Dell Inspiron e1705 with nVidia 7800 Graphics Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (20,523)

The Dell Inspiron e1705 is a 17″ widescreen laptop that can be classified as a desktop replacement. It was one of the first Inspirons, behind the e1505, that uses Intel’s Core Duo. The e1705 acts as an entertainment machine which comes with Microsoft Media Center installed. Upgrading the video card to an nVidia GeForce Go 7800 (256MB) puts this laptop among the class of being a gaming notebook.


Dell Inspiron e1705 (view large image)

Configuration of my e1705

  • Processor- Intel T2300 1.66GHz Core Duo
  • Hard Drive- 60GB 7200RPM SATA
  • Memory- 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM (533MHz)
  • Screen- 17.0″ UXGA TrueLife
  • Video Card- Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 256MB
  • Optical Drive- DVD +/-RW with DL DVD+R write capacity
  • Battery- 53 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
  • Wireless- Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini Card (54Mbps)User Input: Touchpad
  • Dimensions: 15.5″ x 11.3″ x 1.6″
  • TV Tuner: None
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Ports:
    o 6 USB 2.0 ports
    o IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
    o Digital Video Interface (DVI-D)
    o VGA out (monitor out)
    o S-Video Out
    o RJ-45 (Ethernet LAN)
    o RJ-11 (56-Kbps Modem)
    o Audio line out for headphone/speakers
    o Microphone
  • Slots:
    o 5-in-1 Multi Card Reader (MS, MS Pro, SD, MMC, xD)
    o 1 ExpressCard 54 slot
  • Buttons:
    o Power on/off
    o Volume up/down/mute (3 buttons)
    o Media buttons (play, forward, back, stop)
    o Battery charge test button
    o Battery lock and release
  • Price: $2,100 before coupons or shipping and handling

Reasons for Buying:

I was looking for a cheap laptop with a great graphics card that could run Windows Vista in the near future. The e1705 does exactly that.

Where and How Purchased:

Purchased via Dell.com and used a $750 Dell coupon.

Build & Design:


Dell e1705 closed lid above view (view large image)

Similar to the earlier Inspiron 9000 series, the e1705 has a mostly silver coating with a magnesium alloy feel to it. The Dell logo in the center is quite small, smaller than I expected based on pictures I had seen.  The white trimming along the edge is the color of that of a white  iBook / MacBook.  Although this notebook is not slim in comparison to say a slim model Samsung, it certainly still is minimal compared to some of the larger HP laptops I’ve used.

The construction of the e1705 is not made out of flimsy plastic.  The hinges and screws have gone through certain “Road Ready” tests performed by Dell to make sure the laptop lasts a long time. Dell claims to use a magnesium alloy construction on the lid and bottom of the notebook for extra protection, but the magnesium alloy hasn’t stopped my cat from clawing it!  From what I hear the hard drive has an anti-shock system and that the case is solid enough to protect from falls, however I have never actually dropped my laptop to test this. 


Dell e1705 right side view (view large image)

The greatest thing about this laptop that I like is the screen. Unlike some iBooks I’ve used, the laptop screen does not wobble when I’m in the car nor does it fall down when I turn it upside down. Designed to replace a desktop, I see no reason why this laptop wouldn’t last just as long as a durable desktop machine.


Left side view of the e1705 (view large image)

Screen

 

My e1705 is equipped with the UXGA TrueLife screen, other configurations can be had with the WXGA+ screen.  The UXGA screen is great. The widescreen allows you to open multiple applications, this is great because I love to play Counterstrike Source and surf the web at the same time.  The native UXGA resolution of 1900 x 1200 should not be changed or the words and screen will become blurry.  Notebook screens are always viewed best at their native resolution.  The only down side for the UXGA is icons and text on web pages appear very small.  I heard a lot about a light leakage problem with the e1705 but with the UXGA screen I have no such problem. Due to the resolution and the widescreen display some games are stretched out, but if you’re not paranoid it won’t affect your gaming.  If you run the game in a window it should be fine.

Speakers

The e1705 speakers are not its greatest strength. Although being loud, their quality is not that of a movie theater for sure. As a gamer it’s easier to use headphones than it is to use the internal speakers. The e1705 on board sound quality is still better then that of an onboard speaker for a desktop system though.

Processor and Performance


Gaming on the e1705 (view large image)

For my e1705 configuration I have a Core Duo T2300 processor running at1.66 GHz.. Its performance is fantastic!  With the Core Duo processor combined with the 2 GB of RAM in my system it is powerful enough to play Counterstrike Source while watching a video on media center.  Opening applications is always quick. I have never had a problem with speed and everything seems to open as I click it.  The main reason I had bought this laptop was for gaming and that is exactly what it does well. There are two main settings for graphics that I have experienced.  If I plug the power cord into the outlet I get higher FPS, almost by 4x.  I tried out two games, Halflife 2, which uses Direct X, and Doom 3 which uses OpenGL. It seems that Halflife 2 pulled out greater FPS and better performance than OpenGL but altogether it was pretty close.  The test I ran was at a resolution of 1024 x 1280 getting around 40-50 FPS. Consider getting a 7200RPM hard drive, it helps a lot with performance.


