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When it comes to laptops, you would like to think to get what you pay for to some extent. At least that would make it perhaps easier to understand which one to pick. With this in mind, a while back I invested in a top of the range Dell XPS. As advertised on their site, these were the best of the best, promising top performance in terms of speed, memory and graphics - everyone a young gamer could want.
By the time I had gone for most of the upgrades this ended up coming in at just over £1200. But as far as I was concerned it was money well spent, mainly because going for the 'best' component would surely help to future-proof it right? Wrong.
On the one hand I certainly cannot complain about the XPS's performance. It was very fast and ran any application I could throw at it with the greatest ease, from editing videos to playing the latest games. In addition it looks stunning. You can't help but feel cool when switching it on in front of friends as you hear them commend the sleek design and red glow of the XPS lettering as it powers up.
However, after about 3 years the XPS packed. Completely refused to work. I took it to a laptop repair shop where I spend £160 replaces a component for the screen, only to have it last another 6 months or so before packing up completely. Now, whilst I'm no Bill Gates, I know the fundamentals of looking after computers i.e. avoiding viruses, defragging regularly not installing needless programmes etc. So to have it die after 3 years was really not acceptable. Particularly when you know you can easily get 3 years out of a laptop that costs a third as much. Needless to say, it's successor was much cheaper and as such, I will be more than happy to replace it should the need arise after three or four years.
Nicknamed The Beast by DELL, this 'laptop' certainly lives up to it's name.
First off, I have yet to encounter any of the issues that many people are experiencing. Although I have only had the laptop for little over a year, it's continuously been rock solid and has never failed me.
The M1730 is clearly aimed at the gaming world. This is good for me because I am a gamer. The model I purchased had dual Nvidia 8700m GTs. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to buy this laptop, Dell no longer had the 8800m GTS as an option. But never mind, 512Mb in SLi is still pretty awesome. So awesome in fact, that the last game I played, the newest NFS: Hot Pursuit (barely 2 months old) played without a problem, and seemed to run at a smooth 30-60fps. No glitching, no slowdown, nothing. The only problem with this is the heat. Sure, the XPS has 3 big fans to help keep it cool, but start playing a game and the fans will kick in, sounding like a tornado outside your window. Maybe a good idea to buy a cooling stand.
The Beast looks pretty to. It has a sort of carbon fiber look to it. It's not everyone's taste, but I for one like the LEDs on the lid, the illuminate DELL logo, the touchpad and the LEDs within the speakers. I also like how the dance to the music while using Windows Media Player. You can also change the colour of the LEDs to. The keyboard also lights up, helping you to type in darker rooms. DELL had a choice of lid colours; white, grey, blue and red. i wanted red, but again, this option was gone by the time I bought one, so I went with blue. Still looks nice though. You also get an LCD display, the same as the one on the Logitech G15 keyboard, giving you stats while playing certain games, media information, system information and so on. Kinda like the VMU did on a Dreamcast. Hmm. At the front, you have a row of media controls for Play, Pause, Vol Up, Vol Down, Skip Back, Skip Forward and Mute. These also illuminate a bright blue, but go off in a few seconds. A cool extra feature is the inclusion of a small remote control that fits in the Express Card slot. This has basic media functions to it to control Windows Media Player. There is also a built-in web camera, although it's a fixed camera, and can not be rotated.
You get a generous amount to connectivity to. You get the standard 4 USBs ports, a Firewire 1934 port, DVI out, S-Video out, Audio In/Out, an Express Card slot and a multi-function Card Reader allowing you to read SD/MMC/MS/MSPro/xD cards, so there's something for everyone.
In terms of sheer power, this machine can dance with the best of them. Every game I've thrown at, new and old, has played flawlessly. The laptop doesn't even look like it's struggling to play them. It's like it's saying 'Pfft, is that all you got?', like it's taunting you. The machine I chose has a dual 2.40GHz CPU, so it's no slouch, and with 4Gb of RAM you can push it even further than most machines. Add to it a 64-bit version of Windows 7 and you've got yourselves the ultimate combination.
The 17" screen is nice and vibrant, very colourful and looks really nice when watching videos or DVDs. And the audio is excellent. Nice and crisp and very clear. Oh, and very LOUD. Seriously, playing music on this thing at full volume will blow your ears off... OK, not quite, but for a laptop, I was honestly amazed at the loudness of the sound. I haven't turned it all the way up for ages, and have to keep it at half volume.
