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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  • Tommyguns - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    $4000 for a laptop to play games on?!
    Not trying to bash the artical, but whats the point of testing products if the actual market niche for such products is sooooo freaking small!?

    $2000, on a laptop is a lot of money. adding in the fact it needs to play games, do that many people really spend past 3k on one? let alone 4k+?

    If 10-20total fps in DX9 games is worth $2000, then someone let me know...

    Dell inspiron E1705 with a C2D T7200, 7900GS vid card, gig of ram, 9cell + 6cell battery, DVDRW, vista home pre., 17 inch UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA Display, wireless N card,and a few other odds and ends can be had for $1875. Toss in one of the coupons available online, like the $500 off and its just shy of $1400 for a decently effective gaming laptop. is it the best buy? idont know, but the best well rounded one. also, the XPS 17inch laptop on dells site, with the same parts, retails for around $2500....wtf? yes, no coupon...but still.... I like dell, yet dislike them equaly as much.

    Thus, review a 7900gs dell offering so us poor people can see what an additional $1200+, really can do...Thanks... I would buy tommorow if i knew what all these machines did in terms of gpu power
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Part of the point of the article was to show that the added CPU speed did little to nothing for gaming, so if you're interested in a gaming laptop I'd recommend getting something like the XPS M1710 but sticking with a T7200 and just maxing out the GPU. You can do that for under $3000. Also remember that the configuration as tested has a $500 Blu-ray drive thrown in that many won't care about. So, cut down the CPU ($700) and the BRD ($500) and it's a lot more reasonable. Reply
  • ziddey - Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - link

    Hi, this is definitely an interesting article, but I was a little disappointed in how it was presented and the testing done on it. I hope to not offend, but if you still have the ability to retest further, here's some ideas.

    So we're talking about throttling. If that's the case, how hot is it getting? You can track coretemps of meroms. The popular rmclock can also show any form of throttling in log form as well, and also shows it in graphical format as well. It also features ability to manipulate some finer features of it, although of course, at your own risk.

    Further, I'm assuming this is only possible on upwards unlocked cpu's. In that event, could you just use something like crystal cpuid to change the multiplier?

    Most significantly, how about this: If temperatures are still in line (and based on the track record of conroes, I see no reason they shouldn't, as long as vcore is as low as merom's are), can you set to maximum overclock in bios, and then use rmclock to force maximum multiplier while on AC
    Reply
  • Deusfaux - Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - link

    either you're homeless or you have an excessive amount of money and a butler or i dont know what

    but for all the reasons that make a laptop advantageous over a desktop, you strip them all away by attempting to make it one of the gaming variety.

    ridiculous cost
    battery life
    size
    weight
    hardly upgradeable

    I feel bad for the continual string of people who are convinced they can get all the benefits of a powerful desktop in a portable package (and not end up being inferior in every aspect)

    Get a laptop that has good portability, get a powerful desktop for gaming. dont try to do both in one.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    sounds like its a nice laptop for 1280x800 gaming. curious what the screen looks like at that resolution, in comparison to the native resolution 'sharpness'. Does it scale very well or look as crappy as you'd expect the desktop to look at that resolution? Reply
  • suryad - Thursday, May 10, 2007 - link

    More like 1920 x 1200 gaming all except for Stalker which I dont care for much anyway. I am getting this bad boy tomorrow or next week Monday. Can't wait. Worst part is the wait to receive it in your hands...hope i can last the weekend. Also the 3dmark scores area bit low...ntoebooforums people are reporting slightly higher scores...but anywho...super speed here I come! Reply
  • kalrith - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    The spec page on page 2 shows *q* every place that quotation marks should be. Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    Fixed, sorry about that, we are on a new engine now, bugs still seem to pop up. ;) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    Heh... Gary's being nice to me. I screwed up my own table by reusing parts of an old article and forgetting to properly "convert" the generated HTML file into a clean format. That's what sleep deprivation will get you. Reply
  • redfirebird15 - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - link

    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 must be a typo.
    Reply

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