One of the first orders of business once we had received the system was to begin taking it apart to see what sort of surprises the notebook had in store. Unfortunately, Dell has taken a great deal of the thrill out of this process as getting at the heart of the system requires a nearly complete disassembly of the notebook.
Removing the center-most panel reveals the two SO-DIMM slots for the XPS system memory. With the ability to accept two SO-DIMMS at a total capacity of up to 4GB, the XPS is able to satisfy even the most memory-hungry power users. The test system used came equipped with two 1GB Nanya DDR2 667MHz modules which provided the notebook with an impressive 2GB of total system memory.
Removing the only other panel on the bottom of the notebook, we find the Intel 3945 wireless NIC and modem. Unfortunately, no other components are accessible in the same vicinity, though the two connectivity components can be accessed with ease.
To even get a glimpse at the true innards of the system, the keyboard must be removed. With this removed, we get our first glimpse at the core components which comprise the XPS M1710. On the leftmost portion of the chassis, we can see a small portion of the Intel Core Duo processor and socket, though the heatpipe cooling assembly blocks the majority of the surface from view. On the opposite side of the chassis, we find a rather large heatsink assembly covering the GeForce Go 7900 GTX GPU. Looking at the label on the presumed MXM3 HE module, we see that the module is rated for 65W and is produced by Foxconn. In terms of revisions, the GPU is an A02 variant of the G71 GPU.
Unlike the GeForce Go 7900 GS GPU's found on the Alienware Aurora m9700 SLI notebook we recently reviewed, the Dell XPS M1710 features NVIDIA's flagship GeForce Go 7900 GTX GPU. In addition to having a full 512MB of memory versus other GPU's typical 256MB, the flagship part is rated for significantly higher core and memory frequencies and packs a substantial increase in pipelines. This additional power and capacity comes at a price however, as the 512MB GeForce Go 7900 GTX consumes a full 25W more power than the 256MB GeForce Go 7900 GS.