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Dell XPS M1730 being replaced with a Alienware M17x

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January 11, 2010 11:10:04 AM

Hey guys,

I just want to start briefly in saying i use this website and forums to base alot of my research on building my own computer systems. As my header states i currently have a Dell XPS M 1730 and i have finally been told that Dell will replace it with their nearest equivalent model, which turns out to be a AW M17x

The spec is:
Cpu t7700 2.4ghz dual core
4gig ram
2 x 160 gig hdd
SLI 8700m gts
1900 x 1200 resolution monitor. basically

My Dell had arrived about 2 years ago (Jan 8 2007) and i was exited to say the least, now with out grabbing all the repair dockets that their techies leave after tinkering with my computer i think i had a tech out about every 2nd month for the 2 year period, since then i have actually befriended 1 of them as i saw him regularly lol! :o 


The first issues i had were with performance in the early days and the techies over the phone did the whole re install OS thing, i had initially got vista business and it would accept my older software so i managed to get an oem xp pro to replace it, this was great for a while as it worked well, but didnt get the support of the dell software, although i didnt chase it from their support site.

After a while i reverted to vista again as my software became vista compatible and the tecks reinstalled everything over the phone, within days of this i began getting patches of white pixels through my screen as the graphics cards warmed up, i took photos as proof for dell and made several phone calls over a few weeks. Finally they sent the techies out to replace the graphics cards and mother board! would they have replaced the cpu too?

New cards and mb installed i thought i was set for a treat, then with out warning keys popped off the keyboard lol! i couldnt believe it! I rang them and bingo 2 days later a new keyboard(easiest call i ever made).

From then on i have had constant issue, i had to extend my warranty from 1 year, to 2 as i couldnt trust my 4K investment would survive! Lucky i did as in the second yeah they replaced the garnish around the keyboard and touchpad, the lcd panel on the keyboard area, the LCD panel, the graphics cards AGAIN, the MB AGAIN lol! i got a new comp in seperate parts lol!

This leads up to this last week where i was browsing the web (no hi intensity usage) and the screen reverts to black and white! Back on the phone, do some techie tests and they say something is wrong.

1st visit from a techie saw me recieve yet another MB and graphics cards! - Problem not solved!
2nd Visit saw a new LCD panel and wiring installed! Still not fixed sufficiantly, and the techie damaged some plastics around the screen and couldnt get all screws to grab!
3rd visit with replacement shrouds (incorrect i might add) and apparently a 3rd lcd panel(which wasnt delievered to the techie lol), saw they techie who i now know well go absolutely ballistic at his indian assosiciate.

This was the climax to see the Dell people turn on each other lol! I couldn't help but laugh. While he was on hold i asked about trying to get a replacement laptop from them and he said "dell dont do that, its too easy" sarcastically, "they would rather send me out once or twice a week".

Dell tech support from india got back on the phone and was quering my current take on the situation and the local tech said i was furious and abusing him and yelling profanities at the people on the phone, which to be totally honest didnt happen at all. The only time i annoyed the local guy was to offer him a drink as it has been hot here in Australia recently.

The Indian tech wanted to talk to me, this is when he offered me a replacement computer. He then notified me i would be recieving it in 3-4 weeks. It is to be a current equivalent to what i currently have. Does this mean that it MUST have SLI, Dual HDDs as i originally ordered and an upgraded (from standard) CPU?

I thought out of pure fear to get a warranty extension for a further 2 years to cover the new comp as its not a purchase it will not have a fresh warranty on it!

Do you guys think i have made the right choice in accepting the replacement?

Should i just get the XPS repaired?

I hope i didnt blow more dough on this extended warranty!

Anyway guys thanks for the post and i hope to report back when i recieve my new package and settle the stories about gremlins in every DELL/AW lappy that escapes the shop!

PS>>> if you have had a replacement, what has the service been like?

