Features and Specifications
"With the Dell XPS 625 desktop driving your gaming experience, your rivals won’t know what hit 'em. Get extreme gaming performance, cutting-edge graphics and an innovative design - all at a killer value." - Dell
At its core, the XPS 625 is a relatively straight forward gaming desktop configuration, albeit with some highly interesting bits. The most interesting tidbit is no doubt the new AMD Phenom II X4 940 processor, which is AMD's current high-end quad-core model. When coupled together with a motherboard based on the 790FX chipset and a GPU based on the Radeon 4800 series, what Dell has effectively delivered is AMD's new "Spider" platform in a very nice chassis.
The Phenom II X4 940 processor runs at 3.0 GHz, and is a native quad-core device. The X4 940 just hit the streets about a month and a half ago, and is based on AMD's latest generation 45nm manufacturing technology. The processor is equipped with 4 x 512k (2MB) of L2 cache along with a shared pool of 6MB L3 cache, which is three times larger than the original Phenom processor. The Phenom II supports 64-bit computing, SSE3/4, independent clock speeds and voltage levels per core, and has an integrated dual-channel DDR2 memory controller. The unit runs at an 1800 MHz HyperTransport link speed and is compatible with Socket AM2+ motherboards, such as the custom Dell 790FX motherboard in the system. Oh yes. This system is also equipped with a "Black Edition" processor, which means it's completely multiplier unlocked. We'll exploit this later.
Phenom II X4 940 Specs
Radeon HD 4850 Specs
The processor is connected to 4 GB of DDR2-800 memory, which gives theoretical memory bandwidth of 12.8 GB/s, a far cry from Intel's top of the line Core i7 systems, but as the Phenom has never been exceedingly memory thirsty, we're not too concerned about this. Dell allows you to configure XPS 625 systems with up to 8 GB of memory, or you can also equip the system with overclocker-friendly Corsair Dominator DDR2 modules if you wish (our system came equipped with generic DDR2 modules).
In terms of graphics, we have ATI's mid-range Radeon HD4850 graphics card with 512 MB of memory onboard. This card currently sells for about $150 online and is expected to drop in price soon, significantly. While it's not a top of the line card, it's definitely sufficient for most modern games, and won't be a bottleneck unless you push up the resolution and/or FSAA levels. If you want a little extra oomph, Dell offers Radeon HD4870 upgrade options, including multiple cards in CrossfireX mode, if you want to go that route. No Nvidia options in sight, interestingly enough.
Our sample system was equipped with a Western Digital Velociraptor 150 GB, 10,000 RPM hard disk, which is one of the fastest SATA hard disks on the market today. Oddly though, Dell doesn't offer this through their online configurator at this time, although we would expect them to offer it soon. The system was also configured with a 16x SATA DVD-RW drive, Blu-Ray is an upgrade option if you wish.
That's pretty much the basis of the XPS625. The system has integrated audio and Ethernet, along with the expected basics of a modern system. Interestingly enough, the system came with no memory card reader by default, which we would think is a fairly trivial feature to throw in. Nevertheless, a pretty solid quad-core setup for roughly $1,500, although definitely not a mind-blowing great deal for this price tag. This isn't quite like a do-it-yourself system, though, as you'll see in the following pages.