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"My" DELL XPS M1730 review

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a c 244 D Laptop
August 1, 2008 12:02:55 PM

Hello all :)  hope you are all fine :)  well i received my XPS M1730 and as i promised before,i decided to write a review of it,but before starting the review,i have to thank the guys who helped me alot in making better desicions for buying this laptop:
TheGreatGrapeApe,emp,frozenlead,nukemaster,Zorg,aevm,cjl,4745454b,lostandwandering and pauldh.

So lets start!!!

Well before this laptop,i had a desktop with an Intel Core2Duo E6600@2.4,Nvidia Geforce 8800GTX,OCZ 4GB DDR2 800 RAM,Seagate 500GB(Single)7200RPM with 16MB Cache HDD,Windows XP,and LG M228WA monitor with 1680x1050 resolution,i liked my desktop alot but i needed a laptop for 3 reasons:

The first and the most important reason was that my sister had lots of works with computer and we had one computer to work with,so we needed another computer.

Second is that Computer components are very expensive in IRAN compared to other countries(for example,a 24" monitor costs about $1500 in IRAN)so i couldn't afford it.

Third,i'd liked to have "Big" power in a "Portable" package.

So thats why i choosed this laptop,unfortunately this laptop isn't available in IRAN with the configuration that i wanted to i told my uncle who lived in UK to place and order for it and 3 days ago he came to IRAN and i gave it to me.


System specifications:

Color:Smoke Grey
Display:17" LCD with 1920x1200(WUXGA)
CPU:Intel Core2Duo T9300 @ 2.5GHZ with 6MB cache and 800MHZ FSB
RAM:4GB DDR2 667 RAM with 5-5-5-15 timings.
GPU:2xNVIDIA GEFORCE 8800MGTX in SLI
HDD: Dual 250GB 7200RPM
Optical Drive: DVD RW
OS:Windows VISTA HOME PREMIUM 32bit with SevicePack1


Design and Build Quality:
I really liked the design of this laptop and the LED lightings which make it more beautiful,the build quality was very good too,it studry.here are some pictures of the it:









Display:
The display is very beautiful and i liked it very much,the brightness is very good,and fortunately it doesn't have any dead pixels,honestly i liked it more than my 22" monitor,here are some pictures of the display:



Webcam:It comes with intergrated 2.0MP camera,the image quality was acceptable.



GPU temp:
Well i think the most hottest component in this laptop is its GPU,they idle and 75c and goes max 92c(when playing Crysis),in other games its goes max to 85c.

Noise and cooling solution.
"Dead Silent"! this laptop is really silent even when gaming,and when the GPU temperature goes very high,you will hear the fans(they are not very loud though),they reduce the temp of the GPU and don't let it to go very high.

Weight:
The weight of this laptop is 10.6" pounds(5.3KG).well its heavy indeed but not that much that you can't carry it :) 

Keyboard and Touchpad:
The keyboard is excellent,i enjoyed typing on it, it also has LED-Backlighting which is a very useful feature specially in low lights,it also has a little LCD on it too(Like Logitech G15 keybaord)which shows informations like clock,GPU temperature(when RivaTuner is opened),CPU and RAM usage and.... in this pictures you see the keybaord and the LCD on it.







Touchpad was good and responsive too,it has LED-Backlightning too,the difference between the lightning of touchpad and keybaord is that the touchpad color can be customized with 12 colors but the keybard has only one color.I myself barely use Touchpad,i have an Razer Laser mouse and i use that.


Speakers and sound quality:
This laptop comes with 2 speakers and this was one the parts that surprised me much,the sound quality and the loudness are both excellent,i really enjoyed it(i never tought that a laptop can have this Sound quality and loudness),however the Bass isn't much.
The speakers have lightings too which can be customized with 12 colors just like the touchpad,well there was something wrong too,the left speaker doesn't light up like the right one,thats not really important for me but i have to write this things too.

Optical Drive:
This laptop comes with a DVD RW drive but it has some minor problems,it reads 80% of DVDs well but for some DVDs(like HalfLife 2 Episode 2 game)when i put the DVD inside and want to install the game,it performs very slowly,i mean it takes alot of time to extract from DVD.

Media Buttons:
This laptop has 12 media buttons which are setting the volume and play/pause.

Now lets go to the Benchmarks.

Windows VISTA score is 5.1



3DMARK 06(this and windows VISTA score aren't really imporant for me as gaming and other task are,but i posted them too)

With the resolution set to 1280x1024 i got 11321.



