Over the last week or so, TechBargains has been listing a decent deal on a moderately high-powered Inspiron 15R Special Edition laptop from Dell.  Important main specs are an Intel Core i7 3632QM cpu (Ivy Bridge quad core), 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, 15.6" full 1080p display, and a discrete AMD Radeon HD 7730M gpu.  The price was reasonable--$799 after discount.  I had not pulled the trigger, and was considering other options like an HP Envy 15t-j000 or a Lenovo Y410p/510p as they have newer, Haswell-based cpus.  But I found that another $50 off coupon for the Dell was stackable so that finally pushed me over the edge.  I swear I have been trying to stack on the initial discount all week, but it has been impossible.  So when it allowed me to do it just now, that pushed me over the edge.

The link to the info at TechBargains is http://www.techbargains.com/news_displayItem.cfm/363462 .  The extra, stackable $50 coupon code is 0H9Q3PQ6L3744C.

Note that this is not the standard Inspiron 15R, which has the extended keyboard with a number pad (I don't like that personally).  This is the Special Edition variant without the dedicated number pad.  Also, if you are interested in boosting the memory, while Dell says it can only take 8GB, there are plenty of detailed reports that show it can take 16GB.

Here's a complete listing of specs.

Inspiron 15R     Inspiron 15R Notebook (Inspiron 7520)
Operating System     Windows 8, 64-bit, English
Processor     3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3632QM processor (6MB cache, up to 3.2 GHz)
Memory     8GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz
Keyboard     English Backlit Keyboard with Multi-touch Touchpad
LCD     15.6" Full High Definition (1080p) LED Display
Video Card     AMD Radeon™ HD 7730M 2GB
Wireless Driver     SRV Software for 2230 WIFI Wireless Card
Hard Drive     1TB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
System Color     Stealth Black Anodized Aluminum
Network Card     Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet card
Adobe Reader     Document Reader Included
CD/DVD Drive     8X Tray Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
Sound     Waves MaxxAudio 4 + Skullcandy Speakers
Wireless     Intel® Centrino® Wireless 2230, 2x2 bgn + Bluetooth
Battery     48 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Battery

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Here's a comparison to show this particular quad-core Ivy Bridge cpu compared with the new, Haswell-based chips found in the HP and Lenovo models at the same price range:


The real problem for ivy bridge is power consumption, which is more important inside a laptop. I will choose Haswell anyway.

gazelle1840 said:   The real problem for ivy bridge is power consumption, which is more important inside a laptop. I will choose Haswell anyway.
  The 3632QM actually consumes a bit less power than the 4700MQ.  According to that CPU Boss link I posted, the former is more efficient at 25.21 performance per watt, whereas the latter is at 21.79 pts/watt.

There's a minimal % (4th gen) gain in speed between the 2 chips, so it's all about the power consumption.

The Ivy Bridge model (the 3632QM) has a TDP of 35W, and the Haswell model (4700MQ) has a TDP of 47W.  So in this case, the Ivy Bridge version is actually more efficient powerwise.  It is also maybe 10% slower, too.

You can confirm the power usage yourself.  The Intel specs page for the Haswell model is http://ark.intel.com/products/75117 , which shows the TDP as 47W.

There are two specs pages for the Ivy Bridge version because it comes in either BGA or rPGA style packaging.  In either case, the specs for both versions are identical, and show the 35W TDP.  Links to the two pages are http://ark.intel.com/products/71670  and http://ark.intel.com/products/71458 .

The Ivy Bridge model (the 3632QM) is extra efficient over other models, but still high performance.  I am speculating now, but during a production run some chips just end up more efficient than others even though they were produced on the same assembly line.  This 3632QM model happens to be one of these extra efficient types.

You can read a short blurb about it at Tom's HW at http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-cpu-ivy-bridge,18574.html .

This is all about power as you guys point out.  But in this case, the Ivy Bridge model is actually more efficient than the Haswell model while still holding close to the same performance level.

See this topic:

I bought a similar laptop at a similar price a couple months ago. One of my posts describes my thoughts about it. The biggest difference between the two is the one I bought has a Nvidia 650M. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with it, but I needed to add SSD caching to make the HDD bearable.

As for the power discussions above, the battery life on mine is terrible!!! I got less than 2 hours watching a movie, and about 25 minutes in DOTA 2. But I didn't but it to be portable. I bought it to sit on a desk plugged in, and go to another desk from time to time.

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