Those who enjoy playing games in the dark will be happy to find the keyboard is backlit, although the lighting can be turned off to save power. This may be needed if you’re away from a mains power source - we didn’t even manage an hour between charges with the Nvidia's dual-GPU SLI feature activated.
The chassis is constructed from a combination of plastics and magnesium alloy, and the results are impressive. Both the palm rests and the screen surround resisted pressure with ease, and you can pick this machine up from the very corner without fear of any creaks or groans.
Good build quality isn’t enough in the world of gaming, however, and any creditable challenger is required to sport as many coloured lights as possible. To this end, the M1730 has plenty. Most of the rear of the lid is taken up by backlit panels, with coloured LEDs also behind the speaker grilles and touchpad. For those wanting a more refined hue, the colours can be changed easily in the Bios.
Subtle lighting shades won’t turn the XPS into a shrinking violet, and the faux-carbon finish makes this one of the most distinctive laptops currently available. As with anything this brash, it’s a love-it or loath-it affair, but it's definitely not a machine for the shy and retiring.
A Logitech gaming display is located above the keyboard. This LCD screen is the same as can be found on Logitech’s gaming keyboards, showing system information, the time or other details. Bit of a gimmick, really.
On the right of the chassis you’ll find an ExpressCard 54 slot, hardware switches for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and two USB ports. The left-hand side offers a microphone and two headphone sockets, an eight-in-one card reader, one USB port and a mini Firewire port. There’s also a dual-format optical drive. Connections to external displays can be made using either an s-video or a DVI port but, disappointingly, there’s no support for HDMI. This is a particularly strange omission on the M1730, as it can be configured with a Blu-ray optical drive for an additional £260.
512x1 Mb or 512x2 graphics
The review states:-
The display is supported by the best graphics set-up you’ll currently find on any laptop: two Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX GPUs in an SLI configuration. With each chip connected to 512MB of dedicated video memory, the Beast promises far better performance than past gaming laptops.
So, does this meaen it is 512MB shared between the cards, or that each features 512MB? Forgive my ignorance, I only ask as the US site has 1GB dual 8800gtx, and the 512mb version is the lesser 8700 gt.
Have one and its great
I bought one and I have to say its great.
Ok, its heavy and large, and thats just the power supply - but as the review pointed out thats not the point.
I got it with Vista and I'm not looking back. My previous laptop was an alienware, but the XPS actually has real performance.
The laptop bag is rather large - you could probably fit 10 eeePC's in it - whilst still carrying the XPS as well! I'd save my money and get a third party one instead - although the XPS one is very nice.
I can honestly say I've had no problems with it, which for me is a first.
Why Paris? Both are by by no means perfect, but if you had the chance to have either you'd be mad not to.
I have one and I love it
I bought this computer for work and I really like it. I could give or take the graphics extras. I bought it for the exteme processor and the RAID capability (they will do RAID 1 if you ask them to) and basically the sheer power of the machine.
It is huge. Much bigger then you expect. The power brick alone is the size of 3 regular laptop bricks put together. However, I find the size hard to complain about. I knew that it was big and heavy and ordered it anyway.
I also ended up buying Dell's backpack specifically designed for the M1730 because it is hard to find a case that will hold the laptop plus all the extras that end up in the bag.
All of the light effects are pretty cool and the monitor is very sharp. What they dont make apparant is that the machine ships with a decent set of headphones and a small remote control that fits right in the PC card slot (That was a nice little bonus to find in the box).
@ Craig Foster RE: Broadcom LAN
This maybe true of the highend Broadcom server and workstation parts, but not whichever 57xx part that is integrated into the M1730.
Looking at the 57xx advanced properties/device manager in Win XP Pro 32bit (Dell OEM) shows only options for 802.1P QOS, Flow Control, Speed & Duplex and Wake Up Capabilities, with both the Dell and generic Broadcom drivers. I've seen more options with bottom of the barrel Realtek parts/drivers.
My switch is a Dell Powerconnect 2708 which works fine with my Intel Gigabit devices and yes I've changed cables etc.
re: Rubbish Gigabit LAN
It's a decent gigabit... the Broadcoms are also used in servers, support VLAN, QoS, and wire testing, and mine easy transfers files at 40MB/s+