Im having a real hard time deciding on what kinda rig i should get from dell. I thought about building it myself but it seems to be cheaper to get it from dell. I've put together a few combos. I will be using this computer mostly for mixing audio and recording. I use Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, Cubase and other such programs. All those programs use alot of processing power. I want this computer to be the biggest beast possible for the price range im getting from dell. Ive just heard very different things about each processor. I was orignally going to get the Studio XPS but with the new i7 i'm not sure. I know the 860 has the turbo boost but im not sure how that works exactly. Im just trying to figure out what processor would be the best for me to handle the load im going to put on it. Plus im not sure if the motherboard or anything changes between studio xps and xps 8000. I just wanna make an informed decision. I could really use some help.
1. Studio XPS $999
i7 920 2.6 ghz
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 6 DIMMs
1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
ATI Radeon HD 4350 512MB
standard dvd drive
2. XPS 8000 $949
i5 750 2.6 ghz
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 4 DIMMs
500 gb 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
ATI Radeon HD 4350 512MB
standard dvd drive
3. XPS 8000 $1049
i7 860 2.8ghz
(everything else the same as combo 2)
Well personally I wouldn't get from Dell because the components are going to be at absolute minimum quality and you'll have little to no upgrade path (either warranty will prevent it or your components will be at their maximum already), plus they can cripple the systems by locking overclocking features in the BIOS or messing about with the RAM (like that i7 920 with 8GB RAM forces it to run dual-channel not triple-channel)
But that aside, it really depends on what you're going to do with the system. Personally I always advocate the socket 1366 route (i7 9xx) because it seems there's more life in that platform, however the socket 1156 (i5 xxx and i7 8xx) do perform nicely.
So, I'd go for an i7 920 (D0 stepping if you can, probably will be anyway) with 6GB or 12GB RAM in triple-channel and you're flying for a good few years. Get a serious aftermarket cooler like the Rev C True or Megahalem and clock that bitch up to 4GHz. Then if the manufacturer of the motherboard you choose has been forward-thinking enough, a quick BIOS update later and you can drop in a 6-core i9 next year!
But as I said it all comes down to what you want to do with the system - everything I just said is major overkill if you're only a casual gamer or doing mid to entry level media.
Try to configure a system like this in Dell, I'm sure it will cost you few hundred dollars more. Remember if you look in other online retailers, you might get better deal than the above prices. (if you live near by Micro Center store, they got good deals, esp for cpu).
I was looking at the same systems on dell. Decided to build my own. Couple things I saw wanted to warn you about. Not sure what your primary recording software is but if it's pro tools couple things you should know. First you can't use a 64 bit os. It just won't run. And unless you have Pt 8 you can't use vista. Secondly because protools only accepts a 32 bit os there is no point in having more then 4 gigs of ram.
That being said each processor has its benefits. The i7-920 is the most future proof of the bunch as the higher i7 chips will use the same socket. Also the only one of the three that allows you to use triple channel ram or split the load over 3 ram chips (as oposed to 2) making your ram quicker. With plugin response you should see a difference. The turbo function or hyper threading is there as well.
The i7-8 series is great speedwise and has hyper threading which some applications can take advantage of but only offers dual channel ram and uses a socket type that is not as promising as the i7.
The i5 is a great price but is only dual channel ram supported and no hyper threading. tHat being said it is cheap and any of these three are far better then 98% of the other quad core offerings from amd or intel especially for the price.
As far as the dell thing I did some research and can tell you their motherboards use the intel p55 northbridge which is okay but not great. They also have 350 watt power supplies which is a little weak for this beast of a machine. Try looking for a pc with an intel x54 or x58 chipset. cyberpower.com or ibuypower.com both offer custom built pcs where you can pick your own mobo. Good luck and remember to check the forums to see what systems people are using succesfully. I have protools and use almost exclusively (occasionally sonar 8 producer) and know how finicky it can be .duc.digidesign.com . Good luck.