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Dell XPS M1730 - Dell XPS M1730

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


This lack of software and driver support is also an important factor when it comes to new games, such as the ever demanding Crysis. Despite the fact that you can now play Crysis with SLI enabled using desktop graphics cards, you cannot do so with the M1730 because the drivers have yet to be updated. Even the enhanced community drivers have no such facility as of yet and as a result the performance in Crysis is barely mediocre.

Consequently playing Crysis on this machine, at the moment at least, is an absolute no-no. At 1,920 x 1,200 at medium settings it is nowhere near playable, while at higher settings it is nothing short of a slideshow - in fact I've seen slideshows that move faster. Switching down to 1,280 x 800 did improve things to a degree, though even then at medium settings it still isn't playable.

And this says much about the M1730 as a gaming machine. Though there are driver issues with single card solutions they aren't anywhere near as fundamental as on this machine, whose performance lives and dies on software support for SLI. Ultimately this makes it a deeply flawed product, with performance that can't be relied upon and must be supplemented by constant updating and community support. To recommend it purely based on the promise of future updates and support is a dangerous and foolhardy approach, which will leave many a consumer unsatisfied.

Much the same can be said of the inclusion of the mobile PhysX chip, which is supposed to accelerate physics calculations in games. A great song and dance was made about this feature, however to call it a useless expense would be a gross understatement.

Unlike a graphics card it isn't inherently required to play any game, but must actually be specifically programmed for to be utilised. Unfortunately, the list of games that do so is pitifully short and even those that do are restricted to "special" levels that don't play any part in main body of the game, relegating the on-board physics acceleration to a needless spectator 99.9 per cent of the time.

This is the abiding memory of the XPS M1730. Though the chassis and general design is solid enough with some touches of flair there too, performance just isn't good enough while many of the features, especially the display, are a distinct disappointment. Were Dell to update the model with new components it may fare better, but until it does so there are better options available.


Having promised much the Dell XPS M1730 largely disappoints, with a lack of up-to-date drivers resulting in inconsistent performance. Its mobile physics processor is largely useless, while the display is particularly underwhelming. Some thorough configuration options may attract some, but only if they're willing to be very patient as software support is expanded.

Michael Hall

July 7, 2008, 9:39 pm

I recently purchased a fully loaded Dell M1730 laptop SLI 8800GT graphics cards, 4 gigs of DDR (only 3GB can be used by vista 32bit and Dell do not offer 64 bit edition!) and so on. The laptop for the first few days was perfect, super fast performance and its all bundled into a great looking package however, there were numerous software conflicts etc and what Dell do no tell you is that the great looking dell light FX system and windows vista SP1 have a known conflict and you will get a loud crackling noise through your soundcard whilst changing the lights and at the start of MP3 tracks and other situations ("Its a known conflict" according to Dell tech support, although during the 10+ phone calls I made to them no one had ever heard of this problem!)

Tech support with Dell is pretty awful and that's being very fair, my company currently has 4 Dell workstations and a Dell server and to be fair these machines have never had any issues but after my experience with Dell's tech support and being told there is nothing they can do about the light Fx issue and even if I were to have an exchange I would have the same problem.

I felt let down by Dell considering the machine had set me back over � this didn't seem to matter to Dell and there were other issues but I didn't have the patience to go through the long winded tech support phone calls. Dell's Mediadirect kept crashing without reason and it failed to play Blu Ray discs out of the box (I had to download Powerdvd 8 to get those working!) there were other problems but the list was pretty long. To date and after a vast amount of infuriating phone calls to tech support I have been offered a full refund but I will be taking my business elsewhere in future, I hope this helps potential buyers to make an informed decision on their new Laptop purchase.

Jay 2

July 12, 2008, 6:50 am

"If anything, though, the red lights on the front do stretch the concept a little far, making it look rather like Knight Rider's evil twin and consequently just a little bit silly."

The light on the speakers/touchpad can be set to any of SEVENTEEN 17 different colours.

Dell Quickset is the program you use to change the colour (open quickset -> System (in the left pane) -> Gaming Options (in the right panel))

You can also change the intensity of the top light.

I use Amythest cuz I like purple and its a fuc*ing awesome looking color :D

I got my M1730 as a REPLACEMENT for an Inspiron 9400 I bought from Dell, I was QUITE happy at the upgrade they gave me for free !

