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Dell Aims for Gamers with XPS M1710 265

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the send-review-hardware-and-beer dept.
Mr Tits writes "Dell moved to solidify its position in the lucrative gaming market yesterday by launching the XPS M1710, a dual-core processor system designed to let gamers simultaneously play three-dimensional games while encoding music or scanning for viruses. "
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Dell Aims for Gamers with XPS M1710

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duds (100634) <dudley@NoSPaM.enterspace.org> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @08:52AM (#15156530) Homepage Journal
    "Play games while encoding music or scanning for viruses"

    Even as a desktop replacement that's just not sensible. Unless you're playing games from 1998 you're still going to need every teeny little bit of power that thing has, and you'd still be alt-tabbing out of games to check the other tasks, which will do nothing for them.

    And how exactly the hell does "Dual core" help you when you're thrashing the hard drive wildly trying to virus check?
    • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tokki (604363) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:04AM (#15156663)
      While it doesn't help with disk I/O, dual cores really do make a system much more responsive. Alt-tabbing over to another app during a game is instantaneous and snappy, where on a single-core processor alt-tabbing brings the sounds of "chariots of fire" into your mind as it moves in slow-motion.

      A dual-core really doesn't make games snapper, as I can't think of any that are designed as multi-threaded, but it means you can leave a lot of other stuff running (assuming you've got enough memory) without worrying about how it might drag the game down.

      And in the somewhat frequent instances where one app might consume 100% of the CPU through either design of flaw, the system is still responsive because you've got another CPU handling your requests.

      In short, I'm never going back to single-core.
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

        by sehryan (412731) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:19AM (#15156794)
        I don't know, alt-tabbing out of Solitare and Mine Sweeper has always been snappy for me, and I have never run a dual core machine.
      • Alt-tabbing over to another app during a game is instantaneous and snappy, where on a single-core processor alt-tabbing brings the sounds of "chariots of fire" into your mind as it moves in slow-motion.

        That has never happened on my 1 GB system running Guild Wars, TeamSpeak, and IRC. It did a heck of a lot while I had 512 MB though.
      • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tim C (15259)
        Alt-tabbing over to another app during a game is instantaneous and snappy

        I have an Athlon X2, and yes, alt-tabbing is snappy. However, since my 2 gig of RAM had to be returned and I'm temporarily down to 1 gig, alt-tabbing out of games is noticably less snappy.

        Basically, the snappiness is down to the amount of RAM - if you have to swap the game out and the desktop and other apps back in, then it'll crawl, regardless of how many processors you have. If not, then a single processor will still manage snappy ta
    • by Surt (22457)
      Very few games can currently take any significant advantage of multicore. Nearly all through 2005 do most of their cpu intensive work in a single thread. That by implication leaves the other core free to do something else.

      Many games also only load from disk occassionally, so the virus check disk thrashing won't be much of an issue.

      I'm also not clear on why you'd alt-tab out to check on tasks ... if the disk is thrashing you'll know when they're done when the disk indicator light stops blinking like mad.
      • "Very few games can currently take any significant advantage of multicore. Nearly all through 2005 do most of their cpu intensive work in a single thread. That by implication leaves the other core free to do something else."

        This is why all the snappy dual-core multitasking with games is probably a temporary situation. How long is it going to be before game developers are designing their games to take advantage of the multiple cores that are taking over the market? Many of them are already working on th
        • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Surt (22457)
          True, though you'll still want to have all the cores you can get in your gaming notebook. Fortunately, when games are dual threaded in 2007, we'll have quad-cored machines. By the time we hit 16 to 32 cores, you're reaching enough cores that parallelizing that many threads gets really hard, so at some point in the not too far future, multi-application running will stop being a problem, and hardware builders will all be turning their attention to contention reduction, and people who have worked on supercom
    • And how exactly the hell does "Dual core" help you when you're thrashing the hard drive wildly trying to virus check?

