Dell Dimension XPS: XPS Chassis

Dell's XPS chassis is a heavy-duty mid-tower finished predominately in blue with dark gray sides. The large 460-watt power supply is located at the bottom of the chassis with 2 small fans exhausting hot air to the rear from the power supply.

The floppy and 3 external drives bays are concealed behind a door. The door design is very clever and is hinged so that it can be stored conveniently on the side of the machine if you prefer constant access to the optical and floppy drives. Our test machine had both the latest 8X DVD+RW and a high-speed 48X CD-RW in black to match the system accessories.

Inside a front slide-open door are the front jacks, which include 2 USB, firewire, and headphone jacks.

While the chassis is blue, Dell's theme on the peripherals is black or black with silver trim. This is carried though to the keyboard with volume control. A Logitech Optical scroll mouse, also a matching silver and black, was included with the test system.

I doubt anyone could complain about the ports on the Dimension XPS rear panel. You get 6 more USB 2.0 jacks, the full complement of Audigy 2 audio I/O, digital and analog outputs on the ATI 9800 XT, 2 modem ports for those still using dial-up for the Internet, LAN port, parallel, 2 serial, and PS2 mouse/keyboard ports. There is not an old-style game port, but if you are buying a new gaming system, you are likely buying new USB game controllers as well. Through the slotted grill, you can see two large fans that exhaust hot air from the heat-duct that contains the CPU.

Getting into the Dell XPS case is as simple as pushing a large catch at the back of the left side. The entire left side and front of the chassis swings out to give you complete access to the motherboard, slots, and drive bays. This is certainly one of the slickest designs that we have seen in a case from any manufacturer.

With the case open, you get a good view of the green cooling duct that covers the 3.2GHz CPU in our test machine. Hot air from the CPU is directed to the rear of the chassis by this duct and exhausted by two large fans. Most people who buy a gaming system really aren't particularly concerned about noise, which is why we did not measure Sound Levels in our evaluation. However, with all the fans that are active in the XPS, we found it to be a very quiet computer. We doubt that noise from the computer will be an irritation for XPS users.

Index Dell Dimension XPS: XPS Motherboard


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  • Wesley Fink - Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - link

    Flash is used for charts in all AnandTech reviews because it uses less bandwidth than any other option. On a site with very heavy traffic like AnandTech, bandwidth is very important. As Editors, we do not have the option to use other charting methods.

    If you still have an issue with Flash after hearing the explanation, you should send your complaints to
  • mindless1 - Saturday, November 22, 2003 - link

    I would tend to agree that this is a DELL high-end box, and the review best served to acquaint readers with Dell's current offerings, even though most of us do not want to be stuck with $3K worth of unconfigurable equipment that's so proprietary that it'll certainly cost more in the long run due to upgrade hassles.

    On the other hand, the review used flash images, which is clearly stupid. I'm opposed to flash to begin with, but could understand it IF you needed an animation for some reason, but it wasn't a case of that. Seems more like some people think they know better than the entire world or else have never heard of JPG and GIF.
  • sador - Thursday, November 20, 2003 - link

    MY biggest complaint with this article is that it gives the impression that there are no other "pre-assembled" gaming rigs out there for the money that can compete with it. What a joke! There was a dearth of competitive "pre-builts" in tha article to give a real apples-to-apples comparison. (At least as far as $$$ is concerned)

    Alienware, like it or not, had pre-config'd systems that will torch this one for less money! Calling this a high-end gaming rig is an insult to qaulity gaming rigs everywhere.

    This article did come across as "pandering" a bit to Dell. Whether that was to keep the Dell goods coming, or was sincerely to give this system a fair shake is for every reader to decide for themselves.
  • madgonad - Thursday, November 20, 2003 - link

    to #34 - I don't know how long that coupon is going to last. Since it appears to be part of the Anandtech endorsement package I would guess about 10 days.
    As you noticed in the benchmarks the Dell was beaten about the head and shoulders by systems far far less the expensive. The excuse was given that the Audigy2 card was to blame since it could not be deactivated. It wasn't mentioned that almost every other system being compared also had an Audigy2 card, making the issue moot.
    As to the reason most people have given, tech support, please do not trust anything important to Dell's tech support people. They will tell you to restore the reg or reinstall the OS. After that you get to hunt for the original box in basement to RMA it back to Dell. The onsite people will do the same.
    The straight poop is that if you come here you are not the type of consumer to buy the generic-corporate-america product which just gets by. You want a stand-out product that you have control over.
    Or put simply. If your shopping for a fast car, do you get a manual or automatic transmission?
  • cdrsft - Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - link

    Can you spell.... SELL OUT

    way to go AT
  • jc1x - Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - link

    I just did a quick browse to figure out how much it'ld have cost to setup the same system if I were to buy the components..

    300 MB + Case + PS
    500 2x HD w/ SATA
    400 P4 3.2 CPU
    200 1GB DDR 400 RAM
    460 VID - RADEON 9800XT
    270 Logitech Z680
    175 8x DVD+R/+RW
    65 AUDIGY 2
    50 XP Home
    990 16ms 20.1 in LCD

    3410 in parts vs 3049* assembled.. (diff $361)

    * 3049 = 3299 - 150 (rebate) - 100 off coupon

    So, on balance, it's a good deal on price.. performance wise, well, if you want to tweak, buy a new MB for 250 and you'ld still be below component costs.. not to mention shipping costs and the hassle of multiple support locations.
  • BlackShrike - Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - link

    Does anybody else think these comments are ridiculous? The proposed system is only good if you want tech support, a dell, or a very nice LCD. Otherwise, build your own computer. For $3300 I swear you could get the fastest and greatest cpu/motherboard combo of an AMD-51. Then 1 Gb of registered DDR 400. A sound blaster audigy 2. A beautiful surround sound system. A great 19 or 21 inch CRT (I don't like LCDs personnal preference). Then a radeon 9800 XT. A wireless mouse and keyboard. A DVD +/- RW etc and so forth. Hell all these are probably so far under $2500, plus you get the satisfaction of building it, which is quite enjoyable. Oh and why not a nice see through case with lights and cool fans. Basically, I'm saying if you want the best, BUILD IT YOURSELF! If you are lazy then quit bitching or get a Voodo/falcon northwest and lose all the flashy stuff and still pay over $4000. So good job at the review anandtech but I would NEVER buy a dell. AMD IS THE WAY TO BE! Plus all that proprietary stuff that the #5 guy was talking about was right! Man, shame on you anandtech for recommending such a system. Bad, very bad.
  • ComputerBeatnik - Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - link

    Please...that's a ton of money just to play games!!! Why not just buy an X-Box for $150? Reply
  • jc1x - Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - link

    to #33. try using the code that was provided.. it's now 3299 w/ a 150 rebate = $3149.. no it doesn't have the P4EE but it sure is much cheaper than any comparable.

    Frankly, I'll probably get one of these.. and when I feel the need to (and actually have the time), just swap the motherboard w/ something tweakable..
  • madgonad - Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - link

    I just went to the Dell website and built the XPS system as described. The regular price is in excess of Five grand when including the EE of the P4.
    Now if a couple FX51s systems equiped with the same video card and RAID were to be benchmarked, THAT would be a fair and balanced comparison. Anything else looks like a straw-man.

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