Dell Studio XPS-122B review: Dell Studio XPS-122B

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.8
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Fast quad-core CPU performance; strong price-to-performance ratio.

The Bad Limited upgradeability; competing systems offer better 3D performance.

The Bottom Line Even though Dell's Studio XPS-122B has the latest Intel CPU, its sparse configuration feels like a throwback. This is not to say it's slow or lacking in features, but you'll find this system has relatively few aspirations aside from serving as a standard desktop. We recommend it to anyone in need of raw computing power for an affordable price.

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Dell's fixed-configuration Studio XPS-122B is essentially a showcase for Intel's relatively new Core i7 desktop processors. This $999 Dell provides all of the features we expect to find at this price, as well as very aggressive multitasking and multithreaded application performance. The Studio XPS-122B has few frills, but anyone looking for raw computing power will be more than satisfied with this off-the-shelf Dell.

Like other tower desktops we've reviewed lately, the Studio XPS's case is serviceable and attractive enough. You might not show it off for its looks, but the glossy black plastic exterior won't detract from your decor, either. The front panel has the standard pair of optical drive bays (one empty, one with a DVD burner). Underneath them, a small door slides down to reveal the media card reader, audio ports, a FireWire input, and four USB ports.

  Dell Studio XPS-122B Velocity Micro Edge Z5
Price $999 $999
CPU 2.67GHz Intel Core i7 920 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
Memory 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Graphics 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850
Hard drives 640GB, 7,200rpm 750GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

We could have matched the Dell directly against several other desktops in this price range, but we've chosen the custom-built Velocity Micro Edge Z5 because of the exact price match. Dell's plastic exterior looks a little cheap compared with the Edge Z5's all-metal case, and the Velocity Micro system also has a beefier 550-watt power supply-- the Dell only has a 350-watt supply. That means you could reasonably put a higher-end 3D card in the Velocity Micro system if you decide to upgrade down the road. The Studio XPS-122B will likely limit you to midrange 3D cards and lower.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Studio XPS-122B
86 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Dell Studio XPS-122B
15,920 
3,914 
Gateway FX6800-01e
14,380 
3,472 
Velocity Micro Edge Z5
12,931 
3,591 
HP Pavilion Elite m9515y
9,866 
2,550 
Apple iMac (20-inch)
5,864 
2,997 

Velocity Micro has the clear edge in its case and its future-mindedness, but the performance picture is less clear. The two systems are virtually tied on our Photoshop test, but they trade wins across the rest of our benchmarks. Velocity Micro pulls ahead on our iTunes test, likely because of its faster core CPU speed. However, the Dell is a better multitasker, rivaling even the 20-inch iMac, a multitasking champ in its own right. The Dell's Core i7 chip also helps it speed ahead on our Cinebench test. Thus, if you frequently use more than one program at a time, or if you use an application you know will use multiple CPU cores, the Dell ends up being best option out of several PCs in its price range.

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Where to Buy

Dell Studio XPS-122B

Part Number: SXPS-122B

MSRP: $999.00

See manufacturer website for availability.