capsule review

Dell XPS 710

At a Glance
  • Dell XPS 710

    PCWorld Rating

    This large, quiet PC provides plenty of performance and expandability for the gamer who has the budget for it.

The Dell XPS 710 is a powerful system. With Intel's quad-core Core 2 Extreme QX6700 processor and 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM, the system earned a score of 151 on our WorldBench 5 benchmark--a strong result, but below the marks achieved by the quad-core CyberPower Gamer Infinity 1950 and the Alienware Area-51 7500, and significantly lower than the cscores posted by some Core 2 Duo systems we've seen.

The XPS 710 ($4174 as of December 6, 2006) has the visual oomph to satisfy heavy graphics users and gamers alike. Our test system came equipped with an nVidia 7950 GX2 graphics card, which combines two GPUs. The XPS 710 managed a frame rate of 177 frames per second in Doom 3 at 1280 by 1024 resolution, significantly better than the other quad-core systems we've seen. The futuristic styling of the XPS 710's large, aluminum case is both attractive and practical. The large grilles on the front and the rear offer plenty of ventilation. And thanks to the large fans located inside the spacious case, air can quietly pass through the system to cool it. Even when the system was working hard, its noise level didn't rise above a whisper.

The forward-sloping case design permits easy access to the cables at the back when the system is under a desk. The front and rear LED lights illuminate the USB 2.0 ports at the rear and the drive bays on the front of the system--a nice touch if you like to play games in the dark and need to swap CDs or peripherals.

The spacious case has room to hold four hard drives (our review system came with two 320GB hard drives in a striped RAID array for a total of 640GB of storage) and four externally accessible drive bays. To make adding hard drives easier, Dell ships the system with the necessary SATA and power cables to add a third and a fourth hard drive. The unit has plenty of room for additional expansion cards, too, with four unoccupied PCI slots: one PCI Express x16, one PCI Express x1, and two regular PCI.

You don't need a screwdriver to install drives or expansion cards: Latches that you can open by hand hold all cards and drives firmly in place. Unfortunately, the memory card reader slots are situated low, in such a way that the cover that slides over the slots impedes access to the slots. Also, we had to use a significant amount of force to get the 2.5mm-thick aluminum side panel loose.

The bundled 20-inch Dell 2007WFP wide-screen display produced attractive, bright, and sharp images, and smooth motion when playing back a movie DVD, though it did need some tweaking to produce optimum image quality. But if you're spending over $4000 on the system anyway, you may want to invest $380 more to get the 24-inch 2407FPW.

Richard Baguley

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This large, quiet PC provides plenty of performance and expandability for the gamer who has the budget for it.

    Pros

    • Chassis has robust design
    • Plenty of expansion room

    Cons

    • Side panel is hard to remove
Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.