Somewhat surprisingly, the Dell XPS M1710 is equipped with some of the most involved and thorough BIOS options we have seen to date in a notebook. Here, there is an incredible amount of adjustability ranging from integrated peripherals to the selection of LED color options.
The first few menu options within the BIOS cover the general reporting aspects of the system. Here, basic configuration information is displayed with both processor and memory details covered in great detail.
The next screen to be analyzed covers the various included components such as the discrete GPU. Here, we were surprised to see that the GPU is being reported as having "only" 256MB of memory. After visually confirming the presence of 512MB on the module as well as having the memory size reported as 512MB in both the driver and benchmarks, we can safely say this is simply a reporting error within the BIOS. The remaining screens above illustrate all aspects of the battery including available power and overall health.
The screens depicted above cover nearly every aspect of the boot sequence and connectivity options. Here, the user is given the opportunity to fully configure the operation of the Intel 3945 wireless NIC as well as the ability to enable or disable the integrated modem.
The options available in this group of screenshots cover the functionality of the USB ports as well as the selection of LED colors and brightness. Here, the user has the ability to select one of 16 different color choices for each LED in the system bringing a whole new level of customization to the table.
The BIOS options above cover both the multi-core ability and SpeedStep functionality of the processor as well as the option to enable or disable acoustic mode for the hard drive. Although enabling this feature cuts down significantly on access noise, it should be disabled to allow for the highest possible performance.
By far, the most interesting and mysterious aspect of the Dell XPS M1710 are the options regarding the graphics behavior of the system. Here, the user is given the option of using either the integrated GeForce Go 7900 GTX GPU found within the system or the extremely interesting option of using the graphics card found within a docking station. Could Dell be planning on releasing an enthusiast dock that features a high-end GPU that could not otherwise be crammed into the confinements of the notebook chassis? Perhaps an upgrade to allow for standard or even Quad-SLI would be possible with such a dock.