PROS of this laptop that I can see:

-8700M ... SLI, gaming graphics on a laptop

-Tonnes of eye candy (top, speaker, touchpad lights)

-Its Not made of cheap silver painted white plastic that all rubs off and makes your laptop look terribly ugly

-Logitech LCD Panel .. which, if your a gamer, you'll understand why this is a great thing

-BACKLIT KEYBOARD !!! OMG finally someone made a fuc*ing backlit laptop keyboard. Maybe its just me, but I think this is essential in a laptop, I use mine in the dark frequently *shrug*

-Probably one of the most powerful, if not THE most powerful laptop on the market at this time (July 08)

-Wireless network finder and the fact I can toggle my wireles (and bluetooth .. which serves me absolutely no purpose anyways lol) on or off by a switch (its helpful in securing my laptop, I just turn the button to off b4 I go somewhere (when im not using it) so no wireless connections can be made PERIOD), switch it back on whenever im using it

-I've always liked the card reader (esp w/ Vista and ReadyBoost), but Dell puts one in most if not all their laptops, so .. nothing special to the M1730

-SOLID - This laptop is by no means flimsy, its built strong, and im sure it could take quite a beating (fortunately ive never tested this ... yet) .. on that note

WEIGHT IS NOT A PRO OR A CON. If you are out to buy a powerful, gaming grade laptop .. it will not be as light as a feather .. the laws of gravity forbid it.

If you want a light laptop, your looking in the wrong class of dell's products, XPS is their high end stuff, designed purely for functionality.

Besides .. its really not THAT bad, unless your all a bunch of pussies (lol jk), its sat on my lap for many hours .. its no more or less confortable then the pared to the inspiron 9400 i had before, sure it weighs more, but its no more or less comfortable then the inspiron I had before.


- Playing say ... Age of Conan, on full settings runs HOT !!! It has run so hot that at times my system shuts down. I bought a laptop cooler, and havn't had a problem since, nevertheless ... its a hot laptop.

- Not really a con, but my Inspiron 9400 had 6 USB ports, and the XPS M1730 has only 4 USB ports, it should have 6. A 7 port D-link USB hub fixed that problem though :)

- Tech Support - It sucks hard .. but theres things can be done to make it a bit less painful.

First, the XPS tech support is based out of the US, so believe it or not, its notably better then dells tech support for any of their other products (which is all overseas)

Second, dell does not know its head from its ass .. what do I mean? they keep no record at all (other then short notes and reference numbers) of past service calls. So make sure you get the reps name, and employee reference # b4 you hang up, try and deal with that one tech throughout your entire service call, there are some good guys that do and will help you. Otherwise, if you call back about a claim the tech you talk to will know shi*, and youll spend an hour of various 5 minute hold while they 'look into it'

Third, the technical support manager listens to every call. Ask, right at the

beginning of your call that the manager participate in your call, say you've had many problems with the tech staff because you are educated in PC repair and they won't addres your claims and demands (for some of you I guess this is a bit of a white lie, for the rest like me, its how to stop smashing my head into the wall when the guy tells me to press CTRL F12 FIFTEEN times, telling me i'm 'doing it incorrectly' .. and I explained i'd tried this long before i made the call ... that service call is how i found out about the managers listening in, cuz the manager cut into the tech and asked if I was upset with the techs conduct, to which I promptly stated YES).

The service manager can get things done for you a lot quicker, and they are very helpful, they listen, and know wtf they are talking about.

Fourth, be demanding and defensive .. I know this isn't very good manners, but they don't exactly treat you with the best of manners. if you demand something, they will be forced to actually listen, rather then treat you like someone without a clue as they run through the checklist (when you already know exactly whats wrong with your laptop). I have dealt with tech support before that I know are not qualified to repair computers .. one so bad she didn't understand a word, and put me on hold a dozen times to 'go ask another tech'.

Fifth, know how their policie work, for eg. know that Dell DOES do system exchanges (at the start of my ordeal with my inspiron 9400 I was told by two techs point blank that dell does not do system exchange. Dell has a system exchange DEPARTMENT, and I now have an exchanged system, so I was lied to, had I not reserached, they'd have won.

Sixth, get the email addresses of their exeutive management staff, i won't provide them to you because I don't think its appropriate, but you can find them easily on the internet (google). Email the executive staff directly, and on a friday night. When they see an email Monday morning, trust me, you will get serviced quickly (a very very small fraction of their clients contact the executive staff, 99% call tech support), if your email states your complete dissatisfaction, within 1-2 days it will be resolved, this point i probably the most valuable piece of advice I can give you to deal with dell.

Overall, I give this laptop a SOLID 9/10

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