CPU performance:
Well i tested the CPU with 3DMARK 06 and you see the results above,i also did some photoshop tasks too and never felt slow.
Also i extracted 7GB(7x100MB)Files with Winrar in 14 minutes and 50 seconds which is very good.

Gaming Performance:
I tested this laptop with this games:World in Conflict,Crysis,Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament 3 and used FRAPS for benchmarking.

Before i post the results,let me tell you something about the Drivers,in DELL's site,there are 2 drivers for XPS M1730,one of them is 167.55 and the other one is 174.31,well with the first one Call Of Duty 4 had so much problems(After few minutes of playing,the game froze and then when it resumed,i got huge FPS drop) and with the second one,Call Of Duty 4 was fine but Crysis had FPS problems,so i decided to Download a Desktop Driver(177.79 version) in order to fix it.

So lets see the results

World In Conflict Benchmark
The first one is with everything maxed out and 4xAA with 1920x1200 resolution and the second one is like the first one but it has 0xAA,(and to be honest,i didn't see a noticeable difference between 4xAA and 0xAA) and 0xAA gave me a better experience in gaming:

4xAA:


0xAA:


Crysis
I achieved best results with 167.55 driver but because of Call Of Duty 4, i installed 177.79 driver and i lost few FPS(maybe 2 or 3 in the game).

I first installed a Veryhigh quality config for it but the game play wasn't smooth,so i isntalled the TripleC hack and played little with it and set everything to high(High quality in this Triple C hack looks very well)and my gameplay was very smooth and i got an average of 22-25 FPS with 1920x1200 resolution and 0xAA,and it looks gorgeous,i enjoyed it alot:





Call of Duty 4:
This game ran beautifully with everything maxed out with 1920x1200 resolution and 4xAA but again i got better results and more smooth gameplay with 0xAA(and i didn't noitce a difference in this game from 4xAA to 0xAA either),i played 4 missions and the average FPS was 40-80(depending on the mission) and the minimum FPS i got was 30.

http://xs.to/codes.php?f=iw3sp_2008-07-31_17-56-44-6682...


Unreal Tournament 3:
This game ran beautifully too with 19200x1200 resolution and every settings maxed out(i didn't try it with 0xAA though)and i enjoyed it alot and i got an average of 60-80 FPS,which is very well.





GPU temp:
Well i think the most hottest component in this laptop is its GPU,they idle and 75c and goes max 92c(when playing Crysis),in other games its goes max to 85c.


I liked this laptop alot,aside from some minor issues like DVD RW issues,its an awesome latop,its very powerful and quiet and it truly is a desktop replacement.


Main advantages:
Beautiful design.
Solid display.
Very fast(Outperforms many current desktops)
LED-Backlightning on the back of the laptop,touchpad,speakers and the keyboard.
Excellent cooling solution.

Main disadvantages:
Dell didn't include a 64bit OS in the site.(Its not really important though)
The left speaker doesn't light up.
DVD RW issue.


I hope you like the review and i thank again the guys who helped me :) 

More about : dell xps m1730 review

August 1, 2008 3:41:01 PM

Sounds like a great machine, and it definitely flattens my XPS M1710 :) 
August 1, 2008 3:51:56 PM

great review really liked your approach of telling us exactly what you did in terms of benchmarks and the big advantages and disadvantages of this laptops are. keep up the good work.
Related resources
a b D Laptop
August 1, 2008 3:56:19 PM

Glad you like it.

@ 1920x1200 on a 17" screen the pixels are so much smaller that AA becomes less important as you have noticed.

Maybe you can check with Dell to see if they have any firmware for that DVD drive.

You also get to show the massive optimizations to the unreal 3 engine :) 
a c 244 D Laptop
August 1, 2008 3:59:49 PM

thanks alot guys :) 
Well i downloaded a new firmware but its still the same.

Nuke,what do u mean by showing massive optimizations?
a b D Laptop
August 1, 2008 4:02:13 PM

Nice write. I think the Smoke Grey is about the only color I can stand with that laptop. Looks better in person (pictures/whatever) than it did in any review I had seen. I agree with OCRocks, I liked your approach towards the benchmarking and the included info about the Driver issues.

a c 244 D Laptop
August 1, 2008 4:08:11 PM

thanks :) 
a b D Laptop
August 1, 2008 4:17:30 PM

Maziar said:
Nuke,what do u mean by showing massive optimizations?

The unreal engine works extremely well(they took allot[not like some other games] of time build that game engine). Most likely the smoothest running game right now.

I mean i can play that game with an X1900 and still keep it over 45-50fps average
a c 244 D Laptop
August 1, 2008 4:46:38 PM

Yeah unreal engine is good but remember GOW,many are reporting glitches with it,but UT3 runs flawless.

