The Good It's as fast and as fully featured as systems that cost $500 to $1,500 more; new cooling hardware makes this system nearly silent; it's Dell's first system with an overclocked (and under warranty) CPU out of the box; black case looks bad (in the good way).
The Bad Limited memory bandwidth; no Blu-ray burner option.
The Bottom Line Thanks to its market muscle, Dell's XPS 710 H2C delivers state-of-the-art gaming power for significantly less than its boutique competition--and with (basically) identical performance. That fact and the near-silent operation granted by its brand-new cooling hardware make this desktop a CNET Editors' Choice winner.
Dell XPS 710 H2C Edition
Dell XPS 710 H2C
Editor's note: This review has been updated to correct information regarding Windows Vista and its support for 4GB of system memory. (1/24/07)
Thanks to dual-graphics-card technologies and the expensive, high-wattage power supplies required to run them, the average price tag of a best-of-the-best PC has ballooned to well over the $7,000 mark. That's why, despite running a still-ridiculous $5,759, the Dell XPS 710 H2C looks like a downright bargain. Dell remains tied to a slightly older motherboard chipset than its competitors, which limits the system's memory bandwidth and gives you a small downtick in performance. Our testing didn't show that to be a dramatic loss, though, and considering Dell's price advantage and its new cooling technology, the XPS 710 H2C is our Editors' Choice winner for high-end gaming PCs.
The main reason we're giving the XPS 710 H2C an Editors' Choice award is because of what you get for the price. For $5,759, you get an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad-core processor overclocked to 3.2GHz out of the box--a first for Dell. You also get 4GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, two 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX graphics cards, and 1TB of hard drive storage between two 10,000rpm 150GB drives and a single 750GB 7,200rpm unit. Virtually every boutique vendor would charge you at least $500 more for a similar configuration.
Dell XPS 710 H2C Edition: Faster than an actual rocket
Dell's latest XPS gaming rig is so quick it has to be cooled by the same technology they use in the Space Shuttle. Well, that's what they told us