Dell XPS M1710 with Nvidia Go 7900GTX Review (pics, specs)

by nickspohn Reads (51,169)

The Dell XPS M1710 is Dell’s latest flagship gaming notebook. What makes the XPS M1710 special is its optional Go 7900GTX 512MB video card with Core Duo. It also has the option of either a sleek Formula Red or Metallic Black cover, a 17 inch WUXGA screen that is 30% brighter than previous XPS generations, up to 4GB of RAM; all in a nice silver finish case.


Formula Red XPS M1710 (view large image)


Metallic Black XPS M1710 (view large image)


Front of view of the Dell XPS M1710 (view large image)

Dell XPS M1710 configuration (as purchased):

  • System: Dell XPS M1710 Metallic Black
  • Processor: Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz)
  • Memory: 1GB @ 667MHZ – 2 DIMM Slots (2 x 1GB)
  • Hard Drive: 60GB 7200RPM
  • Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX with 512MB Memory
  • Screen: WUXGA Truelife (1920 x 1200)
  • Optical Drive: 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW/+R) with Dual-Layer
  • Operating System Windows Media Center Edition 2005
  • Wireless Card: Dell 1390 (802.11b/g)
  • Battery: 9-cell lithium ion rechargeable battery
  • Ports / Slots: 5-in-1 Memory Card Reader, DVI-D, VGA video output, S-Video, IEEE 1394 (Firewire), 6 USB 2.0, Express Card slot, Modem, Ethernet/LAN, Microphone in, Headphone out
  • Integrated Subwoofer
  • Price of this configuration: $2,350 (After Discounts)


The box the M1710 arrives in (view large image)

Reasons for Buying:


I purchased an XPS M170 notebook back in April. With little known about the next XPS, I decided to go ahead and just order, considering the good deal they were having. A few weeks later the XPS M1710 made its debut. After doing some research, I decided this was my notebook. The powerful GPU and Core Duo all in a nice package.

I was looking around for the best deal I could find. Fortunately, a NotebookReview.com member was selling M1710′s straight from Dell. For $2350, I was confident this notebook was for me. Did this notebook live up to its expectations?

Build & Design:


(view large image)

The Design of the XPS M1710 is quite amazing. The build is very nice — the black magnesium alloy case is strong and rugged. The Silver case area is a thick plastic. The metal lid on the display case is a very nice addition. Either Black or Red, both add a nice look to the notebook. There are also LED lights on the notebook in 6 different locations. You have the option of 16 colors, or turning the lights off via the Dell Quickset program. The area under the LCD (by the Dell logo) has quite a bit of flex, though it’s nothing to worry about. The Central Control Cover (above the keyboard) has a bit of flex. I’m able to press in the plastic a bit, although again, it’s just a small amount and nothing to worry about.


(view large image)

This area of the notebook has the most flex: right around the Dell logo, and on both sides of the status lights.

Besides those two things I have noticed, this laptop is very strong. The palm rests are solid. The HD is protected by a Strike Zone shock absorber, this will protect the HD in a short drop situation.


(view large image)

Screen:


(view large image)

The Dell XPS M1710 comes standard with a 1920 x 1200 WUXGA screen. Dell says the screen is 30% brighter than previous models, and this is true. The old M170 has about 200 nits of brightness while the M1710 has 250 nits of brightness. The difference can be seen quite easily.

 
(view large image)
 
(view large image)

The viewing angles on the LG screen

One thing that I have noticed is that the LG screens for the XPS series are typically better. My LG has a little leakage at the bottom of the screen, but nothing abnormal. The screen has a nice crisp color. The screen on the M1710 is great, and it’s a nice compliment to the 7900GTX it houses. Compared to an HP dv8000t notebook though, the screen is somewhat dimmer and not as crisp as the HP.


No light leakage here! (view large image)

Speakers:

There are 2 speakers on this notebook, along with a integrated sub-woofer on the XPS M1710.


The XPS M1710s Integrated Sub-Woofer (view large image)

I purchased the Audigy Advanced sound for the XPS M1710. I tried testing the sound out before installing it. (It’s a software upgrade, not hardware). After listening to a couple of songs and watching a bit of a DVD, I installed the software. When I played the first song using the Audigy Advanced I had one reaction — “Wow”. The sound really is more enhanced from just a software upgrade. It makes it a bit louder, a lot clearer, and has sort of this echo effect to the sound that is nice. The software also has a lot of settings to adjust the speakers. For $25 dollars, the upgrade is worth it.

