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  1. #1
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    Default Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Following in the footsteps of TRF-Inferno, I figured it was time for a dedicated XPS 17 thread, to answer all questions in a single thread. I will try to add information and answers here as time goes by.

    Current Opinion:

    I have had the XPS 17 for about two months now, and I have used it for regular work and some gaming. Here is my revised opinion.

    • There is indeed a high pitched whine which might be related to my second HDD, but I'm not sure about that yet.
    • When gaming, left part of the palmrest does get warm. I wouldn't call it hot, but it definately gets warm. Warmer than it got during my Furmark test.
    • The screen is OK at best. For me it was not good enough, so I replaced the default LG LP173WD1-TL-A2 panel with an AUO B173HW01 V.4 (click for PDF with tech specs). I made a replacement guide of sorts here. If you need more info on swapping the screen, read this thread.
    • The TV Tuner itself works great and has very good reception, but the little connector is very weak. It broke after only three or four uses.


    Would I buy it again? Yes. I still think the price/performance ratio of the XPS 17 is very good, even with the added cost of replacing the screen myself (it's fun to do as well). Sure, it has some issues, but I haven't found a single perfect laptop yet, and this one comes very close.

    Software & Drivers Updates & Manuals:

    The new A06 BIOS is available on the Dell Support site. It is supposed to update thermal tables (already / again?)

    BIOS
    A03 BIOS
    A04 BIOS
    A05 BIOS
    A06 BIOS

    Drivers
    Dell XPS 17 Download Page

    If you're planning on experimenting with video drivers, read through this thread.

    Documentation
    XPS 17 Documentation

    Build Quality

    My first impression is that the machine is quite solid. It doesn't feel fragile, and I really like the aluminum finish. The screen feels a bit light and it is very thin. I am used to the more solid feeling screens like the one on the M17x. But again, it doesn't really feel fragile, just like it has no weight.













    The machine looks like it is well assembled, and I think the finish is very nice. My only gripe here, is that the top right part of the keyboard looks like it is curved.



    I do like the keyboard for typing though, so the problem (if it even is a problem) with the end key, is not a big deal.

    The thing that bugs me the most right now is the stupid position of the battery and HDD light: right behind the screen, so you cannot see it when working on the machine.

    Fan Noise & Temperatures

    The machine doesn't get hot. It does get warm under load, but - to me - definately not uncomfortable. When idle, or doing light tasks, the machine is very quiet. I think the fans sometimes even turn off completely, but cannot be sure as my desktop produces some noise of its own. Thisk might mask the XPS 17s fan noise. Under load (3DMark 06, FurMark) it gets louder, but still bearable. It doesn't turn into an airplane jet like my M17x did.

    The hottest I have seen my GPU get is 68C. The CPU got to 72C on one core, the rest got to 70C and 68C.



    Hardware & Performance

    I ordered my XPS 17 with the GT 445M with 3Gb. This RAM appears to be regular DDR3 @ 800Mhz



    The GT 445M scores a little over 10K on 3DMark 06 at 1280x1024 on a bone stock machine. Vantage gave me a weird garbled screen, so I don't have any results for it yet.



    3DMark 06 @ 1280x768 scores 11149:




    The WEI score on the stock machine is 5.9 (7.1 CPU / 5.9 RAM / 2x 6.8 Video / 5.9 HDD)
    With and SSD the WEI is also 5.9, but with a higher HSSD score (7.1 CPU / 5.9 RAM / 2x 6.8 Video / 7,7 HDD) thanks to mezzerin in this post.

    The chipset used is HM57, and memory is by Hyundai, but that might be different according to current stock at the factory I guess.



    My machine also came with a TV tuner, and I have not been able to get that thing working yet. Media center crashes when setting up the TV. It comes only with Windows Media Center, which is built into Windows 7. Not other software as far as I know.


    EDIT: In a clean install (W7 Ultimate) the TV tuner does work. I installed the DVB-T driver from the disc that came with the machine.

    The tuner is completely internal, but does come with a little antenna. There are two ways you can attach the antenna to something, either a clip or a suction cup. You will also get a little adapter cable that allows you to connect to coax.



    I got the 900p screen, and being used to 1200P screens (Inpiron 9400, Studio 17, SPX 16 @ 1080p, M17x) I was worried about the lower resolution. This doesn't bother me at all. However the viewing angles are nothing to be proud of. The screen definately isn't great. But Then again, I had the RGB screens before this one, and will try to update the screen on this machine if the B+RG ever comes available and isn't too expensive.





    For those that want to change their panel, here is a comparison of three different panels (the original LG one, and two versions of the AUO panel)

    LG vs AUO vs AdobeRGB:


    LG vs. AUO vs M17xR2 (Samsung)


    Also, here is a zipfile with profiles for the LG and the AUO panels. This includes the profile ironnerd made the the 900p LG panel.

    And finally to activate a profile you might try this little program. It is included with my profiling software, and as they have it available for download on the website, I assume its legal to use it just like that.

    Profile Chooser

    Do keep in mind though that every combination of screen + GPU yields a slightly different result, so it might not per perfect for you. Use this with about 50% screen brightness (that's 118cd/m2 and it is what the profiling made me adjust it to).

