Those of you hunting for the latest technology in Dell's 17-inch gaming laptop will be pleased to learn the M1730 has received its Penryn update. Since Intel announced its new 45-nanometer chips last month at CES, they've been ever so slowly making their way into systems. Dell is replacing the T7700 and the T7800 Merom CPUs with the T9300 and the T9500 Penryn chips, respectively. There will be no price differential between the older Merom chips and their Penryn replacements.
Dell's XPS M1730 laptop now lists two Penryn CPU options, the 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo T9300 and the 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo T8300 (which has half the cache, 3MB, of the T9000-series chips). The two Penryn chips cost less than the Core 2 Extreme X7900 and Core 2 Duo T7800 options. (Expect the T7800 option to soon be replaced by the T9500.)
Dell's XPS M1330, which got Penryn last week, boasts three Penryn chips, the T8300 and the T9300 plus the 2.6GHz T9500. The T8300 sells for the same price as the T7500 chip, which is a generation behind and clocked slightly slower but serves up more L2 cache. I say you sacrifice that extra 1MB of cache and get the new chip, if deciding between the two. Better yet, spend an extra $125 for the T9300, which is faster and serves up 6MB of L2 cache. The T9300 would seem to reside in the price-performance sweet spot.
Dell has told us that the Latitude line would also be getting a Penryn update this month, but there is still no sign of the new chips on Dell's business laptops.