You can also choose your hard drive configuration. I opted for a single 500Gb 7,200rpm drive. But you can also get 2x 200Gb in a RAID config. The laptop also has space for 2 drives. So as well as your main one, you can also install a second one to act as either a back up or to install software on and safe space on your main drive.
There is also the choice of a standard DVD-RW drive or a Blu-Ray drive. I went for a DVD-RW, as the Blu-Ray was pretty expensive at the time. Plus, I'm happy with normal DVDs at the moment.
Like every other laptop, the XPS has built-in WiFi for connection to wireless networks, and an option for a separate Bluetooth module.
Now, because of this power, the battery does suffer greatly. The battery life is really only going to get you a couple of hours use. When running on battery, the laptop will switch to it's lowest power settings to save battery. The screen will go darker, the CPU and GPUs will be throttled down and so forth. I would recommend running this on mains power at all times, unless you really have to run it on battery. Oh, and it weighs a ton. It's not the easiest laptop to carry around with you under your arm, and you wouldn't want to carry it for more than a few minutes. It's not so bad in a carry case.
The M1730s started at £999, just for the base model. Bare in mind that even the base model is pretty powerful, although I believe it has a slower CPU and a single GPU. I say 'started', as I believe DELL is no longer making the M1730s. Alienware is now manufacturing the most powerful laptops on Earth to replace the XPS series. They are similar in spec, even the model names are similar - Alienware's laptops are called M11x, M13x and M17x, identical designations to the XPS range.
So yeah. If you can afford it, you should pick one of these up. You may only be able to find them on eBay on or online shops, as DELLs website has discontinued the M1730. So you'll have to go for an Alienware if you want a similar spec machine. But get the DELL if you can. They look nicer, they are more reliable, I think they were/are cheaper than the Alienware equivalent. So go get one.
verall the Dell XPS M1730 was everything I had hoped it would be. There were a few surprises like the illuminated keyboard, speakers, mousepad, and lid twinkle like Christmas lights when music is played, but those only added character to the laptop.
While I still do not understand why this particular model was not offered with a single GTX260M over the dual 8700M GT's in SLI, if you can keep the heat under control the SLI configuration isn't a bad deal. The in-game performance was satisfactory and ideal for a computer you can throw into a backpack and hit a LAN or gaming night at a friend's house without packing around a computer case, monitor, and other desktop computer hardware.
I've heard rumors that Dell will be discontinuing the M1730 of the XPS series and letting Alienware fill that specific gap. If they do, hopefully Alienware will keep the price somewhat in line with the $1259.00 USD this particular machine sells for. I would hate to see gamers looking for a portable but cost efficient solution get left out of the Dell/Alienware lineup.
This has served its purpose and then some it comes with reasonable graphics and is one of my favorite laptops to this day
As you can see in the description of the product this is a powerful laptop and really only worth buying if you are going to be playing alot of GFX intensive games. They vary in price depending on how to tailor it but it can be anything from £1500-£2500.
Before buying any dell system not just a XPS it is crucial you look online for any Dell vouchers, generally you can get 10% of right away if you do a bit of research. I managed to get 15% off and a few freebies thrown in with my purchase.
Also it is worth mentioning that you only get 1 years full cover insurance for these machines, it is going to be around 100-200 pounds for 1-3 years additional cover once the free cover runs out. For a machine like an XPS I believe it is crucial to always have it covered as the machines esp. the GFX cards are prone to stop working.
I have had mine around 2 1/2 years and in the second year I had to have the GFX, HD and fan replaced which would have cost over 600 pounds if not covered. The Dell Engineer was very friendly but told me virtually all call outs for these XPS was the GFX cards failing becasue they are not great! grr why didnt I get told this BEFORE i bought it? The engineer also explained that he would always have the machine insured if he had one! sound advice me thinks.
As others have outlined the size and weight of these can be an issue, they are not really portable. More a laptop for home on the sofa and gaming on. I love mine as I do not have space for a large desktop and I can browse anywhere in the house with wifi.
It is also crucial to have the laptop on a solid surface so it gives the laptop space to breath! the fans will get so hot otherwise, nothing worse than having one directly on your lap. I was a little embaressed when the engineer cleared out a ton of cat fluff from my fans in my laptop )
The performance of these XPS (well they are really alienware) machines are not really in question, they are super fast and even in the most graphic intensive games run as smooth as silk. I play World of Warcraft and CoD on mine on full GFX settings and still manage to get the highest FPS rates available.