Another good engine is the one which is for COD series(whats the name of it?)
August 1, 2008 7:44:24 PM

Not a clue, but it runs well on mid-high settings on my XPS (Geforce Go 7950GTX)
a b D Laptop
August 1, 2008 8:38:35 PM

cjl said:
Not a clue, but it runs well on mid-high settings on my XPS (Geforce Go 7950GTX)


Do you play multiplayer? what res and other settings? What CPU are you running?

Mine can only really handle 1280x1024, but I think my low end Core2 is holding me back since it's the lowest speed for dual cores for system requirements. :heink: 

BTW, the COD4 engine is proprietary, developed specifically for the game. Some believe that it closely resembles the Quake 4 engine also based off of Doom 3.

Quote:
Infinity Ward has created its own proprietary graphics engine-based on the Quake graphics engine. The new software is heavily modified though. This "new" engine introduces cinematic quality graphics and sound . You can now get realistic depth of field, rim-lighting, character self-shadowing, texture streaming and physics-enabled effects like death scenes which combine rag doll with death animations.


Source: http://bashandslash.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...
August 1, 2008 10:08:07 PM

Nice machine and review, enjoy.
August 1, 2008 10:38:46 PM

lostandwandering said:
Do you play multiplayer? what res and other settings? What CPU are you running?

Mine can only really handle 1280x1024, but I think my low end Core2 is holding me back since it's the lowest speed for dual cores for system requirements. :heink: 

That's with a T7600G OCed to 2.83GHz, and my external 1680x1050 22" monitor. I have to drop it down more to all medium or so on the laptop's 1920x1200 screen. I'll check for my exact settings later when I get home.
a c 244 D Laptop
August 2, 2008 6:29:15 AM

thanks logan for the article :) 
thanks Zorg :) 
a b D Laptop
August 5, 2008 7:56:05 PM

Apparently what I posted failed, so I hope this doesn't double up.

Anyway. Good machine! Very fancy with the lighting.
Crap, now I forgot what I'd posted before..hm..

It went something like this.
I compared your numbers with mine, and I'm surprised to see the second 8800 isn't giving more power...mostly just a 10-15fps increase. I would have expected 20 or so, but maybe the numbers are fudged.

Also, I found it interesting that my machine has a higher fps with COD4, and a lower one with UT3, whereas your ranges post higher fps values for UT3 as opposed to COD4.
August 5, 2008 8:43:01 PM

Most likely UT3 has better scaling with the second card.
a c 244 D Laptop
August 5, 2008 9:05:21 PM

Well it depends on what resolution and which mission that u play frozenlead
for example for Crysis @ 1920x1200 with everything maxed out with 0xAA,i think it benefits alot from the second GPU.
August 5, 2008 10:44:56 PM

Thank you so much for this review! There is going to be a Fastest notebook in the world shootout, and I was looking for what kind of scores DELL's 1730 was going to pull down in 3DMarks. I am relieved.

Nice pictures BTW, looks like a really cool looking rig I like that illuminate KB, that is boss. You know what would look pretty cool, if the black part of the top was carbon fiber looking (kind of looks like that now, but hard to tell) and the sides that are silver were like a stainless steel perforated material (like holes). Even if the stainless steel things were silk screened on or something it would make it look more industrial on the top and the other accents making it look futuristic would really bring it all together.
a b D Laptop
August 6, 2008 12:33:56 AM

I wasn't suggesting the second 8800 didn't help at all, if that's what you mean - I was just surprised it wasn't giving more. But you're right, missions and conditions do change things.

How much memory do you have available after two 8800's and 4GB of ram, with only a 32bit OS?
a c 244 D Laptop
August 6, 2008 9:45:56 AM

thanks killer :)  :D  i ran 3dmark @ 1280x1024(the resolution that everyone tests)but this resolutions doesnt really benefit from SLI.

frozenlead,no i didnt mean that the second 8800 doesnt help at all,thats why i wrote the SLI/CF FAQ,the second GPU doesnt always double the performace,but in very high resolutions it helps alot.

Well in the welcome center it says i have 4GB RAM(because of SP1)but DXDIAG shows 3070MB.
August 6, 2008 2:48:00 PM

Maziar: I am building my entry into the World's Fastest Notebook competition today. I am gunning for 14,000 3D06 Marks with a little TLC.