    A positive point for this machine, is that it comes with a caddy / bracket for the 2nd HDD, so you can put in your extra HDD or SSD right away. On the downside, the BIOS doesn't (yet?) support RAID, only ATA/AHCI. As of BIOS A05 there is still no support for RAID. Also please note that some users report their XPS 17 being delivered without the extra caddy.




    The HDD on the lower right is the one I added in myself, the other one was factory installed.

    This machine also has 4 slots for DDR3 So-Dimm RAM. XPS 17s delivered with an i5 processor have a different motherboard with only 2 slots.



    If you have 4 slots, the configuration of these slots is like this:



    You can easily reach the RAM and HDD by removing a single screw on the bottom of the machine:
    IF you want to add a second HDD, read

    this thread.



    The speakers are quite loud. When I set the volume to maximum, the speakers are loud enough to watch a video in the living room without the need for external speakers. The sound is also quite 'full' and the bass is nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disclaimer
    This is a work in progress and I will update is when I can. I will gladly answer questions or run tests, but I also need the machine to do actual work on, so please bear with me.
    Last edited by Mitchell2.24v; 18th January 2011 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Added new info

    XPS 17 - i7 740QM, 16Gb RAM, 500Gb HDD + 256Gb SSD, 3Gb GT 445M, AUO B173HW01 V.4 1080p
    M17x-R4 - i7 3820QM, 24Gb RAM, 2x 256PM830 + 1x64PM830 (mSata), 2Gb 7970M, FHD display


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Thank you for starting this thread. I will be receiving my XPS 17 today and will try to contribute to this thread. I have the same specs as you btw. I do have 2 x 500gb, but i probably will replace one of them with a 128GB OCZ Vertex 2. Kinda bogged where to place it though.

    Ooh and nice to see you are from the Netherlands as well :-)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by mezzerin View Post
    Thank you for starting this thread. I will be receiving my XPS 17 today and will try to contribute to this thread.
    Great!

    Quote Originally Posted by mezzerin View Post
    I do have 2 x 500gb, but i probably will replace one of them with a 128GB OCZ Vertex 2. Kinda bogged where to place it though.
    I am wondering if yours (with 2 HDDs from the factory) will have some sort of BIOS option for RAID...

    Quote Originally Posted by mezzerin View Post
    Ooh and nice to see you are from the Netherlands as well :-)

    XPS 17 - i7 740QM, 16Gb RAM, 500Gb HDD + 256Gb SSD, 3Gb GT 445M, AUO B173HW01 V.4 1080p
    M17x-R4 - i7 3820QM, 24Gb RAM, 2x 256PM830 + 1x64PM830 (mSata), 2Gb 7970M, FHD display


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Yeah a raid option would be nice. Then i would really consider placing the SSD in the DVD tray with a SATA tray also, when/if available.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Nice! I see the dutchies are getting their xps 17 finally. Mine is coming tomorrow if everything goes as planned. Looking forward to it.

    PS: Holland here aswell :P

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Check the chipset with CPUz, but I am sure they are using the HM55 the same as the i5 xps 17, this chipset does not support raid, sorry
    Now using - MSI GS60 Ghost & Apple MBPR13 2013

    Sold - M17x r3, M14x, M11x r1 & r3, MBP 17" 2011 MBA 13" 2010, studio xps 15, studio xps 1640, xps 1530 and too many clevo's!

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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja2000 View Post
    Check the chipset with CPUz, but I am sure they are using the HM55 the same as the i5 xps 17, this chipset does not support raid, sorry
    Then i will probably just remove one drive and replace it with SSD.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ninja2000 View Post
    Check the chipset with CPUz, but I am sure they are using the HM55 the same as the i5 xps 17, this chipset does not support raid, sorry
    It is HM57. Will post a screenshot later this morning.

    XPS 17 - i7 740QM, 16Gb RAM, 500Gb HDD + 256Gb SSD, 3Gb GT 445M, AUO B173HW01 V.4 1080p
    M17x-R4 - i7 3820QM, 24Gb RAM, 2x 256PM830 + 1x64PM830 (mSata), 2Gb 7970M, FHD display


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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Hi, I ordered a xps 17 but do have a question.
    Can you confirm it is possible to mount a 120gb ssd as primary hard drive and use the 500gb as a secondary drive ? Or should both drives always have the same size ?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Dell XPS 17 L701x Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by sabre135 View Post
    Hi, I ordered a xps 17 but do have a question.
    Can you confirm it is possible to mount a 120gb ssd as primary hard drive and use the 500gb as a secondary drive ? Or should both drives always have the same size ?
    You can.

    As A test I'm now running 500 + 100G. But I will put in different drives hopefully tomorrow, when my hardware order is delivered (together with an extra 4G RAM)

    XPS 17 - i7 740QM, 16Gb RAM, 500Gb HDD + 256Gb SSD, 3Gb GT 445M, AUO B173HW01 V.4 1080p
    M17x-R4 - i7 3820QM, 24Gb RAM, 2x 256PM830 + 1x64PM830 (mSata), 2Gb 7970M, FHD display


 

 
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