Though we've covered this in our Toshiba Satellite review, here's a revisitation of what exactly the GeForce2 Go is capable of. Bear in mind that at present there are three models in the series, a 64MB version, a 32MB version (the GeForce2 Go 200 chipset) and a 16MB version (GeForce2 Go 100 chipset).
Second Generation Transform and Lighting Engines
Similar to the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) on desktop versions, the
GeForce2 Go comes with a GPU which offloads graphics-intensive work from the CPU and piles it onto the GPU. We're talking speeds higher than 17 million polygons per second. This easily means that graphics-intensive games and applications will run smoother and faster compared to notebooks that come equipped with other graphic chipsets.
NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR)
First introduced in the GeForce2 GTS, the Shading Rasterizer feature brings
natural material properties, say smoke, water, cloth, plastic, wrinkles, to life via simultaneous per-pixel shading in a single pass. This roughly means that game developers can create lighting effects strictly on a per pixel basis,
adding more characteristic (especially lighting and shadow effects) on, say a
wrinkled hand or the ageing leaf on a tree.
High-Definition Video Processor (HDVP)
The HDVP enables consumers to turn their PCs into full quality DVD players.
Combined with the S-Video-out port on the Dell Inspiron 8000, you can
playback high-quality DVD movies on the television using just the notebook as
your source. With the S/PDIF port on the bundled video adapter dongle, you can experience the very best in DVD movies and get the most out of the Dolby Headphone feature from Intervideo's WinDVD 2000 software in the Inspiron 8000.
Digital Vibrance Control (DVC)
Perfect for the mobile presenter, the DVC feature of the GeForce2 Go chipset
lets you tweak the color separation settings on the notebook to get clearer,
crisper visuals. According to NVIDIA, DVC actually compensates for sub-optimal
lighting, reducing eyestrain injury and increasing productivity. With it, you
improve all forms of visual output performances, ranging from digital flat
panels, LCD projectors, monitors, and TVs.
Support for AGP 4x/2x, AGP Texturing and Fast Writes
This takes advantage of the new AGP 4x architecture and allows content
developers to use high-quality 32-bit color textures and high-polygon count
scenes without fearing a breakdown in frame-rate.
Interestingly, with TwinView, you can now watch two different events on two
different displays on the same system. For example, you can plug your monitor
into the VGA-out port and have it show you a movie while you work on a
spreadsheet program on the main notebook screen. TwinView also supports clone
mode, so you can have the same display on both screens, or Application Zone
mode, where you can cut-out a section of a graphic image on the primary display
and blow it up on the secondary display.
size=3>The Sturdiest Behemoth You've Ever Seen?
A few things about the Inspiron 8000 that very few people actually tell you about is the level of sturdiness you will find built within the notebook. Unlatch the battery/media modules from their respective bays and you'll see reinforced steel brackets within the interiors of the bays to not only secure the modules but also to help dissipate unnecessary heat faster.
Here is a shot of the Harman Kardon Odyssey speaker set just next to the Fast Ethernet and Modem jacks.
Metal steel brackets within the media and battery bay reinforce the sturdiness of the notebook from sudden hits and near-misses. Notice also that the battery module has indicator lights to keep track of your battery power.
The rear-end of the notebook houses two ventilation fans, that may, in most cases, cause some level of noise, but they keep the CPU cool and let your system run without a glitch. Most of the connection ports are located here, including the two USB ports, VGA-out and serial/parallel ports. The PCI expansion port lets Dell users soup-up their current connections with the optional Advanced Port Replicator, which comes with additional ports like serial, parallel, video, PS/2, infrared and more.
While the modem and Fast Ethernet jacks are located on the right flank (with the PCMCIA Type-II slots and three audio jacks), the S-Video out port and DVD-ROM drive take the left. We were a little surprised to find an extension adapter cable for the S-Video port, which splits into three ports -- a composite RCA video-out port, an S/PDIF audio port and an S-Video out port. This dongle is a Godsend, because not only does it allow us to watch our DVD movies via an RCA composite video-out connection, but it also lets us view them on our precious 5.1 surround speaker systems. Talk about multimedia supremacy.
Of course, if you prefer to use an S-Video connection with Dolby Digital audio streams, the S-Video out port on the dongle itself accommodates that. This is perhaps one of the most brilliant features that Dell could come up with to satiate the overwhelming demands of mobile DVD fans around the world. If you're a big fan of DVD movies and have always wondered about an S/PDIF connector to go along with a souped-up graphics-enabled notebook, Dell has these two systems in the offing.
Two HyperCool Ventilation Fans at the rear of the notebook ensures the steady dissipation of heat to keep your CPU constantly running.
Beyond S-Video, the Inspirons come with a TV-out adapter port cable, that branches into an RCA composite video out, digital SPDIF out and S-Video out.
Anyway, beyond just video and audio, the Dell keyboard have good tactile feel reminiscent of most keyboards in its series. Basically, what you have is a certain bounce in the keys that reach deep with every press of your finger. The spacing between keys (pitch) is quite generous and the stroke is deep. The sound of their key taps is quite loud (we hope they put some sort of dampener to the springs below), but the important function keys, like Backspace, Tab, Caps Lock, both Shift keys and Spacebar are wide and expansive.
Though Dell's DualPoint pointing device feature has been a staple thing on most of its models, we only prefer the touchpad rather than the pointing stick. This is because the dual buttons for the pointing stick are situated too close to the touchpad itself, and thus, the base of your thumb might accidentally glide on the touchpad and inadvertently move your cursor to a different place on-screen. Definitely needs a relook but it's a minor complaint.
Overall, the form factor sticks, the keyboard is friendly and the ports are one of the best combinations we've seen to date. The winner here is the video adapter dongle, which gives this two new models the digital edge over its competitors.
The right flank is where you will find the two communication ports for network and modem, as well as PCMCIA and audio slots.
The left side of the Inspiron 8000 is basically just the S-Video out port and the integrated DVD-ROM drive. The removable floppy drive and battery modules are located in front.
Here is the rear side of the Inspiron at a right angle -- notice that the ports are jam-packed to the max from end to end, but laid out in a straight, easy-to-access manner.
The rear ports from a different angle.