A Lifeline for XPS M1730 Customers
In October 2007, Dell debut an ambitious laptop known as the XPS M1730. It was a gaming laptop meant to cater for the hardcore gamers; people who craved a fast CPU, lots of RAM and loads of GPU performance for a reasonable price for gaming, or who wanted to use it with demanding applications like Autodesk Maya. It was also among one of the first Dell laptops to incorporate a backlit keyboard, 8GB RAM, a PhysX game processor and an “LCD Game Panel” from Logitech. At first this product seemed like a godsend, but then the problems began. While many had issues with the overall weight of the machine, thousands of people who bought it experienced huge problems with the graphics card (in the beginning, the NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT in SLI configuration). Graphics were so intensive that it overheated its chassis, leading to data corruption and frequent replacement of components every six months. Even some webpages and desktop gave it cause fans to spin at full power all the time, when users were not running any programs at all! Following this the 8800M GTX, and then the 9800M GTX, were released to provide better performance to customers. The GTX model for the 8800 still experienced issues yet weren’t as severe and kept systems going for about a year before maintenance, but in truth, the 9800M GTX with two fans and its 2GB-variant of onboard memory was what stopped the overheating.
Unfortunately this card also had a drawback of its own – by increasing overall power needs by 174%, it meant the laptop’s battery life and power supply longevity were significantly shortened. Then sometime in 2010 the production line was cancelled, and users of the XPS M1730 were left holding their breath… the question is, what to do about it.
However, lessons have been learned by both Dell and NVIDIA. Shortly after the failure of the laptop, the graphics manufacturer also mothballed the GeForce 8 & 9 series that suffered from the design flaw, examining how to augment cards with software that could properly control battery use without sacrificing GPU performance. Now we have the GeForce GTX 560M Ti, the GTX 480M in SLI, and the GTX 570M also in SLI that use this “Optimus” technology. Each of these cards fit into an Alienware M17x, whose chassis-dimensions (and hence it’s Form Factor) is compatible with the Dell M1730’s own internal spacing. Motherboards haven’t changed much in laptops either, with Dell still using mostly Intel’s product range as the beating heart of such systems.
So, what I propose is a lifeline to users still owning an M1730 and can’t afford to purchase a brand new laptop. Since then the graphics cards of these machines have continued to fail due to overheating and will eventually expire, but the three candidates I’ve listed could be tested to see if they fit in the old chassis; to drastically improve the battery life without a loss in performance and be offered to customers as upgrades still under warranty. This would then buy these users time and allow the ability to earn enough money, to trade-in the equipment for a new laptop by Dell, so the old M1730s could be sent for destruction. I call upon all users of this laptop to support this initiative and help you to maintain your data, until such time you are able to replace them with a better system.
I also recommend that the support site is revamped for all systems by providing users full specs of what their machine currently has and properly lists what hardware upgrades are avaialble -- i.e., categorised by CPU, RAM, Graphics Card, Battery, Hard Drives, Wireless Adapter, and finally Operating System, instead of users having to search the "Parts for your Dell" area.