Features and Price

Prices on the XPS 410 start at around $800 (not including a monitor) and go up to over $5000 once you add in a 24" monitor, high-quality speakers, printers, etc. There are numerous ways that you can choose to configure your system, focusing on increasing storage capacity, faster or slower graphics, more memory, and various other options. Here are the specifications of the XPS 410 we received for review:

Dell XPS 410 Specifications
Case: Dell custom BTX case with 375W PSU
Motherboard: Dell P965 BTX motherboard
Processor: Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.40 GHz 4MB shared L2 cache)
Heatsink/Cooling: Custom BTX CPU HSF with 120mm fan
80mm bottom fan near HDDs
RAM: 2x1024MB Nanya PC-5300 5-5-5-15
4x1GB Max supported RAM

Note: A 32-bit OS will only show 3GB; a 64-bit OS is required to properly address the full 4GB.
Graphics: Dell GeForce 7900 GTX (extra long PCB)
Hard Drives: 2x320GB Western Digital 16MB 7200 RPM
Optical Drives: Toshiba TS-H553 16X DVD+RW SATA
Philips 16X DVD-ROM SATA
Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe X16
1 x PCIe X4
1 x PCIe X1
3 x PCI
Expansion Bays: 2 x 3.5" internal bays
2 x 3.5" external
2 x 5.25" external
Audio: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic
TV Tuner: Lumanate Angel II MPEG Dual-TV Tuner
Power Suply: Dell 375W
1 x 24-pin ATX; 1 x ATX12V
1 x 4-pin mini Molex
6 x SATA
Operating System: Windows Media Center Edition 2005 SP2
Front Ports: 2 X USB2.0
2 X 3.5mm Audio (Headphone and Microphone)
1 x 6-pin Firewire (optional - requires expansion card)
Rear Ports: 1 x Audio I/O Panel (six jacks)
1 x Optical S/PDIF Out Port
1 x RJ45 GbE
6 x USB2.0
2 x 6-pin Firewire (via optional expansion card)
Speakers: 2.1 Dell (no longer an option)
Monitor: Dell 24" 2407WFP Widescreen LCD Monitor

Unlike many other prebuilt systems, the Dell XPS 410 features a P965-based motherboard that is a Dell design. It is undoubtedly manufactured by one of the tier 1 motherboard companies, but it is definitely an original design and layout and not a toned down version of one of the public products. Depending on your perspective, this can be good or bad. For Dell, it means they can strip out all of the stuff that they don't want you to have, like overclocking features and advanced BIOS options. (Overclocking is supported on the Dell XPS 700, we understand, but not on other models.) For the computer enthusiasts, such omissions would be the death knell, but most other people will be more than happy with what they receive.

As we like to do with our system reviews, we priced out a similar home built system for reference to see how Dell's assembly and test costs compare to a DIY setup. Some areas are not directly comparable, but we're looking at ballpark estimates.

Comparative Price List
Case: INWIN IW-BC583.Q460L Micro-BTX Mini-Tower with 460W PSU 74
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (Note: Not a BTX board!) 144
Processor: Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.40 GHz 4MB shared L2 cache) 332
Heatsink/Cooling: Stock Intel CPU HSF 0
RAM: Mushkin PC-5300 2x1024MB HP2-5300 200
Graphics: eVGA GeForce 7900GTX 512MB RoHS HDCP 400
Hard Drives: 2x320GB Western Digital 16MB 7200 RPM 196
Optical Drive: Plextor PX-716SA/SW SATA
LiteOn SHD-16S1S-05 SATA
122
Audio: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 128
TV Tuner: Dual-TV Tuner (Estimated Cost) 125
Speakers: Generic 2.1 Speakers 20
Monitor: Dell 24" 2407WFP Widescreen LCD Monitor 800
Keyboard: Microsoft PS/2 Multimedia Keyboard + Mouse 31
Operating System: Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2B 115
Sub Total: 2687

We were given a higher-end configuration that costs about $2900 with the standard 1-year warranty. The base model comes with a Radeon X1300 Pro 256MB, and the upgrade to a GeForce 7900 GS costs another $150. That's a reasonable price, and the 7900 GS is probably the best balance of price and performance. The top-end GPU offered is the GeForce 7900 GTX, which is priced at $500 over the X1300 Pro, or $350 more than the 7900 GS. If you have Dell install a GTX, you'll be paying full MSRP for the product, and that's assuming the X1300 base offering is "free". The 7900 GTX that Dell includes is slightly different from your garden-variety GTX card, however, as it includes an extension at the end of the PCB that helps hold the card in place.

