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Dell's XPS 730x Core I7 Gaming System Reviewed 171

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the it's-always-time-to-upgrade dept.
MojoKid writes "Shortly after Intel released their new Core i7 processors about a month ago, Dell announced a new update to the XPS 730 with Core i7 tech under the hood. The new Dell XPS 730x is first and foremost a technology update but the chassis has also been buffed up a bit. The Intel Core 2 processor and NVIDIA 790i Ultra SLI chipset powering the original XPS 730 line have been swapped with the new Core i7 processor and an Intel X58 Express chipset based motherboard. The XPS 730x retains the original 730's ability to support both Crossfire and SLI multi-GPU graphics. Like all XPS 700 series machines since the XPS 710, the XPS 730x is available with optional factory overclocking and a H2C edition featuring a two-stage liquid cooling system. And yes, it rips through Crysis quite nicely and puts up rather impressive benchmark numbers."
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Dell's XPS 730x Core I7 Gaming System Reviewed

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  • Oblig. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2008 @04:40PM (#26205415)
    Maybe it will actually run Vista!
    • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday December 22, 2008 @04:45PM (#26205467) Homepage Journal
      News for nerds: Throwing a ridiculous shitload of money at a vendor will buy you a fast machine. Film at 11.
      • Re:Oblig. (Score:4, Informative)

        by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday December 22, 2008 @08:38PM (#26207585) Homepage

        While it is a ridiculous shitload of money, I did a quick cost comparison and it's actually a pretty good deal considering what's it in. Sure, you get the semi-sucky Dell versions of everything, which means a blah motherboard, blah (underclocked?) graphics card and a "1000w power supply" that competes with 700w models from Antec or Seasonic (same shit really), but you would have a hard time building an equivalent system for that kind of money, and you certainly won't get any kind of warranty from online dealers.

        I hate to say it, but if you're in the market for a $5000 beast, this one ain't so bad. That said, if you're still somewhat sane you could build a rig that yields 90% of the performance for less than half the price, but clearly some people just have to have that last 0.2 ghz for $1500 more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, but only to use the extra RAM and processing time to "cache" all of the crap you never use, and to help index your hard drive since apparently us users can never seem to remember where we put anything despite the fact we get a UAC prompt if we choose to save anything outside of our home directory.

      And lets see how well the SLI/Crossfire graphics cards run games while also being called by the desktop window manager and and explorer to redraw aero effects constantly. And by the way, you're paying an as
      • by WiiVault (1039946) on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:05PM (#26205667)
        Your Vista criticism is sound except for the indexing part. I have over a terabyte of stuff on my home machine and despite my best efforts I often cannot find things. OS X Spotlight has literally become my Finder replacement. These days I rarely ever even navigate through the windows. Of course I have had to learn to be a lot more careful when I label documents, but the time savings more than makes up for the occasional indexing. To me at least, real comprehensive search is the killer app of the modern desktop.
        • by Captain Splendid (673276) * <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:25PM (#26205845) Homepage Journal
          Not that I don't agree with you in principle, but how hard is to have a bunch of organized folders: docs, mp3s, porn, etc.? Same argument: do a little work first, save time later.
          • by icegreentea (974342) on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:40PM (#26206033)
            In principle it's not that hard. That being said, desktop searching is incredibly helpful. You organized your mp3s by genre, band, album... Now you don't feel like clicking through a bunch of folders to get to your music. Sure, the bands you listen to often, you might have down with muscle memory. But when you try to look for something you haven't listened to in a while, it gets frustrating to sit around reading through band name after band name. Desktop search and you're done.

            Desktop search has its place. Organizing yourself is form of self restraint and discipline that is absolutely vital to getting stuff done. On the other hand, the reason we have all this technology is to make life easier.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              The thing is, I use media players like (dare I say it) iTunes, WMP, Media Center, or RhythmBox to manage my songs and/or videos for me (as well as play them), so I don't need to sit there and browse folders or take a performance hit for indexing.

