I have been using a Dell Vostro 1700 for 1 year now, so I thought I’d share some info about it.
Processor: Core2Duo T9300 @ 2.5Ghz on 32W, 6Mb L2 cache, 800Mhz FSB
Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce 8600M GT 256Mb DDR2 @20W
Graphics card Memory Clock: 800/475Mhz, Shader Clock: 950Mhz (32)
Monitor: 17.2” Samsung/Seiko Epson SEC 3258
I bought this machine for gaming and work. It has great feature sets to do these tasks, but not too brilliant when it comes to mobility. It features a heavy chassis and heavy battery.
This machine weighs a ton. It is very heavy because of the big screen, heavy magnesium alloy chassis and batteries. It is hard to carry around and requires a BIG case. Since it has a huge monitor and a very power hungry graphics card it eats up the battery very fast. My machine gets an autonomy of about 2 hours with a 6Cell battery using the Dell power profile, and in power saver mode with low back-lighting I can get out a maximum of 3 hours tops.
However it is a rugged machine and most screws are held in metal instead of plastic, so you get the idea.
I am a programmer and I run a lot of heavy processing environments like J2EE with such IDE-s running as Eclipse and Netbeans. I sometimes peak both memory and processor usage, but this configuration doesn’t really slow down nor hang or swap. It runs everything smoothly and quickly becomes responsive when coming back from stand by.
In power saver mode there is some lag coming both from processor and powered down hard disks, but it’s bearable. I rarely turn it off, I just go on stand-by all the time.(standBy drowns the battery! so make sure the charger is plugged in)
I run Vista. I also used Ubuntu and LinuxMint for a while, ran fine, but power management was not really supported.
Here comes the main reason I write this article. This rig is great for gaming. It runs most games just fine including newer ones. Sometimes you need to tweak the options since it wont really run everything in high detail, but if you find a balance between resolution and video features you should have no problems.
It features a descent Class 2 graphics card. http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-8600M-GT.3986.0.html
Heat: the heat dispersion is great on this unit. My temperature sensor usually shows 40-45 C in normal usage. Peaks slightly around 55-58 C when running games, but it rarely reaches 60 C.
There is plenty room for overclocking but I didnt feel I need to commit to that. Especially in Crysis you will notice that a small overclock of just a few Mhz on the shader and memory clocks will result in very visible increase in framerate.
This laptop is a definite go if you’re a gamer and want to play serious games on it. However if you have the money try to go for a Class 1 graphics card like the Quadro3700M.
This laptop does NOT feature MXM, so you are stuck with the stock graphics card.
I use most DELL drivers on the system, but for video I recomend the updated driver found here: http://laptopvideo2go.com/
These drivers are hacked from the official driver releases from nVidia and updated much more often then the DELL drivers. Getting an updated driver results in HUGE visible performance increase.
For example: Crysis would barely run with the stock DELL drivers, and after the update from laptopvideo2go it ran perfectly. Same with BioShock!