Processor and Performance:

My XPS M1710 has a T2400 (1.83GHz) Core Duo processor. The first time I started my M1710 up it was quite noticeably fast — even with all the bloatware preinstalled on the computer. I did a reformat and it got quicker yet. With just the basics installed on my computer (after the reformat) I was able to boot up from the time of the Dell logo, to my desktop in under 10 seconds. Shut down is even quicker, coming in at 8 seconds from clicking shut down, to when it was completely off. After installing all of my usual favorite programs, my boot up time is now 15 seconds, and shut down is 12. It’s still remarkably fast, and the Core Duo really does help.

Onto the main feature of this notebook — the nVidia GeForce Go 7900GTX 512MB card. This card is the best graphics card currently offered in notebooks. The Go 7900GTX can handle pretty much any game at high settings. I play a lot of Counter Strike and the game play is very nice. I don’t play many games, but if you want to see different games tested, check out Chaz’s XPS M1710 review here.

Benchmarks:

Please note: The following benchmarks were taking right after a fresh reformat, with little processes, anti-virus protection off, and networking cards disabled. The GPU was at stock settings of 500/600MHz, running with Tweaksrus 91.37 drivers.

Super Pi Comparison Results

Notebook

Time

Dell XPS M1710 (1.83GHz Core Duo)

1m 20s

Asus W3H760DD (2.0 GHz Pentium M)

1m 33s

Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 16s

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)

1m 29s

Dell XPS M140 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 41s

Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 53s

IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 45s

3DMark03:

20,170 3Dmarks

3DMark05:

8,981 3DMarks

Notebook  3DMark 05 Results
Dell XPS M1710 (1.83 GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7900 GTX 512MB)  8,981 3D Marks
Apple MacBook Pro (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB  2866 3D Marks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800 GTX)  7,078 3DMarks
ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz, ATI X300 64MB graphics)  727 3DMarks
 Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)  2,530 3D Marks
 Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)  2,273 3DMarks
 HP dv4000 (1.86GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB)  2,536 3D Marks
 Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)  4,157 3DMarks

 

3DMark06:

5,328 3Dmarks

PCMark05 Results:

PCMark05 Comparison Results

Notebook PCMark05 Score

Dell XPS M1710 (1.83GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7900GTX 512MB)

4,977 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron e1405 (1.66 GHz Intel T2300) 2,879 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400) 3,646 PCMarks
Toshiba Satellite M70 (Pentium M 1.86GHz) 1,877 PCMarks

 


The XPS M1710 running 3DMark (view large image)


Counterstrike: Source (view large image)

Heat and Noise

The Dell XPS M1710 has in all 6 air vents on its main case. It has a very efficient cooling system, as the CPU has its own fan, and the GPU has its own fan. Right above the heatsinks that lead to the fans, there are vents on the sides of the keyboard to produce better cooling and air circulation. There are only a few places where it gets hot. For instance, right near the docking port under the notebook gets hot due to the GPU being located there. While gaming, it’s somewhat uncomfortable to touch. When web browsing or other tasks that don’t require much of the GPU, it stays pretty warm, but not hot. Under the LCD on the Dell logo, it gets pretty hot. It’s still touchable, but uncomfortable. It also gets hot where the memory is located. While the cooling vents do help, having this laptop on your lap will be uncomfortable after a while. With such high spec components in a laptop, it’s expected to get a bit warm.

The fans are pegged on high while gaming, but they have never gone on high for me while doing something other than gaming. Due to this, the notebook is very quiet. The CD/DVD drive is very quiet while reading discs. You can hear the HD somewhat during the reading and saving of files, although nothing loud. Overall, other than the fans on high while gaming, this is a very quiet notebook.

Keyboard, Touchpad, and Media Buttons


(view large image)

When I first saw the M1710 in pictures, I noticed the keyboard was a silver color. It did not appeal to me much, as I’m used to having black keys. When I received the M1710 the keyboard in person looks very nice. The keys are very sturdy and there is no flex. I enjoy typing on my M1710, as it is very comfortable. The palm rests are very sturdy, but can get a bit warm. Nothing uncomfortable, you can just feel a bit of heat, which is normal due to the fact what this notebook houses.


(view large image)

Above the keyboard lies a MediaDirect button, five light indicators (Num lock, Caps Lock, Scroll lock, WiFi on/off indicator, and a Bluetooth indicator), and the Power Button.

The MediaDirect button is a nice addition, but I find myself rarely using it as I can just boot up in a fast enough manner, and basically do the same thing. Although, if you are in a hurry and need to access some multimedia, it’s nice to have.


