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  • SteelCity1981 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Intel Core i7-720QM
    (4x1.6GHz, 45nm, 8MB L3, Turbo to 2.8GHz, 45W)

    It should be....

    Intel Core i7-720QM
    (4x1.6GHz, 45nm, 6MB L3, Turbo to 2.8GHz, 45W)

    The Intel Core i7-72xQM series use only 6MB of L3 cache.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Fixed. Reply
  • InternetGeek - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Hi Guys,

    I noticed the benchmarks do not include the HP Pavillion 17". Is it because it was too slow or just not available for the benchmarks?

    Still reading the review...
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    It's a case of reviewing what we've received... or in this case, what Dustin bought for himself. The reason he didn't even consider the Pavilion 17 is because he's a multimedia (video) user. He wanted quad-core i7, but he also needs Firewire support and would really like ExpressCard/34 as well. The Pavilion 17 lacks both features. Reply
  • kmmatney - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    I would love to get a new laptop, but my current Dell, which is over 3 years old, has a 17" 1920 x 1200 screen. Giving up those 300 vertical pixels is going to suck. I really wish they would go back to 16:10 screens, at least for laptops.

    I have to say my Dell Inspiron 9400, with a merom T7200, has been very good. It has taken a tremendous amount of travel and abuse (a 6 foot drop onto a concrete floor once) and has held up well. My next machine will be another Dell laptop, if I can help it, but I really hate the vertial screen resolutions.
  • B3an - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    If you read the display page you would have seen that you can choose a 1080p res display. Still less pixels but not many.

    I agree about 16:10, it's much better.
  • Nfarce - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    That's exactly what he's referring too (as I did below): 1920x1080 vs. 1920x1200.

    Oh and one other thing I forgot to mention for comparison's sake to the older Dell Inspirons of 2006-2007 E-series: even a 15" E1505 could be optioned with a 1920x1200 high resolution display.
  • Nfarce - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    I agree w/kmmatney. I also have a 17" Inspiron (E1705 that's 4 1/2 years old now with ATi x1300 and T7200). It ran the older games like HL2 and Return To Castle Wolfenstein great at 1920x1200. I still use it as a gaming machine for older games when I get the nostalgic feeling. But the days of 1920x1200 are drawing to a close even for regular LCDs, of which I have a 26" Samsung. Everything nowadays is at 1920x1080. Can anyone offer a logical explanation for that? I'm really bothered by this because I use Microsoft FSX a lot and 16x9 aspect resolution pinches the cockpit gauges somewhat. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Logical? Well, it's simply a case of the LCD panel makers being able to get more displays out of a sheet of glass substrate with 16:9 than with 16:10. If you do the math, of course, a 17" 16:10 panel is around 130 in^2 and a 17.3" 1080p panel is 128 in^2, but the glass sheets they're made from (with all the LCD circuitry and such) may be better sized for the wider+narrower panels.

    The other side of the equation is that with movies going widescreen, and the push for PCs to become more multimedia capable, WS displays make sense. That doesn't mean 16:9 is better than 16:10, but in some marketing departments....
  • erple2 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    <quote>The other side of the equation is that with movies going widescreen, and the push for PCs to become more multimedia capable, WS displays make sense.</quote>

    Normally, I'd agree, but movies are generally far more than 16:9 AR. They're generally in the anamorphic (2.33:1) or 1.87:1 (not the 1.78:1, aka 16:9).

