Every so often a piece of kit comes along that just blows you away. We've seen Dell's Inspiron XPS laptops before and they've been impressive. The latest, the M1710, really is something else.

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The design won't be to everyone's taste - we'd have preferred fewer red lights on the sides of the chassis – but will doubtless appeal to many. The keyboard layout is neat: none of the keys have been squashed, and there's plenty of room to rest your wrists.

Regardless of what you think of the XPS' external appearance, it's what's inside that counts. Here the Dell is truly awe-inspiring. An Intel T2600 processor with two cores running at 2.16GHz combined with 2GB of DDR RAM to power the Dell to a WorldBench 5 score of 112, making this the fastest laptop we've ever seen.

The excitement doesn't end there. We've seen a few notebooks reach frame rates higher than 100fps (frames per second) in our Doom3 and Halo graphics tests at a resolution of 1,024x768 before, but not many have managed to do the same at 1,280x1,024. None have done so at 1,600x1,200. The Dell has.

These feats were made possible by the 512MB GeForce Go 7900 GTX card from nVidia but, although this is a stunning chip, it'd be nothing without a decent screen. The 17in 1,920x1,200 display on the Dell is as good as anything we've ever seen both in terms of colour depth and detail.

And wait: there's more. The hard drive has a 100GB capacity and the DVD writer can cope with just about any format of disc you care to throw at it, with the exception of Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Connectivity options abound, with 802.11a/b/g facilities, six USB 2.0 ports and two monitor outputs: one VGA, the other DVI (digital visual interface).

Dell Inspiron XPS M1710: Specs

  • 2.16GHz Intel T2600 dual-core processor
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 17in 1,920x1,200 TFT display
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX graphics card
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/4x/4x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • Microsoft Works 7.0
  • 1-year collect-and-return warranty
  • 392x288x42mm
  • 4.1kg
  • 2.16GHz Intel T2600 dual-core processor
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 17in 1,920x1,200 TFT display
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX graphics card
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/4x/4x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • Microsoft Works 7.0
  • 1-year collect-and-return warranty
  • 392x288x42mm
  • 4.1kg

OUR VERDICT

The Inspiron M1710 is a cracking laptop with top-notch components, although the design might not suit everyone. It's faster than anything we've seen, so if you want a desktop replacement with serious power, look no further. However, you'll have to have deep pockets.

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