Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 Notebook - Gaming and Performance
For quite a while, the "enthusiast desktop replacement notebook" market has been dominated by the likes of Alienware, Voodoo, Hypersonic, and Sager. But it's good to see a big name like Dell keep the others on their toes with a viable alternative. That doesn't mean these companies offer bad notebooks. It is just that these enthusiast specific companies usually have high prices, which make them a lot less affordable for those on a budget. Even though these high powered notebooks are expected to be rather expensive, we still want to see smaller price tags. And more competition should do just that. The price for notebooks has been dropping over the past two to three years, and there is no reason for the "enthusiast DTR notebook" not to follow suit.
Priced at $2,997 (3,526 without current 15% discount), our system and other XPS G2 models (starting at $2,337 with current 15% discount, $2,749 w/o) tend to be more expensive than comparable models from Alienware. And you can easily tack on another $600 by configuring a notebook with a 2.13GHz Pentium M 770 and 1GB of DDR2 (2 DIMMs), instead of a system with a 2.0GHz Pentium M 760 and 512MB of DDR2 (2 DIMMs). But remember the difference here is that the Dell Inspiron XPS G2 can actually be called a Centrino system. Other DTR systems may be cheaper, but they are usually powered by desktop components, which are all power hogs. They make the notebook run hotter. They need fatter heatsinks and bigger and louder fans. And of course since they use desktop components, they require the manufacturer to use bigger power bricks, which means they will add just that much more to your power bill. All of this aside, you still are left with a notebook that isn't a road warrior. Sure the XPS G2 is somewhat limited in performance compared to notebooks that use desktop parts, but the XPS G2 can run a little over 2 hours on its 9 cell battery. Whereas most other DTRs struggle to hit 1 hour. There are benefits and limitations to either type of notebook.
If you are in the market to buy a powerful notebook, don't get bogged down by the ads that tell you "X" notebook is better all across the board. Don't just look at feature comparison charts or performance graphs. There are minor things that will ultimately make or break your experience with the notebook. Remember, that loud fans are particularly a nuisance when it comes to gaming, which is something they usually leave out of the product page. Regardless, if you are a student needing a notebook to take to class, this is not the notebook you should be looking at. We mentioned this because a lot of students seem to think otherwise these days; making rationalizations about weight or something else. At best, this is the type of notebook to stay in your room or venture out with for only the occasional LAN party. The XPS Gen2 is will be extremely difficult to carry around to day to day classes. Definitely, look toward the more mobile options if you're going to carry your notebook around constantly (like the IBM T43 or D610, 14.1" displays).
While the Dell Inspiron XPS G2 doesn't necessarily offer the best of the enthusiast notebook community, that is ok. Dell is offering something increasingly hard to find in its competition: a powerful notebook that still has enough battery life to be a road warrior; a notebook that you can bring to a LAN party with the option of leaving the big power brick unplugged for a couple of hours. Even though it isn't completely up to par with notebooks using desktop components in pure performance, it still is one of the best in the true blue notebook sense, as it actually uses mobile parts. This isn't to say that it can't breeze through games. Far from it, NVIDIA has handed Dell a mobile GPU that offers the ability to exceed the needs of most in the gaming department. Past mobile GPUs have performed well, but NVIDIA is taking things to the next level with the GeForce 6800 Go Ultra found in the XPS Gen 2.
With a slick look, customization options, and a wicked fast GPU, the XPS Gen 2 is a notebook to be reckoned with when companies like Alienware are considered. So in that manner, we are giving Dell's Inspiron XPS Gen 2 a 9.0 on the HotHardware Heat Meter. For gamers and performance users, the XPS Gen 2 is a winner.