® FX 2500M with 512MB dedicated graphics memory MEMORY    2.0GB, 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM Memory (2 x 1024MB) HARD DRIVE PARTITIONING    Custom Partition - 20GB Primary/Rest Logical Accessories OPTICAL DRIVE    Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Drive WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY    Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g Mini Card (54Mbps) Core 2 Duo BLUETOOTH    Dell Wireless 350 BlueTooth™ Internal Card PRIMARY BATTERY    M90 Primary Lithium-Ion SMART 9-cell 80WHr battery DOCKING STATIONS    D/Port Station - Ethernet & Modem pass through, DVI 3D MOTION CONTROLLERS    3D Connexion SpaceTraveller motion controller FLOPPY/MEDIA DRIVES    No Floppy Drive
All comments welcome,
Thanks
Flynt
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Just bought one - supposed to be delivered tomorrow.
I went for Processor 2.13GHz Hard drive 160GB 7200rpm and very strangely when I logged on to the Dell site and placed the order the FX 3500 was cheaper than the FX 2500 by $200NZ. I queried this with the sales lady, she queried it with their pricing and stocking people -- it may have been a mistake but I got it for less than the FX 2500.
John Layne www.solidengineering.co.nz
I'm a Dell fan so It's no surprise I intend to buy a Dell. I have 'built' the following online and invite comment. I looked for the graphics card on the SW compatability list but couldn't see it. I'm also a little confused about the Duo processor. I picked it from the vailable options because it was not the slowest but not the most expebnsive.
Anyone already using an M90?
PROCESSOR Intel CoreT2 Duo T5600 (1.83GHz 2MB L2 cache 667MHz FSB) OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows XP Professional, SP2 (NTFS) (+ Media) - English BUSINESS SUPPORT 3 Year Business Support (incl. e-Learning Pack) DELL RECOMMENDS COMPLETECARE 3 Years CompleteCare Accidental Damage Cover from London General Insurance LCD 17" WUXGA (1920 x 1200) UltraSharpTM display with non-reflective technology (anti-glare) GRAPHICS CARD NVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M with 512MB dedicated graphics memory MEMORY 2.0GB, 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM Memory (2 x 1024MB) HARD DRIVE PARTITIONING Custom Partition - 20GB Primary/Rest Logical Accessories OPTICAL DRIVE Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Drive WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g Mini Card (54Mbps) Core 2 Duo BLUETOOTH Dell Wireless 350 BlueToothT Internal Card PRIMARY BATTERY M90 Primary Lithium-Ion SMART 9-cell 80WHr battery DOCKING STATIONS D/Port Station - Ethernet & Modem pass through, DVI 3D MOTION CONTROLLERS 3D Connexion SpaceTraveller motion controller FLOPPY/MEDIA DRIVES No Floppy Drive
All comments welcome,
Thanks
Flynt
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Interesting. One of my customers just bought an M90, but Dell wouldn't sell the FX3500m to a small business. He did get $900 off the online price, though, with the FX2500m.
I'd recommend a faster CPU. 2.0 GHz or higher. All in all, CPU speed is still the greatest factor in SolidWorks performance.
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Get a faster/fastest processor. If you can afford it get the fastest.
TOP
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Anna Wood's Spreadsheet shows very well how the processor makes all the difference. Everything else is chump change. (Although with SW2008 you may want the best video card money can buy)
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pz7wTpIkC7LA28ybEyxyTPw
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Though keeping "up" is considered "in", I do think I'ld really consider running on SWks 2006 for my work, and only using 2007 or 2008 next year, only if and when mandatory.
I have a long time friend who uses an M70 for all his work, and he contracts with his employer he retired from. Both use SolidWorks 2005, and life goes on at a fast pace for them. He has virtually 100% uptime and his work and his employer have had no learning curve or diruptions for years on SolidWorks.
Just Another Shoe, If it fits...Bo
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Thanks so much for posting this link (I am in the market for a new system) and thanks to Anna (and of course those who responded to her) for sharing this info. Very Helpful and thought provoking. Though CPU speed is clearly important, I am now wondering about daring to adopt the 64 bit version of XP.
The note on her site about turning off 'verification on rebuild' was entertaining and enlightening to me. I tend to work with it on - based on the work I do, it is a great option. I officially 'drank the Kool-Aid' regarding verfication on rebuild when I ran into a customer part that was fundamentally flawed without any notice to the designer because they ran with it disabled, and I saw through an analysis of 'feature properties' that he/she struggled with it for a month, running into issue after issue with the part. Since I have verification-on-rebuild on, when I opened their part I saw that one of the root features was fundamentally flawed - on opening I got an error that my client never knew about since he/she had it off. If they had only had it on they wouldn't have pissed away a man month of worthless labor building upon on flawed foundation. The part needed to be reconstucted from the ground up because of one little check box in SWx.