    I think that your second guess (that the glass made for LCD panels lends itself better to 16:9) is probably the right one. I also suspect that became a circular "problem" - Someone somewhere decided to try 16:9 instead of 16:10, marketed that as the AR used for HD (720p or 1080p), then found out it was cheaper to make (for the same "size"), then stuck with it.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    That's why I said "but in some marketing departments..." In theory all the widescreen movies are a better fit for WS LCDs. The reality is that most Blu-ray and DVDs are now using 2.33 as you point out. Not to mention, for laptops it's crazy to pretend that their primary use is as movie devices IMO. If I want to watch a movie from a laptop, either I'm on a plane, or I'm hooking it up to an HDTV. Reply
  • seanleeforever - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    the wider the screen, the less area it has giving the same diagonal size. the entire wide screen thing is to fool the average consumer, simple enough, the "better for movie experience" "better for multimedia" are all bunch of BS.
    do the calculation you self, a 16:9 screen will have 6% diagonal size than a similar sized 4:3 screen. a 15 inch 4:3 screen can be re-branded as 16 inch 16:9 Wide screen. or simply put, a regular screen needs to be 12.4% larger in area in order to claim the same diagonal size. most Americans are too stupid to do pythagorean theorem and believe 16inch must be larger than 15 inch, let alone the "WIDE SCREEN".
  • shamans33 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    "Studio 17 features two drive bays, allowing you to continue to use the existing drive for storage. Mine didn't come with the drive tray necessary to use the second bay, but that accessory can be purchased fairly cheaply online."

    Got any links? :)
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Let me know if this works: Reply
  • cknobman - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    How you omit the Acer 5740G series game fps scores from the comparison when it was used for general performance comparison.

    The Acer 5740G series is a direct competitor to the studio 17. Same size and similar internal components.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Well, the 7740G is more of a competitor, since it's 17.3". The 5740G is now discontinued, unfortunately, at least the model with HD 5650. (Actually, I think the 7740G is now phased out as well and online vendors are just clearing remaining inventory.) Probably your best bet is this 7740G (which may disappear soon):

    As for why the 5740G isn't in the gaming benchmarks, we revamped our gaming suite recently. We had some scores for the 5740G in DiRT 2, L4D2, ME2, and STALKER: CoP. We don't have the laptop anymore, though, so some of the test results aren't at the same settings we're now using, and we don't have BFBC2 or SC2 results. That's why we pulled it from the charts. You can find the previous results here, but not all the scores are at the same settings (i.e. "high" is redefined now):

    We do have another laptop with an HD 5650 we're reviewing and that should be up shortly. The 5650 is obviously faster than the 4650, but getting it with a system that has everything else you want is the difficulty. Dustin wants Firewire and ExpressCard, which limits options quite a bit.
  • Jambe - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Glossy = no buy.

    I'm being a stickler wrt this issue.

    Unfortunately that largely limits me to the utilitarian Lenovo devices...
  • crimson117 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Why would you buy this thing when you can get a G73 or an Acer Extensa 368d for the same price or a little more? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Two words: Firewire, ExpressCard.

    Some more words: I can't fine the Acer Extensa in stock anywhere with a quick Google search; is it EOL now? As for the G73, it's bigger and faster, and it even has a better LCD on the 1080p model, but the least expensive version is $1300 at Best Buy (plus tax) and it comes with the same level of 900p LCD. That's $350 more than what Dustin paid for the Studio 17, and the Dell gets better battery life in addition to the above two words. :)
  • CSMR - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Useful review, except the title says "Dell Studio 17: When Gaming Isn't Enough", and then half the review is hardcore 3D gaming benchmarks! If even a non-gaming review is mostly about gaming, you give the site a bad name!

    In general people who care about display quality, and read charts before buying, would get the B+RG 1080p display, so would probably be more interested in charts on that.

    Also there's a BIOS problem I've heard in this model, namely that the fan turns off and on even in idle or under light loads. The temperatures are set badly: too low, not well ramped and at too close a range so the switching is frequent. It would be useful to know if you get this problem too.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    We list the gaming results mostly for people that *are* interested in those areas. We've decided to settle on testing "midrange" GPUs at Low, Medium, and High settings. We could put all the results on one page, but then it would be a really long page. Anyway, if you go by word count, the article is 3600 words long, and the gaming and graphics pages comprise a total of 800 words over four pages. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    I did when I first got the Studio 17, but the most recent BIOS update largely alleviated that issue. The thing runs a little toasty, but it's a huge notebook and the extended battery makes it abundantly clear it's not supposed to be used on your lap.

