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Dell UK shifts Inspiron line to integrated graphics

Alienware fallout?

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Dell UK appears to believe Intel's integrated graphics cores provide plenty of power for its laptop customers' needs. All but one of the PC giant's Inspiron notebooks - including the recently released 6400, highlighted for its "versatile entertainment" provision - now ship without a discrete GPU, it has emerged.

Dell currently offers five Inspiron-branded notebooks to UK buyers. Today, only the "multimedia powerhouse" 9400 can be purchased with an ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 with 256MB of video memory. The GPU is offered as an option - the base model ships with Intel's GMA 950 graphics core, which is integrated into the machine's chipset.

Bizarrely, the Inspiron 6000 product page suggests upgrading to an ATI "video card", claiming it provides the "ultimate visual experience", but doesn't provide a way for online buyers to do so. Dell touts the 6000's "multimedia performance".

If you are looking for a machine with a dedicated GPU, you're looking at one of Dell's Precision range (M20 and M70), a sub-set of its Latitude business-oriented line-up (the D610 and the D810) or its XPS 610 gaming machine. The M70 and the XPS 610 are the only machines offered with an Nvidia GPU, respectively the Quadro FX Go 1400 and the Geforce Go 6800 Ultra, both with 256MB of video RAM.

Dell appears to have only just made the change - a number of Register readers have claimed recent orders for Inspirons with discrete GPUs have been cancelled.

Such a move isn't surprising. Integrated graphics products continue to out-sell discrete graphics chips since they're cheaper to buy and provide sufficient power for most mainstream users' graphics needs. It's odd, perhaps, that Dell has cut back on build-to-order notebook GPU options, but then again it's cheaper not to.

More to the point, it helps create another differentiator for the Alienware kit Dell now owns. ®

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