As expected, Dell is now offering Inspiron notebook PCs with the Intel Core 2 Duo "Penryn" chip as an optional configuration. This is the first time that Dell has included the 45-nanometer processor as an option in the consumer-oriented Inspiron line.
An Inspiron 1720 with a T9300 (2.5GHz, 6MB cache) processor, 17-inch (1440x900) screen, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, 2GB shared dual channel DDR2 memory, and a 250GB SATA hard drive (5400RPM) is priced at $1,299.
An Inspiron 1420 with a T8300 (2.4GHz, 3MB cache) processor, 14.1-inch (1280x900) screen, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, 2GB shared dual channel DDR2 memory, and a 160GB SATA hard drive (5400RPM) is priced at $1,024.
For an extra $200, a 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT video card is available with the 1720. On the 1420, a 128MB Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS is available for an additional $100.
Launched last month, Intel's 45-nanometer mobile processors generally pack around 400 million transistors. One of the most salient features is the larger cache. The higher-end processors integrate 6MB of cache memory versus 4MB for the older 65-nanometer "Merom" generation, and the lower-end chips integrate 3MB vs. 2MB for the Merom-class processors. A larger cache generally means better performance.