              When the great grandparent post said they liked indexing because they have a huge hard drive, the only thing I can think of for having such a hard drive would be Music/Video libraries, games, or absolutely huge Flash documents. The music/video most certainly woul
            • by Hatta (162192)

              You organized your mp3s by genre, band, album... Now you don't feel like clicking through a bunch of folders to get to your music

              That's what locate, find, globs and tab completion are for.

              • by mollymoo (202721)

                Uh, locate is desktop search. Just bad desktop search. It only does filenames and typically the index is only updated once per day. Spotlight indexex content as well as filenames and does it on the fly.

          • by nobodylocalhost (1343981) on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:41PM (#26206043)

            Hold it, you are assuming people are going to search only by file name. However, the rest of us do search by content. How will you remember which file contains "int restriction_level = 1;" on a project with thousands of files and a class diagram that looks like spiderweb on steroids? Indexing is very useful in that aspect.

            • by hellwig (1325869)
              Unless you write your code in Word, thats what "Find in Files" or grep are for. Until we develop algorithms to search by image or sound, there are already better tools for context searching.
              • by lymond01 (314120)

                Unless you write your code in Word

                Hmm...not that I use Word, of course, for coding, but if I did use Word and was, well, looking for a suitable alternative for writing code, not that I am, what might you, err, recommend?

                And where's the Save button for this comment thing...

                • by hellwig (1325869)
                  If you really want to know, I use Emacs (free) and TextPad (not free). I use Textpad at work where they already have the license.

                  I had a teacher in highschool who used to write his code in Word or Wordpad. I don't know if he programmed that way or if it was just for his examples and lesson plans, but it was wierd. I heard that a couple years after I left, they got another teacher. He had them write their code in windows, but transfer it to a linux box (via floppy if I recall) and compile it using GCC
              • by mollymoo (202721)

                "Find in files" or grep search every file every time. For many thousands of files that can take a while. With an index, like the ones desktop search tools build, it would take a couple of seconds. When finding anything takes a few seconds you can eliminate many tedious processes. When it's quicker to search than to navigate a filesystem, there's not much point organising many classes of information at all. I organise my code, but I never organise my email. I don't even erase the old stuff, I just search and

            • by Draek (916851)

              So is solving the problem of having a design that looks like spiderweb on steroids, though.

          • I think the problem with that, is when you want files indexed more than one way. Your approach can work, but you might end up having a shitload of softlinks, since a given file might appear in several different directories. Then let's say you want to delete a file: do you really want to delete it from everywhere, or just that one directory you were looking at. Maybe you want hardlinks instead. But then, maybe not.

          • The whole point of computers it to make difficult stuff like that go away so we can spend our time doing things humans are better at doing.

            Besides, organized folders are really a piss poor way to structure large amounts of data. It is even piss poor for small amounts of data. For example, how would you structure your folders for a bunch of one-off "I'm learning API XYZ" projects you created in visual studio? Since they are all stupid apps, it isn't worth the time to properly oragnize them, yet still you

      • Re:Oblig. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:10PM (#26205713)

        Yes, but only to use the extra RAM and processing time to "cache" all of the crap you never use

        I'm confused, you'd rather Windows just didn't do anything with the extra memory and processing power? If you really don't want you hard drive indexed, you can turn off indexing. The memory used to cache frequently used programs is reallocated when necissary, don't let the little graph in the task manager fool you into thinking you don't have enough memory just because your memory is actually being used for a change.

        And lets see how well the SLI/Crossfire graphics cards run games while also being called by the desktop window manager and and explorer to redraw aero effects constantly.

        Aero is automatically disabled when running any full screen game. If you really hate it that badly, disable it.

        Vista has a lot of problems. Having features that many people like, which can be disabled by those who don't, isn't one of them. The only valid complaint you make, in my opinion, is obnoxious UAC prompts.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HAKdragon (193605)

          The only valid complaint you make, in my opinion, is obnoxious UAC prompts.
           
          ..which can also be turned off.

          • ..which can also be turned off.