I have seen SLi give on average 25-30% more performance. That is by no means a hard and fast rule, but it gets you close when you are mentally comparing cost vs. performance.
August 6, 2008 3:56:06 PM

Keep in mind that with how much 3dmark06 loves CPU, this computer would probably get quite a bit higher of a score with the X9000 @ 3.4GHz (Dell allows overclocking on the X models)
a c 244 D Laptop
August 6, 2008 4:02:44 PM

Right,
I never like 3DMARK06 the most important thing for me is running games flawlessly and other applications such as photshop fast and this laptop isnt a let down :D 
August 6, 2008 4:10:00 PM

I really liked your review Maziar.
you really need to get payed for it :p 

i'm working to get money now, i own an old p4 system.
i'm just wandering to buy new parts for 700 euro, or to buy notebook. i have already one notebook (but not a gamething)

what should you do. like you said it's a good desktop replacement. but if you don't really need mobile, is it worth the money?

thanks man!
August 6, 2008 4:55:48 PM

cjl said:
Keep in mind that with how much 3dmark06 loves CPU, this computer would probably get quite a bit higher of a score with the X9000 @ 3.4GHz (Dell allows overclocking on the X models)

I am using a Q9650 1333 fsb 3.0 Ghz 45 nm Penryn quad core with 12 MB cache... I am not concerned with a lowly mobile cpu ;) 

I modify the system to offload Windows background processes (which normally take up to 15%) to the 3'rd and 4th core leaving the first and second core virtually overhead free to take on any game or benchmark. To give you an idea, the tweaks and mods I do to the O.S. & software alone take up 18 PDF pages from start to finish.

It will be a termite vs. a chainsaw.
a b D Laptop
August 6, 2008 5:27:52 PM

15%, what do you have running on there?
August 6, 2008 5:44:50 PM

killernotebooks said:
I am using a Q9650 1333 fsb 3.0 Ghz 45 nm Penryn quad core with 12 MB cache... I am not concerned with a lowly mobile cpu ;) 

I modify the system to offload Windows background processes (which normally take up to 15%) to the 3'rd and 4th core leaving the first and second core virtually overhead free to take on any game or benchmark. To give you an idea, the tweaks and mods I do to the O.S. & software alone take up 18 PDF pages from start to finish.

It will be a termite vs. a chainsaw.

The X9000 should actually beat the Q9650 in the graphics tests (they don't really seem to care about extra cores). Of course, the CPU tests will be slaughter...
a b D Laptop
August 6, 2008 6:12:32 PM

cjl said:
The X9000 should actually beat the Q9650 in the graphics tests (they don't really seem to care about extra cores). Of course, the CPU tests will be slaughter...


That's not necessarily true. 3Dmark06 likes clock speed. If you compare them at stock, the 3.0ghz Q9650 will/should beat out the 2.8ghz X9000 with or without optimization for the extra 2 cores. If OC'ing gets tossed into the mix, the X9000 will make up ground with its unlocked multiplier. In this case FSB may or may not play a factor since the Q has a 1333 FSB while the X is limited to an 800 FSB (again at stock).

It should also be noted that Mark spends a crapload of time making sure that each system runs to its fullest potential. BTW Mark, does that turbo button work on the Odachi as well? ;) 
August 6, 2008 6:25:41 PM

lostandwandering said:
Does that turbo button work on the Odachi as well? ;) 

Unfortunately no, they have this thing completely locked down. You can pin mod the CPU if you use a Q6600 series and bring it to 3.0 Ghz and 1333 fsb, but that is the only way I have seen over clocking done in this chassis. There was a BIOS mod floating around but the guy who wrote it said something in it was messed up and he burned out his system and doesn't share t anymore.

Clock for clock, if both systems have Windows overhead, and the quad is handling it in the 3rd and 4th core, leaving the main two cores essentially wide open for use (and in this case the increased fsb) it should theoretically increase the available processing power to make it on par with any dual core out there. On real-world systems this effect will be much more pronounced if you move the anti viri/spyware/malware engines to the 3rd and 4th cores also.
a c 244 D Laptop
August 6, 2008 6:41:13 PM

vochtige said:
I really liked your review Maziar.
you really need to get payed for it :p 

i'm working to get money now, i own an old p4 system.
i'm just wandering to buy new parts for 700 euro, or to buy notebook. i have already one notebook (but not a gamething)

what should you do. like you said it's a good desktop replacement. but if you don't really need mobile, is it worth the money?

thanks man!


thanks mate :) 

Well actually the advantage of this laptop over a desktop is that its alot quieter and takes a lot less place, i really didnt needed a portable laptop i needed a Desktop replacement and i am very happy with this beast :D  :) 
August 6, 2008 7:04:10 PM

lostandwandering said:
That's not necessarily true. 3Dmark06 likes clock speed. If you compare them at stock, the 3.0ghz Q9650 will/should beat out the 2.8ghz X9000 with or without optimization for the extra 2 cores. If OC'ing gets tossed into the mix, the X9000 will make up ground with its unlocked multiplier. In this case FSB may or may not play a factor since the Q has a 1333 FSB while the X is limited to an 800 FSB (again at stock).

