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The Dell M4400 has been my laptop of choice for almost a year. For my birthday I upgraded it to 4GB RAM (from 3GB) and swapped out the P8600 CPU for a T9700. The P8600 is a 2.4GHz dual core chip (25W) with 3MB cache, the T9700 is a dual 2.8GHz CPU (28W) with 6MB cache. I also installed Windows 7 x64 (previously XP 32-bit).
The Dell is very easy to work on, unscrew five screws and you have access to almost every upgradeable component: video card, RAM, HD, CPU, wifi, and WAN. While I was replacing the CPU, I replaced the stock thermal paste on both the video card and the CPU with Artic Silver 5. Now the system runs cooler and the fan is even quieter.
Another nice thing about the M4400 is that you can replace the DVD drive with a 2nd hard drive. I use an 80GB Intel X25-M for the primary boot (OS) drive, and a secondary 500GB 7200RPM drive as my data drive.
The machine runs amazingly smoothly with the new upgrades and I’m absolutely loving it .
PS thanks to my parents for the CPU, it was an awesome birthday present! I really appreciate my dad kindling my interest in technology so many years ago, it has provided decades of enjoyment and benefits.