Dell DTR Laptop Shootout - M1710 vs. E1705

by Jarred Walton on 5/30/2006 1:30 PM EST


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  • sillyfox - Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - link

    The laptop is rather a good laptop except for short battery life
    I would love to order one battery replacement from: DELL Inspiron E1705 Battery">
  • Mday - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    I received my 1705 today. HORRIBLE backlight bleeding from the bottom and left side. Effectively the lower left corner is messed up. There is about a half inch border tapering to both corners on the bottom with the left corner having a similar effect moving up from the bottom.

    And backlight bleeding is not at all acceptable even if other models exhibit it. Minor bleeding is tolerable, but the one I received looks really bad.
  • jonbjerke - Monday, June 05, 2006 - link

    I wish this article came out a month ago - I ordered my video card with the x1400. So far I haven't had any video issues - but the most advanced game I play is Civ4. Can you use the regular ATI Catalyst drivers, or do you need to wait for the Dell issued versions?

    Is there a FAQ somewhere on the upgrade options for video card/CPU?

  • Nfarce - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    A month ago I bought a 1705 with coupon codes from and paid about $1350 to the door. Here are the specs:

    - 1.83
    - x1400
    - 1GB 533
    - 80GB 7200
    - WUGXA

    I wish I had waited for this article, because I realize the mistake of not upgrading to a GeForce Go chipset. Memory upgrade to 2GB 667 or a larger 7200 drive and then eBay the spare parts? No problem. However, I thought down the road I could just NewEgg a GeForce upgrade. Apparently, that's not so easy. This laptop is used primarily as a mobile DVD watching/office app/video-pic editing machine. The few games I have loaded are of older engines like Return To Castle Wolfenstein, so I'm not having issues with the x1400 performance whatsoever.

    That said, the WUGXA display has issues with reflection (not mentioned in the review). It's like black glass. At night though, especially while on an airplane, watching a movie on such a wuparse resolution is the bomb, especially when others are eyeballing it.

    I'm disappointed that the video upgrade is not as easy as expected, but hey, I can always eBay this thing. Besides, as the article mentioned for others, my real gaming systems are desktops. But for portable gaming for those like me who are stuck in hotels on biz trips, these ain't too shabby.

    There is no true replacement for desktop power, and IMO, it will be a long time coming before (if) it ever happens. You can only pack so much power in a small package. Portability has it's limitations, as it always has
  • araczynski - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    nice, but even if i was filthy rich i'd still have no use for it in terms of gaming, the only segment i see drooling on this is the one of college students, who typically don't have the luxury of large rooms where they can setup a real desktop solution (7.1 speakers, perhaps a projector, etc). They are also usually eager to get into debt. Reply
  • hardwareguy - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    I don't really understand why you turned off the sound in some game benchmarks. No one in the real world is going to turn off the sound to get better frame rates. I could understand in a sound card test maybe, but not when you're just looking at a video card or laptop. Reply
  • RedStar - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    On the Nvidia site:">

    you will see that the ramdac is rated the same -- 400MHz NOT 260.

    To me that is a serious underclock the same as apple did and got noted for.

    Get the latest mobileforce drivers and you can get 366Mhz core optimum.

    But with anandtech not even mentioning this and saying there are only 12 pixelpipes..when the reference data would seem to suggest otherwise, i need a definitive answer. I and a whole bunch of others have been trying to get the real deal on this laptop since january :)

    What others:

    well follow this thread:">

    (prolly the best place to get info on the i9400/e1705)

    As to the person that said gamers who want DTR's is miniscule.... please! :)
    Gamers very much do want to switch to laptops --and the latest lappies are starting to make that possible. Why sell gaming DTR versions (with a nice price premium) if there is no market for them? :))

    YES DELL has gotten a bad rap for support lately. That's why you buy several years of customer care warranty. You don't have to worry if something goes wrong. Paying for the kind of warranty that used to be free is but a sign of the current times for most companies.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    This laptop has the GeForce Go 7800... *NOT* the GTX version. Big difference right there. The Go 7800 GTX packs more pipelines (24/8 pixel/vertex). Also, reporting RAMDAC speed is totally useless: everyone has 400 MHz RAMDACs these days. RAMDACs are used for converting your digital signal into an analog signal for your monitor. What you really want to know is the core clock speeds and RAM clock speeds.

