The XPS 625 is shipped in an impressive, sturdy series of packing boxes, which ensured our system made it safe through the bowels of Fedex. The system itself is shipped surrounded in thick foam for large drop protection, whereas the external coating of the chassis also has a thin layer of protective plastic to prevent against small nicks and dings. The end result is that our system showed up flawlessly, out of the box.
The system is heavy, as Dell has opted to use heavy duty steel instead of a more lightweight aluminum alloy chassis. While it increases overall system weight by a sizable amount, it does keep the system firm and steady when it's placed down on the floor. The heavy duty chassis also helps prevent noise and vibration simply due to the weight and mass of the materials. Not only is the system heavy, it's also impressively large, as it is roughly the same size as a smaller Extended ATX class case. This is no system you can easily pick up and take to a LAN party, it's designed to sit and stay wherever it's placed.
The XPS 625 is, undoubtedly, an attractive system. Dell offers the black model seen here, along with a deep red paint option. The primary color is offset by brushed aluminum alloy side and top panels, which deliver a great industrial, sturdy look to the system. As with other XPS chassis designs in the past, Dell has opted to slightly skew the case at an angle to make it look like it's moving forward, which you either like or dislike as a design choice.
Despite its heavy duty appearance and weight, the system is relatively easy to get into and work with. Dell has a quick-release handle on the top of the chassis, which pops open the side panel doors with a proper tug. The system also uses industry standardized components as far as we could tell inside, so third party upgrades should be just about as easy as any other desktop system, although there a few bits which are undeniably custom to Dell's chassis design.
When the lights go down, the XPS 625 has a special treat under the hood. The XPS 625 chassis design is equipped with Alienware's AlienFX lighting system, which allows you to light up the front and rear of the chassis in any color of your liking. The color selection is done via software, which configures the colors and brightness settings for a series of LEDs embedded in the chassis, which at different levels, can produce lots of different colors. It's a simple and highly effective way to form a bond with your new system, and we like that the lighting is done is a very subtle and tasteful fashion. Most "gaming" systems tend to over-do everything, but the XPS 625 definitely will appeal to a refined gaming audience who appreciate good design.