Interior Layout & Functionality
Like the exterior, the interior layout of the XPS 730x remains largely unchanged from the original 730. This is good since we didn't find anything wrong with the 730 series chassis to begin with and we're glad Dell didn't introduce any unnecessary changes.
The original 730 featured lighting on the interior of the chassis which was linked to the same system that controlled the lighting for the exterior. For the XPS 730x, Dell has taken interior lighting a step further with Theater Lighting.
The Theater Lighting system is a pretty clever approach to a common problem. The great weight and bulk of the XPS 730 makes it inconvenient to move around in order to find the best angle for optimal lighting and a flashlight was nearly always necessary when you needed to open up the chassis for maintenance/upgrades. Theater Lighting is a set of white LEDs independent of the standard interior lighting system that is designed to illuminate the interior while you muck about under the hood. The lights turn on automatically when the side panel is opened and they are powered by their own independent power source so the system doesn't even need to be plugged in.
The Theater Lighting system consists of 4 ultra-bright white LEDs powered by two AA batteries. The batteries are located on the side of the 5.25" drive cage, hidden under a plastic shroud. Despite there only being 4 LEDs, they are very bright and are positioned well; together they illuminate the entire motherboard area as well as the upper drive cages. The new Theater Lighting system works very well and we can honestly say you probably won't ever need a flashlight while working in the XPS 730x.
The interior of the chassis is just as functional as before, with the same emphasis on reusability. The XPS 730 series chassis is fully ATX compliant and will accept any ATX motherboard, not just the ones supplied by Dell. The rest of the chassis is just as adherent to common standards and you'll find that the chassis in general can be completely stripped of its original hardware and replaced with new off-the-shelf components as easily as any aftermarket chassis from the likes of Thermaltake and Coolermaster. This will certainly be a welcome feature years after your XPS 730x purchase, when the original hardware is becoming a little old and you're ready for an upgrade.
The chassis is also ESA (Enthusiast System Architecture) compliant which allows the system to monitor a variety of temperature and performance data in real-time. Other features we liked from the original 730, such as pre-routed cables, also make a return. As you can see in the images above, our review system was only configured with two hard drives, leaving two empty drive bays. All of the necessary power and data cables for the two empty bays have been installed so adding additional drives is simply a matter of putting the drive in and connecting the pre-routed cables.
Since the interior of the chassis hasn't changed much from the original XPS 730, other than the addition of Theater Lighting, we won't go into further detail here. However you can check out our dissection of the original XPS 730 chassis for more pictures and a detailed analysis.
Like all XPS 700 series systems since the XPS 710, the XPS 730x will be available in a factory overclocked 'H2C' version which features Dell's H2Ceramic hybrid cooling system. The XPS 730x is available with two different levels of factory overclocking (or no overclocking at all). At this time factory overclocking is only available with the Core i7-965 Extreme processor and you will not be provided with the option if you chose the i7-920 or the i7-940.
Level 1 overclocking will bring the i7-965 Extreme processor up to 3.46GHz from the default clock of 3.2GHz, while level 2 overclocking will push it all the way to 3.73GHz. Level 1 overclocking is available with both the standard air cooling and the H2C cooling option, but level 2 overclocking is only available with H2C. Both levels of factory overclocking are fully covered by the standard parts and labor warranty with in-home service (3 years for H2C systems).
Like the original 730, the XPS 730x is offered with the second generation of the H2C cooling system. The H2C system doesn't receive an update for the new Core i7 processors since the second gen unit was originally designed with Core i7 compatibility in mind right from the start.
Click here for more pictures of the H2C hybrid cooling system and a detailed analysis of its functions.