The lack PhysX support apart, the M1730’s 3D capabilities are quite frankly astonishing. The previous range-topping XPS offered good performance for a laptop, but it was always its all-round abilities that helped it to impress. In this case, the Dell comes as close to bridging the gap between desktop and laptop as we’ve seen to date.
Longer bars are better
The M1730’s 3DMark06 score of 12,106 is considerably more than we’ve experienced from any other laptop, and highlights just how much quicker the GeForce 8800M GTX is when compared to its predecessor, the GeForce Go 7950GTX.
Performance in frames per second
Longer bars are better
That said, there’s still some way to go before the laptop can match a desktop rig for sheer power. Running Crysis at 1024 x 768 saw a respectable average frame rate of 55f/s, but one we upped the resolution to a more detailed 1680 x 1050, it dropped to around 17f/s. In its native 1920 x 1200 resolution, the Dell really struggled, the frame rate flickering between 12 and 13f/s.
As with the Alienware Area 51 ALX CrossFireX desktop PC we reviewed recently, there’s no way of playing Crysis with anti-aliasing activated, with frame rates dropping to an unplayable 4f/s when we turned it on. Keep your expectations realistic, however, and it’s still possible to play at a decent resolution without any major trouble. We also found a host of other games worked in anti-aliased mode without trouble.
Our review machine was fitted with a high-end Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor running at 2.5GHz. Performance was further enhanced by the inclusion of 4GB of memory, and the two 160GB hard drives spin at a rapid 7,200rpm. You can also opt for a 64GB SSD although, at a whopping £470, it’s not likely to appeal to the masses. With the standard drive in place, the Dell has no trouble running multiple applications, and makes an excellent choice for those looking to replace their desktop PC.
This was backed up by an overall PCMark05 score of 6183 – again, one of the highest we’ve seen from a laptop, but still a way off the 7039 yielded by Rock's Xtreme 770, also equipped with a pair of GeForce 8800M GTX chips but a Core 2 Extreme CPU.
Windows Vista rates the Dell with a score of 5.1: 5.4 for the CPU, 5.1 for the memory, 5.9 for the graphics, 5.8 for gaming graphics and 5.9 for the hard drive.
With the basic spec starting off at around £1399/$1999 and rising to over £2600/$3800, the XPS M1730 is not a cheap machine. But its impressive specification and sturdy build help to make it reasonable value for money. A similarly configured Alienware laptop costs considerably more, despite the use of a generic Clevo chassis on 17in models and, in the UK at least, there are few manufacturers who can compete on price or quality. If you’re in the market for a gaming machine and size isn’t a factor, it’s difficult to recommend anything else.
Dell XPS M1730 17in gaming laptop
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+