Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK review: Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.3
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Strong performance for its price; impressive power efficiency; better deal than the same configuration on Dell's Web site.

The Bad All-black exterior in this retail model looks bland next to the multicolored models available directly from Dell; midtower design would benefit more from a better graphics card than wireless networking.

The Bottom Line The retail version of Dell's Studio XPS 8000 desktop might lack some of the charm of its direct-from-Dell counterpart, but its strong price-performance offering makes it easy to overlook the minor cosmetic deficiencies. That and its admirable power consumption make this system an impressive all-purpose midrange desktop.

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Editors' note: This review is part of our 2009 Retail Laptop and Desktop Holiday Roundup, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.

We've already reviewed a direct-order version of Dell's Studio XPS 8000, but we thought it would be worthwhile to also have a look at the fixed-configuration version available at retail locations. We came away impressed by the price-performance value of the $1,119 Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK, although we must say we like the online version's black-on-white exterior better than the all-black affair offered in stores. Cosmetic issues aside, we feel comfortable recommending this Dell as a day-to-day desktop for general productivity and mainstream PC gaming.

The retro-futuristic aesthetic of Dell's newer desktops has placed its PCs second only to Apple in terms of visual appeal. The rounded shapes of Dell's various cases have contributed, but the color variety that successfully mixed white, black, and, in some cases, red, has probably done more to separate Dell from the current glut of all-black Windows PCs. That's why we're a bit disappointed to find the retail version of the Studio XPS 8000 regress to all-black conformity. We get that the prickly demands of in-store retail allow for fewer risks, and the color scheme is not generally a primary consideration in how we judge a desktop. Still, reverting to monochromatic black in the retail version of the Studio XPS 8000 is a letdown.

  Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361-JBK Asus Essentio CG5290-BP007
Price $1,119 $1,199
CPU 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 860 2.67GHz Intel Core i7 920
Motherboard chipset Intel P55 Express Intel X58
Memory 8GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM 9GB 1,066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics 1,024MB Nvidia GeForce GTS 240 896MB Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 (216 core)
Hard drives 1TB, 7,200rpm 1TB 7,200 rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless Gigibit Ethernet
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

Fortunately, there's more to this Dell than just looks. The combination of Intel's new Core i7 860 CPU and plenty of RAM makes this PC a versatile performer, and competitive among other desktops in its price range. The Asus system above represented the higher end of the retail spectrum for the back-to-school season, and aside from the Dell's wireless card and the Asus' higher-end graphics card, the two are roughly the same as far as features. Dell wins on price, though, and also on performance, as you'll see below. We should also add that if you were to configure this same Studio XPS 8000 on Dell's Web site, you'd pay $1,308 as of this writing.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK
110 
Velocity Micro Edge Z30
111 
Dell Studio XPS 8000
116 
Asus Essentio CG5290-BP007
126 

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK
388 

Cinebench
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Falcon Northwest Talon
20,005 
5,182 
Velocity Micro Edge Z30
18,796 
4,553 
Asus Essentio CG5290-BP007
16,229 
4,066 
Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK
16,202 
4,546 
Dell Studio XPS 8000
13,962 
4,258 

Outpacing or tying the more expensive Asus on every benchmark is an impressive enough feat for the Dell, but we're also surprised to see it run on par with a $1,350 overclocked midrange gaming box from Velocity Micro on our iTunes test. Short of professional-level processor-intensive tasks, we expect this Dell will have few performance issues in your day-to-day computing.

Unreal Tournament 3 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920 x 1,200 (4x aa)  
1,280 x 1,024 (4x aa)  
Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK
109 
159 

Far Cry 2 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920x1,200 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  
1,440 x 900 (DirectX 10, 4x aa, very high)  
Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK
39 
52 

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Where to Buy

Dell Studio XPS 8000-2361JBK

Part Number: SX8000-2361 Released: Oct. 1, 2009

MSRP: $1,119.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct. 1, 2009
  • Color Black
About The Author

Rich Brown is an executive editor for CNET Reviews. He has worked as a technology journalist since 1994.