    Dell could have used faster RAM and increased the core clock, but it would have been at the cost of battery life, heat, power requirements, and possibly stability. Whereas NVIDIA's reference chart indicates that the 7800 Go can have 1100 MHz RAM, the E1705 sets the RAM at 658 MHz. The core? NVIDIA reports 400 MHz and 16 pixel pipelines/6 vertex. Dell runs at 250 MHz, which makes it very slow. You can always try overclocking, of course, voltmodding, etc. If you get the core up to 400 MHz, it would be much better for gaming and possibly would make the 7900 GS less necessary. The GPU RAM speed is still going to be a limiting factor.
  • RedStar - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    i know it is the not the gtx version. Which is why i said the go 7800 and not the go 7800gtx :)

    from the only stats i could find at the time, i assumed that the go 7800 would be very much like the 7800 GT.

    as you can see from the link...the go 7800 is rated at a core of 400 NOT 260!

  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    NVIDIA's rating of 400 MHz does not mean manufacturers have to run it that fast. The thermal spec of a 400 MHz G70 is going to be substantially higher than that of a 250 MHz version. If the laptop capable of handling such a graphics card? Almost certainly, but you would need to upgrade the power brick to the 130 W model if you want to be safe -- the current design already comes close to 90 W peak power draw, and increasing GPU clock speeds by 60% will almost certainly push it over the 90 W mark. Reply
  • RedStar - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    "NVIDIA's rating of 400 MHz does not mean manufacturers have to run it that fast"

    Nvidia's rating very much means the mobile part is capable of 400Mhz --anything less is an underclock.

    Why on earth would nvidia publish a spec with the expectation that no one would follow it?
    Heck, they could just say we have an 1000Mhz mobile core but too bad everyone will make it go 180Mhz.

    Since people are running the go 7800 at 390+MHz without a power upgrade, i would have to say you are very much mistaken about the power draw.

    But, i would say the primary issue was two fold.

    1)Heat output (thermal profile)
    2)To differentiate the product enough from Dell's similiar but ultra expensive XPS line
    (of the same february time frame)

    I, and others, tend to believe dell was concerned more about #2.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link

    NVIDIA wants to put the best face on its product. Just because the chip will run at 400 MHz doesn't mean it can do so within the thermal envelope a manufacturer has for a laptop. I've heard people complain about overheating issues with high-end laptops already, so if Dell plays it a bit safe I won't complain too loudly. I'd really like 1000 MHz RAM with a 333 core say over 400 core and 650-700 RAM.

    As for protecting the XPS line, the 7900 GS basically fills in the gap. I personally think the GF Go 7800 is going into E1705 because Dell had a bunch of extras from older XPS models. They're downclocking them to reduce power and heat. At 94W measured peak, I would certainly be concerned about long-term usage of a 90W power brick. Unless the 90W rating is conservative, but then why have a 130W for the XPS line?

    Anyway, look at the battery life of the 7800 Go compared to the 7900 GTX Go, and then increase the GPU performance by 60%. If you can't have the GPU fall back to the same level (1.1 V and 100 MHz core/658 MHz RAM or something), there are good reasons to not ship a faster GPU. I *still* don't recommend the 7800 Go version, as you would be better with either more battery life (X1400) or better gaming (7900 GS). I just tested what I was sent.
  • RedStar - Thursday, June 01, 2006 - link

    I would agree, the introduction of the 7900GS makes this moot to everyone --except those that bought the i9400 when it first came out and had only the go7800 to choose from (with no reviews yet available --except for the one that said the go 7800 was equal to the ati x1400 [we all then found out why --Dell's 260 core!!]).

    The limited possibility of a 7900GS upgrade sounds, at least, hopeful.

  • Andyvan - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    I bought my wife an E1705 a couple of months ago. She doesn't game, so I went with the MX1400. I also went with the slower disk, hoping that would yield lower heat/noise, and longer battery life. I'm curious as to whether I chose well.