(view large image)

The Touchpad is very nice. It’s a decent sized touchpad that has big mouse buttons to accompany it. The touchpad reads your finger movements precisely. The XPS red light under the touchpad is cool, but there is something I have noticed — on my system the red light leaks through the touchpad a bit.


Notice the red light on the whole touchpad (view large image)

The Media Buttons are nicely lit; the blue lighting is a nice affect to go with the rest of the notebook.

Input and Output Ports:

The XPS M1710 has quite a few ports, six USB 2.0 ports (four on the back, two on the left side) which is very nice for a laptop. It has an ExpressCard slot which is becoming more popular in notebooks. There is no PCMCIA slot. There are multiple video connecters: VGA out, DVI, and an S-Video out. Even though this notebook is directed at gaming, it also makes a good multimedia notebook with all these ports.


Back view (from left to right): S-Video out, Ethernet, Phone Jack, 4 USB 2.0, DVI, DVI, VGA, and Power In.(view large image)


Left View: Security Cable Slot, 2 USB 2.0, CD/DVD driver (view large image)


Right view: ExpressCard Slot, 1394 port, headphone jack, mic jack, 5-in-1 Media Card Reader (view large image)


Underneath the M1710 (view large image)

Wireless

Dell offers the Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 card, the Dell Draft 802.11n internal wireless, and the Dell Wireless 1390 card (Business). My M1710 has the 1390 card. This 1390 card isn’t bad at all. No disconnections on wireless for me, and has a very decent range. I game on wireless too, and have never seen and lag or drop outs while in use. The Dell wireless utility is nice and works well, but I just use the Windows networking software to connect to my wireless network.

Battery

The Dell 9-cell battery is located in the front right of the notebook. The battery gets a bit warm, which is typical. Battery life while just web browsing was 2:10 minutes of life. Wireless was enabled, and the screen brightness was on max. This is decent battery life for such a notebook. Playing games on battery isn’t much fun as it automatically downclocks to save battery life, so gaming performance is about half compared to when the notebook is plugged in. This notebook is a true desktop replacement, but is nice to take away to sit outside in public. After all, the lights could catch the attention of any eye nearby!

Operating System and Software

Dell offers three Operating System choices with the M1710: Windows XP Media Center, Windows XP Home (at the same price), and Windows XP Professional. I ordered my system to come with Media Center, as I will be using my notebook mostly for multimedia and home use.

Of course, as with any Dell, you get all the preloaded bloatware. Reformatting is needed, and is very easy to do. If you do not reformat and leave some of the bloatware on the laptop it may run a bit slower due to all the unneeded processes that will stay active in the background.


(view large image)

The MediaDirect button lets you view basically anything multimedia without having to boot up. At first it takes a bit to load, but after that it’s very quick. I don’t use this feature much, as I normally just boot into Windows. It is also possible to install Linux or another OS and boot into that by pressing the MediaDirect button.

Dell Customer Support

If you purchase an XPS system you supposedly get dedicated XPS system technical support. You can call anytime of the day with an issue. Dell also has an online chat dedicated to XPS customers; this is available 7 a.m. CST — Midnight CST. Dell has always been good to me in regards to support. If I call, usually the first person I talk to can resolve my issue. Of course no support can be perfect, Dell can certainly be lacking — it mainly depends on what representative you get as to how good support is.

There are many ways to contact Dell, all can be found here.

Conclusion

I’ve used my XPS M1710 for hours everyday, and it really has been reliable for me. I really enjoy the looks, and showing off the lights of course. I’m also looking forward to trying out new games on my M1710, and seeing how well the Go 7900GTX can handle them. The M1710 is future proof in terms of performance and build!


Pros:

  • Nice, durable design
  • Fantastic gaming performance; can handle basically any game thrown at it
  • Looks: a nice metal lid display cover, the lights, and the silver keyboard
  • Bright screen with no light leakage
  • Comes in a nice package, with a few accessories

Cons:

  • Price — You can configure a similar notebook for a better price
  • The Dell Junk software and trialware preinstalled
  • After an hour of using this notebook on my lap, it got uncomfortable due to the heat
  • The touchpad bleeds some light, making the whole touchpad somewhat red
  • The palm rests can show a discolored look overtime

 

Bonus Pictures

 
(view large image)
 
(view large image)

(view large image
 
(view large image)
 
(view large image)
 
(view large image)
 
(view large image)
 
(view large image)
 
(view large image)

 


LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.