Dell Reveals Ivy Bridge for XPS and Vostro Desktops, Inspiron Laptopsby Jarred Walton on May 2, 2012 7:15 PM EST
In the continuing deluge of Intel 3rd Generation Core i-Series product announcements, Dell has released details on their XPS and Vostro desktops, along with their Inspiron laptops. For now, we have one product each for the Vostro and XPS desktop lines, with two Inspiron Special Edition (“R”) laptops. We’ll start with the desktops.
Dell XPS 8500
At the top of their product stack, the XPS brand continues to be a high performance “do everything” desktop. CPU support for the XPS 8500 currently consists of the Core i5-3450 (4x3.1-3.5GHz, no Hyper-Threading, 6MB L3, 22nm, 77W) or the Core i7-3770 (4x3.4-3.9GHz, Hyper-Threading, 8MB, 22nm, 77W). Graphics options are not quite so high-end as the i7-3770, however, consisting of just the Radeon HD 7570 1GB at the low end or the Radeon HD 7770 2GB at the high end. Note that the fully configurable models apparently aren’t available yet, and the press release also lists the GeForce GT 620 1GB and Radeon HD 7870 2GB as (presumably future) GPU options. The XPS 8500 supports up to 16GB DDR3-1600, with 8GB standard on the base model.
Storage options are likewise somewhat limited right now, with either 1TB or 2TB drives in the pre-configured models and little option to change them. The $1300 model also includes a 32GB mSATA SSD caching drive, which appears one of the only major upgrades over the $1300 model The PR blast also mentions up to 3TB hard drives as an option we’ll see at some point. The $750, $900, and $1300 models come with a DVDRW drive while the $1150 configuration includes a Blu-ray/DVDRW combo drive.
All models ship with a standardized 460W power supply (no mention is made of 80 Plus certification, though we’d hope Dell uses at least a Bronze PSU for an XPS brand PC), 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 4x USB 3.0 (two at the front) and 6x USB 2.0 (two on the top), and a media card reader. The mATX motherboard uses the H77 chipset and the chassis is a mini-tower available in white or black, with white only coming on the $1300 model. Overall, the systems look fairly nice and I’ve used XPS desktops in the past and been pleased with the overall experience. Still, there’s definitely a price premium with the XPS systems, as the chassis consists of higher quality materials. If we attempt to match the components of the $900 model, at Newegg we ended up at a total price of around $950, but that includes a substantially more potent Radeon HD 7750, as the HD 7570 is an OEM-only product right now. Overall, then, if you’re after a fast CPU with an anemic GPU in a higher quality chassis, the XPS 8500 looks like a reasonable option.
Dell Vostro 470
The Vostro 470 is focused more on the small business market, with appropriate components for the most part. The CPU options are the same i5-3450 and i7-3770 as the XPS 8500; meanwhile the graphics options consist of Intel’s integrated HD 4000 (which should be more than sufficient for most business users), GeForce GT 620 as a slight upgrade, or the Radeon HD 7570 as the highest-end option—so nothing really gamer-centric, not surprisingly, though that also means GPU-accelerated applications like Adobe’s CS5/CS6 suite also won’t benefit as much.
Memory and storage options take a hit as well, not surprisingly. RAM configurations include 4/6/8GB, with 12GB as an upgrade on the top-end SKU (oddly, 16GB is missing even though the system should support it). Hard drive sizes consist of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, and all of the systems are DVDRW only. SSD configurations will apparently be available in the future. All of the configurations use a 460W PSU—or a 350W PSU; it’s not clear as the press release lists 350W while the web site lists 460W. Again, there’s no indication if it’s an 80 Plus certified PSU or not. Other features include 4x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, flash memory, and 7.1 audio support. The base unit ships for $550, with the i7-3770 model doubling the memory and storage and going for $950.
Dell Inspiron 14R and 15R
Wrapping things up, we don’t have many details on the Inspiron 14R and 15R. The press release states, “The Inspiron 14R Special Edition and 15R Special Edition laptops offering up to Intel’s 3rd generation quad-core processors are available today in select countries in Asia and will be available in more regions in the coming weeks. An expanded Inspiron line-up will be unveiled later this spring in time for the back-to-school shopping season.” Other than the fact that the 14R/15R will support Ivy Bridge processors, all we know for sure is that they also support SSD caching with mSATA drives (on select models, I’m sure). For pricing and US/Europe availability, we’ll simply have to wait until “later this spring.”