Dell 6-Core Studio XPS 7100 Review - HotHardware

Dell 6-Core Studio XPS 7100 Review

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PC gamers are a lucky bunch, particularly those who have only recently begun their journey into the awesome world of computers. Never before has this hobby been so affordable, and there was a time not that long ago when building a cheap gaming rig resulted in a second-rate gaming experience, one devoid of copious amounts of eye candy and buttery smooth frame rates, unless you were willing to crank down the screen resolution until the picture had more blocks than the NES version of Super Mario Bros.

Well folks, that isn't the case anymore. Sure, you can still shell out several grand on a decadent machine loaded with only top-end parts, but outside of bragging rights, and the ability to run a handful of sloppily coded titles at ultra high resolutions, it's no longer necessary to rob your neighborhood convenience store only to still fall short on funds for a superior gaming experience. To prove it, Dell sent us one of their new Studio XPS 7100 desktops built around AMD's recently launched Phenom II X6 1055T processor. AMD's hexa-core chips don't pack the same punch as Intel's six-core architecture, but the upshot is you'll save a king's bounty by riding into the sunset with AMD, and in this case, with Dell as well. The configuration we're looking at runs $1,450 (currently on sale for $1,150), with lesser spec'd six-core rigs starting out at $699. To put that into perspective, Intel's sole six-core offering -- the Core i7 980X -- commands about a grand just for the processor alone.



So we've already determined you won't put yourself in the poor house by plunking down for an XPS 7100, but is that all Dell brings to the table? Good question, and we intend to answer it, starting with the spec sheet.

Dell Studio XPS 7100
Specifications and Features (as tested)

Model

Studio XPS 7100
CPU

AMD Phenom II X6 1055T (2.8GHz - 3.3GHz)
Memory

6GB DDR3 1333MHz (4 DIMMs)
Graphics

ATI Radeon HD 5870 w/ 1GB GDDR5
Storage

Seagate 1.5TB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Optical

Blu-ray Reader/DVD Burner Combo
Operating System

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Wireless

Dell 1525 Wireless-N PCI-E Card w/ Dual Antennas
Wired Internet

10/100/1000 Ethernet
Ports

8 USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, DVI, Headphone and Mic, 19-in-1 Media Reader
Sound
Integrated 7.1 w/ THX TruStudio PC
Power Supply
Delta Electronics 460W
Weight

22.4 pounds
Keyboard / Mouse
Dell Studio
Dimensions

7.31" x 17.9" x 16.02" (WxDxH)
Warranty

1 Year Basic Service Plan
Price

$1,428.99 (as configured)



Right away we see some things we like, and others we don't. The Phenom II X6 processor and ATI Radeon HD 5870 provides a potent one-two combo, not only for gaming, but a range of tasks that rely on the CPU, GPU, or both. And with 6GB of RAM, the XPS 7100 is off to a good start. We're also impressed with the inclusion of a Blu-ray drive, which is sometimes used as a means to jack up the overall price of a system. And the fast spinning 1.5TB hard drive offers a solid, if not conservative approach to system building, striking a balance between both storage and performance.

For the most part, however, what you see is what you get. Dell does offer a few spotty upgrade choices, but nothing that compares with the level of customization you'll get from a gaming specific system builder, including Dell's own Alienware division. You can increase the amount of RAM to 12GB and add a second hard drive in a RAID 0 array, and there are some add-ons available -- like a TV Tuner card -- but that's really it. There aren't any SSD options, and you can't change the processor or videocard, nor can you can add a discrete soundcard because the included Wi-Fi solution takes up the only available PCI-E x1 slot.

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It's respectable, but not custom.

With the RAM maxed out and a dual GPU card in it, one would see far better benchmark scores from it as well.

Building your own is still the best way to go if you know how to do it.

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@ Neil

I only do Custom. You get exactly what you want, and if you planned accordingly you will also have the ability to upgrade the system with the market.

Building a system is so easy too. Even if you're new to it, just do some research and dive in! If you get stuck, ask for some help. There are tons of people on the internet willing to help!

We didn't all always know how to build a system with our eyes closed lol We all had a first!

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I would like to see Dell use name brand components and proper power supplies. I haven't owned a Dell in years, do they still use proprietary power supplies like they used to?

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slugbug:
I would like to see Dell use name brand components and proper power supplies. I haven't owned a Dell in years, do they still use proprietary power supplies like they used to?

I had a customer give me her pretty, but malfunctioning almost new, white and silver Dell desktop PC with an Intel dual core CPU in it.
I had built a gaming platform for her kid a few months before and she realized that his computer never gave him any trouble, but her Dell broke down (blue screened) all of the time.
She brought it to me and had me build one EXACTLY like her son's computer and recover her data from the dell. When she left, she didn't want the Dell and gave it to me.

Afterwords, I diagnosed it and found that the 2-1GB sticks of memory were bad. I put in four 2GB DDR-II 800 sticks from my parts shelf, and a PCI-E GT-240 1GB video card that I had. Then I loaded 64 bit Win-7 onto it and gave it to my wife to use. The power supply is of Dell's own design, (proprietary indeed) but has been without problems for all this time. The GT-240 doesn't have any additional power connections on it.

I recently offered to build a bigger, better, faster computer for the wife and
she threatened me if "I touched" her Dell. Angry

 

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lol...  You should secretly upgrade it without her knowing and see if she notices a difference lol

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No way, no how. Zip it!

If she's happy than I am too.

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lol... that's probably the wiser move.... but it's so much less fun lol

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She has a sweet nature and is a wonderful country girl (very easy to get along with) but when she's upset, it's no small matter,............

What's that old country saying?

"I'd Rather Sandpaper A Bobcat's Butthole In A Phone Booth Than Piss Her Off!"

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wtf who says that lol 

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fat78:
wtf who says that lol

Me, for one.

I never heard it said until I got to Virginia, and I've hear it said several times since I've been here. (the first time someone said it around me, I almost fell out of my wheelchair)

 

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