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CNET First Look
Dell Studio Xps 7100Dell configured the all-AMD Studio XPS 7100 squarely at gamers, throwing in a powerful 3D card to offset the slow six-core AMD CPU. The result is a fast gaming PC with well-rounded features for an affordable price thanks to a two-month-long special offer....
>>Hi, I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today we're going to take a look at the Dell Studio XPS 7100. So, this is a midrange performance PC and this particular config has a fixed price, it's $1,149 at least until the end of July and for that price you get an excellent deal in a midtower gaming system. It comes with a Blu-ray drive, wireless networking, a six-core AMD chip as well as a very fast Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. It's not quite a fast as some other PCs in its price range in terms of application performance but for gaming it's one of the best deals we've seen all year and Dell makes the distinction with this system from its other Intel-based Studio XPS models with the dark gray front panel. Now, in the front you get a media card reader up top. There's a Blu-ray drive here. This door slides down and you get a couple of USB jacks and up top here you get a little device tray with a couple of USB ports and analog audio inputs as well. You can see the graphics card has got two DVI video outputs as well as HDMI and display port. Because it's a Radeon card you can do up to three displays at one time off of this single card. There are also a couple of wireless antenna jacks here for wireless networking and on the motherboard you've got digital audio output, eSATA port, a couple of USBs, Ethernet as well as a 7.1 analog audio jacks. Now, missing are Firewire as well as USB 3.0 which is sort of a newer faster data input that we expect will become common probably by the end of the year maybe into next year. So, it's not crucial that it's not on the system. There aren't that many devices out there that support USB 3.0 and Firewire is actually getting a little long in the tooth. Still, we've seen other desktops that offer the whole gamut of inputs so there might be a few other inputs that you could add. For the most part, Dell has covered its basis. So, it's a little crowded inside the XPS 7100. There's a dual slot graphics card right here; it's the Radeon 5870 and you can see Dell has a nice thick bracket to keep the card in place in shipping. That's a nice touch but it also sort of blocks this extra hard drive bay. So, Dell has expanded its typical design and added a second drive slot here behind the hard drive you see right here. That's great, we're glad that you can add a second drive. We would still probably prefer if Dell would face the drives outwards or like we've seen in some newer PCs through the front. [Inaudible] drives in through the front of the case; makes hot swapping, upgrading and changing drives really simple and we're hoping that becomes a standard as well. And there's a six-core CPU here from AMD and for expansion slots there's the graphics card, wireless card and then there's one standard PCI slot down here in the bottom. That's it, there's no second graphics card slot. Really, room for upgrading is pretty limited. You can see the memory slots are all taken as well. So, if you want an upgrade foundation, this might not be the config for you. That said, it's still a pretty great deal considering you get Blu-ray, wireless as well as a super fast 3D card for under $1,200. So, Dell says the price for this configuration will stay until the end of July. At that price and with this specific feature set, this is an outstanding system. If the price changes, you might want to do some more comparison to see how it stacks up to other PCS in the market but for now, for any gamer looking for a midrange performance PC, we absolutely recommend the system. So, I'm Rich Brown and this is the Dell Studio XPS 7100.