Click to enlarge

Given that you can find GTX cards for closer to $400, that's more than we would recommend paying, and in fact a much better use of nearly $500 would be to opt for a 7950 GX2. Dell has confirmed that the XPS 410 properly supports the GX2, and it should become available as a purchase option in the near future. Some might be concerned that the 375W PSU may prove insufficient for driving a GX2. NVIDIA recommends 425-450W for the GX2, but depending on PSU quality you may be able to get by with less. Our power draw results indicate that there should be more than enough power available for a GX2, as previous testing has shown that a GX2 card doesn't consume substantially more power than a 7900 GTX due to the difference in clock speeds.

Moving on to the CPU, we don't have the base cost Dell uses for the E6300 as that's included in the total price of the system, but the upgrade prices to the other Core 2 Duo processors are all competitive with market prices, with the exception of the top-end E6700. Dell charges $250 more than the E6600 for that upgrade compared to a market price difference of $200, so the E6600 is definitely a better value than the E6700. E6400 is probably the best balance of price and performance if you're willing to go with a smaller L2 cache and lower clock speed, but keep in mind that there are no options to overclock for better performance with Dell.

All of the prices Dell charges in their engine tend to be slightly higher than what you would pay online, but taking into account you're getting a decent preassembled PC and improved support and service, the total cost of around $200 in order to assemble and test the system isn't bad. It's not great either, considering many of the configuration choices are limited. If you're after enthusiast-level performance from Dell, you will need to move up to the XPS 700. For roughly equivalent components, that adds about $400, but you do get SLI support, overclocking support, a larger/better PSU, and a vastly different case design.

Click to enlarge

We have a few other gripes with the component selection and overall system design. First, expansion options are somewhat limited. While you do get three usable PCI slots, the X1 PCI-E slot can be blocked if you opt for the highest end GPUs. That leaves you with the single X4 PCI-E slot just below the GPU, which might be a tight fit for any expansion cards destined for the X4 slot. FireWire should be pretty much standard on a system of this level, and while Dell does provide the option it comes via a $30 PCI expansion card upgrade, which uses up one of the PCI slots. Higher-quality audio consumes another PCI slot, and a TV tuner uses up the last slot. If you need a modem, you'll have to give up one of the above three devices as there are simply no more PCI slots available. As we will see in a moment, Dell seems to have limited expansion options in favor of the chassis design, which is a reasonable decision.

There are still other concerns. You can't for example select DDR2-800 memory, which would improve performance a bit. Some OEMs seem to feel high-end RAM is "less stable", which is one reasong they often omit such offerings; however, our testing has not shown this to be the case as BIOS support is usually the key for memory compatibility. Using cheaper/slower RAM is a compromise most large OEMs prefer, but it seems out of place on an XPS system. The motherboard is supposed to support DDR2-800 RAM, so it would be nice to see DDR2-800 added as an upgrade option to the online configurator. You will still only get conservative timings, however, regardless of which type of RAM you use.

Click to enlarge

If there's one overwhelming bright spot with the XPS 410 configuration, it would have to be the 24" 2407WFP LCD monitor. Simply put, the display is beautiful and works great, although in some areas we still prefer the older 2405FPW. We'll discuss the display more in a separate review. However, the LCD can easily be purchased from Dell separately, and at times (Dell LCD special offers occur frequently) it is actually cheaper to do so. You can currently purchase the 2407WFP for $799 from Dell, while it is an $810 upgrade over no monitor for the XPS 410.

Click to enlarge

Besides everything else, you of course get the standard Dell keyboard and mouse, along with a nice XPS mousepad. We also received a set of 2.1 speakers, though these are no longer listed in the configurator and you will need to go with either 5.1 speakers, cheap monitor speakers, or just leave the speakers out and buy something on your own. The keyboard and mouse are both USB devices, and the keyboard has two USB ports on the back and can serve as a mini USB hub.

If we've given the impression that the XPS 410 is a bad computer, it's not; we merely feel that it is not perfect and that the price/performance offered is more expensive than some people will be willing to pay. There are other good points about the system design, which we will cover throughout the rest of this review. The bottom line is that the price is okay, but don't expect to walk away with an amazing bargain. A large portion of the price goes towards providing improved customer service, however, and we will provide an evaluation of the XPS support shortly.

Index Externals and Appearance
POST A COMMENT

50 Comments

View All Comments

  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now