Valve’s Steam as viewed on the e1705 screen (view large image)


More gaming… (view large image)

Benchmarks

The following benchmarks were garnered using factory Settings – look above for configuration of the laptop.

SuperPi

Super Pi is a program that forces the notebook processor to calculate Pi to 2-million digits of accuracy.  The e1705 took 1m 14s to calcuate this value with its 1.66 GHz Core Duo processor, here’s how it stacked up to other notebooks:

Notebook Time
 Dell Inspiron e1705 (1.66 GHz Intel T2300)  1m 14s
 Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Intel T2600)  1m 11s
 Dell Inspiron 710m (1.7 GHz Pentium M)  2m 04s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s
 IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M)  1m 36s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)  1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  1m 52s
 Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  2m 10s
 HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 39s
 Asus V6Va (Pentium M 1.86 GHz)  1m 46s
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 18s


HD tune Results


(view large image)

Everest Benchmarks


Memory latency (view large image)


Memory Read speeds (view large image)


Memory Write speeds (view large image)

Heat and Fan

The heat for the e1705 is not as big a problem as its DVD noise. I’m not saying that its DVD noise is loud and obnoxious, but the heat is just not really even a factor. Whenever I am surfing the web or dealing with simple applications the bottom does not get hot and I am able to still keep it on my lap. When I game on my laptop its bottom does start to become quite hot, but not so hot it will burn you. Besides, most everyone does gaming with the notebook on a desk or table anyway.

Input and Output Ports

The e1705 comes with six usb ports, 6 in 1 memory card reader, Ethernet adapter, headphone jack, microphone, and both a digital and analog device.

Keyboard and Touchpad


Keyboard and touchpad area on the e1705 (view large image)

The keyboard for the Dell e1705 is not terrific, but it will do. Its buttons are a little small for my liking and its easy to hit the wrong key.  But there is no problem with flexing and its buttons push down with ease.  What I don’t like in the design is that its hard to adjust to the wide empty space and the overall thickness of the keyboard.  Sometimes my wrists get sore from the amount I have to elevate them to use the keyboard, and if you’re doing business constantly on this laptop at home I advise you to buy an external keyboard and mouse. The touchpad of this laptop is like every other, it comes with side scroll bars and the program that Dell bundles to configure it is great. Although I don’t use the touchpad often I still like its ability to navigate and click accurately.  When I first bought the e1705 I didn’t know that tapping the touchpad acts as a mouse click, if you want to change this it can be changed by going into the touchpad options and turning it off.

Battery

Despite my conscience saying otherwise, I stayed with the default battery 6-cell. The upside to a 6-cell battery is that it is lighter then the 9-cell . The battery, on average, lasts for 1.5 hours and when the battery gets low the wi-fi turns off and brightness decreases. Getting a 9-cell battery isn’t that bad of an option if you want longer battery life when away from a power outlet. The charging time is quite fast, it can charge within an hour from empty.

Wireless

The laptop’s wireless card consists of a Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini Card (54Mbps). Its pickup is amazing, if your neighbors forget to close off their networks it is easy for the e1705 to detect.

Software

The e1705 comes with Windows XP Home Edition Service pack 2 along with Windows XP Media Center. Dell usually chucks a bunch of freeware with its products so I just went to the Windows add/remove programs feature and uninstalled a bunch of unnecessary software / freeware. The great thing along with this laptop is the Media Direct software in which you are able to quickly start-up and view or listen to media without booting into Windows XP

Service and Support

Unlike many others who claim Dell has exceptionally awful customer support, I had actually a great time with its services. Although I have not used it for my e1705, I have used Dell support for my Dell desktop. Let’s just say Dell solved my problems with great support in the past.

Conclusion

Dell’s Inspiron e1705 is a great desktop replacement notebook with tremendous features and a great display. Waiting for a coupon code that works for you would certainly make this laptop a very good purchase.  This laptop easily can be used as a business, gaming, or media machine which cranks out both insane graphics and unmatchable speed.

Pros

  • 17 inch display
  • Great duo core with 2 gigs of ram
  • GeforceGo 7800 is a must for any gamer.
  • Design
  • Price

Cons

  • Weight, Size
  • Battery life
  • Some times crashes at startup

Other Dell Inspiron e1705 Reviews from NotebookReview.com

Dell Inspiron e1705 with ATI X1400 Graphics Review (pics, specs)

 

Dell Inspiron e1705 Review (pics, specs)


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