Dell Readies MacBook Pro Rival - InformationWeek

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Dell Readies MacBook Pro Rival

The PC maker's upcoming XPS M1530 is meant for a broader audience, particularly people who do a lot of nonprofessional photo and video editing, and watch high-definition video.

Dell is expected to introduce a successor to its high-end ultraportable PC that will sell head to head against Apple's MacBook Pro, according to sources familiar with Dell's plans.

The Dell XPS M1530, a successor to the M1330 that shipped in the summer, would have a 15.4-inch display, Intel Core 2 Duo options from 1.5 GHz to 2.6 GHz, and an Nvidia GeForce 8400M or 8600M graphics processor, the technology enthusiast site Engadget reported. The M1330 has a 13.3-inch display, an optional GeForce 8400M processor, and Core 2 Duo options from 1.5 GHz to 2.2 GHz.

A Dell spokesperson declined comment, but a source familiar with the PC maker's plans confirmed that the M1530 was in the works, and specs reported on the Web were from "90% to 95% good." The reported Nov. 7 release date, however, was "off," the source said.

Dell's XPS notebooks are marketed primarily to gaming enthusiasts. The M1330 and upcoming M1530, however, are meant for a broader audience, particularly people who do a lot of nonprofessional photo and video editing, and watch high-definition video. Pricing for the M1330 starts at $1,399. Pricing for the M1530 have not yet been disclosed.

Apple's MacBook Pro is aimed at a similar audience. The notebooks are available with 2.2-GHz or 2.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and 15-inch or 17-inch displays. They also come with an Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor, and up to 4 Gbytes of memory. The notebooks are an inch thick and weigh 5.4 and 6.8 pounds, respectively. Pricing starts at $1,999.

The Dell XPS M1330, which is smaller than the MacBook Pro and comes with an Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, is available with up to 4 Gbytes of memory and weighs slightly less than 4 pounds. The notebook is slightly more than an inch thick.

Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks have been selling well in the U.S. consumer market against PCs. Apple's portables accounted for 9.9% of U.S.-based retail notebooks sales in March, according to the NPD Group, a retail analysis firm. Dell, which sells mostly direct but is broadening its retail presence, isn't included in NPD's figures.

Notebook shipments are rising a lot faster than desktops and are expected to eventually surpass the latter. Mobile PCs this year are expected to account for nearly 40% of the 264 million PCs expected to ship this year, an 11.2% increase from 2006, according to industry analyst firm iSuppli.

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