Dell XPS M1710 Home review: Dell XPS M1710 Home

Our XPS M1710 test unit came equipped with a reasonably bright, 17-inch wide-screen display; we love its superfine WUXGA 1,900x1,200 native resolution; Dell says that the XPS M1710's display is 30 percent brighter than the M170's. While we found it slightly brighter than the Inspiron E1705's display, we still prefer the superbright screens on the VAIO AX, the LifeBook N6210, and the Pavilion dv8000, though none of those models offer the gaming performance of the XPS M1710.

There's no dearth of ports, jacks, or slots here: the XPS M1710 features headphone and microphone jacks, VGA and DVI outputs, S-Video-out, four-pin FireWire, and a whopping six USB 2.0 ports. Networking connections include a 56Kbps modem, 10/100/100 Gigabit Ethernet, optional Bluetooth, and integrated 802.11a/b/g wireless. Also onboard are an ExpressCard slot and a 5-in-1 media card reader; PC Card users, take note that the XPS M1710 does not support PCMCIA cards. (For the sake of comparison, the Toshiba Satellite P105-S921 has all of this, plus it supports PC Cards and SmartMedia cards and has an S/PDIF output, though it has two fewer USB 2.0 ports.) Finally, our XPS M1710 test unit included a multiformat, double-layer DVD drive. Dell bundles a standard software package, including Microsoft Windows XP Media Center .

At $4,215, our Dell XPS M1710 test unit came configured with the most high-end parts money can buy: Intel's top-of-the line 2.16GHz Core Duo processor, 2GB of fast 666MHz DDR2 SDRAM, and a big, fast 100GB hard drive spinning at 7,200rpm. Our XPS M1710 test unit was also stocked with Nvidia's GeForce Go 7900 GTX GPU, with 512MB of dedicated memory, and was, at the time that this review published, the first and only system to feature the new card, though more will surely follow soon. The Toshiba Satellite P105-S921 costs much less: for $1,999, you get a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 1GB of 333MHz DDR2 SDRAM, a 160GB, 4,200rpm hard drive, and a lower-end but still powerful Nvidia GeForce Go 7900 GS GPU with 256MB of dedicated memory.

As with past XPS models, the XPS M1710 destroyed CNET Labs' gaming benchmarks. In our Doom 3 test, it delivered 25 percent more frames per second (fps) than the XPS M170; with F.E.A.R., it notched 72fps compared with the XPS M170's 44. That said, the XPS M1710's SysMark scores were in line with those of the other 2.16GHz Core Duo systems we've reviewed (including the HP Pavilion dv8000t and the Acer TravelMate 8200 ), so unless you're a hard-core gamer who needs absolute top-shelf equipment to play new, demanding games, such as Oblivion or F.E.A.R., there are far less expensive options out there. In our battery drain test, the XPS M1710 lasted for 154 minutes, about the same as the previous model and decent battery life for a desktop replacement.

Though Dell has moved to a 90-day warranty on its less expensive models, the company covers the XPS M170 with an industry-standard one-year warranty, which provides free parts and labor with mail-in service. For a $4,000 notebook, we think Dell should offer a longer support contract; and the upgrades are fairly pricey: a four-year warranty with at-home service, which Dell recommends, costs about $340. You can get help through Dell's 24/7, toll-free telephone line for as long as you own the laptop. Dell offers a special tech-support number exclusively for XPS owners, staffed by reps who can provide help with the latest games and technologies. The company also has a support Web site with downloads, FAQs, and hardware-specific user forums.

SysMark 2004 performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating  
SysMark 2004 Internet content creation  
SysMark 2004 office productivity  
Dell XPS M1710
220 
313 
154 
Gateway NX860XL
204 
278 
150 
Toshiba Satellite P105-S921
196 
257 
150 
Dell XPS M170
170 
209 
138 

Doom 3 (High Quality, 10x7, 4XAA)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
ID Software/ActiVision's Doom 3 (frames per second)  
Dell XPS M1710
107.9 
Dell XPS M170
87.5 
Gateway NX860XL
81.8 

F.E.A.R. 10x7, 4XAA
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Monolith's/VU Games' F.E.A.R. (frames per second)  
Gateway NX860XL
40 

BAPCo MobileMark 2005 performance rating
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2005 performance rating  

BAPCo MobileMark 2005 battery life in minutes
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2005 battery life in minutes  

System configurations:
Dell XPS M170
Windows XP Media Center Edition; 2.26GHz Pentium M-780; 1GB PC 4200 DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 GTX 256MB; Fujitsu MHV2100AH 100GB 5,400rpm

Dell XPS M1710
Windows XP Media Center Edition; 2.16GHz Core Duo-T2600; 2GB PC 5300 DDR2 SDRAM 666MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX 512MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 100GB 7,200rpm

Gateway NX860XL
Windows XP Media Center Edition; 2GHz Core Duo-T2500; 1GB PC 5300 DDR2 SDRAM 666MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 256MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 80GB 7,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite P105-S921
Windows XP Professional; 1.83GHz Core Duo-T2400; 1GB PC5300 DDR2 SDRAM 666MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB; Fujitsu MHV2160BT 160GB 4,200rpm

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    Where to Buy

    Dell XPS M1710 Special Edition Formula Red Notebook Computer (Core 2 Duo T7200 2.00GHz/80GB/1GB)

    Part Number: M1710R1 Released: Apr 18, 2006

    This configuration has been updated. Click here to view all available XPS 1710 Laptops

    Quick Specifications

    • Release date Apr 18, 2006
    • Installed Size 1 GB