How To Fix Keyboard And Mouse Not Working Windows 8.1 Buying A Dell Inspiron 1520 Notebook? Read This First

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Buying A Dell Inspiron 1520 Notebook? Read This First

The Dell Inspiron 1520 is one of the most popular Notebooks at the moment. When you shop online at Dell there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The first thing to note is that the “Deals of the Week” change in offer and it sometimes is better to wait the next week. Some weeks it maybe an extra 1Gb of RAM free or an upgraded hard disk other times it could be $100 off or a free Bluetooth mouse or Targus bag. Depending on the special it maybe better to hold off for a better deal. For instance a $100 off on a separate monitor may not be as useful as more RAM on the Notebook, unfortunately it’s a bit of a gamble as you don’t know what is coming up. Dell do provide the date of when the deal ends so you may have to act by this date.

Don’t buy RAM or Hard Disks from Dell… unless they are on special. They’re more expensive than buying outside. For the same price for the upgrade of the hard disk you keep the hard disk on the standard Inspiron build and bought a new third party 160Gb 7200RPM hard disk and still have some spare change. Btw Vista eats RAM like no tomorrow so it’s worth getting at least 2Gb’s especially if you are gonna have Aero turned on.

Sometimes they offer the a Creative SoundBlaster Audigy. This is NOT hardware and just an application CD that gives the chipset extra features. Really useful stuff like Bathroom Reverb or something. The chipset still appears as a SIGMATEL STAC 92XX C-Major HD Audio and NOT a SoundBlaster Audigy.

Oh another thing. The DELLay. It’s all over the Interweb. There have been massive delays in the ordering process of the colored Inspirons. They appear to be coming through now but a few times the order specifically mentions 6-8 week delay for certain colors. Unless you order White or Black (sometimes without the webcam) then you may have to wait. Apparently this is because the spraying process is similar to that of a car and is a very slow procedure. The white ones which seem more available than say blue or green actually has more coats of paint because it’s a gloss sheen. Sadly no other color has this gloss coating. Also the colour only applies to the lid of the Notebook, everything else including the keyboard is silver and the underside is black. These delays obviously don’t deter Dell in still advertising the Inspiron creating more customer backlogs.

Choosing the Intel Centrino Core 2 Duo processor? If you can afford it go for the Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0Ghz and above. Obviously they are a faster clock speed with a 800mhz Front Side Bus (FSB) as opposed to the 667mhz of the T5450 1.66 Ghz. They also have 4mb of cache instead of 2mb which makes a difference.

The 15.4″ WXGA+ 1440×900 Widescreen with Truelife is worth going for. The resolution is crisp and not too small. The 1680×1050 option maybe overkill as the monitor is too small for that resolution (a lot of 20.1″ monitors are that res). Also LCD’s look the best at its native resolution so playing games and having to turn the res down ain’t gonna look pretty. The LCD is the glossy type which seems to be easier to wipe off fingerprints than the matt ones but are more prone to reflection. Think carefully before buying a 17″ version. They are heavy and sometimes you can get and 15.4″ and a separate Dell 17″ monitor for about the same price.

The Dell Inspiron 1520 as a Gaming Notebook.

We’ll it’s actually quite good (for a Notebook). The Nvidia 8600m GT works well enough it has 256mb GDDR2. You cannot use shared RAM to increase the graphics RAM either. There are some online debates saying some do come with GDDR3 but to be certain the Asus G1 and G2 do have GDDR3 but are much more expensive. If you’ve got money to burn there’s also the Toshiba X205 with the 8700M GT. Strangely the so called Dell Gaming Notebook the XPS series don’t currently have the Geforce 8 series and go up only to the Geforce Go 7950 GTX which is really baffling. There is less wait time on a XPS though. The 7950 GTX is actually more powerful than the 8600 GT but only has the DX9 code path compared to the 8 series DX10. As mentioned before the 8600M GT would struggle with more recent games at the 1680×1050 resolution and DX10 games would choke. The Inspiron gets reasonably warm when playing games hard you can feel a warm air pushed out through the side vent. Good in winter as a fan heater.

Replacing Vista with XP

This is a real world of hurt. Until Vista SP1 arrives I want to get every bit of performance out of the Inspiron and Vista just doesn’t cut the mustard. At the time I bought mine they weren’t offering XP but now they recently have started. It was either Vista Home Basic or Home Premium. The Forceware Nvidia drivers for the 8 series off the Nvidia website DO NOT work. There is only now an 8 series drivers for XP on the Dell website previous to this there was a nice hacked version here: http://www.tweakforce.com

The Creative/SigmaTel audio driver is worse. Real hard to find and SigmaTel don’t support the public so it’s up to Dell. So after trying a few that were supposed to work I finally found one on the Dell website http://support.us.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&releaseid=R153908&formatcnt=1&libid=0&fileid=205136 from the Dell Community site. This ain’t listed under XP drivers on the Dell Inspiron driver downloads.

When booting an XP CD up it immediately crashed with a PCI.SYS error. I then had to Slipstream a XP build with SP2. After that I had to add Dell SATA drivers to the image. Then download pretty much all the other drivers from the Dell site. Maybe they have rectified that now with the inclusion of XP.

The Good

A really cheap laptop for the components you get and one of the best gaming laptops available.

The build quality is pretty good.

Nice looking.

You get what you ordered online pretty much delivered with Dell. For me nothing was missing or the wrong hardware.

The tracking of delivery is reasonably accurate and I manage to get it a day before the expected arrival date.

The Dell Service Tag is a good feature and allows you to enter your Notebooks Service Tag into their website which will bring up the details of your hardware.

There is a fair bit of documentation, driver CD’s and DVD’s.

You get the actual DVD for the OS.

The BIOS isn’t too bad (for Dell) there are a fair bit of options. But you can’t seem to tweak the CPU or RAM in anyway. So no OCing.

The WiFi seems pretty good, it’s got three aerials built in. There’s also a slider that turns off WiFi if not needed. You also get Bluetooth.

There are some speaker and play buttons on the front panel that are pretty convenient. The Notebook sound itself is quite good.

The keyboard is pretty good though a little cramped considering the size of the laptop. Not too spongey and they look like they are clipped on pretty well compared to some of the Lenovo ThinkPads which have fiddlely little clips if the keys accidentally fall off.

The Targus bag for cheap.

The Bad

The DELLay on certain colors.

The delivery wait when ordering online on a normal day.

The initial build on the Inspiron 1520 which was Vista Home Basic is full of bloatware. Like the Google Desktop search and Norton’s Anti-Virus with a limited subscription.

Dell’s XP driver support is all over the place. Maybe they’ve fixed this now by selling it with XP, dunno.

Your 120Gb or 160Gb hard disk is divided into three partitions at the factory. A hidden recovery one and a C: and D:. The D: has some drivers and a recovery for Windows to reinstall to factory defaults. Yuck.

If you want a Track Point you will need to go to the Lattitude series (under the Business option) or shell out some serious money for a ThinkPad. With the Inspirons your stuck with a Thermal Pad. I personally don’t like em but some do.

The Dell Inspiron is pretty heavy and coupled with the large-ish power supply it’s borderline for lugging around in a backpack all day as a student.

The Ugly

The black one looks too plain. When you buy an Inspiron you gotta get a colored one (if you can endure the wait)!

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