One of my only gripes with the machine or maybe Dell in general is the drivers are a real pain to update. I have wiped my machine a few times and the first time it was virtually impossible to get the drivers for it in an easy manner. You need drivers for around 20 functions on the machine to get it back to the out of the box state! not for the novice computer user thats for sure. My tip is get all the drivers from the dell support site before you need them and put them on a USB pen for later use, you will need it eventually.
I would only recommend this laptop for a small amount of people that really love their gaming, dont mind spending alot of money and are aware that things can go wrong! be prepared.
Great machine, really powerfull tool just make sure you have a few batteries packed...you'll need them!
I have the dual 8700 graphic cards and none of the problems listed by the last review, must have been a friday afternoon batch!
I have just upgraded my dell laptop to the XPS M1730 from an old M2010 because the graphics card went faulty 3 times in a row after 3 years!
Always take the 4 year repair or replace warranty, especialy on laptops, you WILL need it and this is living proof they will replace...even with a newer model if they discontinue the model you buy :-)
I got a credit note from them (for the amount I originaly paid for the original machine when i bought it) through the XPS helpdesk after some amount of chasing around and indian call centre foolery but it was all worth it in the end.
Now i have an extra 4 years joy and probably a free upgrade again before that time is up!
Not for the faint hearted.
I owned one of these babies for around 28 days before sending it back due to a number of reason. Firstly, i brought the modle with the 8700 SLI graphics ( GPU ) card. I also made sure it came with dual harddrives set in Raid 1.
Changeing the hard drives purchased was not as simple as removing the existing and plugging in replacements due to the set up of the raid.
Although billed as the ultimate games machine, games were terrible on this device, the only way to over come this was to buy the 8800 SLI GPU, this in turn added £600 more to the configured price or £800 if brought from an online supplier, making the machines total cost £2600
On first inspection i was astonished by the size of the power supply ( it is the same size or lager then most netbooks ) I also found the battery life to be extremley poor. You will be lucky to get 45 mins out of this beast. I brought the machine as i am a heavy games user. That said i wanted a machine that was portable, if i had wanted a desk top i would have brought a PC and for alot less money.
I also suffered from bad luck in the fact that my machine came with a faulty 8700 GPU, this proved extremley painful when i contacted Dell for their supposed high end XPS support. Eventually the card was replaced, i still suffered from freezing on film and graphics crashes, when i contacted Dell support i was advised i needed to find a 3rd party driver to get the best out of the GPU and also i would need to do some configuration work on the drivers.
Also one of the majour factors that made me choose this device wee the sales pitches on the net about this being one of the first laptops with the abilty to be future prrof, CPU, hard drives and graphics cards were all advertised as upgradalbe. I chalange anyone to find mor ethe 2 suppliers who can supply the graphics card upgrades, and i again challange anyone who can get this done for a reasonable price. the 8800 GPU is aroun £100 for a PC ( Tower unit ) the cheapest i found it for this machine was £800, hardley capable of being upgraded, you would be better off adding a bit more and buying a new laptop
I am not trying to bash Dell as I currently own a Dell and so does my son and wife, i just found the XPS 1730 ( the supposed Flagship ) laptop with the best support to be heavy, poor in battery life, terrible aftersales and tech support and finaly not capable of doing what was promised in its adertisment.
A huge beast you can say for this laptop which is bascially made for Games which is what i feel. It has XPS logos which glows the touch pad which has red lights you can change the colors, It has a huge keyboard with lot of functions, 17 inch wide screen and plus it also has a 2 megapixel builtin webcam.
It is very highly priced, and it does give resoultion but which in turns make the icons small so you need to stress your eyes sometime to read, also at this price it does not have a blue ray disc option, if you want it then you pay more for it, which is again asking for some more. It also not good for HD Videos.
It has Core 2 Duo T7500 and 2gb Memory which is enough for your work and 200gb hard disk space to store all your work, games & files etc.
there is no nuilt in tuner card so you have to again pay for it to get it.
This machine is good for games but its not worth paying this money only for playing games when it does not have Blu ray disc, Hd videos support, tuner etc....so over all and ok machine but good for game lovers....