Noise and Heat

If you've been wondering why we even bothered to include the X1400 configuration in this article - since it's completely outclassed by either of its big brothers - we're finally getting to some benchmarks where it can turn the tables. We'll start with the more mundane noise levels and temperatures before we get to power draw. In order to provide full load situations, we ran two instances of Folding@Home on the CPU and looped 3DMark05 in the foreground.


System Noise - Load

Despite having substantially different graphics processors, the noise levels on all three systems are pretty comparable. The two GeForce configurations get slightly louder at full load, but when idling all three computers drop below 30 dB. (We didn't bother to create a graph showing all three at <30 dB when idle.) Our SPL meter can't reliably measure anything below 30 dB, so we essentially have to declare a tie. The slight noise of the hard drive can be clearly heard over anything else, and if you allow the hard drive to power off when it's not in use the systems become about as silent as possible. Of course, the instant you actually do any work, the hard drive has to spin back up, but only extended use of CPU or GPU intensive applications will raise the noise level above 30 dB.


We measured temperatures across the bottom of the system as well as on the keyboard and palm rests. Graphs don't do a good job of conveying this information, so we've used a table instead. We broke down the temperatures into five primary areas: left-hand, right hand, left leg, right leg, and bottom center. The bottom center area of the laptop houses the memory, and while this area would generally not be touching your legs with the system sitting on your lap, it did generate enough heat that we felt this hotspot needed to be pointed out.

Laptop Temperatures (°C)
M1710 Load M1710 Idle 7800 Load 7800 Idle X1400 Load X1400 Idle
Bottom Left 32-38 30-37 32-38 30-37 28-37 29-34
Bottom Right 40-44 39-42 37-41 39-42 31-35 34-38
Bottom Center 47-48 39-40 40-41 39-40 38-39 35-36
Top Left 32-35 31-34 30-33 31-34 27-31 27-31
Top Right 36-41 35-38 35-39 35-38 27-31 30-35

One of the interesting items that you almost immediately notice is that the temperatures under idle conditions aren't substantially cooler than temperatures under load conditions. The reason is quite simple: unless the CPU and/or GPU are generating a lot of heat, most of the fans are shut off. We never experienced any heat related crashes during our testing, and the temperatures are all low enough that we don't expect problems for most people. All testing was conducted in a 22°C environment; however, in a hotter climate the M1710 could potentially get too hot.

A temperature of 40+ °C might be considered uncomfortably warm for many people, especially if the laptop is resting directly against the skin. If you were outside on a warm summer day, surface temperatures would almost certainly be hotter than you would want in your lap. We didn't find it to be too bad while wearing jeans in more moderate conditions, but these systems are definitely more at home sitting on a table rather than your lap, which is typical of desktop replacement notebooks.

Synthetic 3D Performance Power Consumption
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  • sillyfox - Tuesday, September 8, 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 6, 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 5, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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