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Dell XPS M1730: The Beast

The mad scientists in Dell's XPS division have been chomping the crazy pills again. They've just sent us The Beast -- aka the XPS M1730

The mad scientists in Dell's XPS division have been chomping the crazy pills again. They've already delivered the home gaming equivalent of Godzilla with the XPS 710 H2C, and it's about to do the same for the mobile gamer. Meet 'The Beast', aka the XPS M1730.

It's the first laptop to feature a dedicated Ageia PhysX processor of the sort you only ever find in high-end desktop rigs. Not only that, but it also comes with two Nvidia GeForce 8700 M graphics cards running in tandem, and a 17-inch screen with a monstrous 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution. This, ladies and blog-readers, is the very future of mobile gaming -- actually, make that 'semi-mobile'. This thing weighs a not-inconsiderable 4.8kg.

Physics-processing units are handy because they take the strain off the CPU and graphics cards, making your system even faster. They're used to model thousands of so-called 'smart particles', so hair, cloth -- anything that moves in fact -- behaves as realistically as it would in the real world.

One small caveat: games have to be developed specifically to take advantage of Ageia PhysX. You can't just install a copy of Far Cry and expect it to run any quicker or prettier than it would normally. Check out the list of compatible games on the Ageia Web site.

The Beast is available in a range of configurations, starting from a hefty £1,599. It'll take an Intel Core 2 Extreme X7900 CPU clocked at 2.8GHz, a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo T7700, or a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500. It can also take two 200GB hard drives, a single 250GB drive, or a 32GB solid state drive to help boot speeds.

We've got one and we like it very much, so you can bet your bottom dollar there's a review to follow shortly.

Update: A full review is now available on the site. -Rory Reid