    I did my research before picking this one up, and haven't run into that BIOS issue or the AC adaptor issue.
  • synaesthetic - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Why does this not have a Mobility Radeon 5850? Or at least a 5830? There's more than enough room, if a 5830 can be shoved into an Envy 15...

    What a waste.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Price, heat, and battery life.

    The Studio 17 is fairly large, but compared to some gaming notebooks it's actually not as bulky. And I can tell you the cooling system is on the "eh" side...going to a high-end GPU like that would tax it too much.

    Also, 5830/50/70 all play hell on the battery, as the G73 results demonstrate.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Now if he made the argument for HD 5650 or *maybe* 5730, that would be reasonable. Those aren't as fast as the 5800 series, but they're faster than old 4650. Of course, Dustin bought this as a bargain at Best Buy, which is probably why he has the older 4650... not that 560v is any different. Reply
  • seapeople - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Yay, some love for 17 inchers! I'm glad you didn't go down the "Any laptop over 14 inches is a behemoth tank that you need a fork lift to carry around" road. Even if you did claim that battery life doesn't matter on a big laptop.... which is fairly silly. A long battery life on this laptop means the same as any other laptop -- that when you take it with you somewhere, you don't need to get out (or bring) the charger, which is even bigger on something like this.

    Also, I can fit my 17" Dell in a backpack which is small enough to count as your "personal bag" on an airplane (i.e., fits under the seat). Battery life is somewhat important in airports considering the lack of outlets.
  • Lingyis - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    well, that's not cool. i just bought a studio 17 a couple days ago based on anandtech. really shouldn't do that too often to maintain anandtech's good reputation.

    fortunately, my specs are completely different. i5-520, no discrete graphics card, RGB 1080. the truth is that i bought it pretty much 99% for the RGB 1080 screen, which if it's anything like the XPS 16, should be awesome (XPS 16 no longer offers RGB screen as an option). another reason for the 17' is so that i don't need to lug around a numpad with me.

    i won't do any gaming (well, nothing graphics intensive anyway) on the machine, pretty much using it either to remotely log on to work machines or run some local calculation jobs (mostly single-threaded) so hopefully battery life would be quite a bit better than what's tested here.

    so fingers crossed. i don't think i'll like the keyboard (tried it out at best buy) but hopefully i'll get used to it and i'll end up loving the screen and, as a result, the laptop. i guess worst case i'll just get a keyboard when i'm not on the road.

    that's the thing--studio 17's have so many configurations. i probably have buyer's bias at this point, but to go back on your rec based on just one config is just... not worth the humble pie.

    ps. XPS 16 only has the "WLED" option these days, which i don't know how it's different from regular LED. any idea how it stacks up to the "RGB LED"?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure I understand how I'm reneging on my rec, especially since I'm actually using it myself and kept it. I love mine.

    How am I reneging?
  • Lingyis - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - link

    okay i guess you're not. i misread one of the lines.

    i have a question though: do you have a fan issue? i just got mine yesterday and the fan goes on and off every 10 seconds or so and it's driving me absolutely nuts. i'm not running anything intensive, just browsing the web or something.
  • Lingyis - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - link

    well okay i contacted dell customer support they said they'll send somebody to replace the fan unit. hopefully the resolves the issue.

    the guy was really pushy trying to sell me the complete warranty plan. but i'm thinking of replacing the hard drive with a SSD at some point in the future so i don't think it's worth the money.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - link

    It's my understanding the most recent BIOS should've fixed the fan issue. I don't really have that problem with mine. Reply
  • Lingyis - Thursday, September 02, 2010 - link

    well, the technician came but wasn't able to fix it so dell is sending me a replacement machine in 10 days or so.

    i hope the one i currently have just happens to be a lemon.

    that aside, the screen is incredible. i'm seeing purple colors i've never seen before on a computer screen. deep blues are also nice.

    battery life is definitely short... will see if the replacement machine does better.
  • Lingyis - Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - link

    Well, i got my replacement. It has the exact same issue.