However, when it comes to decent sized patterns (which rarely come up in my work) I see that verification on rebuild has a HUGE impact. Without it activated, my rebuild time on Annas sample was in the lower third of the pack (hence the need for a new system). But still, that is the length of a bathroom break (if there is something interesting to read....) Out of curiosity, I activated verification on rebuild, hit Ctrl+Q on Anna's part, then did a field trip for a job - when I got back three hours later, it was still crunching. THAT was an eye-opener (and no amount of reading material in the can would justify 3 hrs, especially since we only have only the one bathroom)
So, even though I have drunk the Kool-aid on verification on rebuild and will continue to have it active during most of my daily work, I do have to say there are times when this needs to be supsended - for instance, when there is a big pattern to deal with. Based on what I saw today, if I do patterns I will disable 'verification on rebuild' and manually do a tools>check to find out if I have problems with my geometry - its faster. If only SWx gave us the option to disable verification on rebuild on a feature-by feature basis... Ed
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Recently TOP posted a macro that toggles the verification switch. You can't select features to use it on, that doesn't make any sense because of the way it checks the model (other than using a config with some features suppressed and running the check), but you can select which rebuilds it is active for.
Daisy
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Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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I've had my M90 for 6 months now. I have the 2.13 ghz processor, every thing else is the same as the configuration you have listed. I love it. The real view graphics work great and the overall speed is just awesome compared to what I had been using.
I'm a Dell fan so It's no surprise I intend to buy a Dell. I have 'built' the following online and invite comment. I looked for the graphics card on the SW compatability list but couldn't see it. I'm also a little confused about the Duo processor. I picked it from the vailable options because it was not the slowest but not the most expebnsive.
Anyone already using an M90?
PROCESSOR Intel CoreT2 Duo T5600 (1.83GHz 2MB L2 cache 667MHz FSB) OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows XP Professional, SP2 (NTFS) (+ Media) - English BUSINESS SUPPORT 3 Year Business Support (incl. e-Learning Pack) DELL RECOMMENDS COMPLETECARE 3 Years CompleteCare Accidental Damage Cover from London General Insurance LCD 17" WUXGA (1920 x 1200) UltraSharpTM display with non-reflective technology (anti-glare) GRAPHICS CARD NVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M with 512MB dedicated graphics memory MEMORY 2.0GB, 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM Memory (2 x 1024MB) HARD DRIVE PARTITIONING Custom Partition - 20GB Primary/Rest Logical Accessories OPTICAL DRIVE Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Drive WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g Mini Card (54Mbps) Core 2 Duo BLUETOOTH Dell Wireless 350 BlueToothT Internal Card PRIMARY BATTERY M90 Primary Lithium-Ion SMART 9-cell 80WHr battery DOCKING STATIONS D/Port Station - Ethernet & Modem pass through, DVI 3D MOTION CONTROLLERS 3D Connexion SpaceTraveller motion controller FLOPPY/MEDIA DRIVES No Floppy Drive
All comments welcome,
Thanks
Flynt
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I've been using an M60 (15 1/2" display) for several years with no problems. However when I need to upgrade again I think I would change what I am looking for. Why?
I carry my machine home most nights and also travel with it occasionally. As such I would prefer something lighter AND smaller. Even the 15 1/2" display is hard to open fully on the average airplane seating and that 7+ pounds plus charger, etc. really starts to wear on your shoulder.
Granted, the Dell display IS great for a 15 1/2 (full 1200x1920 resolution, etc.) but the machine is just a bit too heavy. The 17" version is going to be even more unwieldly.
For several years I used ONLY the built in display, even at work, and thought it was good enough to not get an external display. Boy was I wrong! Several other users here went with the Dell 24" widescreen Ultrasharp displays (you can get them for about $500) and the difference in usability is noticeable. Even better is the Dell 27" Ultrasharp I just got (under $1000). Unbelievably good. Viewable area is about 14 3/8" X 23" ! I can sit back and work on models without zooming in that previously I would have to to see what was going on. Imagine viewing a C-size drawing virtually 1:1 !
I have now changed what I want in my next "work" laptop....
I also have a personal Dell Latitude D620 with the Quadro NVS graphics card (no longer made, the D630 replacement only comes with an Intel graphics accelerator :>{ ) that has a 14" widescreen. Screen resolution is only 900 x 1440 though. It only weighs about 4 1/2 pounds and feels even lighter when carrying it around. It seems weird but the slightly smaller size makes it much easier to use on a plane, etc. It runs Solidworks 2006 fine, but nowhere as nicely as the M60.