            Slight problem there. As techies, we'll work on Vista machines more than actually installing the damn thing for ourselves. As such, do you really want to turn off UAC on some luser's PC? Much as I hate to give MS any credit, UAC actually does help a little bit. And if you troubleshoot MS machines for a living, every little bit helps.
            • Turning off UAC on your own computer is one thing (I leave it on, turning it off is like running as root all day). Turning it off on a computer that isn't yours is horrible. You are opening them up to security issues by doing that. Instead you should keep it enabled and train the users what it means when you get a UAC dialog (hint: they shouldn't get any unless the install software). If they are really "clueless", train them to call you before clicking through one so you can make sure they aren't about

            • by argiedot (1035754)
              Is it just me who treats the C:/Users/Username/ subdirectory as a Home folder? What exactly about UAC is a problem? It does exactly what I would expect it to. When I'm messing with stuff outside my Home folder it warns me. When I'm installing software, it asks me for permission. Frankly, I think it's sound. The only thing that got on my nerves is that the bloody Java updater displays this little notification when it has found a new version, and you have to aim at the 'x' exactly or the bloody thing will pop
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drsmithy (35869)

          The only valid complaint you make, in my opinion, is obnoxious UAC prompts.

          Which is also pretty groundless, since generally speaking UAC prompts appear for the same reasons, and with similar frequency, as sudo prompts on Linux or Windows.

          And you can even turn them off, if you want to expose yourself to more risk.

          • Which is also pretty groundless, since generally speaking UAC prompts appear for the same reasons, and with similar frequency, as sudo prompts on Linux or Windows.

            I'd have to say the big difference 'tween a sudo prompt and UAC would be that any monkey or three-year-old can click an icon and then a button. Might take 'em a bit longer to get past my password.

            That's gotta be my biggest gripe with UAC: without the use of a password, it can't even secure a PC from a click-happy granny from out of town.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by drsmithy (35869)

              That's gotta be my biggest gripe with UAC: without the use of a password, it can't even secure a PC from a click-happy granny from out of town.

              Which is not what it's meant to do.

              If you really want to, you can configure UAC to prompt for a password (and even a username). In typical scenarios, however, it adds nothing.

        • by Retric (704075)
          Vista tends to swap memory to disk that's "stale" so it replaces stuff I want in memory with files that help programs load faster. This is stupid, I would like to quickly tab to something I opened 3 hours ago no reload it from disk. I don't care about programs I might at some point use I want the 5 programs I am using right now to all say in ram. I have a tun of ram I would like to be able to use it vs. swapping stuff out to free up memory I might want to load some other application.
          • Re:Oblig. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by benjymouse (756774) on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:46PM (#26206093)
            It would be stupid if it was correct. However, that is why Vista also has a unique memory priority feature. It is exactly to ensure that a process with lower priority memory requirements (such as the cache, readyboost, disk defrag, defender etc) does *not* page out normal priority memory. What's stupid is how some people are all prepared to make all kind of assumptions about Vista and then use those - often false - assumptions to knock it.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by nedlohs (1335013)

              That's not stupid as such, it's the standard human thought process for making decisions which is:

              1. Make a decision based on what you feel or what other people tell you to decide.
              2. Find evidence that supports your decision, ignore evidence that counters it.
              3. If there isn't much evidence make some up so you don't look stupid for making the wrong decision.

              Nothing to do with Vista, or Microsoft, just the usual method of thinking.

            • by Retric (704075)
              That might be how it was designed but that's not how it was implemented. Look I am a coder I can see what's in ram and on disk while using vista and it's broken.

              PS: It's not all about fast boot the OS wants to keep RAM free so you can quickly allocate memory without swapping which is a good idea, but if I open a 24 hour old tab it's not in memory even if I have 2GB of free ram. I think the bug has something with not loading back stuff that's been swapped out in favor of the ready boost crap.
            • In my experience, Vista keep caching long after you've gone to paging file. (Or did, its possible MS fixed this) Even if all it does is move the cache to the paging file, thats still a waste of resources, especially since disk I/O is a big bottleneck.

