Dell 6-Core Studio XPS 7100 Review

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PCMark and 3DMark Tests



Dell touts its Studio line as all-around work horses, so we wanted to start things off with Futuremark's system performance benchmark, PCMark Vantage. This synthetic benchmark suite simulates a range of real-world scenarios and workloads, stressing various system subsets in the process. Everything you'd want to do with your PC -- watching HD movies, music compression, image editing, gaming, and so forth -- is represented here, and most of the tests are multi-threaded, making this a good indicator of all-around performance.

Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance


Houston, do we have a problem? Not exactly. For as much as Futuremark's PCMark Vantage emphasizes overall system importance, the benchmark puts a particularly heavy emphasis on file system performance. Systems with RAID arrays and SSDs are going to shine, while those with single mechanical HDD setups typically bring up the rear.

The Studio's score does, however, underscore the difference in Intel's Core i7 and AMD's Phenom II architectures. AMD's core count advantage doesn't really come into play until dealing with programs specifically optimized for multi-core processing.

 

Futuremark 3DMark06 and Vantage
Simulated Gaming Performance

Next we switched gears to Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage benchmark, which focuses squarely on gaming performance. Some of the technologies in 3DMark Vantage are only available with DirectX 10, making this a better barometer of modern gaming prowess than the the older 3Mark06 benchmark. And unlike previous versions, 3DMark Vantage puts a bit more emphasis on the CPU rather than focusing almost entirely on the GPU(s). Given that Dell heavily touts the Phenom II X6 / Radeon HD 5870 combo, we're particularly interested in how the Studio fares here.


 

Far be it for us to make excuses for Dell's Studio, but we do need to point something out here. Every other rig in the benchmark chart is carrying at least two GPUs, while the Alienware system sports four graphics processors (two HD 5970 cards). The Studio's performance, while far shy of monstrous, is entirely respectable.


At this point in the game, 3DMark06 is kind of like the World Cup, in that it's only of interest to subset of our readers. Now several generations behind, we don't put a whole lot of stock into 3DMark06 scores, but for those of you who do, here you go.


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