Dell charges into the gaming laptop arena today, unveiling the big, fully loaded Dell Inspiron XPS, the company's first laptop aimed squarely at the gamer crowd. The 9.4-pound desktop replacement (Dell's largest notebook ever) starts at about $2,849 and will, for the first time, feature an upgradable graphics chip.

Upside: We'll be surprised if this laptop's top-shelf specs don't result in dramatically impressive performance. Specs include a choice of a 3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor or a Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, also at 3.4GHz; 512MB to 2GB of DDR RAM at 400MHz; the Mobility Radeon 9700 with 128MB of memory (ATI's new graphics chip); a 15.4-inch screen; a subwoofer to beef up the sound; Gigabit Ethernet; four USB 2.0 ports; FireWire; and a 60GB hard drive spinning at a fast 7,200rpm. If and when you want to upgrade the graphics chip, a Dell technician will be dispatched to install the upgrade at your home.

Downside: Starting at $2,849, the Dell Inspiron XPS costs more than you might be willing to spend for a laptop. At 9.4 pounds, it's also more machine than the frequent traveler will want to lug around.

Outlook: From what we've seen so far, the Dell Inspiron XPS looks capable of taking on the tough requirements that gamers demand. Will it set a new standard for powerful gaming laptops? Check back for a full review.