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.
The machine, Dell's fastest consumer notebook, also sports a 256MB nVidia graphics card, 60GB hard drive, and up to 4GB of memory. It runs Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition, which also allows gamers to use an optional TV tuner for viewing and recording programs.
To make sure gamers see every detail, Dell increased the brightness of the 17in widescreen display by 30 percent. The whole thing fits into a 4kg package. But the real selling point is the performance, which is up to 35 percent better than its predecessor, the XPS M170 with Intel's Pentium M chip, Dell said.
This product marks a move by Dell to bid for the allegiance of gamers, who are traditionally very loyal to their favourite brands, said Nicole D'Onofrio, an analyst with Current Analysis.
The company took two steps in this direction in March. First, Dell launched its XPS 600 Renegade desktop PC, then it acquired high-end gaming PC vendor Alienware. Dell makes more money per unit on gaming-machine sales than on consumer PCs such as its Inspiron notebook family.
The gaming market is growing fast. This is welcome news for an industry that has watched the average US selling price for consumer retail PCs drop below $1,000 (about £565) in the past three months, D'Onofrio said.
With the arrival of dual-core processors, vendors can finally tap into that market with notebooks as well as desktops. That move was led by specialty vendors such as Alienware, and is now being joined by bigger names including Dell and Toshiba, she said.
Dell is selling the XPS M1710 "black model" for $2,600 (£1,470) with Intel Core Duo T2400 processor and 60GB hard drive. Among other options for more serious gamers, the "red model" is priced at $3,400 (£1,920) with a T2500 processor and 80GB hard drive. It's due to hit the UK soon but an exact launch date and pricing have not yet been set.