    Are you sure you don't have a fan problem?

    My test case is actually your website. Using Internet Explorer, go to, and cycle through the "latest post" graphics. Does you fan come on every time you click on the "Next" triangle?

    Because on mine, and both of mine that I got in the mail, the fan goes on reproducibly. You click, the picutre cycles, the fan goes on for 2 seconds, goes off. You click again, same thing happened again.

    I tried it on a bunch of other computers and laptops none seem to have that issue.

    Even if it's an IE issue, the fan still comes on way too much. Like as it goes through setup, the fan would come on quite a bit, but again, only a few seconds at a time.

    On this newest Studio 17 I just received, I imagine the BIOS is up-to-date, just as my last Studio 17. So I haven't checked, or maybe I'm too upset to bother, so maybe I'll eat my words tomorrow when I contact customer support and a BIOS update fixes things.

    If not, I'll try my best to get my money back from Dell, which is unfortunately because I am really liking the screen and I've gotten used to the keyboard. I spent $1500 on this (maxing out most specs) and I'm not going to be happy with the annoying fan.
  • Lingyis - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    Okay, so the replacement machine has the exact same issue and couldn't be fixed. So I'm returning for a refund. Which is too bad because I'm really starting to like the machine, but the fan is too annoying to bear. Reply
  • bijeshn - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link


    "Thankfully, you can toggle them back to being proper function keys in the BIOS. ..."

    You don't have to take the trouble of going to BIOS to change it. You can toggle them in the Mobility Center itself.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    It is an atrocity for Dell to only put 1360x768 in Inspiron 15.6" models. They might as well include 256MB RAM and call it a day. I still love my D610 screen, a 14.1" 1400x1050.

    When a $255 netbook has a 10.1" 1024x600, midrange Dells with crappy resolution are pointless.

    The cheapest Dell 17" has 1600x900 for $530. 1920x1080 brings it up to $850!

    Another "WTF" is, didn't Dell get the memo about SSDs? Give an X25-M 80GB option for +$150.
  • seapeople - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    Yes, it's amazing that Dell, alone out of all the manufacturers of computers, uses a 1360x768 screen on 15" laptops. You'd think that since nobody else uses such a screen, Dell wouldn't dare think about using it. This is fully Dell's fault, a blame attributable to no other. Considering that they don't even make LCD panels, I'm sure they had to look far and wide to find these ultra rare, uncommon, not very often used 1360x768 panels. You'd think they'd take the easy way out and just put on the same resolution panels as everyone else. But no, not Dell. Reply
  • tvdang7 - Sunday, August 29, 2010 - link

    my studio xps 16 only gets about 2-2.5 hours of internet usage or about 2 hours with video play back. with a 9 cell. i do not get how the studio 17 gets about an hour + more than it with equal specs. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, August 29, 2010 - link

    That's about in line with what I tested on the Studio XPS 16 back in the day:

    My guess is that the RGB LED backlighting (even at 100nits) uses more power than white LEDs. It's also likely that in the past 18 months Dell has managed to tune power requirements such that the latest laptops use less power than their older counterparts.
  • tvdang7 - Monday, August 30, 2010 - link

    mine is wled not rgb. so we have about equal specs except that i have the 5730 video card which draws less power than the 4650. So its blowing my mind. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, September 03, 2010 - link

    I'd love to have basically this exact same laptop in a 15" Variant. I'd pay for the 1080p screen, and I'd even be ok with a mobile hyperthreaded dual core CPU, like the Core i7620. This type of laptop is exactly the class I want, good for media purposes, viewing and editing, and still able to play all the games I play. I REALLY REALLY don't care if it can max out crysis. As long as it plays the games, even if the graphics settings are on minimum, then I'm good. My desktop can handle all that eye candy. Reply

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