So, what I REALLY want now is something like the D620, but with a graphics card that supports Solidworks, or conversely, something like an M90, but with a much smaller display and much smaller and lighter!
Dell seemed to be providing that a few years ago when they came out with the M20 but they never made a wide screen version or continued down that avenue.
Seems to me the idea of a laptop is that it be SMALL and transportable. When I'm at work I am able to dock it and make use of a larger display.
-MIke

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Yup, I've done the same, and it is too much. M60 (1.75" thk) + Charger >10lbs.
I currently run SWks on my MacBook Pro on XP Pro for travel (about 6lb w/charger x 1" thk). There are a few workarounds in that the keyboard is slightly different and I use a RadTech BT 500 wireless 3 button scroll mouse, which I find good.
Rumors of a replacement for the discontinued thin light 12" PowerBook have been circulating which would take small and light to a new level. My guess is a flash drive replaces the hard drive and maybe no internal CD/DVD (which I rarely use now USB flash keys are so cheap/ free). I might make the move to a 12" MacBookPro just because of the size & weight, which would likely be less than 4 lbs and less than 1" thick.
Different strokes...Bo
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Check out the Lenovo Thinkpad T60p with 14" screen. It has certified FireGL graphics and weighs in at about 5 lbs.
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Greets all. Wow the new ThinkPads look really attractive.. all of a sudden I find myself with a dilemma.
Of those of you who work with, or have experience with, a single dedicated laptop for work&home -- what are the biggest, if any (nowadays) limitations you face? (compared to desktops)
My impression has always been that laptops made an inherent compromise in power/versatility.. and that a desktop was always the "serious" way to work. Am I mistaken?
It'd be great to go with a laptop + docking bay. Currently I use two outdated machines: desktop and laptop. I find myself transfering eDrawings to the laptop more and more.
Comparable specs for both desktop and mobile workstations seem to price out about the same in the $2000-$3000 range. -- and I assume that there is more overhead in that price for a laptop .. so, for the same price, what am I compromising?
Thanks, Tony

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By the time an M90 is "all up", I have never seen the price come in less than $4000. Even with a refurb, I doubt you will get one for less.
There are certain things I would have mandatory, and they are Complete Care, highest res screen, largest 7200 rpm HD, maxed out RAM, highest speed CPU, best graphic card, Bluetooth & WiFi, just to name the ones off the top of my head.
Bo
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The HP NW8440, NW9440 can max at 4gig RAM, with core2duo processor, and an ATI FireGL 256meg Card. Pretty good screen resolutions in them as well.
samurai.
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I've been hijacked! What happened to my thread? Aside from that I'm taking heed of the advice and going for the 2Ghz processor. Before I press 'Pay' can anyone see anything wrong with the spec? As I said earlier, I'm not sure of the graphics card as I don't see it on the SW list. Any views or experience?
Flynt
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I also have an M90 (similar spec) 2.16 processors, 100 gig HD, 4 gig ram and the FX2500m video card. I got mine off the DELL refurbished site and the performance has been great. No problems at all. The only down side for me was not being able to run on dual batteries as I could on the M70 and M60.
Thanks, Bill
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The one thing that Dell offers is solid on-site repair & damage insurance with its Complete-Care and I have always ordered it. Laptops have the possibility of too darn many things that go wrong.
Each time on both my Dell laptops over the last 5-6 years, something went wacky, and they were there in less than 24 hours to fix it.
Bo
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Flynt,
Get use to thread hijacking. Happens all the time.
The 2GHz is better than the original, but if you at all can, get the fastest. Given the high price of laptops you want it to be capable of several future releases of SW and since history shows a trend that it will only become fatter and slower, what works today might be painfully slow tommorrow.
The refurbished route is a good one if you can get what you want.
We have Dells at work and a month (maybe two) doesn't go by without a visit from Dell to fix somebody's laptop. We have a lot of roadies so these machines get a lot of abuse. At home I have a Sager which I bought from my VAR many years ago. It still runs fine although it won't run 2006 and up because the performance of SW has gone down to the point it can't start SW before the batteries run out (slight exageration here).
SW doesn't test laptop graphics cards. If it is a Quadro it should be ok. Look at what your VAR uses if you are paranoid about that. But you are beating your head against the wall if you think you will find a SW approval for this.
TOP
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I'm not sure of the graphics card as I don't see it on the SW

All of the graphics options on the M90 are fully certfied for SW2007. Look under "Dell".
Notebook certification is always listed under the notebook manufacturer and not the graphics card manufacturer. This is important, because drivers for notebooks are only available from the notebook manufacturer. Even if the graphics card is supported, the specific notebook manufacturer may not have the appropriate driver available.
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