    -- Andyvan
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    The 7200 RPM HDD kicks power draw up about 2 W when it's active versus sleeping. Really, most laptop parts are already very low power. The X1400 consumes 28W total when idle - most desktops use that much just for the motherboard. The 7200 RPM drives will run slightly warmer than the 5400 RPM models, but they are also about 30% faster in HDD performance. Adding more RAM will often make HDD performance less important, but if you copy files around on the HDD you will definitely notice the difference. Reply
  • Warder45 - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    What about the noise difference in 5400 vs 7200? I've heard that the 7200 HD's can be a lot louder. Reply
  • Yianaki - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    Why can't you have a top of the line 7900 GTX and when watching a DVD or the xp desktop doesn't the graphics card go into basically a sleep mode and turn of almost all the memory. HELL why don't they add a crappy additional teeny transistor space to the gpu chip if it is sooo hard to get the power requirements down on the main GPU. That way they can turn off most of the ram and the gpu and just use this additional teeny transistor space to run simple XP desktop functions or while playing DVD's. I mean a simple xp desktop functions can't take up that much die space. I simply don't get it. I mean this is like the nth graphics card from nvidia and yet it still sucks up the power. I have the horrible intel onboard graphics on my laptop and apart from it eating up some of my precious ram I am EXTREMELY happy with it doing regular desktop XP tasks. Sucks ass for gaming of course. I mean how hard is it for nvidia to totally turn off pretty much all of the GPU when just in desktop mode. Is the huge power difference just because of the high performance memory used? There really shouldn't be a penalty for getting top o' the line graphics I believe. Reply
  • mindless1 - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    From the article,
    "Why would anyone want to get the X1400 in such a laptop? Obviously, because it uses far less power than even the GeForce Go 7800."

    More like, most people are not gamers and of those who are, many will prefer gaming on their desktop. The % of people that will buy a laptop with gaming in mind is miniscule, and that brings up the other puzzling part about so many gaming benchmarks of laptops instead of more useful things like HDD & office productivity. Sure, anything can run office but what about working with giant databases, or wifi range, or most of the parameters that matter to most prospective laptop buyers. Gaming just isn't important at all if it were the same price. Now subtract the price difference and you see why anyone, actually most people do not pay for the gaming GPU inside.
  • Blahman - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    Hardly... notebook sales have surpassed desktop sales recently.

    Desktops are on the way out if you ask me. Even if you're a gamer. There are notebooks out there already that have SLI, and the Core Duo architecture is the future of all Intel processors, and it STARTED in notebooks.

    Every new notebook generation closes the performance and price gap between desktops and notebooks.

    I recently configured and ordered a nice E1705 with the 7900 GS (which I really wish AnandTech had included in the benchmarks, it's more than twice as fast as the 7800 Go) for $1250 (with a $750 coupon code). Skimp on the RAM and go for a $180 aftermarket 2GB PC2-5300 upgrade.

    Later on down the road you will be able to upgrade to Merom, and possibly the 7900 GTX or G80M. For now Dell is keeping their spare 7900 GTXs for warranty repairs and aren't currently for sale, but like the last generation with the 7800 GTX, it may be available in the future from Dell Spare Parts.

    For tons of more info about these models check out">the Dell 17" Notebooks section at
  • ElFenix - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    who buys a 9 pound notebook with somewhat horrific battery life regardless unless they're gaming? an external display hooked up to a 15" or 14" 6 pound notebook would be far more useful to the user you're describing.

    and don't forget that this IS a gaming oriented website.
  • NullSubroutine - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    In the article the author mentioned the painfulness of disassembling the laptop system, however I disagree. While not being two thumb screws like on some desktops, after taking apart the laptop (which doesnt void your warrenty, as tell had me disassemble so to take the CD/DVD drive in and out to fix a glitch) after a few times, it becomes a breeze. I can take it apart in less than a minute.

    I would have liked to have seen the comparison of the 7900 GS vs the 7800. As a early i9400 buyer, I was plagued with the 7800 (didnt realize it wasnt the 7800 Go GTX until after it was purchased), there is some good info on i think its called notebookforums or something on how to overclock your gpu with some volt mods. I could get 485/965 on 1.3 volt mod, but it gets hot, and accept a 450/960 on 1.2v (default is 1.1) the 130watt psu helps (I highly recommend) and you should prop up your laptop. I use two 'crystal light cup packs' under each backside pad; I actually perfer it propped as it is easier to type with the backside elevated a bit.

    Unfortunetely, dell isnt shipping the 7900 Go GTX, otherwise you could drop that video card right into an older shipping model of the i9400. You can always slightly mod your case and put the 7800 Go GTX in there...but I'm personally gonna wait (and save money) to get the 7900 Go GTX later, or get the 8800 Go GTX sometime later this year if it is released (dell will offer it for the m1710 and it will fit right into the i9400). But this is only if I really decide to droop myself low enough to switch to Vista....shutters....I really hate MS for making DX10 Vista only.

