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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  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?

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