System Features

When looking at configuring an XPS M1710 notebook, there are four starting points. Depending on which price bracket you select, certain upgrades and/or downgrades are eliminated. The more economical configurations start with slightly lower performance parts by default, while the high-end configurations max out nearly everything and only need a few minor tweaks before you're ready to purchase. For example, the $2300 model starts with a T7200 processor, 1GB of RAM, a GeForce Go 7900 GS, and a DVD/CD-RW combo drive; in contrast the $3700 configuration starts with a T7600 processor, 1GB of RAM, a GeForce Go 7950 GTX, and a Blu-ray optical drive. We were sent a higher spec system for testing with a price that starts at around $4600 with a one-year warranty, configured as follows.

Dell XPS M1710 Specifications
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T7600G (2.33 GHz, 4MB shared L2, multiplier unlocked)
Chipset Intel 945PM 64-bit Dual-Channel
Memory Samsung 2x1024MB DDR2-667 5-5-5-13-21
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 GTX 512MB GDDR3 (600/1150 Core/RAM clocks)
Display 17" WUXGA (1920x1200) UltraSharp with TrueLife
Expansion Slots One ExpressCard 54mm slot supporting 1.5V and 3.3V, ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54, 26 pins
Hard Drive Seagate ST9160823AS 160GB SATA 3.0Gbps 7200 RPM
Optical Drive Matshita Blu-ray BF-RE UJ-210
USB2.0 (6) USB2.0 ports (four rear ports, two ports on left)
Networking/Communications Integrated 10/100/1000 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet and 56K Modem
Intel Pro/Wireless 3945 802.11a/b/g Mini Card
Audio 24-bit High Definition Audio with 2.1 Speakers
Sound Blaster Audigy HD Software Edition
Firewire 4-pin Unpowered IEEE 1394A (right side)
Back I/O Ports 1 x RJ45 LAN
4 x USB 2.0
1 x RJ11 Modem
1 x DVI-D
1 x VGA
1 x S-VIDEO Out
Keyboard 87 Key QWERTY (US)
Battery 9-Cell 80WHr Smart Lithium Ion
Dimensions 1.7"x15.5"x11.3" (HxWxD)
8.8 lbs. (Display, 9-Cell battery, DVD-Combo drive)
Power Adapter 130W 1.42"x2.56"x6.67" (HxWxD), 1.68 lbs. with cables
Chassis Metallic Black Dell XPS M1710 or
Special Edition Formula Red Dell XPS M1710
Other Features 5-in-1 Flash Reader (MS, MS Pro, SSD/SDIO, MMC, xD
Headphone and Microphone connectors (or 4 channel audio)
XPS 16 Color Configurable Accent Lighting
Trackpad with scroll bars

If you start with the $2300 model, the upgrade from a T7200 (2.0 GHz) to the T7600G (2.33 GHz unlocked) adds $700 to the price - and getting the unlocked T7600G adds $275 over the cost of the T7600! While that might seem like a big jump in price for a small increase in performance, the T7600 is also $250 more than the T7400 (2.16 GHz), so if you're really after maximum CPU performance in a notebook being able to easily overclock your processor to well beyond the fastest official speed from Intel might be worthwhile. For most people, we feel that the T7200 still offers the best overall choice, as it's more than fast enough for just about any application.

Other major costs include the Blu-ray drive (about $475 more than the 8X DVD+RW), Windows Vista Ultimate ($200 extra relative to Vista Home Premium), and the 7950 GTX ($400 more than the 7900 GS). How important these upgrades are is up for personal interpretation, and of course end-users are free to select components as they see fit. Worth noting is that Blu-ray is only an option with Windows Vista, and it's also only available on the most expensive XPS M1710 build, the "Hi-def Viewing" configuration. The Blu-ray playback certainly works, but we're still hesitant to recommend investing in such a system.

When we first received the notebook, Dell had sent us what amounts to their maximum performance configuration. Shortly after the notebook arrived, however, Dell (and Alienware) became the first notebook manufacturer to offer Seagate's newest 250 GB 5400 RPM 2.5" hard drives. We expect performance of the larger hard drive to actually be lower than the 160 GB 7200 RPM drive in our test system, but users that need increased storage capacity might be interested in the updated hard drive offering. Of course, if you just need a lot of storage space for your notebook but you don't always require it, purchasing an external hard drive would allow you to store for more data with a lower total cost; unfortunately, that's just one more piece of equipment to tote around when you're on the road.

Despite all of the high-end options, it should come as little surprise that in gaming situations even the mighty GeForce Go 7950 GTX is going to be the limiting factor at most resolutions and detail settings likely to be used with this sort of notebook. If you are after maximum mobile gaming performance, would consider looking at getting a Core 2 Duo SLI notebook. While prices for such systems start at over $4000, the XPS M1710 really isn't much cheaper. We hope to have a review of Alienware's m7950 in the near future, which is one such notebook. For those who tend to run CPU limited applications more, however, the M1710 might be the better choice.

Index Mobile Overclocking
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  • Gary Key - Tuesday, May 8, 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 is a typo on the chart. The numbers reflected are the total score, not the individual break out on FPS.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - link

    Fixed. SupCom is a generated score from the perftest map (with an edited benchmark script). Sorry about that.
  • yacoub - Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - link


    Article says:
    "We weren't able to run our latest gaming benchmarks (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Supreme Commander) on all of the laptops, so performance results for those games won't be included here."
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - link

    The XPS M1710 OC scaling charts included SupCom and STALKER results. Just not the other laptops (although I might be able to run the benchmarks on a couple laptops still).
  • yacoub - Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - link

    I gave up on waiting for laptops to reach reasonable prices. Ordered a nice c2d setup to replace my aging A64 rig and did it for under $425. CPU, RAM, and Mobo. My 7900GT is still enough for now, but when the 8800GTS 640MB hits $350 without rebates I'll probably scoop one of those up too. So still under $800 for a full system upgrade.

    And since I can remote in to my home machine from work and my work machine from home, I really have little need for a laptop, though I do have a company-provided laptop for travel if I really needed to use it. On that flash games (tower defense, etc) are enough to keep me entertained if I'm that desperate to sit in a hotel room(?!). Most likely an mp3 player or a book is all I need in-flight and I'll be out doing things (business or tourist related) when I'm traveling so uber high-end gaming laptops at exorbitant prices just don't really have a use for me, or I'd imagine for most folks.
  • Ender17 - Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - link

    The graphs would be a lot easier to read if they were labeled with the actual CPU speed instead of Bin 1, Bin 2...
  • redbone75 - Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - link

    Agreed. Just as easy to put 2.33 - 3.16 as it is to do Bin-0 - Bin-5. Actually, you save a character :)
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 8, 2007 - link

    Given that the clock speeds are more of a request than an actual result, I didn't want to use those. I couldn't actually see if throttling was occurring during the game benchmarks, but the scores seem to indicate that the CPU was throttling at the Bin-4 and Bin-5 results on some games.

    The names I used came from discussions with Dell, where they referred to the clock speeds as "Bin + 3", but I used a plus sign instead. Given that the scores are all pretty close on many benchmarks, I didn't think too much about it.
  • Zsuu - Saturday, February 21, 2015 - link

    Good looking Dell <a href="">notebook&...
  • Zsuu - Monday, February 23, 2015 - link

    These laptop is very good

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