    Also, Dell said the Memron will work perfectly (needing at most a bios update) with either laptop.
  • ElFenix - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    and what pipe configuration does it have?

  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    20 pixel, 7 vertex (I think), 375/1000 clocks are typical. I'm not positive what the Dell model has on clocks, as there is some variation, but it should still be quite a bit faster than the GF Go 7800. I figure the GF Go 7900 GTX adds another 20-30% in performance, however, as it has even higher clocks (500/1200 with 24/8 pipelines). Reply
  • anandlurker - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    I'm glad that Anandtech include Source DoD for benchmarking, i love this game but when i bought my $300 7800gt just to play this game, the results were mediocre and rather disappointing for this kinda of price. I hope future benchmark from Anandtech include this game, it's a nice simple multiplayer game that seems to render 7800 series useless(pricewise).

  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    The fastest scores I've seen on DODS top out at around 67 FPS with audio enabled. (Overclocked FX-62 running 3.08 GHz.) The game is very CPU limited, at least with any reasonable GPU. That said, I find 40 FPS to be very playable on this particular title, though lots of people want higher frame rates. Reply
  • turkster - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    you dont even need the modified INF drivers, the installed Nvidia drivers that came with my M1710 will allow me fix aspect ratio and set scaling options without any problem.

    For those interested my M1710 (T2500 2Ghz, 2GB RAM) with 7900GS graphics card scored 3805 in 3dmark06 straight out of the box with no tweaks or new drivers etc. This seems a quite respectable score and puts it considerably ahead of the 7800go. I havent done any further benchmarks yet but my experience so far shows that it is quite capable of playing FEAR at 1920x1200 4xAA perfectly smoothly, similarly FarCry and HL2. As such it would seems like quite a good option for those who cant quite stomach the rather steep price of 7900GTX.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    So there is an option to do 1:1 scaling - I've removed the paragraph on this. I would have never thought to look in the drivers for this, and it certainly could be placed in a more prominent position. I guess I'm just used to older laptops that did this via BIOS/keyboard shortcuts. (I'm getting old.... LOL) Reply
  • mrSHEiK124 - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    You actually can have the laptop scale resolution while preserving aspect ratio, you just need to install nVIDIA's desktop drivers w/the modified INF that allows them to run on mobile parts and then you can use the scaling settings built into the drivers. Reply
  • ahmshaegar - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    Now I don't know about the Nvidia-based laptops, but I have the Dell Inspiron E1505 (with ATI x1400 Mobility) and to have the aspect resolution preserved when changing resolutions, there's an option in the control panels (both CCC and the old ATI control panels have the option to preserve aspect ratio when changing resolutions.) I'm guessing that it would be the same for Nvidia. Reply
  • Thor86 - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    So, instead of reviewing DTRs, which it seems no-one really cares about, how about a review of ultra-portables? Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    Jarred will be reviewing these in the near future. Reply
  • tthiel - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    I've been issued plenty of Dell laptops at the various companies I have worked for and they were all cheap plasticky junk. I've lost track of how many died on me. I was just given a new Thinkpad T43P and it is much better. Very well made, rock solid. So many of the engineers where I work wanted those instead of Dells that they had to restructure the ordering process and images to take care of all the new Thinkpads. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 - link

    I've heard about problems with ThinkPads now that Lenovo has taken over. (I haven't used any personally, so I can't say for sure.) I have also used many of the older Inspiron models, and have been unimpressed. These are definitely in a different league, however -- the cheap plastic case (at least on top) has been replaced by aluminum, for example. The problem is that most businesses don't buy higher end Dell laptops; they go with the more value oriented offerings, and whenever prices cut you can be sure that quality is cut as well.

    We're hoping to expand our mobile coverage in the future, so this is merely the beginning. As time goes on, we'll have more products that we can directly compare new offerings with. For now, I'm generally impressed with what the E1705 offers. Impressed enough that I recommended one to a family member, after browsing around looking for a suitable equivalent. Getting a large laptop with a 17 inch (or larger) display, 1920x1200 resolution, dual core processor, etc. is pretty difficult right now. Getting one with 2 GB of RAM for $2300 is even more difficult. Not everyone wants a laptop this large, certainly, but for those that do the E1705 is quite good.
  • jenson - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    when cheap laptops really got a good shake, with many models looking and behaving a lot more like their costly cousins than in the past. Reply

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