      You're right, althought not exactly. A couple years ago I bought a pretty nice "desktop replacement" (these large laptop with powerful processors, low autonomy, large screen and all). The problem to play video games was not the processor. It was not the screen. It was not even the graphic card or the RAM. It was the friggin' hard drive. You can't decently play a game with a 4200 RPM drive, p

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

      by mmkkbb (816035) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:22AM (#15156823) Homepage Journal
      The same way a Pentium III made your internet connection faster
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Duds (100634) <dudley@NoSPaM.enterspace.org> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:25AM (#15156849) Homepage Journal
        The same way a Pentium III made your internet connection faster

        That actually worked for me. I stuck my brother on the P3 to play games which stopped him eating up all my bandwidth.
      • Re:What? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheMoonRat (937781)
        Here in the UK I actually got an advert from PC World taken off air due to this. The advert showed an image of a progress bar in internet explorer going really fast whilst the voice talked about "faster internet" due to this new faster intel chip. 1 complaint later, (and several months) I got a letter back saying that the complaint was upheld. Thats my little bit done to help protect the average joe. \o/
  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @08:53AM (#15156540)
    Is scanning for viruses a regularly scheduled activity for windows gamers nowdays?
    WTF?
    Heey everyone! Now you can use your computer AND scan for viruses at the same time! How awesome is that!

    Is that really a selling point?
  • I don't get it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @08:53AM (#15156541)
    What's the point of XPS now that they've acquired Alienware? Now they can just focus the Dell brand on business and home users with Alienware going towards gamers. I'm sure I'm missing something here...
    • Dell aquired Alienware and with it the right to grossly overcharge for typical hardware in a pretty case.
    • Re:I don't get it. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Garabito (720521) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:18AM (#15156782)
      What's the point of XPS now that they've acquired Alienware? Now they can just focus the Dell brand on business and home users with Alienware going towards gamers.

      Or maybe they will just let the Alienware brand die? It's not something that hasn't happened before.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      When a company has different divisions that cater to different markets, it is often profitable to overlap the product lines somewhat because of people's brand loyalties. For example Honda and Acura are the same company. Acura makes faster, more luxurious cars while Honda makes cheaper more practical vehicles. However Honda still makes the Civic Si, a compact sports car, which competes directly with the Acura RSX. The fact is that some people are loyal to Honda and some are loyal to Acura, and having a v
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @08:53AM (#15156542)

    Did ./ just post an article from a guy named "Mr. Tits"?

  • I don't know about you, but scanning for viruses isn't something that I'd want to do while playing a "3D Game."

    I find that virus scanning isn't so bad on the CPU but is killer with the I/O. And personally, I'd rather save my IO for map loading and such.

  • I have dreamed for years of being able to scan my computer for viruses with so much computing power that I can even do other tasks at the same time. Wow, computing has come a long way.
  • woah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by sk8dork (842313) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @08:58AM (#15156602) Homepage
    designed to let gamers simultaneously play three-dimensional games

    THREE DIMENSIONAL?!?!?!?!?!?
    O_O

  • Dual CD drives? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @08:59AM (#15156619)
    Since nearly every game out there requires you to have the CD in the drive to launch it (ignoring no-CD cracks for the moment), where are you supposed to put the CD to encode music while you're playing games? Or are they referring to the raw wave files of your band that you just finished recording before starting into a heavy gaming session?
    • Pretty much every game machine I have ever seen or built has two drives to allow for burning straight from CD to CD or DVD to DVD. Of all the things to nitpick about...
      • Really? I don't think I've ever come across a laptop that had dual optical drives in it. Post a link to these myriad machines, please.
        • Actually, my Latitude C800 has the capability of dual drives. It's got the built in DVD drive, plus the ability to add another drive into the Dell multibay on the front of the machine. In fact, that's the whole reason I bought that particular laptop - on that particular laptop the multibay isn't already occupied by the optical drive, thereby allowing you greater flexibility. Currently, I use it for a second battery, but I also have a floppy drive and a caddie for a second hard drive, both of which have c
  • There are two big problems I have with Dell computers:

    First they have random unneeded software such as Musicmatch jukebox, Quickbooks Demo, various useless Dell phone home software packages etc. There have been several reviews of Dell gaming machines where some games won't even start because of incompatibilities some games have with Dell's TSR's.

    Secondly, Dell's warranties aren't worth a crap. For example if a Dell computer has a bad hard drive it will take at least 3 hours of calls and diagnosis before you can get their helpdesk to send someone out to replace it. It's generally easier to go to (insert computer store here) and replace the drive yourself rather than wearing the cost of using Dell's helpdesk at all.

    A lot of my customers use Dell computers. I support them a lot. If you do end up with one make sure to reinstal from scratch, try not to use the recovery CDs which will restore all the crappy Dell spyware with it.

    That's my 2c.

