Dell XPS 625 Phenom II Gaming System
Configured as our system was, the Dell XPS 625 sells for roughly $1,600, no small chunk of change by any stretch of the imagination. Granted, this is not a lightweight system, and getting this kind of firepower for that kind of cash is somewhat impressive. It's not without its faults, but Dell has put together a pretty solid package with the XPS 625, one which definitely should be worth considering when looking at a new mid-range gaming system.
For $1,600, you'd be getting a snappy quad-core processor, four gigs of memory, a 10,000 RPM hard drive, along with a moderately powerful gaming graphics card, all wrapped up in a very nice chassis which is easily expandable for future upgrades. All of the components play nicely together, which is expected as this is essentially an AMD "Spider" platform enclosed under a Dell chassis. If you're an AMD fan who wants something solid and stable, from the first boot-up, the XPS 625 satisfies.
However, a major gripe we had with the system is, unfortunately, something that is rather important to us--noise. Due to the majority of the airflow being directed through the chassis by one 120mm intake fan, the CPU is simply starved for airflow. If you put the CPU under heavy load, the system gets downright loud and unpleasant with its fan spinning at its maximum speed. It should be an easy fix for Dell, one which we hope they address soon enough.
As for the processor itself, AMD's new Phenom II X4 940 chip is a speedy little bugger, and at its intended price point, gets the job done quite well. The Phenom II X4 940 shows AMD is going in the right direction in every way. The chip performs better that the original Phenom, it performs about on par with Intel's Core 2 Quad chips, and is priced competitively. There are some scenarios where it can keep up with the new Core i7 processor, but for the most part, it's the Phenom II vs. the Core 2 Quad, and both chips perform pretty well in a mid-range gaming environment.
A Dell system with AMD inside may still be a little strange to some, but with the XPS 625, they've pulled it off without any major hitches. The system works great, performs very well, and is fairly inexpensive for the hardware that you get. If Dell gets the noise issue under control, they've got a truly great system in their line-up with the XPS 625.