Dell's 'Beast' Finally Unleashed: XPS M1730 Notebook Launched

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Denying there were ever any delays, and after having maintained that stance for at least a few months, Dell finally released its long-awaited XPS M1730 gaming notebook - dubbed "The Beast."

Indeed, the unit's appearance could be described, at the very least, as beastly.

As one community forum member wrote, "I bought the M1710 because although it was as ugly as heck, it actually performed. Then you teased us with the M1330, and just as I thought Dell was on the design up...You hit us with the M1730 and showed us you could go even lower. Holy [expletive]. I couldn't quite believe it with the first set of leaked pictures, but the new detailed ones...My eyes, they burn!"

Yet inside that rather unique exterior lies most of what XPS' enthusiast and gaming customers asked for - in fact, in one respect, it may be a bit much. Customers were told back in July to expect nVidia's newest GeForce 8800 GPU. As it turned out, Dell opted instead to install a pair of 8700s in SLI mode with 256 MB and an Ageia Physx 100M processor. Performance specs for both the GeForce 8800 Ultra and the 8700M GT can be found on Nvidia's site.

Official buildout sheets show the CPU to be a 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, the screen is a 17" 1920 x 1200 widescreen Ultrasharp with TruLife technology, and the hard drive is a 200 GB, 7200 RPM model. There's also an illuminated keyboard with a built-in Logitech GamePanel LCD, so there's a lot here in this system to desire. This in a system with a base sticker price of $2,999 USD.

But missing from all spec sheets we've seen is any mention of the chipset. Prospective customers have warned that when Dell made the choice to go SLI, they should also have decided to go with an nVidia nForce chipset to ensure driver compatibility. Dell XPS systems have used nForce chipsets in the past.

BetaNews reported yesterday on what were apparently continued delays in the product's rollout, based on information apparently given earlier to Dell's community forum users. With a dearth of press releases on the subject, inquiries posted to the community forum going unanswered, and at least some threads there having apparently been deleted, the subject of the missed September 21st launch date for this notebook was being treated as an afterthought.

In an attempt to nail down the problem, BetaNews contacted Dell repeatedly between the 21st and the 26th. While the company did return our greetings, it declined not only to provide a release date, but to acknowledge that any delay even occurred. One spokesperson asked, what gave us the idea that the release date was last Friday, implying that the final release was never September 21.

Earlier, Dell representatives had told its community members the availability of the nVidia 8800 chip was the cause of at least one delay - thus acknowledging a delay. Yet the 8800 itself has been on the market since April.

Today, Dell sent us an e-mail along with the rollout press release, and a message saying there was never a delay...despite press reports where Dell was apparently the source, indicating quite the opposite.

Dell's XPS brand became almost synonymous with delay after its gala launch event in June 2006 was followed up with a delay of over 17 weeks. The company then attributed the cause of the delay to a faulty cooling system.

Dell is deftly attempting to avoid furthering this reputation, but after Digital Life, many eyes will be focused on the community forums to see how soon customers receive their systems.

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