Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 26, 2010
Dell Studio XPS 1340

I bought my last laptop nearly 4 years ago, a Dell XPS M1210. That worked out quite okay to play World of Warcraft while traveling, but more graphically demanding games were out. But as laptop technology has advanced a lot in the last 4 years, and they got a lot cheaper too, I decided to have a look for a replacement. This time I didn't want to mail order a laptop, but just go into a shop and have a look.

I made myself a list of requirements: Mid-size around 12" to keep the weight down, decent graphics card, DVD drive to use it as DVD player while traveling, at least 4 GB memory, cost up to 1,000 €. Went into the shop, listed what I wanted, and the shop assistant said he had the perfect machine for me: A Dell Studio XPS 1340. 13" screen, two graphics cards (Nvidia Geforce 9400M G for playing, a G210M for working at lower energy consumption), DVD RW drive, 4 GB memory, cost 999 €. With all my requirements fulfilled, I spontaneously bought it.

At home I let the same 3DMark05 run on the new machine with which I tested the previous laptop. Result was that the graphics performance went up by a factor of 4, from 2096 to 8402. Good enough for the types of games I'm playing, I don't really need the kind of graphics performance that shooters need.

Reading reviews *after* buying the laptop (yeah, I know), I have to agree with this review saying that the Dell Studio XPS 1340 does get hot on the underside, and isn't super lightweight. But on the other hand I rarely ever use the laptop on my lap, and it still is lighter than the previous one. As some people reported their 1340 overheating, I ran a Furmark benchmark, where the processor temperature stabilized at a totally normal 70°C.

So up to now I'm quite happy with my new laptop. Next step: I bought The Settlers 7 on the same day, so I'll be able to test game performance with a just released game. World of Warcraft, of course, was running fine.
At maxed out graphic setting WoW actually runs at no more than 30fps at my new computer.

- 1024MB Radeon HD5770
- CPU Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz 4800MT/s S1156 95W 8MB BOX
- MB GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 iP55 S1156
- DDR3 2x2048MB Kit Kingston Value PC3-10600 1333MHz CL9
- SSD 80GB Intel X25-M G2 Postville 2,5" SATA II Bulk

The performance makes a big jump if I change from 8x to 4x anti aliasing. Strange - but on the other hand I cannot see a difference between 8x and 4x .. or even 2x :)
I'm always a little wary about buying a laptop, as you can't customise them as much as you can a desktop - it is normally a case of 'you get what you are given'.

Sure, you can buy a machine which matches a list of requirements, but then you get a machine which is filled up with crap before you even start, and you can only install windows 'clean' if you have the media - all you tend to get these days is a restore disk with all the crap on it!

For sitting down on the settee, browsing the web you can't beat a laptop for convenience, but I will stick with my desktop - fully customisable, built by me last summer!
I can't believe you're willing to put up with ubisoft's always-online drm to try settlers 7...

oh wait, we play wow.

I'm guess-timating you'll be running settlers 7 around medium settings maybe around 25-30fps, judging from your specs. Settlers does look really good though.

Maybe your next post could be about online drm in single player games?
Will you be using the laptop for work Tobold? I bought a new laptop myself recently that I hope to use both for business and on the road entertainment. I had fun choosing a machine that looks business like but can still handle basic gaming. I went for a Vostro 1320 with 9300GS graphics. I haven't installed many games yet but Allods online plays perfectly on the 1200x 800 screen and I managed to get a very playable 30fps out of Left 4 Dead by tweaking down a few graphics settings. I also had fun trying to hide all trace of my installed games so that they don't pop up in the middle of a Powerpoint presentation.
Maybe your next post could be about online drm in single player games?

I hope you can wait a bit for that post, it'll come after Easter when I'm back home. Basically I want to play Settlers 7 now on the laptop, install it on the desktop when I get back, and see how well that "install anywhere, portable save games" feature works. This will also give me enough time to have a statistically relevant idea of how often the always online requirement causes problems.
I bought two Dell XPSs jsut about a year ago for myself and Mrs Bhagpuss. Lower spec than yours, obviously, being a year older, but they run MMOs as well as our 3 year old desktops.

We've been very happy with them, although we've actually used them far less than we thought we would. The main reason I wanted mine was to sit out in the garden and play on the hot summer evenings. Only we didn't have any hot summer evenngs last year. It rained. A lot.

If we actually get a summer this year maybe they will come into their own, although on the few occasions I did take the XPS I found that the screen turns into a mirror. I knew this before I bought it but I wasn't really expecting it to turn into a perfect mirror and be completely unusable.

I think there are sunfilter screens you can get to prevent this. Anyone know anything about them?
I've been looking at the Dell M11x...a new 11 inch Alienware that comes in for under $1000 pretty well specced. But I need more money first. :/
@Tobold, sure, that sounds like a reasonable time.

@techdaft, I'm really tempted to get that so called netbook m11x as well, though the idea of paying almost a thousand quid for something that's not even an i5 is a bit of a negative to me. I'm pretty impressed by all the demos of it though, the graphics card must be really good.
Anyone looking for an awesome laptop to game on, the Alienware MX11 is top notch. All bank, remarkably low buck.
I'm writing this on my Dell XPS 1330 (predecessor to the studio), I've been happy with its performance, weight and looks, but the reliability has been really bad. In two years:
- 2 Hard Drives
- Motherboard replaced due to burnt nVidia 8400 gfx chip
- AC adapter died 10 days after warranty expired, 130€ Kensington now
- Keyboard has started failing (inserts random spaces, etc.)
This comment has been removed by the author.
That's a really good feeling when you shell out some money and are very satisfied with what you bought. Congratulations! Hope Settlers 7 and your other games test out well.
I picked up a dell 10 inch netbook for 200 bucks that does manage to run wow well enough to do the basics:

-run a couple dailies

-check mail

-post auctions

-chat with guildies.

It runs anywhere between 2-10 FPS. It's performance is weak, but it is servicable.

It is however even better as a dedicated websurfing tool (with chrome, more speed, more viewspace) and quick MS Office tool.
Always love hearing about people's computer purchases. Enjoy the laptop.
I have purchased the Dell Alienware M11X. I paid about $1000 for it with upgraded ram and hard drive.

It wouldn't meet Tobold's needs (no dvd player) but it is an amazing and wonderful gaming machine and has replaced my Desktop.

I can actually play Battlefield 2 Bad Company, Left 4 Dead 2, Global Agenda, and other new shooters with medium settings and get > 30 FPS. WoW runs at max settings with 60 FPS.

For such a cheap machine it's amazing, especially considering it has a "clean" windows install with no junkware to start!

I highly recommend it, feel free to ask if you have any questions. My best mate also got the same machine - before this I had a low-end gateway netbook that barely ran WoW, and several XPS desktops.
Yeah, I had seen the Alienware M11X on the website, after Alienware sent me some advertising mail, but dismissed it because it doesn't have a DVD player. Looks like a really nice machine otherwise.
*realizes Settlers 7 is out and rushes off to get it*

- Ercles
Bump for Global Agenda. Alot of fun.
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