Introduction

Our latest system review comes from a company that needs no introduction. Dell sent us their XPS 410 desktop system for review, and we are interested to see how a PC designed by the largest system integrator compares to the other offerings on the market. Being number one also makes you the biggest target, both for competitors as well as critics; people love to hate the top dogs. Sometimes those feelings are warranted, other times they stem from jealousy or other sources. We're here to put feelings aside and take a hard look at what Dell has on offer.

We've already reviewed a couple Core 2 Duo prebuilt systems from ABS computers and PC Club. It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that regardless of what we say in this review, Dell will probably sell more XPS 410 systems in the next month than either of those two companies will sell in a year. In fact, many of the people looking to buy XPS systems will likely never see this review. However, while we cater primarily to the enthusiast community, many enthusiasts have friends and family that need computer systems, and they don't always have sufficient time to build and support systems for those people. That's where prebuilt systems from OEMs like Dell come into play.

We certainly don't expect Dell to set any new performance records relative to other computer configurations we have reviewed, but overall performance is often secondary to other considerations. What sort of support is offered, how easy is it to assemble your system when it arrives, are there any serious problems people should be aware of, and what is the overall value of the package? These are just a few of the questions that are important to consider when looking to purchase a computer for friend or family member. We will provide answers to these questions and others, and we will also test the performance of the Dell XPS 410 in our review.

The configuration that Dell sent us is similar in some ways to the PC Club Enpower Sabre Extreme, and it represents a higher-end configuration that attempts to fulfill the requirements of a large variety of users. Most people have come to associate the XPS brand with "Extreme Performance" that often targets the gaming crowd. While that market is certainly covered with the current offerings, the XPS brand has grown to encompass a larger market segment. Dell's focus with XPS brand computers now is on premium service and quality, with designs that often stand out from the rest of Dell's offerings in appearance and features. Depending on options, XPS systems can range from moderate midrange configurations all the way up to ultra high-end builds that include every top-end part currently available.

The XPS 410 is a step down from the XPS 700 in that it doesn't allow you to use dual graphics cards or the Core 2 Extreme processor, and the chassis is more of a traditional design. The 410 is billed as offering a multimedia experience first and foremost, with configuration options that match that market. For those that don't need absolute maximum performance, it looks set to offer just about anything you could want in a modern system. Let's take a closer look.

Features and Price
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  • OptimisTech - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    Anyone know how this differs from the Dimension 9200 in the Small Business division? It seems like the 9200 can be a little cheaper, but they seem identical. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    The XPS 410 and the Dimension 9200 are the same basic system. The XPS simply comes with higher default components as well as some extra options in a few areas, while the 9200 has some lower end options that help to cut costs (i.e., by default it only ships with one DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive and an 80 GB hard drive, and DDR2-667 memory isn't listed as an upgrade). Also note that you do not get a higher level of technical support with the Dell dimension 9200 I think (though that might be wrong, as the 9200 is a business setup). Reply
  • Kougar - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    quote:

    We'll discuss the display more in a separate review.


    Definitely looking forward to it! 15" viewable is just not cutting it for me anymore...

    If I may ask, what other monitors might be in the article featuring the 2407WFP review or others? I have seen a review of the relatively hard to find 24" BenQ FP241W, which outscored the 2407WFP, but as I know nothing of the site I'd very much like to see one of Anandtech's solid reviews comparing it to the Dell model. Just another suggestion, anyway... ;)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    Honestly, a large part of LCD purchase decisions is going to come down to price, especially on 23/24" models. While a display may be twice as accurate, for everything but professional use that probably won't matter much. I've got both the old and new Dell 24" models (I bought the 2405FPW last year), a 23" Philips, as well as a few smaller, less-expensive displays in the 19-22" range. If the price is equal or close, get the better quality display of course, but there is very little to complain about with Dell's 24" LCDs in my experience. Reply
  • Kougar - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    Thank you for your reply!

    I didn't want to make a huge post, but a few things I probably should of pointed out that confuse the issue is that The BenQ is supposed to be cheaper, although at the moment it's about a little more in US dollars. In pounds it's a good deal cheaper though according to their review, which is partly why they scored it so well. But it's still pretty rare/new, so I figure prices will still be setlling on it.

    According to Trusted Reviews it's £549.99 without VAT, much below the Dell which they say is £702.00 without VAT. And also according to them better quality, enough for a perfect score across the board. Naturally TrustedReviews didn't score the 2407WFP half as well, so I'm trying to figure out which is indeed better for gaming purposes in response timings and such. ;)

    What you've said pretty much sums up what I've read about the Dell 2407WFP, which is mostly why I find their ratings of that BenQ and it's purported price to be so hard to believe!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    I do have one BenQ LCD, but it's only a 19" model. I feel BenQ is a little cheaper on build quality, and I did have a 20" model for a bit that started emiting a high-pitched squeal at times. I haven't done the specific tests on the 19" model yet, but most 23/24" LCDs are very similar, as there aren't that many panel manufacturers. I'd be surprised if the BenQ is substantially better, but if you can find it for less money it's certainly worth considering. I'm trying to get a 24" Acer for review as well, as it's priced about $100 lower than the Dell 2407WFP. Reply
  • Kougar - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    Yipe, those things can squeal? I would not feel comfortable sitting infront of any monitor that squealed!

    Thank you again, I do aprpeciate your opinion and experiences with both company's line of displays.

    And good luck getting that Acer, I'll add that one to my list! I'm planning on getting some kind of 22-24" widescreen display during the prime time sales season, but it really helps to have a good idea of what's out there already. Thanks again!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - link

    It's usually a transistor or capacitor or something that causes the noise. A lot of motherboards do it as well in my experience, but the pitch and volume of the noise from this particular LCD was louder than most others that I've encountered. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    Top of page 5 reads "One final at them to talk about is the included TV tuner"

    "At them" should = "item"

    I couldn't figure out how you would have mistyped that, but then I remembered that speech-recognition software review you did. Looks like that still isn't a perfected system :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 18, 2006 - link

    I do have to be very thorough about proofreading my articles, but after being up all night finishing up this review I missed that one. When I go through and do the final read before posting an article, I often encounter several spots for a look at the words and think, "what on earth did I say to get Dragon NaturallySpeaking to write that!?"

    Anyway, thanks for the correction. Hopefully that's the last one. :-)
    Reply

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