A few weeks ago Dell advertised new laptops for $849AU, this was a significant development but I didn’t get around to blogging about it. Now I have just discovered that they have a special deal for $799AU for a laptop including delivery! This is an amazing deal and gives you an AMD Sempron 3500 CPU (not a really fast CPU and only 32bit, but it’s faster than the 1.7GHz Pentium-M that is currently satisfying all my requirements for portable computing), 512M of RAM, an 80G hard drive and a 1280×800 display.
It’s far from a high-end laptop (having a lower screen resolution and less RAM than my 3yo Thinkpad) but it will suffice for most things you might want to do on the move apart from running Xen.
The exciting thing about this is that as it’s so cheap that most people will probably choose it in preference to a desktop system – the cheapest desktop system that Dell currently offers as a package is $898. The cheap desktop has a dual-core Athlon64, 1G of RAM, and a 160G hard drive. But for most tasks other than games such things aren’t really required.
Also a local PC company Suntrom has advertised a new Lenovo Thinkpad with a Celeron-M 1.5GHz, 256M of RAM, 1024×768 display, and a 40G hard drive for $799. The Thinkpad has considerably less compute power than the Dell laptop, but it is a bit cheaper. If Lenovo has maintained the Thinkpad quality (while IBM owned the brand Thinkpad was the Rolls-Royce of laptops) then it would probably be the better choice.
On many occasions I have heard people say that they want a laptop computer to save space. When a desktop machine cost $1200 and a laptop cost $3500 that idea was ridiculous. But now that a laptop appears to be the cheapest system in the Dell range on sale in Australia that would be quite a reasonable criteria for purchases. Of course the extra sales of laptops will help fund further laptop technology developments (such as flash storage) that will be of use to those of us who are serious about computing and use laptops they way that they were intended.