If you have a current M17x please let me know your config and what you think, thanks.
a b D Laptop
January 11, 2010 1:15:07 PM

The base config for the M17x is as follows:
Core2Duo P8600 (2.4ghz)
4gb DDR3-1066
NVidia GTX 260M (x1)
250gb 7200rpm HDD (x1)
WXGA+ (1440x900)

That system would actually be as good as your current one with the exception of the screen. Though, I have a feeling that they will upgrade that for you. You are loosing a little bit of HDD space, but they may upgrade that for you as well. The GTX 260M is a much better card than the 8700M's ever were so you are getting a good deal there. If they decide to give you a true replacement for your system, you'd probably get two of those then.

I've only ever had one item completely replaced by Dell and it was one of their LCD TV's when they still made them. We had a 26'' TV that was 6 months out of warranty and refused to turn on. I called them up and they offered to replace it rather quickly. When we got the new TV, they had actually given us a larger screen. We basically when from a 26'' to a 32'' screen for free.
January 12, 2010 3:56:26 AM

Are gtx 260m majorly better than 8700 gts sli setup?

I have a GTX 275 super oc with 1700+mb in my pc but i dont know if the 260 would be quite as good as the 8700 gts sli configuration i currently have, i have always updated the drivers and played current games with it. I have COD2 and am able to play it on about 3/4 settings on the laptop. the pc is maxxed with no probs. But will a 260m be as good as the sli i have now?
Related resources
a b D Laptop
January 12, 2010 11:28:29 AM

trenna187 said:
Are gtx 260m majorly better than 8700 gts sli setup?

I have a GTX 275 super oc with 1700+mb in my pc but i dont know if the 260 would be quite as good as the 8700 gts sli configuration i currently have, i have always updated the drivers and played current games with it. I have COD2 and am able to play it on about 3/4 settings on the laptop. the pc is maxxed with no probs. But will a 260m be as good as the sli i have now?


The GTX 260M has almost double the shaders of the 8700's in SLI (112 vs 64) and has a bigger memory bus (256bit vs 128). Plus, it has higher shader and memory clocks and also runs on a smaller, more efficient 55nm process compared to the 8700's 80nm. It also comes down to the fact that the 8700's (and 8600's for that) just weren't very good cards. NVidia for whatever reason really messed up the midrange cards with the 8 series.

Here's benchmarks between the two: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benc...
(find and select the 260 and the 8700 SLI and hit the restrict button to do a direct comparison)

GTX 260M: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-260M.14...

8700 SLI: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-8700M-GT-SL...
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 19, 2010 6:50:54 PM

Oh mate, STOP THEM! I just had the exact same thing happen to me in December. I had an M1730 also motherboard and video cards replaced several times over the last 18 months, with me the ac adaptor got replaced every month or 2 exactly the same specs as you except T9300 CPU, anyway they offered me the M17x replacement which was the base package, 1 video card etc.. I decided to pay a bit more and upgrade screen (make sure you tell them you want 1920x1200 as the base ships with 1440x900) CPU and went with the xfire 4870s.

Received the M17x and tried to watch a movie, when the stuttering started.....
Tried playing games, listening to music, browsing the internet and no matter what I was doing the computer would just freeze for 1-2 seconds every once in a while (it gets worse when you're browsing while listening to music or watching something) Once counted 8 freezes in a 30min tv show. So I reinstalled the OS tried new drivers and nothing worked.

I ended up calling Dell and after explaining to him that it's not the drivers or OS he finally admitted that this is an issue they are well aware of with M17x's it's worse depending on your OS and hardware. They are trying to resolve the issue and are working on a bios update (which I had to wait for before getting a refund) The BIOS update came out last week and I installed it, the stuttering got worse and I called them again, they said they are aware that the BIOS update makes the problem worse and they are still trying to resolve this issue, so I asked for my money back, I don't mind parts going as long as the techie can come out the following day and replace the part leaving me with a working laptop, but with this stuttering issue they have no idea how long it's gonna take to fix it, people have been stuck with this problem for 7months and no fix yet....

