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Replacement Dell XPS laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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October 17, 2007 3:33:05 PM

Hi all. For the last few years I have been using a Dell XPS Gen2 17" notebook, with the following specs:

Pentium M 770 2.13Ghz CPU
1GB DDR2 RAM
GeForce Go 6800 Ultra 256mb graphics card
100GB 7200RPM ATA hard drive
Windows XP Professional

However, this laptop has started to overheat quite severely, so Dell have agreed to give me a new laptop (I thank the day I bought that extended warranty...). The Gen 2 is no longer manufactured, so they are going to send me the slightly newer M1710. The specs of this laptop are as follows:

Core 2 Duo CPU (unknown model, probably either a T5600 or T7200)
2GB DDR2 RAM (doubled from my previous laptop as compensation for a severe shipping delay)
GeForce Go 7900GS 256mb graphics card
100GB 7200RPM SATA HDD
Windows XP Professional

My old laptop served me well until the Orange Box came out, which it struggled with (and caused it to overheat, annoyingly less than half way through HL2: Episode 2, leaving me on a cliffhanger). My question is this: What level of performance gain will I see over my previous laptop? And will the new laptop be able to play the Orange Box at fairly high settings with a decent frame rate? I don't really need to be future proofed, as the only games I can see myself playing are sequels to my old favourites (like Half-Life).

Thanks very much for your help. :) 
a b D Laptop
October 17, 2007 3:56:09 PM

Get the T7200, better performance. 2gb of RAM will also increase performance. The 7900GS is a better card than the 6800 and should handle Orange Box fairly well. It should handle those game pretty well. Can you upgrade the 7900GS to the 7950GTX or are they not giving you that option?
October 17, 2007 4:19:44 PM

Thanks for your reply. Given that it's a free replacement for an older laptop, Dell haven't given me any choice with the specs. In fact, I had to ask them to email me the specs so I know what I'm getting. As much as I would love a 7950GTX, I'm not surprised they haven't given me one - as a replacement for a 6800 ultra, a 7900GS is closer performance-wise.

But even with the 7900GS, there will be some level of performance gain right? With a much newer processor (Pentium M to Core 2 Duo) and double the ram, I can't complain really...

One last question: the system hasn't even started the build process yet (because of the previously mentioned delay). Is there any point me emailing Dell XPS to ask them if I could upgrade to the 7950GTX? I'm getting this system for free, but I would be more than willing to pay the difference for the better card. If I asked nicely, you reckon they would let me do this?

Thanks again,
Tom
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a b D Laptop
October 17, 2007 4:26:13 PM

1)Yes, you will see performance increases even with the 7900GS.
2) The 7950GTX is a beast of a card, so I would say give it a shot. The worst thing that will happen is they say no and you still get a free laptop. I'm not really sure if they will allow it or not. Depends on how nice they want to be.
October 17, 2007 4:37:11 PM

Great, I'll email them now. I'll post here when I get a reply. One last thing, if by some miracle I do get a 7950GTX, the processor won't be a bottleneck will it? All I know is that the new laptop will be a Core 2 Duo, they haven't told me which model. The lowest it could be is a T5600, the highest is a T7600 (but that's unlikely). A T5600 wouldn't bottleneck the system severely would it? Thanks again for your help, much appreciated.
a b D Laptop
October 17, 2007 6:57:55 PM

It depends on the resolution you play your games at. The lower the res, the more dependent the game is on the processor. I'm running the GTX with a T7200 and they seem to be a good match. The T5600 is @ 1.83ghz vs. the 2.0 of the T7200.
October 18, 2007 2:04:51 PM

Good news: it's got the T7400 processor (2.16ghz core 2 duo).
Bad news: getting the 7950gtx is a no-no.

But luckily, the guy on the phone said the M1710 version of the 7950gtx can be bought through their supply line. So, if I'm ever feeling rich and adventurous, I could give upgrading a shot. Also, the hard drive is user upgradable, so I might go up to 200gb (100gb was becoming a squeeze).

Thanks for your help, now I've just gotta wait for my new laptop.
October 20, 2007 9:08:36 PM

Good deal! The T7400 also has 4M shared level 2 cache as opposed to 2M on the T5600. What is the price of the 7950gtx on their supply line?

Grats on the upgraded laptop! :wahoo: 
October 21, 2007 5:13:59 PM

Thanks for the link - the supply line price was a little more than the refurb website price. For the moment, I'm going to sit tight with the 7900GS, and upgrade the hard drive first. I'll consider upgrading the graphics card nearer Christmas. Whether I bother or not, I'm pretty damn pleased with the result - the free replacement laptop I'm getting has much higher specs than my old laptop. Thanks for all the help and advice guys, will be using these forums again. I'm off to check my order status :p .
October 22, 2007 6:56:10 AM

ToMmYgUnX said:
Hi all. For the last few years I have been using a Dell XPS Gen2 17" notebook, with the following specs:

Pentium M 770 2.13Ghz CPU
1GB DDR2 RAM
GeForce Go 6800 Ultra 256mb graphics card
100GB 7200RPM ATA hard drive
Windows XP Professional

However, this laptop has started to overheat quite severely



My nephew has the first Gen XPS notebook and it started to do the same thing, overheat badly, when you turned it on the fan would kick on high instantly and stay there. He took it apart and found that the fans and heat sinks were covered in thick dust. He took some compressed air and blew it all out and now it runs like new again... no overheating.. :) 
October 23, 2007 10:10:46 PM

True, dust is normally the culprit in older machines. Cleaning my computers regularly is 2nd nature to me, but not to everyone else it seems. :lol: 
October 25, 2007 8:35:10 PM

ToMmYgUnX said:
Good news: it's got the T7400 processor (2.16ghz core 2 duo).
Bad news: getting the 7950gtx is a no-no.

But luckily, the guy on the phone said the M1710 version of the 7950gtx can be bought through their supply line. So, if I'm ever feeling rich and adventurous, I could give upgrading a shot. Also, the hard drive is user upgradable, so I might go up to 200gb (100gb was becoming a squeeze).

Thanks for your help, now I've just gotta wait for my new laptop.

Nice of dell tp give you the T7400. Let us know how yoyr new toy from dell works for you.
!