updated 09:55 am EDT, Fri March 28, 2008
Dell sub-1K Blu-ray Notebk
Living up to an earlier promise, Dell started the weekend by introducing what it says is the first notebook below the $1,000 mark to come with a Blu-ray drive. The 15.4-inch Inspiron 1525 now has the option of either a Blu-ray combo drive limited to burning DVDs and CDs or else a full Blu-ray burner; with the former option, the system price can dip as low as $879 while still supporting HD movies at 720p, Dell says.
The feat is accomplished through a new Broadcom-made Media PC processor that offloads much of the decoding work from both the main CPU and the GPU, saving the Inspiron from having to use a more expensive dedicated video chipset or a stronger overall processor. Broadcom has not revealed additional notebook makers involved with the project but says it has the support of Intel, Microsoft, and other top tech firms.
At the needed price point, the Dell system ships with a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo as well as the Blu-ray combo drive; HDMI is standard and lets the 1525 output HD movies to an HDTV or a similarly high-resolution screen. An 80GB hard drive and 1GB of memory are also standard on the portable. Inspirons customized to match Dell's claims begin shipping on April 7th.
Other companies, such as Sony, have often had to price systems well above the $1,000 price point or else have refrained from using HD disc formats altogether, such as Apple.