Introduction

It has been just over a year since we first looked at Dell's XPS M1710 notebook. When we initially reviewed it, it sported the fastest currently available Intel mobile processor, the Core Duo T2600 (2.16 GHz). It also included NVIDIA's at the time sparkling new GeForce Go 7900 GTX graphics chip. Naturally, the result was some of the fastest performance we had ever seen from a gaming notebook. One downside was that the price was equally high, but when you look at the various gaming oriented notebooks that are available the XPS M1710 remains competitive.


Since the initial review, a few new products have launched. On the graphics side of the equation, NVIDIA now offers their GeForce Go 7950 GTX (600/1150 MHz Core/RAM), which offers slightly improved core clock speeds relative to the original GeForce Go 7900 GTX (500/1200 MHz Core/RAM). There has been a minor drop in GPU memory speed, but the increased core speed more than makes up for this. The far bigger product launch that has occurred is of course Intel's Core 2 Duo line, which addressed pretty much all of the shortcomings of the original Core Duo as well as providing higher clock speeds in the mobile market.

We have looked at several Core 2 Duo equipped laptops, including laptops from ABS Computers and ASUS; the ABS Mayhem Z5 even competes as a gaming notebook and it included a GeForce Go 7900 GTX (and is now available with a 7950 GTX). The difference and the point of this article, as you have likely guessed, is that Dell's XPS M1710 also gives customers the option of purchasing a Core 2 Duo T7600G. The T7600G is something like the Core 2 Extreme for laptops, in that the multiplier is unlocked. Ever since the launch, enthusiasts have found the Core 2 Duo chips to be highly overclockable, at least on desktop computers. There are few laptop manufacturers that offer any such capabilities, so this is the first chance we've had to try mobile overclocking.

Besides faster graphics cards and processors, a few new storage options are also available, as well as the Windows Vista operating system. We won't go into a lot of detail about the construction and design of the XPS M1710, as the external appearance hasn't changed at all since our initial review. We refer back to that along with the follow-up article for those interested in additional details, but we will still start with a brief look at the features of the system we were sent for review.

System Features
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  • Gary Key - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Is it really possible to get thousands of FPS on Supreme Commander? I've never actually played it, but that looks like a typo. If that is correct, what is the difference between getting 500 FPS and 1000 FPS? I thought it was and RTS anyway.


    It is a typo on the chart. The numbers reflected are the total score, not the individual break out on FPS.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    Fixed. SupCom is a generated score from the perftest map (with an edited benchmark script). Sorry about that. Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    what?

    Article says:
    "We weren't able to run our latest gaming benchmarks (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Supreme Commander) on all of the laptops, so performance results for those games won't be included here."
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    The XPS M1710 OC scaling charts included SupCom and STALKER results. Just not the other laptops (although I might be able to run the benchmarks on a couple laptops still). Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    I gave up on waiting for laptops to reach reasonable prices. Ordered a nice c2d setup to replace my aging A64 rig and did it for under $425. CPU, RAM, and Mobo. My 7900GT is still enough for now, but when the 8800GTS 640MB hits $350 without rebates I'll probably scoop one of those up too. So still under $800 for a full system upgrade.

    And since I can remote in to my home machine from work and my work machine from home, I really have little need for a laptop, though I do have a company-provided laptop for travel if I really needed to use it. On that flash games (tower defense, etc) are enough to keep me entertained if I'm that desperate to sit in a hotel room(?!). Most likely an mp3 player or a book is all I need in-flight and I'll be out doing things (business or tourist related) when I'm traveling so uber high-end gaming laptops at exorbitant prices just don't really have a use for me, or I'd imagine for most folks.
    Reply
  • Ender17 - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    The graphs would be a lot easier to read if they were labeled with the actual CPU speed instead of Bin 1, Bin 2... Reply
  • redbone75 - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    Agreed. Just as easy to put 2.33 - 3.16 as it is to do Bin-0 - Bin-5. Actually, you save a character :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    Given that the clock speeds are more of a request than an actual result, I didn't want to use those. I couldn't actually see if throttling was occurring during the game benchmarks, but the scores seem to indicate that the CPU was throttling at the Bin-4 and Bin-5 results on some games.

    The names I used came from discussions with Dell, where they referred to the clock speeds as "Bin + 3", but I used a plus sign instead. Given that the scores are all pretty close on many benchmarks, I didn't think too much about it.
    Reply

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