I just checked out the specs on the Inspiron laptop (actually I'm typing on it now). Let me know if this changes any previously stated concerns....
First, it is actually a PIII 600 MHz processor not 500 as I first thought.
As for video, it has the "ATI Rage Mobility-P with TV out" installed, which is at least an 8MB card, maybe 16MB. I think that b/c it comes with a swappable drive bay CD-ROM, ZIP Disk, DVD-ROM, that they built it to handle DVD but I could be wrong.
Video type 64-bit (128-bit hardware-accelerated) AGP
Video controller 8- or 16-MB ATI Rage-Mobility P AGP
Video memory 8- or 16-MB 125-MHz SGRAM
LCD interface 65-MHz LVDS
TV support NTSC or PAL in S-video and composite modes
Maximum resolution/colors 32-bit*
*The video controller supports SXGA (1280 x 1024) and UXGA (1600 x 1200) display resolutions on external monitors that support these resolutions.
The Sound is handled by an ESS Technology Maestro-2E whatever that is...
Audio type Sound Blaster Pro-compatible voice and music functions, HRTF 3D positional audio, hardware wavetable
Audio controller ESS Technology Maestro-2E
Conversion 16-bit (stereo analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog)
Hardware wavetable synthesizer wavetable synthesizer 64-voice
PCI bus, microphone, dual stereo speakers
microphone in, line-out, and line-in connectors
Internal speaker amplifier 1.0-W total (0.5 W for each speaker)
External microphone input voltage range 280 mV peak-to-peak
Line/audio input voltage range 2.8 V peak-to-peak
Controls keyboard commands, button, and application program menus
I can get the OEM 8X DVD-Rom drive for under $30 on eBay and about the same for the docking station. I'd rather spend $60 than $600 if this laptop will do for now. Obviously I could put together a better system, but for MP3, NAV, and occasional DVD playback I am hoping this will do.