I am getting a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop for my wife. She mostly does Word, Outlook, Excel and web surfing. Some streaming online video. No games.
The base system has the Intel T4200Dual Core (2GHz/800Mhz FSB/1MB Cache), with 3GB shared dual channel DDR2 at 800 MHz and Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD for $450. Vista.
If I upgrade to a nIntel T6400 Core 2 Duo (2 GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache) it is $35 more.
If I upgrade to 4GB is is another $25 more.
If I upgrade the Dell Wireless 1397 802.11g to the Intel WiFi Link 5100 802.11 Wireless-n it's another $35
1) Will there be a noticeable increase in speed with the 6400 over the 4200? (What is the difference if they're both 2GHz and 800 Mhz?)
2) Is the old rule of thumb that you can never have too much RAM applicable for this situation, or is 3 sufficient?
3) Is 802.11n worth it?
Are these upgrades worth $100 more on a $450 machine?
Neither the CPU nor RAM increase will be noticeable, for her.
N wireless will only be worth it if you actually have an N network. I don't know anyone that does. G is pretty much the standard, and is fast enough for pretty much anything but mega file transfers and HD video streaming.
Memory - Unless you go with 64 bit operating system, ONLY about 1/2 gig of that 4th gig will be usable. ie w/3 gig you have about 3 gigs available for OP and programs. W/4 gig ram you will have approx 3.5 gig available (or less) for op system and programs. This is due to memory mapping with a 32 bit operating system.
Processor, I would go with the T6400. The T6400 is a newer proc and more efficient Processor. Although again I dought you will notice any performance diff on most tasks. But there may be a small improvement for newer programs and there may be a small advantage in terms of power consumption and, or Heat disipation - for Only $25 I'd go with the newer Proc.
Thanks everyone. Synthesizing the advice I went with T6400 chip, left the RAM at 3, but did go the n wireless, figuring my wife likes to keep her computer about five years. Came to $535 including shipping, a spankin' deal. Dell "deals of summer" really seems to be a pretty legit sale.