Don't get me wrong it's an awesome laptop and the video cards are veeeery powerfull. I was playing Modern Warfare 2, Assasins Creed DX10, GRID, Unreal Tournament 3, Resident Evil 5 etc...at 1920x1200 everything max with fraps mostly running 40-60fps all are fully playable. 3dmark06 15263

If you want more info or the latency issue, tracked down this thread that seems to be updated by Dell as they're working on the issue
http://en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/archive/...
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 19, 2010 7:59:08 PM

Oh did you see they changed the CPU's this week, all CPUs are i7 now, and no Geforce options anymore only ati 4870, according to some people the stuttering is better on this setup
January 22, 2010 6:58:02 AM

Wow yeah i saw that they are going to I series! thats great if you are in the USA! here in Australia we are still behind if you ask dell, and we wouldnt know what a mobile i series chip was lol. We dont have the option to select those at this stage :(  but i dont think it will be too far away.

In regards to the stuttering, do you think it would apply to a gtx 260m sli configuration? i will soon read up a little about it as i am weary now also.

Thanks for the tip, i will keep Dell on my speed dial so its easy to get them!
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 23, 2010 11:07:51 PM

Never had the 260s but when I spoke to to the dell rep I asked him if a different cpu, motherboard or video card would get rid of the stuttering, he said all the m17xs are affected, some more than others and there's nothing they can do about it, oh this morning my media strip died at the top of the keyboard, only worked on photoshop last night, nothing was wrong, this morning I had no volume controls, play button, wifi switch nothing, tried uninstall/reinstall with no luck don't think I can call dell to fix a loptop I'm returning :kaola: 

Even though I've had all these problems with several Dell laptops (bought 8 so far) my next one will also be a Dell, (thinking strategy games on the new multi touch studio 17) the reason is their customer support, the guys are allright, they're always so helpfull, 99% of the time you already know what's wrong before you call (thank you internet) and kinda enjoy listening to the guy as he slowly comes to the same conclusion, after a while you learn a few tricks, like make sure you give them a call a few days after you receive your laptop, and request a full refund for the latency issue, they won't want to give it to you, and will ask you to wait, but as long as they have you on record asking for a refund, it makes it a lot easier to get one after a few months (uk = 7 days return policy some have 21), also ask to speak to the supervisor/manager to really make sure you're on record, and get their names, you can also get a free upgrade to i7 this way, dell will upgrade rather than refund a £2500 laptop, they offered me the upgrade

To check the latency, download and run this
http://www.thesycon.de/dpclat/dpclat.exe

When checking the latency, look at it like a benchmark, don't care about it when laptop is idle and you're not using it, want to see it when playing a game at very high settings and watching a hd movie while browsing or listening to music, make sure you really test it with everything you want to do on it, idle tests are useless
January 23, 2010 11:42:52 PM

This is a good idea, although a little sly, but you make sense. I have dealt with there service team often and with the premier pack i get in home maintanence, this i like! My only issue is that we are constantly submitting ourselves to torture!

Although having said that, they didnt offer me warranty with the new m17x so i just extended my XPS warranty for 2 more years and they said it will carry over. I think you are right with latency issues (although i need a little more clarification about it if you could, like is it interenet lag, graphics lag or cpu you are refering too?).

I will definately be pushing them hard as soon as i get it about the obvious latency and also the apparent stuttering that m17x's are subject to. If you havent seen or read about it i can get some links regarding it, although there is a little about it back further through the thread.

In Australia they havent changed to Core i7 yet, also they are still using Nvidia cards and not Crossfire yet.

I think i will start hounding them as soon as i get it and tell them to send me a US or a UK spec one with the Core i7 in it.

I mentions earlier i needed to pay an extension for my warranty, i payed AU$580(2 years) for it, last year i paid AU$400(for 1 year). The original unit cost me AU$3600 so add that all together and i have paid for a core i7 model. AU$4580 will get me a brand new complete top of the line model (minus ssd but extreme cpu and dual 280m gpu). I hope that i am able to get that far.