It should also be noted that Mark spends a crapload of time making sure that each system runs to its fullest potential. BTW Mark, does that turbo button work on the Odachi as well? ;) 

The X9000 is unlocked for OCing in the dell BIOS. Most people who have it run at around 3.4GHz. I'd be quite surprised if the Q9650 could be overclocked much in laptop cooling, so the X9000 would probably win on anything single threaded.
a b D Laptop
August 6, 2008 8:13:56 PM

cjl said:
The X9000 is unlocked for OCing in the dell BIOS. Most people who have it run at around 3.4GHz. I'd be quite surprised if the Q9650 could be overclocked much in laptop cooling, so the X9000 would probably win on anything single threaded.


Just FYI, that CPU can be overclocked in any system as long as the manu allows it (Sager/ Clevo allows it). That's the beauty of the X**** CPUs. I know people that own one will OC it, I was just using stock as a reference. And OC'd, yes the X9000 would win.
August 7, 2008 1:23:04 AM

One thing I noticed were the relatively high temps for the GPU (75C idle, 92C stress) but I guess that really depends on the ambient temperature. What was room temp when you took that measurement? (Just a guess, or something, for curiosity's sake)
a b D Laptop
August 7, 2008 1:41:49 AM

Think of an 8800GTS 512(about what a 8800GTX mobile is) with a single slot cooler. in a laptop cool vs noise with noise winning gives those temps.
August 7, 2008 4:09:17 AM

Yeah, it's really a balance. I think I'd personally prefer a cooler laptop that's a bit louder, but then again, you can always get a notebook cooler to keep temps cool. It's kinda hard to mod a laptop to be quieter :p 

Oh right, and congrats Maziar, the laptop is a beast :D 
August 7, 2008 5:19:15 AM

lostandwandering said:
Just FYI, that CPU can be overclocked in any system as long as the manu allows it (Sager/ Clevo allows it). That's the beauty of the X**** CPUs. I know people that own one will OC it, I was just using stock as a reference. And OC'd, yes the X9000 would win.

Definitely - I was just specifying because not everyone who sells them allows overclocking. The perplexing one to me actually is that Dell allows overclocking, but Alienware doesn't.
a c 244 D Laptop
August 7, 2008 9:39:41 AM

theworminator said:
Yeah, it's really a balance. I think I'd personally prefer a cooler laptop that's a bit louder, but then again, you can always get a notebook cooler to keep temps cool. It's kinda hard to mod a laptop to be quieter :p 

Oh right, and congrats Maziar, the laptop is a beast :D 


thanks mate :) 

well in summer here is very hot,the temp outside is about 39c in morning and goes to 32c in night,its very hot here :D  thats why my temps are high.
August 7, 2008 7:28:05 PM

cjl said:
Definitely - I was just specifying because not everyone who sells them allows overclocking. The perplexing one to me actually is that Dell allows overclocking, but Alienware doesn't.


The Dells allow OC'ing now? When did this happen? :p  Then again, last time I heard Dell and Overclock being said in the same sentence it was people talking about the T7600G processor that Dell offered. And that was a while ago.

To Maziar: Yeah, I guess my computer gets the benefits of the Canadian winter more than I do. :D 
a c 244 D Laptop
August 7, 2008 8:39:23 PM

Dell allows user to OC T7600G on XPS M1710 and X7800/X9000 on XPS M1730
August 7, 2008 9:52:56 PM

theworminator said:
The Dells allow OC'ing now? When did this happen? :p  Then again, last time I heard Dell and Overclock being said in the same sentence it was people talking about the T7600G processor that Dell offered. And that was a while ago.

To Maziar: Yeah, I guess my computer gets the benefits of the Canadian winter more than I do. :D 

In notebooks, as Maziar said, it's on the X series plus the T7600G (which I have and love - currently at 2.83GHz :D ). On desktops, the XPS gaming series (not all XPS, but just the gaming ones - the 630 and 730 IIRC) have complete overclocking functionality - FSB, RAM, voltages, etc.
a b D Laptop
August 8, 2008 3:41:45 AM

How's the unit on upgradability? Is it easy to dismantle?
!