Meanwhile, in dellauction I was bidding on and lost the opportunity to get a Dell Latitude 6510. I lost it, because I thought the 6530 was a better deal, as the latter is Ivy Bridge, and the one in dellauction was 1st-gen i5. Which meant, a much slower RAM (1066 MHz, on dual core, which all i5's then were). Then I discovered that the 6530's default SATA configuration is RAID ON, and you can't just change it to AHCI (i.e., to reduce latency and resulting audio problems). So I regretted the purchase, tried to stop it, and went back to Dell Direct Sales on the 16th (day of purchase of the 6530), to see if any more 6510's were left. For the 6510, has an AHCI default. Turns out that one WAS available, Sandy bridge quad i7 yet on 32-bit Windows and 8 GB of RAM. I snapped it up then and there. Dreams come true.
The big selling point to me for these machines (and for Precision m6600), is the ease of changing the internal hard drive and RAM. Just two/four screws, no need to remove the back of the machine, slide out the drive and done. The RAM chips require back of machine to be removed, but they are easily accessible so easy to change. Parts are plentiful and clearly described, well-priced.
They also furnish a second drive bay you can swap out (sometimes even hot-swap) for optical, Blu-ray, added HDD, or even an added battery for long trips. There are eSATA connectors, dual-mode Display Port and/or HDMI, four USB (6530 has two of the USBs at 3.0, two at 2.0), Firewire, and of course the usual VGA, Ethernet, etc.
So it's like getting multiple computers in one: change hard drive to change OS or OS configuration, five minutes. Since it's the same OS on the same machine but just on different internal drives MADE for that machine, there is no violation of the license; but you get to try different configurations.
Dell's people have been real helpful. Granted, some of them aren't as tech-savvy as one could wish, but they are willing to direct you to someone with the savvy.
Dell key labels die quickly. I just got a white Sharpie from Amazon, and it works well to relabel the worn-out keys. How long that paint will last with constant typing, I don't know.
This post has been edited by brainout: 19 January 2013 - 11:15 AM