Introduction

Several weeks ago, we reviewed the Dell XPS M1710 laptop. The overall performance and features are impressive, but not everyone wants a laptop with a glowing XPS logo. There are also plenty of people out there that would like a large desktop replacement notebook, but they really don't care that much about gaming performance. Even the lowest end XPS laptop still packs quite a bit of gaming power, and while Windows Vista will benefit from having a faster 3D accelerator, it's not due until early 2007, and it still isn't clear which currently available graphics solutions will truly allow you to get the most out of Vista.

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So what happens if you start with the XPS M1710, drop the fancy paint job, get rid of the glowing lights, downgrade the graphics a bit, but keep everything else the same? The answer is the Dell Inspiron E1705, and quite a few of you have already asked how they compare. The simple answer is that the two are basically identical, other than the bling-bling and graphics card options. The M1710 is essentially the E1705 with most of the high-end component choices. The XPS line also adds the option of choosing a GeForce Go 7900 GTX 512MB graphics card, whereas the Inspiron E1705 tops out with the GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB.

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While that quick explanation of things does summarize the situation nicely, it glazes over many of the details. For example, how does the faster graphics card affect gaming performance? Which one has better battery life? Does the XPS get noticeably hotter than the E1705? These are all important questions, and we will do our best to provide answers in this follow-up article to the initial M1710 review. We also have two versions of the E1705, one with a GeForce Go 7800 GPU and the other with ATI's Radeon Mobility X1400.

Besides comparing the E1705 and the M1710, we will also take a closer look at the construction of both systems, and we will provide more information on the included components and overall system design. Naturally, both of these laptops are still in the desktop replacement (DTR) category, so if you're looking for a thin and light notebook computer, you will want to look elsewhere. (Dell also has the Inspiron E1505, which reduces the size by going with a 15 inch display.) There are also bigger, faster DTR computers available, so if you want performance and portability above all else, there are perhaps better options. However, the E1705 in particular strikes a good balance between performance, size, and battery life while maintaining a price that, while not cheap, is far more palatable than most of the alternatives.

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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 http://www.hunt360.net/inspiron-e1705.htm">http://www.hunt360.net/inspiron-e1705.htm
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
  • Nfarce - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    A month ago I bought a 1705 with coupon codes from Dealcatcher.com 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
    Reply
  • 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:

    http://www.nvidia.com/page/go_7800gtx.html">http://www.nvidia.com/page/go_7800gtx.html

    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:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=3...">http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=3...

    (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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!

    :)
    Reply
  • 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

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