Dell XPS 730 H2C Performance Gaming System

Article Index

Performance Summary & Conclusion


Performance Summary:  The XPS 730 H2C performed very well in all of our tests. The factory overclocked QX9770 at 3.8GHz (up from 3.2GHz stock) gave it the raw power to outpace all of our test systems in any CPU-intensive task. In combination with the factory overclocked NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard and the twin sticks of Corsair Dominator DDR3 memory factory overclocked to 1600MHz, the XPS 730 H2C is an absolute monster in any productivity and multimedia task.
 

Gaming performance was less decisive but still extremely impressive. Unfortunately the relative immaturity of quad-GPU drivers, especially under Vista, really hampered the XPS in several gaming tests. Our review unit was equipped with dual Radeon HD 3870 X2's in a quad-Crossfire configuration and it performed well in games. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same scaling issues that currently plague all quad-GPU setups and it wasn't always the fastest solution. However, this is due to no fault on Dell's or the XPS' part. It is simply a current limitation of the drivers and software, which will hopefully be remedied over time as the technology matures. Even with these limitations, the XPS exhibited enough brute force to run all of the games in our test at a playable frame-rate. Overall, performance was as we expected it to be for a system of this price, caliber and configuration; absolutely blazing.


 


We have spent a lot of time with the XPS 730 H2C since we first published our unboxing and preview article nearly a month ago and a lot has happened since then. A short week after we published our preview, news broke that the XPS brand will eventually lose its gaming focus and Dell will be shifting their energy to develop Alienware as their premier gaming brand. The XPS brand will continue to exist but the large LED-lit flagship gaming systems at the heart of the line-up will be replaced by premium multimedia computers. Thankfully, Dell has confirmed that this will not put the life-span of the XPS 730 in doubt. It will be allowed to live a full retail product life and will be available for sale for at least another year.

The XPS 730 is the first major design update to the XPS 700 series. While it maintains the same aggressive profile and dimensions as its predecessors, the 730 sports a new grill and three new color schemes as well as an improved LED lighting system. A new side-panel window option is also available, an early fruit of Dell's IdeaStorm suggestion website
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The new chassis design is superb both in appearance and function. Gone are the proprietary BTX motherboards that plagued the earlier 700 series machines which made upgrading nearly impossible. With the XPS 730, Dell embraces the ATX and ESA standards and the XPS 730 is powered by a standard NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard. The new XPS 730 chassis is a huge step forward in design. It offers a level of flexibility and upgradeability equal to that of a well made after-market chassis. It also looks every bit as striking as the original 700 series chassis and the new color options are better than ever.

T
he NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard under the hood of the XPS 730 is one of the best gaming platforms currently available and thanks to some custom drivers which allow it to work with both SLI and Crossfire, it just got even better. The XPS 730 is able to support just about every graphics configuration currently available as well as all the latest Intel processors and you'll be able to configure it to match your needs and your budget. Unfortunately quad-GPU scaling still has some performance kinks that need to be worked out before it can reach its full potential, but this is no fault of the XPS 730 and dual as well as single GPU configurations are available.

Like the XPS 710 and 720, the new XPS 730 will be available in both a standard and a H2C hybrid cooling version. In order to meet the new theme of ATX compatibility, Dell has updated the H2C system, improving it in a number of areas. The updated H2C cooling system retains the basic function and performance of the previous version but adds new compatibility features that allow it to work with nearly any motherboard. Dell has even gone so far as to make both the H2C cooler and the standard air cooler compatible with Intel's upcoming Nehalem processor. While the quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX9770 under the hood of our review unit did get a bit too hot when we tried to push it beyond 4GHz in our overclocking experiment, the new H2C system easily handles the factory overclocked frequency of 3.8GHz. Overall, the new H2C unit is a significant improvement over its predecessor
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The XPS 730 is, without a doubt, the best XPS 700 series gaming computer to date. It offers an excellent blend of top-end components, striking good looks, customizeability, ease of use and a fair amount of future-proofing. It is unfortunate that the XPS 730 may be the last generation of Dell's XPS 700 series, as we currently know them, but with the new improved chassis and upgradeability, you'll be able to keep using and re-using it for many years to come.
All of this high-end hardware means the the XPS 730 isn't cheap, but then again, which high-end gaming computer is? While you may be able to save some cash by building your own rig, considering the quality of the chassis, cooling and components and the costs of assembly, the XPS 730 is still fairly priced.

The XPS 730 may be the last of its kind. Perhaps the design team of the XPS 730 also realized this, inspiring them to try and make it the best 700 series machine to date. Whatever their inspiration, the XPS 730 turned out to be a great gaming and multimedia computer. The XPS 730 represents the fourth generation in Dell's XPS 700 series and it exhibits a maturity of design that only iteration and refinement can bring. It is clear that Dell has thought long and hard about the complaints levied against past generations of XPS 700 series and they have systematically addressed them while maintaining all of the high-points and charm of the earlier machines. We heartily recommend the XPS 730 and the XPS 730 H2C to anyone in the market for a high-end gaming/multimedia computer and we are
happy to award the XPS 730 H2C our coveted Editor's Choice award.



 

  • Excellent Chassis Design
  • Looks Great
  • Killer Performance
  • Upgradeable and future-proof
  • Hybrid Liquid Cooling
  • Factory Overclocked Processors (Covered by Warranty)
  • Top-end Components
  • Neat LED Light Systems and Side-Panel WIndow Options
  • Pricey
  • Multi-GPU Scaling Issues Make Expense Hard To Justify
  • Standard non-H2C Version Still Unavailable A Month After Release Date


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