In early May, I got a new laptop to replace my desktop computer. My previous system was an Athlon XP 2800 w/ 1.5GB of RAM, various hard drives (all 120gb+/7200’s) and an ATI X800 XT Platinum Edition. At work, I had a Dell 9200 17” laptop and thought it was awesome, and despite having only an ATI 9700 128mb card the graphics were a LOT smoother than my desktop.

When I saw Dell had released a 2nd generation gaming laptop, the XPS Gen 2, I knew I had to take a look. After seeing the reviews and benchmarks and watching the P-M and GeForce 6800 Ultra blow away every other desktop including the Athlon 64 systems, I had to get one. The configuration I chose included:

  • Pentium-M 2.0 GHz w/2MB Cache

  • 2GB DDR-2 PC-4200 RAM

  • 80GB 5400/16mb cache drive

  • nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra PCI-Express 256mb

  • 17” 1920x1200 TrueLife display

  • 8x DVD+-R/RW/CD-R/RW Burner

  • Bluetooth

  • Intel 2915 a/b/g wireless

In short, this system is awesome. Not only does it offer an incredibly smooth game performance at near ultimate quality in EQ2, but it is very portable and the screen is gorgeous. Here are some of the general settings I use in-game:

1920x1200, full-screen, no letterbox frame, all textures on high 30 characters on the screen, 4 of them high detail Particles .1 (maxed), level of detail .1 (maxed), triangle density maxed, drawing distance 500-ish No Flora, no specular lighting, lights at 6 max

Using FRAPS, I get around 14-15 FPS in raids and anywhere from 30-50 anywhere else. CL is around 50, EL is around 30, Ferrott is around 30, so mostly a very playable 30 fps. Regular group combat with lots of particles is around 15-20 FPS with particles resolution on high.

Even with the announcement of the 7800 GTX (which I’m sure will ultimately be available in a mobile version within 6 months), this laptop is still at the top of my list. Alienware and all those other P-4 based system just cannot compete because the Pentium 4 just doesn’t do games as well at the P-M.

In conclusion, if you want to reduce your desktop to a nice small quiet form factor, I highly recommend it. Get yourself a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you’ve got an excellent setup with no need for any external connections (other than power).