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Wednesday | April 25, 2018
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Dell Mini 9 Laptop

Dell Mini 9 Laptop

Interior & Bios

Opening up the bottom of the Dell Mini is made simple. All you need to do is remove two screws and pop up the flap, revealing the interchangeable components for easy upgrading. Here we have access to the 1gb of DDR2-800 RAM, 802.11g/b wireless card and the SSD card. Despite the ram being PC2-6400, it runs at 667MHz on this particular motherboard. The use of an SSD is critical in a netbook like this as they offer lower power consumption combined with silent operation and extremely fast random access. You do lose out on capacity, but 16GB should be enough for a Windows XP device designed for general tasks.

What you may notice here is the empty mini PCI-e slot labelled WWAN. Judging by the fact that there is a built in SIM card slot it makes sense that this is where Dell place the 3g card in models such as the one offered by Vodafone. It was slightly disappointing to see that Dell do not offer the option in their own configurator and unfortunately installing your own 3g card would become a bit of a DIY job involving installation of an aerial and some soldering work on the traces.

The RAM is easily upgraded, with 2gb of PC-6400 laptop RAM available for £20 and up. You can also purchase a 32gb SSD but it will cost you £90 or so. Unfortunately the chassis restrictions prevent you from installing a longer mini PCI-E SSD which can be purchased with larger capacities.

At the heart of the Dell Mini 9 is the Atom N270 processor. We have had a few of these in the offices now and have been impressed by its capability and versatility in general tasks that one would expect to perform on a netbook. It combines this performance with a maximum TDP of just 2.5W and maintains modern features such as SSSE3. Unfortunately the 945GSE Express chipset uses considerably more power, with a maximum TDP of 11.8. Additionally, the on-board graphics lacks modern video decode acceleration so HD playback is going to be difficult with the little Atom, however, that is not too much of a concern with a resolution of just 1024×600 available. That said, with the CoreAVC codec and windows media player classic installed, 720p x264 videos will play back fine.

As expected the Bios is fairly limited, only providing access to simple options and no overclocking settings.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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