There’s no need to beat around the bush with this one (though a beating of Bush himself is an entirely different and appealing notion), Dell has rocked our world with the UK release of the Inspiron XPS Gen 2 gaming notebook.
We previewed this baby late last month but it slipped from its preliminary 15 March UK release date. As the time is now upon us, however, we come back to you with the full low down.
First off we have to pick out the mother of all mobile graphics cards: the GeForce Go 6800 Ultra. The XPS Gen 2 will be the first notebook to show off this little rottweiler which claims to blow a standard 6800 out of the water due to its 50 per cent increase in pixel processing (5.4bn per second), 20 per cent boost in Vertex processing and 256MB of onboard DDR3 memory (bandwidth 35.2GB/sec).
Processor options are not shabby either with a range of Pentium M processors (760 and 770) available at speeds of up to 2.13GHz. Both the 760 and 770 chips have a 533MHz front side bus (FSB) and 2MB of Level 2 cache. The widescreen display is a whopping 17 inches with a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 and it utilises the latest version of Dell’s TrueLife monitor technology to create a super bright screen.
Sound is beefed up with an integrated subwoofer for thicker bass and hard drive options range from 60GB to 100GB, spinning at up to 7,200RPM. Optical drive support includes models with double layer DVD+/-RW burning capability and up to 2GB of 533MHz DDR2 dual channel RAM can be stuffed into a chassis which weighs 3.9Kg and measures 39.4 x 28.7 x 4.24cm.
The usual array of ports can be found including IEEE 1394, 6x USB2.0, Dolby Digitial audio out, S-Video Out, S/PDIF, SD Memory Card reader, modem, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, while 802.11b/g wireless and Bluetooth come as standard.
Visually, the silver and black design looks more functional than superlative to me, but what it doesn’t show is the LED perimeter lighting that comes in 16 different colours and is customisable via the XPS interface of the company’s power management application. Whether these lights flash to any sort of rhythm like a graphics equaliser or simply illuminate was not made clear. The battery is a hefty nine-cell 80 WHr Lithim Ion module which is expected to last up to 2 hours during full-on gaming, a sizeable improvement on other games orientated laptops we have seen in the past.
In sum, Dell expects this demon to beat every notebook out there and just about every desktop too so we can’t wait to get it into our labs and make it sweat. Incidentally, if the “Gen 2” part of the name is confusing you that’s because the Yanks had an XPS Gen one featuring a standard 6800 that we never saw this side of the pond.
Hardcore gamers reaching for their chequebooks now can expect prices to begin at a reasonable £1,579 including VAT and delivery. For that you also get access to a specially set up 24 hour XPS telephone support line on top of the usual 12 months on-site warranty. It is most definitely time to Get Your Frag On!