Dell XPS 625 Phenom II Gaming System

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Turn the clock back to the middle of this decade, and the idea of a Dell system using an AMD processor would be considered facetious at best. Dell, had been an Intel-only shop from the beginning, and had only toyed with AMD processors from time to time in highly niche market systems. Many AMD fans considered Dell's acceptance of AMD processors as the holy grail for mainstream adoption in the PC market, a single act which would save AMD once and for all. Intel-fans would no longer point to the PC making behemoth as proof that AMD processors were somehow sub-par and not ready for enterprise-level environments.

Turns out, the years of stories about back-room deals regarding Dell and AMD finally coming together really didn't materialize into anything massive. Dell introduced their first AMD-based systems in 2006, and well, Intel didn't crumble. Having made their way into the final large scale OEM, AMD definitely earned a feather in their cap, but the market situation hasn't changed by any real amount. To this day, Intel based systems make up the lion's share of Dell's sales figures, whereas AMD continues to struggle and fight to keep itself alive on a quarter by quarter basis. Nevertheless, the Dell and AMD partnership has continued over these past three years, and we're finally starting to see Dell get a little feistier with the AMD hardware at their disposal.

Throughout the onslaught of Intel's Core 2 and Core i7 processors, Dell has continued to sell AMD based systems, albeit not prominently. Typically, these systems have been targeted at the budget-conscious market of Dell's customer base rather than anything else, offering comparable performance at substantially lower prices. Obviously, in this day and age, price/performance is playing a much larger role, and well, that may be one of the biggest reasons why we're seeing systems like the XPS 625, which we're looking at today.

Dell's new XPS 625 is their latest AMD-based creation, and is their first out of the labs using the new Phenom II processor. Initial reviews of AMD's new chip have been favorable, as this new quad-core processor is slated to deliver roughly the same performance as Intel's quad-core Core 2 processors at very tolerable price points. While it's pretty clear that the Phenom II can't quite crack Core i7 levels of performance, the question is, do you really need that much computing power? Can the Phenom II deliver a great computing experience at a palatable price?  Is it worth considering one over an Intel-based Dell system?  The XPS 625 is here to help us answer those questions.


Dell's XPS 625 in black (also available in red)

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Nice looking case a little cramped inside!I just glanced over the reveiw but is it me or is the motherboard installed where the CPU is at the bottom!

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It is installed that way.  If you didn't notice, the system is essentually a BTX layout, down to the passive cooling.  I noticed that there is a place you can put a fan on the back panel behind the CPU.  I wonder if putting a fan there in pull format would help with the overall cooling off the system, though I'm sure a low rpm fan on the CPUs heat exchanger would help as well.

I have actually liked the way that dell machines have been looking the last few years, though I think some of that comes from Alienwares influence on their designs.

Overall, I think it is a nice looking system with only a change of cooling and a slightly lower price needed.

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Nice article!  One correction I saw though, I think this is AMD's new "Dragon" platform though since it uses the Phenom II, not the "Spider" platform.

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We have a Sun workstation at work and it has a similar looking heatsink on the CPUs.  At first I thought they were fanless but there is a fan sandwiched in the middle.  And it looks the same here.  All I can go off is the pictures but it looks like there is a wire coming out of the heat sink.  Plus it has the arrow pointing in the direction of the airflow.  If there was no fan in it, it wouldn't really matter what direction the heat sink was mounted.

Also, the fan on the motherboard looks like it's on the chipset, not the VRMs.  The VRMs should be under the heat sink right below the fan that is connected with the heat pipe.  It is too bad that they used a fan here when most other motherboards using the same chipset are fine without a fan.

As for the layout, It's just a standard ATX motherboard mounted upside down.  Lian-Li has some cases where they do the same thing.  BTX puts the CPU at the front of the motherboard right in front of the intake fan and would have the expansion slots at the bottom.

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Hmm  For 1600 you can get the same system  with 8 gigs of ram ,640 gig hdd, and two 4850's in crossfire. Right on dells site.


Actually you cant get it configured the way your test rig was configured at all.

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Also for 41549 i can get a dell studio xps 435 with a core i7, 6 gig ddr3 ram , a 24 inch widescreen monitor, and a 750 gig hdd drive.

 

So honestly its not really that good of a deal either. Its just a preference if you want amd or the faster core i7 which you can get in a dell machine for the same price or cheaper.

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I could bouch for that XPS system since i got his sister the XPS630i and is a kick@ss machine!

is the same layout and in term of reliable well i haven't had a problem since they got their driver reconfigured...

 

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