REVIEW: DELL Latitude CPx H500GT, or mobile Pentium III is coming

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In the last review we had the opportunity to test the DELL Latitude CPi R400GT with an Intel Pentium II Mobile 400MHz processor, this new Latitude CPx H500GT from 2000 has a slightly more powerful Pentium III generation processor. Again, this is not some sharpener, but a proper business class machine, and what’s more, with a price tag of around 175,000 CZK in the variant with 128MB RAM and 10GB HDD.

Similar to the previous Latitude CPi R400GT, the CPx H500GT tested today underwent a minor hardware upgrade, to a total of 384MB of RAM and a larger 40GB HDD, as the original 10GB HDD was lost in a previous revision.

Again, the laptop arrived in a worn state, with the touchpad badly damaged, but overall the condition was very good.

The notebook has a 14.1″ diagonal display with a resolution of incredible 1024×768 pixels, so it is a fairly light and portable computer. Both the display and the graphics card support 32-bit colors.

I also got a DELL 70W power adapter for the laptop, which uses a rather strange three-pin square connector.

Similar to the Latitude CPi R400GT, the new H500GT has a very good keyboard. The laptop actually looks exactly the same from the outside, the only difference is the DELL Latitude logo on the top cover of the display and the labels on the bottom of the laptop.

It is also worth mentioning the TrackStick positioning device, which the previous generation did not have, it is very strikingly similar to the IBM solution, which is called TrackPoint, and in terms of ergonomics, the IBM solution is better, but even this can be quite well used, especially when we are traveling and do not have hands external PS/2 mouse.

The DELL Latitude CPx H500GT has two modular bays in the front, one can accommodate a battery and the other bay can accommodate an easily replaceable floppy disk drive, an optical media drive, or even a second battery, thus extending the life of the notebook by several hours without an adapter up to 8 hours.

Let’s also look at the port equipment, on the left side of the notebook we find two PCMCIA slots. There is also a drawer with a 2.5″ ATA-33 hard drive, a slot for a Kensington lock and a speaker.

On the right side of the notebook, we can find a second speaker, three 3.5 mm audio jacks, an S-Video output, and also a grid that blows air into the processor cooler.

On the back of the notebook we find a cooling exhaust with a fan, a D-Sub VGA connector, a parallel port, a proprietary DELL docking connector designed for a port replicator, one modern USB-A 1.1 port, a PS/2 connector (supports branching Y cables), a serial port, power three-pin connector and IrDA port.

The port equipment is very decent and I would say that we can connect everything we need to the notebook and for special users there is the possibility to use a port replicator, or all kinds of PCMCIA cards can be added.

On the bottom of the notebook we find one removable door, under which there are two special slots for SDR-type memories, while the Intel BX440 chipset supports up to 512MB of SDR-100 memory.

If we want to service some other components of the notebook, we must first disassemble the keyboard and then we can replace the additional board with power circuits, or even replace the processor.

DELL installed a very fast Intel Mobile Pentium III processor with a clock frequency in the notebook 500 MHz. The processor has 256 kB of external L2 cache, it is said to produce a little over 15 Watts of heat. Compared to the Pentium II, the Pentium III is made by a more modern production process, the individual transistors are thus only 180 nanometers in size!

The processor is connected to the Intel BX440 chipset via the FSB100 bus, while the board also has an Intel PIIX4E south bridge, which integrates, for example, an ATA-33 controller for hard drives.

For image output, we use an ATI graphics adapter, namely ATI Rage Mobility-M1 with 8MB of SDR memory (the memory has a clock rate of 125MHz and is connected via a 64-bit wide bus).

A bit confusing is that DELL itself and different programs refer to this graphics adapter differently. Sometimes it’s just ATI Rage Mobility, from which it may not be clear exactly what model it is. The graphics adapter supports DirectX 6 and OpenGL 1.2. The graphics core has a clock speed of 83MHz and is connected to the computer via the AGP 2x bus.

Since the Pentium III 500 MHz supports FSB 100 MHz, we can expect a higher performance of the memory subsystem, because in 100FSB mode the SDR RAM runs at 100 MHz, which is more than the 66 MHz of the older Latitude with Pentium II 400 MHz.

Windows XP Professional with the second version service pack was preinstalled on the computer.

Of course, the price also corresponds to the quality and equipment, approximately 175,000 CZK including VAT. However, to make the whole test interesting, I decided to travel a bit in time and upgrade some components. Instead of the original 128MB RAM as in 2000, I fitted the notebook with an extra 256MB SDRAM module, so in total I have an incredible 384MB RAM available. I also installed a newer disk with a capacity of 40 GB, since the original one did not survive and disappeared somewhere.

You can see a list of many components through the Device Manager below.

As with Latitude CPi R400GT and H500GT, we can download drivers from the Internet, DELL even in 2024 offers the option to download drivers even for such old hardware, which is great. It is fun to install the utility for Fn keys and OSD, it will be unpacked to disk, then the .exe file will open a browser that links to a .html page, from which we can launch another .exe file for installation with a button.

I also looked into BIOSon the computer, it has a rather interesting design and we can scroll between pages using the Alt+P keyboard shortcut.


The article is in Czech

Tags: REVIEW DELL Latitude CPx H500GT mobile Pentium III coming

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