    Kiwi
  • I thought the whole Duo Core thing was an Symetric MP system. As such, I was under the impression that it doesn't run one task on one processor and another task on the other processor. I thought it just distributed the workload as evenly as possible across the two processors regardless of how many processes are running. That's wouldn't really lead to a game on one proc and scan on the other proc scenario the article implies, or am I missing something and/or assuming incorrectly?
    • No! :)

      Is that a good enough answer.. Btw an article this morning mentioned that AMD is working on such technology, but its not out yet.
    • I thought it just distributed the workload as evenly as possible across the two processors regardless of how many processes are running. That's wouldn't really lead to a game on one proc and scan on the other proc scenario the article implies, or am I missing something and/or assuming incorrectly?

      To some extent, you are correct: it isn't a simple one process to one processor mapping. Indeed, any modern OS has many processes that need to get CPU time on occasion. However, if you have 2 processes that are C
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:12AM (#15156730) Homepage Journal
    I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Dell last fall and he mentioned several times that gaming is a major motivation for PC purchases. He said something like, "I think we've sold more World of Warcraft machines in the last year than anything else," in reference to residential sales. He struck me as very savvy, very aware of his market and his products, and how to stay ahead of the pace. I was unsurprised when Dell acquired Alienware.
  • I've heard plenty of rave reviews on the XPS range, from reviewers and personal users alike, but what I want to know is, when will Dell bring the XPS range out in Australia.

    I have their 389.20 SC model coupled with their 24" monitor for a media machine in the lounge but the built in video is awful. I modified a pci card to suitbut if I could get my paws on the XPS that would be so much better.

    I don't think shopthestates for such a thing is appropriate. :(
  • Battery life (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vchoy (134429)
    Notice how the article mentions everything but the battery life...

    With all that high spec dual core processor, gfx card, big 30% brighter lcd screen, simulateous virus scanning, burning cds and all the wizbang gizmos...I think it's more of a 'desktop replacement' than a 'notebook'.

    If you are doing word processing good, if you're playing, have a power socket nearby.
    • A second article mentioned battery life at 2.5 hours. Which is not too bad for a gaming system. Of course, if you're playing WoW, recording 24 with your TV tuner and burning a CD...I'd expect that 2.5 hours to become more like 90 minutes. But hey, that's what AC power is for. If you want long battery life and ultra-mobility, there are better systems.
  • 60GB HD? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C_Kode (102755) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:18AM (#15156786) Journal
    also sports a 256MB nVidia graphics card, 60GB hard drive

    60GB hard drives is quite small for a *gaming PC*. Between todays OS (several GBs) and games sizes reaching into the GBs, mp3/ogg collections reaching into the GBs whats up with a 60GB HD? I'm supprised the default isn't at least a 120GB. I don't even game much (though I keep Quake 3 installed for the times when I want to get my blood flowing) have 3 drives. (1) ATA 120GB, and (2) 35GB 10K rpm SATA in raid 0. That gives me 70GB for fast loading software, video, etc, and another 120 for the OS, backups, and scrach media.
    • You are compating apples and oranges. This is a laptop. And you can upgrade the drive through Dell.
    • Re:60GB HD? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LandKurt (901298)
      The M1710 is available with a 60 to 100GB 7200RPM hard drive. That's as large as you're going to get in a laptop unless you go down to a 5400 RPM drive. You do have to make some sacrifices for portability. But for a gaming rig it's all about the GPU, and the 512MB Nvidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX in Dell's M1710 is just about as good as it gets (outside SLI anyway).
  • Don' know about the rest of you, but trying to use the firking touchpad as an input device during a game is worthless. When I travel, I want to travel light and I don't always have room for periperals, so the input must be in the machine. I can romp through HL just fine with IBM pointy stick, but a touch pad? I can just see it, "Headcrab!" arggggh!
  • I call it a Macbook Pro with Boot Camp.

    *cough*
  • Many usages (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:29AM (#15156878) Homepage
    ...a dual-core processor system designed to let gamers simultaneously play three-dimensional games while encoding music or scanning for viruses.

    Or, you could use *both* cores and play a six-dimensional game!

    Makes sense to Atari anyway...
    • Or, you could use *both* cores and play a six-dimensional game!

      Actually 6 dimensional games are possible if you do it right. 3D = hieght x length x depth. If you consider time as a dimension then your at 4D. But then you need to include some immaginary or at least non-apparent dimensions.

