Dell XPS 730 H2C Performance Gaming System

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Dell's XPS branded products have come a long way since they first appeared in 1993. Starting life as a performance trim for the Dimension product line, Dell has nurtured XPS into a well-known and respected premium performance brand. While not all XPS branded products are specifically targeted at gamers, gaming has always been at the core of the product line-up. The XPS brand's flagship desktop and notebook products have always been heavily gaming oriented, but it looks like that is set to change.

The XPS 730 is Dell's latest XPS flagship desktop product, the fourth generation of the XPS 700 series, and it may be the last. Or at least the last XPS flagship product as we currently know them; large, aggressively styled behemoths sporting the latest hardware and adorned with colorful LED lighting. A week after the XPS 730 was launched, news regarding the demise of XPS as a gaming brand began to circulate. Since its acquisition of Alienware in the summer of 2006, Dell has effectively been operating two separate gaming brands with directly competing products. It was speculated that some changes, possibly in the form of consolidation of the two brands, would eventually be in order. It is now fairly clear that Dell is to focus on Alienware as its premier gaming brand in the future.

While Dell has only now acknowledged that the XPS brand will give way to Alienware as Dell's premier gaming brand, there have been numerous signs that such a move was in the works. Since Dell brought Alienware into the fold, they have been busy introducing new, non gaming oriented products to both the XPS desktop and notebook line-ups. Starting with the XPS M1330 notebook and its derivatives and then the XPS 420 desktop, Dell is busy converting XPS into a premium multimedia brand. While the XPS brand of the future may still include gaming systems, they will not be the high-end flagship systems of today.

So it is with a slight bit of regret that we begin our review of the XPS 730 H2C, possibly the most exciting and last generation of the flagship XPS 700 series.





Dell XPS 730 H2C
System Specifications - As Reviewed
Processor
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (3.2GHz @ 3.8GHz,6M L2 Cache,1600MHz FSB)

Operating System
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium

Memory
2GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHZ OC to 1600MHz

Graphics Card
Dual 1024MB ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 (Quad-Crossfire)

Chipset
NVIDIA nforce 790i Ultra SLI
 - Supports ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 in four way Crossfire or NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 in quad SLI
 - Standard ATX Form-Factor


Cooling
H2C 2-stage Hybrid Cooled CPU and MCP


Communications
Dual Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000Base-T)
Bluetooth


Audio

Creative Xi-Fi XtremeGamer
Integrated 7.1 Audio (disabled by default)

Hard Drive
2x160GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000RPM SATA Hard Drive (programs and OS)
1x1000GB Hitachi 7,200 RPM SATA Hard Drive (data)

Optical Drive
16x CD/DVD Burner (DVD +/- RW) w/ Double Layer Write


Expansion Slots
2 x PCIe x16 Gen2 slot
1 x PCIe x16 slot
2 x PCIe x1 slot
2 x PCI slot

External Ports
8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear)
2 x 1394a Firewire port (1 front, 1 rear)
2 x RJ45 Ethernet (
10/100/1000
) port
1 x eSATA
1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
1 x 19-in-1 card reader (front media-bay)
1 x 1/8" headphone port (front)
1 x 1/8" stereo line-in (microphone) port
1 x S/PDIF Optical
1 x S/PDIF Coaxial
1 x 1/8" surround sound outputs
Chassis
Dell XPS 730 ATX Aluminum Chassis
 - ESA Compliant
 - 4 x 3.5" Internal Bays
 - 2 x 3.5" External Bays
 - 4 x 5.25" External Bays


Color Option
Anodized Aluminum in Victory Red


Power Supply
1000W Power Supply
 - EPA Compliant
 - 80+ Certified


Physical Dimensions

Width: 21.9 cm (8.6 inches) without stand; 35.6 cm
(14.0 inches) with stand

Height: 55.5 cm (21.9 inches) without stand; 57.2 cm
(22.5 inches) with stand
Depth: 59.4 cm (23.4 inches)
Weight: 21.7 kg (47.8 lb) typical configuration, 25.6 kg (56.4 lb) maximum configuration

Included Accessories and Extras
DVI to VGA Adapter
Recovery DVD
Norton™ Internet Security 2007 or McAfee SecurityCenter (15-months)
FREE Turtle Beach Ear Force HPA2 6-channel Headphones
FREE Dell XPS Mouse Pad
FREE Dell XPS Beanie Cap
FREE Dell XPS 2-in-1 Pen & Laser Pointer
FREE Dell XPS Tool Kit
FREE System Recycling (recycle your old system with Dell)

Warranty And Support
1-year In-Home Service (upgradeable to 4 years)
1-year Parts and Labor (upgradeable to 4 years)
1-year 3GB DataSafe Online Backup (capacity upgradeable)
24x7 Online and Phone Support
Optional CompleteCare Accidental Damage Protection


Price: $6,629.00 USD (as configured here)





 



As we saw in our unboxing and preview article, the XPS 730 H2C is possibly the most well-specified XPS desktop ever. It is powered by the latest dual and quad-core Intel processors cooled by a redesigned H2C hybrid TEC-assisted water cooling system and complete with a warranty that has room for processor and memory overclocking. Not to mention the graphics performance afforded by Quad-GPU graphics setups from both ATI and NVIDIA (although at this time the Quad-SLI option is not yet available). All of this is built on NVIDIA's top-end nForce 790i Ultra SLI platform in the form of a fully-ATX compliant motherboard, unlike all other XPS 700 series machines which used BTX designs. Other features new to the XPS 700 series like a fully ESA compliant chassis design round out the package.

One of the XPS 730's most interesting new features is the motherboard's support for both Crossfire and SLI. The nForce 790i Ultra SLI based motherboard under the hood of the XPS 730 will be able to support both multi-GPU technologies, making it compatible with basically every single graphics configuration currently available. While Dell is not the first manufacturer to pull this off (Voodoo PC has offered this on several systems in the past), it is certainly still a novelty.
 

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Well I guess what I was getting at that now they are geared more to the enthusiasts! Never thought I see them put out a Modded case with hardware also geared for upper end Gaming!

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Dell needs more customers, appealing to the high end percentage of pc owners is a good tactic.

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SqUiD267:
Dell needs more customers, appealing to the high end percentage of pc owners is a good tactic.

Hmm, I dunno about that.  High end enthusiasts are more likely to build their own, I think.  Plus there can't be that many high end people compared to most of the market.

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We actually bought an XPS 710 at my work, to use as a flight simulator visualization PC.  This was because we had to buy Dells thru our MIS department, and it was the only way to get a decent graphics card in a Dell PC at the time.

It looks like they fixed the power button on the XPS 730... On the XPS 700/710, if you pushed the power button IN, it would bust off, and fall inside the front panel!  The "button" was actually part of an elaborate lever contraption, which actuated to a small button on an overly complicated circuit board(which also drove all the "cool LEDs") that was mounted higher up behind the front panel assembly... you had to PULL the button UP, not push it in...this was not obvious to ANYBODY.  Really bad design.

The other stupid thing is the locking mechanism... it uses the puny Kensington laptop style locking mechanism, instead of a big loop that would allow a simple padlock... it is easily defeatable by cracking the plastic lip coming off the side cover.   At least the computer is so huge that thieving punks won't be able to carry the box down the street without being noticed.

- Stewart Teaze

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