I kept all the maintance dockets that their tech people leave so i have a long list of replacement parts and tried to maintain a log of contact although thats a little dodgy. I will endeavour to track my progress as it returns.

If anyone has already recieved a corei7 m17x could you tell us if there is latency or stuttering issues present in your system please. Many people spend hard earned money for a high level system and are getting the short end of the stick. The m17x should have been released with so many issues pre-production, i think they are taking advantage of us.

Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 24, 2010 3:22:46 AM

It may be sly but we're paying a lot of money for these toys, they should be working properly from the start, we're simply protecting our investments :) 

About the latency, what happens is the computer just freezes watching a movie playing a game listening to music whatever you're doing the laptop just freezes, usually just for a second or 2 but really annoying
More info can be found here (144 pages)
http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=408300
and
http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=434691


Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 24, 2010 4:15:57 AM

About the i7s, when he offered me the upgrade the first question I asked was, can he guarentee me that I will be able to listen to music without the computer freezing, to which he replied.... no, he said the i7s still have latency issues but apparently a lot less than the others.

From the look of it, there is still no nvidia option with the i7 so you'll be joining me with ati if you go for it, can honestly say that the 4870s are awesome, but looking back I kinda wish I went for the 280s, not because of the power, on the US dell site they actually have a chart showing that the 4870's are more powerfull than the 280s even though they're cheaper.... (still trying to figure out why?) i would want nvidia because of nhancer. you also had the 8700s so you know how great nhancer is for sli setups, forcing aa in games that didn't even have it, changing a games sli profiles, just a great program..

With the ati cards you need mobility modder to get the latest drivers (no more laptopvideo2go) and it's a bit of a pain, also AA is difficult to pull off (cant just turn it on in nhancer), if you do go for it check out these programs
ATI Crossfire Xtension
ATI Tray tools
Had some luck changing xfire profiles and enabling AA with those, but nhancer is just waaaay better
January 25, 2010 10:29:38 AM

Unfortunately i believe that i am missing both the ATI option and the i7 option as there is no options for this available in Australia at the current time. I have been checking there site www.dell.com.au or www.alienware.com.au!! I am only able to for the m15x if i want a i7, although i need to "accept what i am sent" according to the guy on the phone!

I will take you earlier advise and mention issues early in my ownership and hopefully lay ground work for when it is corrected and further push for 'another' replacement.

I am hoping that the gremlins skipped my package but i fear for the worst at the moment. All i know is if i get another dodgy unit and that isnt rectified i will possibly persue legal avenues which we have in Australia. I really dont want to do it but i spent alot of hard earned cash and will not let it be stolen. I am currently posting this on a HP dv7 (T9400 @ 2.53GHz, 9600M GT, 2 x 360gig hdd 17'' display(only 1440x900) 4 gig ram) notebook which is about 1.5 years old now but hasnt even flickered! I have done practically the same on this unit as i did on the XPS m1730 that i also still have. The HP cost me about AU$1100 less, defying the trend shown on the reliability charts i have seen on the tom's hardware site.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/56321-35-first-laptop...

See what happens with my new Laptop! Currently i still cant access there order status area on their website as i dont have enough information from them. I have emailed the responsible person to get me the info or update on how it is progressing.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 25, 2010 3:58:46 PM

Hi.. I believe you have taken the right choice of replacement. After all we should be getting the worth for what we are paying...

Anonymous
a b D Laptop
January 25, 2010 11:19:48 PM

Have you called dell and aked they place your order on high priority? I know over christmas all the orders are placed on high priority but think that's stopped now so you have to request it, oh the media strip came back on the M17x, stil have no idea what happened there.

Always liked the hp laptops, my dad has one and mother in law recently bought one, great specs paid well over a grand and she's typing word documents on it...



January 31, 2010 4:07:30 AM

no i didnt get them to rush it! i have received notice it will arrive on the 5th of Feb! So only 5 sleeps (lol) to go!
!