      You can use a "Magic Eye" type of patterned texture (an autostereogram [wikipedia.org])over the entire screen to add a second dimension of depth (and a true depth this time). Furthermore you can use a the color spectrum to represen
      • You don't need to go to those lengths for extra dimensions:

        • X, Y, and Z in the game world.
        • The time dimension T.
        • R, G, and B in the colorspace.
        • 1 amplitude dimension in addition to T for the audio waveform.
        • The 2 dimensional movement of your mouse on the desk,
        • and the 2-dimensional screen you view the game through.

        That's 12 dimensions for a good ol' game of Quake 1.

  • If your playing a 3D game, and your computer has more power to encode other stuff, then your not aming this system at hardcore gamers.

    Hard core gamers trying and squeeze every last performance index out of their system to get the maximum performance and quality out of their favourite games. They spend hours tweaking BIOS settings, RAM settings, overclocking their system, all in an effort to get one more frame/sec out of their system.

    Running a movie encoding or DVD ripping software in the background while t
    • One last point, hard core gamers don't buy laptops, period!
    • Re:Missing the point (Score:2, Informative)

      by LandKurt (901298)

      As the other replies here point out, there is no united hardcore gamer profile. In fact, it sounds like you are describing a hardcore system tweaker. Someone who gets their kicks producing the highest FPS figure out of a machine, rather than actually playing the game. It seems to me a true gamer would be spending their time actually gaming rather than trying to figure out how to get another meaningless half percent of performance out of their system.

      My wife wants a portable system with plenty of power to

  • for this really dull and not at all relevent to anyone bit of marketing?

    OMG COMPUTER COMPANY BUILD COMPUTER WITH READILY AVAILABLE PARTS AND SELL IT

    anticaps filter line goes here
  • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:34AM (#15156930) Homepage
    I'm waiting for the M1911, it should perform much better in FPS games. ;-)
  • by Nephroth (586753)
    People tend to have pretty great expectations of dual core systems. Partly due to marketing, and partly due to our own subconscious association, many tend to think that "dual core=twice as fast." While dual core hardware can get more done in the same amount of time as a single-core processor, anyone with even a cursory familiarity with SMP systems knows that the performance increase is variable. Single-threaded applications, for instance, aren't going to gain any direct benefit from an SMP system. (Although
    • by striker64 (256203) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @10:12AM (#15157328)
      You don't have very creative uses for your PC do you?

      The fact of the matter is, dual core processors help tremendously in many scenarios. Why should I wait while my 1 hour miniDV video is being transferred to my PC sucking up 10-15% CPU, when I can play a game during that time and not notice the slightest slowdown? How about those instances when I'm developing, compiling my app and my whole (single CPU) system slows down to a crawl ... gone are those days with dual core. You have obviously never used a dual-CPU system for any extended period of time, otherwise you would not be saying such foolish things.

      And which computer these days has only 1 optical drive? Even the cheap emachines from 4 years ago came with a DVD-ROM and CD-RW.
      • I have a feeling that your examples are more hard drive intensive than they are CPU-intensive. Having to share the hard drive with other apps will slow down your games. Also, can't compiling be done in multiple threads (and therefore multiple cores)?
  • by Launchpad Mcquack (968072) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:50AM (#15157085) Homepage
    If Im purchasing a $4,000 laptop, it surely won't be from Dell. I'd buy Alienware long before I ever even considered Dell.
  • no brainer (Score:3, Funny)

    by feldsteins (313201) <scott@scottf e l d s t e i n .net> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:52AM (#15157112) Homepage
    I think any machine that is going to run Windows should come with an additional processor dedicated to continual virus detection.
  • ... isn't "play[ing] three-dimensional games while encoding music or scanning for viruses" going to muck things up as the cores both fight for L2 cache access? All those things are pretty intensive processes...
  • Real hard core gamers, will not ever burn a cd, and run a virus scan while gaming. They will use a second system for tasks that are too menial for a gaming rig (virus scan accepted).

    I mean seriously, I don't know of anyone that would even want to burn a cd while gaming.

    Come on, that's what microbreaks are for.
  • Wrong title (Score:5, Funny)

    by MoogMan (442253) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:15AM (#15157919)
    I think the title should read:

    Dell Aims for Windows Vista users
  • Then I hope that laptop includes SCSI RAID, since most of the "...simultaneously play three-dimensional games while encoding music or scanning for viruses..." activities involves more disk access than CPU processing, and we all know that ATA drives suck pretty hard when it comes to random I/O.
  • by melted (227442)
    Why do people shell out mad coin for these? Can someone explain? Why not just buy an XBox 360 or wait for PS3 or Revolution?

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