Noise and Heat

With either a GeForce Go 7900 GS or Go 7900 GTX onboard, you can imagine that the M1710 can get pretty warm, but NVIDIA and Dell have kept heat in check by using different cooling techniques.

On NVIDIA’s side, there is PowerMizer 4.0 featured on the Go 7900 series video cards. Using this power interface, the graphics subsystem can shut off features it is not using, adjust frequencies, and reduce voltage dynamically. This means that without any user intervention, the graphics system (one of the biggest heat producers on a laptop) can reduce both heat and power consumption making for a more comfortable and longer lasting computing session.

The M1710 itself comes with a plethora of air intakes and exhaust ports to ensure the insides of this laptop stays at a reasonable temperature. There are two intakes on the base of the unit, and two exhaust ports on the sides and one on the rear, so make sure not to block these.

Using a CompuNurse Advanced thermal probe, we measure temperatures around the laptop to give you an idea of the heat distribution. For measuring the exhaust temperatures, we place the probe inside the exhaust grill and take a reading. We load up the laptop for several loops of 3DMark ’06 and we take the maximum temperature sampled during a 1 minute reading at each location.

Dell XPS M1710 Metallic Black 17-inch Notebook Review - Mobile 69
Celsius version of the above chart
* Ambient temperature will affect results.

The M1710 is a pretty warm laptop when under a full system load notably the areas under the laptop itself and the keyboard. The keyboard area gets fairly warm which may be uncomfortable to some users. The right side of the base is warm because the GeForce Go 7900 GS is located in that area.

The three big heat generators on a laptop are the hard drive, graphics, and CPU, and how well the laptop keeps these components cool is critical to the longevity of your computer. To test the laptop’s CPU cooling we load up the system with two instances of SuperPi and record the highest CPU temperature after 20 minutes. For HDD cooling, we perform a FULL HDTach test and record the hottest temperature after 20 minutes. All temperatures taken using internal sensors.

Dell XPS M1710 Metallic Black 17-inch Notebook Review - Mobile 70
Celsius version of the above chart
* Ambient temperature will affect results.

The Go 7900 GS gets fairly hot under load so it’s crucial that you keep the intakes free of obstructions especially when playing games. We will be making comparisons between the Go 7900 GS and the Go 7900 GTX when we review the Formula Red M1710 in the future.


Even during a full load the fans on the M1710 is not what I would consider loud by any stretch. In fact, I was a bit surprised that it was so quiet considering how quick this laptop performs. The DVD drive, a typically noisey laptop component, is also very quiet and makes small “squeek squeek” noises when reading data from a disc.

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