      • And lets see how well the SLI/Crossfire graphics cards run games while also being called by the desktop window manager and and explorer to redraw aero effects constantly.

        Explain to me how the Aero GUI becomes a load on the GPU when you are running Crysis full screen and with F/X cranked up to the max --- which is, after all, the reason why you lay out the big bucks for a high performance gaming system.

        How Do I ... tweak Vista indexing options for better performance [com.com] [Dec 15, 2008]
        The Great Vista/Mac Show [zdnet.com]

      • by gparent (1242548)
        Since you apparently know nothing about Vista, here's a few things you might want to know:

        -The extra memory that caches all the crap you never use is freed if it is required. Which means it's used only to speedup your computer, and you won't notice the microsecond it takes to free it.

        -The hard drive indexing can be turned off. Windows XP has a similar feature, this isn't new.

        -Redrawing aero effects doesn't happen when you're running a fullscreen game. If you launch Half-Life 2 for example, aero will id
        • by gparent (1242548)
          Oh and before you pull the "Vista fanboy" card, I use Windows XP, Gentoo and Ubuntu at home. I don't randomly insult stuff I know nothing about, though.
      • Indexing on Vista = goodthing.

        winkey + first [couple of] letter[s] of anything you're looking for and .. you're there.

        It's not about remembering, it's about speed.

      • by lactose99 (71132)
        And by the way, you're paying an assload of money for all of this too, including another crappy chassis.

        Actually the chassis looked to be one of the better pieces from what I read in the article. It does look a little rice-y but it fits standard ATX motherboards so future upgrades can continue to use it. It also has internal LED lighting so you don't need to fumble around with a flashlight when working inside the case (powered by 2-AA batteries so the chassis power can be disconnected, as it should be any

      • we choose to save anything outside of our home directory.

        Or you use external drives or have a home network with other systems holding documents, or are in a business environment where you have vast network shares of documents dating back decades.

        I have a couple external 500gb drives and a lot of network shares locally and remotely, and searching a few million documents in a couple of seconds is quite nice, especially when the servers or peer clients do the heavy lifting and you are just querying their searc

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Monday December 22, 2008 @04:57PM (#26205587)
    Hmm, this really doesn't make much sense. If you're going to spend that much money, the thing should have four graphics cards and its own nuclear powerplant. The one they reviewed, priced at 5099 dollars, only has one graphics card, so it gets whooped by a $1500 computer at Crysis.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Samah (729132)
      By "Crysis", I assume you mean that benchmarking software, as it sure as hell isn't a game. I'd *almost* rather play Spore, and that's saying something.
    • by Avatar8 (748465)
      I despise Dell on several levels, mostly because I've had to support their high-failure rate hardware for the last 10 years. Then there are cases like this where they offer the public what appears to be a high-end gaming system and sell it for an exorbitant amount of money.

      Here's a comparison. Here's a similar system at CyberPowerPC for $3600: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/Gamer_Infinity_SLI_KO/ [cyberpowerpc.com] Same CPU, same motherboard, but twice the memory, twice the video and nearly twice the HD space.

      For $4900

  • Since when did Dell become the de-facto gaming rig? Most gamers that want the machine at the top end of the performance curve will build their own with the top CPU and GPU of the day. And the few who will buy a prebuilt system would probably go with something like AlienWare.

    Next we'll see a story showing just how cheap laptops have become showing an Apple AirBook as the example. I'd give a car analogy, but there are just too many to choose from... and it's too easy to throw dirt at the American car compa
  • by larsoncc (461660) on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:05PM (#26205663) Homepage

    I think it's funny that we're using Crysis as a benchmark, rather than an object-lesson in "what not to do in game development."

    The only reason why Crysis is being chosen here is because it's notoriously difficult to get it running on any system maxed out. The article's graph notes that the test was run without adding in anti-aliasing, and it manages to barely squeak out a playable frame rate (on a 22" widescreen lcd resolution).

    Crysis looks good, sure, but so do most games at this point. It can scale down to run OK on lower machines, but again, so do most games at this point.

