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By Thomas McKinnon 6 January 2009

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The names Beast, Hercules, Titan or even Hulk Hogan spring to mind when you first consider Dell’s XPS M1730, the company’s flagship notebook. Such names evoke a sense of grandeur and sheer tyranny. They also cause you to envision a mountainous figure with sharp, glowing, handsome features.

In our opinion then Dell’s naming convention is a little “retentive” and considering the machine’s ­audacious over-the-top design and serious performance a cheesy gladiatorial type name would have suited it to a tee.
   
The XPS M1730 weighs a hefty 4.8kg. It has a foot print of 406 (w) x 50.7 (h) x 302.6 (d) mm, and its mock carbon fibre ­casing, with shocking  \'hydrographic’ wings atop its lid, is adorned by a number of LED lights, customisable in up to 16 colours. The M1730 is therefore anything but subtle or for that matter mobile. The M1730 packs some ­serious punch in the ­performance stakes. The unit we reviewed had an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM and two built-in Nvidia GeForce 8700M GT GPUs, connected by SLI bridge, each with 256MB of dedicated video memory.

The M1730 also includes an Ageia PhysX physics processor which provides independent physics acceleration for gaming, a world first in a notebook. You won’t be surprised then when we tell you that its gaming performance is very good, allowing you to run most modern 3D games at high settings, achieving more than acceptable frame rates. The M1730 also has a 1920 x 1200 pixels 17\" WUXGA LCD panel with glossy ­finish which makes the device an ­absolute media ­magnate.

The ­addition of an ­embedded ­Logitech LCD above the keyboard is a nice touch as well ­allowing you to ­monitor ­system information, display the time, and certain ­in-game information.

In terms of features, performance and crazy styling the XPS M1730 is currently unmatched. But, don’t expect to get much battery life out of the machine, an hour if you’re lucky. It’s a high performance rig and as such is a desktop replacement unit. At R28 999 (incl VAT) it’s no bargain, but then again you get what you pay for! Get the Dell XPS M1730 from ­Computer ­Corporation on 08616-08616.

PROS
An awesome display. It looks the part of a gaming notebook.
CONS
It weighs a ton and the battery life is dismal.
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