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)