    Benchmarking aside, I think it's beyond ridiculous that anyone would buy a $4,500+ PC for home / game use. What could possibly justify that? I have a year old system (quad core, 8800GT) that can literally play every game on the market at max settings... at 1920x1600! Oh, I guess with the singular exception of Crysis, which I haven't bothered with.

    I wouldn't dream of spending that much cash on a game system. Think about it this way: You can buy this PC, -or- a used Audi. Or... a well-equipped gaming PC, a Sony XBR TV, a PS3, 360, AND Wii, and still have money left over for games.

    • Some people have [a lot of] disposable income and like to have new toys.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zordak (123132)
        Yes, but enough about Bill Gates. Some people have a lot of debt and like to have new toys.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by LandDolphin (1202876)
          I feel like your post make some sense, but I was warned not to rely on your post for any reason.
    • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Monday December 22, 2008 @05:16PM (#26205769) Homepage

      I think it's funny that we're using Crysis as a benchmark, rather than an object-lesson in "what not to do in game development."

      What are you talking about. Computer games have *always* been designed to have settings headroom so that they can take advantage of new hardware. Crysis is normal, not some wacky exception.

      I have a year old system (quad core, 8800GT) that can literally play every game on the market at max settings... at 1920x1600!

      That's bullshit. FarCry 2, for example, also wouldn't run on max on that rig. And that's good. It means that game graphics haven't stagnated. It means that games can look better, and all you need to do is upgrade to see them. Just like it's been for the past 15 years.

    • I actually like the approach that Crytek took. Sure, Crysis maxed out is hard to achieve (at the moment) but what is the alternative? A game that does less but can run on high or near-high settings on PC, PS3, Xbox2. A game that doesn't have nearly as many effects as Crysis. Crytek took the approach of pushing technology to its limits. And even then it's not all that hard to get Crysis to run on high settings. It would certainly not cost $4,500. Gimme more games like Crysis instead of game engines designed
    • That's the market and who are you to say?

      Dell is building this thing for gamers. Who else do you think the target market is?

      And not to be rude but if someone can afford to buy this rig and still have enough money to ride the bus who are you to question it? It's not like they're molesting children or kicking puppies.

      Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't pay a dollar for an extra frame a second out of any game that I play but at the same time I normally pay many times the normal going rate for a set of headphones
    • by lymond01 (314120)

      I think it's beyond ridiculous that anyone would buy a $4,500+ PC for home / game use.

      My dad, approaching 65 years young, purchased a Dell gaming rig recently for over $3K. He showed me the specs and I was surprised to find that I could have built a similar machine for at most half the price (sans warranty and support of course). But building a machine isn't hard, but it's got some nuances (power supply pins for one) and if you don't want to attempt it, you'll buy one pre-built. And who will you go to?

    • by Zeio (325157)

      Not only that, but this new hardware isn't sporting ECC. ECC single bit correction rates as indicated by Google and EETimes are much higher than you would expect. Ever have a memory read error, or a "BSOD" or panic you cant explain? I don't. All my rigs have ECC. Until one converts to a no-compromise on ECC stance, one never knows 2 things:

      Are my bits really safe? (both in memory and on disk)?
      Is my memory actually working ?

      Its tiresome to see that at the end of 2008 ECC isn't standard fare yet.

      EETIMES: Micr [eetimes.com]

  • What about the mobo? What is it?

    Supporting both CrossFire and SLI is interesting, most interesting is X58 chipset being Intel's ... and it gets SLI?

    Intel's chipsets are faster than Nvidias, partially thereof, Nvidia won't license Intel the SLI technology to make it work on their chipsets. On the other note then again, some Nvidia chipset (MOST OF THEM infact) refuse to work at all, or almost completely on them (Core Quad Extremes 9600-9770), even on the latest chipset.

    I'm running a Q9660 UNDERclocked to 2.4

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      What about the mobo? What is it?

      It's the MOtherBOard, which holds a computer's main components such as the processor and disk drives.

      But that's not important right now.

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