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Opinion on a Dell Machine I purchased

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March 18, 2010 5:50:32 PM

Hello,
I just purchased a Dell XPS 9000. I put it together for speed storage movies and music. My question is do I put together a decent machine for those uses? What changes could I have made?

Studio XPS 9000
-Studio XPS 9000, Intel Core i7-920 processor (8MB L3 Cache 2.66GHz)
-9GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz
-NVIDIA GeForce G310 512MB DDR3
-1TB Serial ATA 2 Hard Drive 7200 RPM
-Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit
-Soundblaster X-Fi Titanium
-Dual Drives: DVD+/-RW with BD-RE


Thank You!
March 18, 2010 5:53:37 PM

Please be aware that this is a homebuilt forum, and most of the answers you get are going to be directed at building it yourself. You are also likely to get many posts telling you to build it yourself. You certainly don't have to, and you can take the recommendations given and attempt to apply them to a pre-built, but it's not always going to fit quite right. The reason regulars on this forum aren't interested in pre-built computers is because typically those businesses cut corners on some of the less-visible parts, such as the power supply, RAM, and hard drives. This doesn't make them bad people, but it does mean that the parts may not be as good as if you bought them yourself and built the computer on your own.

That being said, I just helped my dad buy an XPS 9000, as I didn't want to be locked into providing all of the support for him. I think the XPS 9000 is one of the best offerings from Dell right now, as far as being semi-future-proof.

9 GB is probably overkill, and the nVidia card would probably have been better off as something else, depending on whether or not you intend to game. For movies, I'd say an ATI 5770, for gaming and ATI 5870.

The soundcard is probably overkill as well. Onboard sound is very good these days.
March 18, 2010 6:17:40 PM

coldsleep said:
Please be aware that this is a homebuilt forum, and most of the answers you get are going to be directed at building it yourself. You are also likely to get many posts telling you to build it yourself. You certainly don't have to, and you can take the recommendations given and attempt to apply them to a pre-built, but it's not always going to fit quite right. The reason regulars on this forum aren't interested in pre-built computers is because typically those businesses cut corners on some of the less-visible parts, such as the power supply, RAM, and hard drives. This doesn't make them bad people, but it does mean that the parts may not be as good as if you bought them yourself and built the computer on your own.

That being said, I just helped my dad buy an XPS 9000, as I didn't want to be locked into providing all of the support for him. I think the XPS 9000 is one of the best offerings from Dell right now, as far as being semi-future-proof.

9 GB is probably overkill, and the nVidia card would probably have been better off as something else, depending on whether or not you intend to game. For movies, I'd say an ATI 5770, for gaming and ATI 5870.

The soundcard is probably overkill as well. Onboard sound is very good these days.



Thanks very much for the feedback! Once I hit the send button I was unsure if I hit the right catergory or not. I just signed up so I appreciate the heads up. I thought I went a little overboard, lol! You know I was just tryng to build something that would be around a couple years, I don't really game so that wasn't a concern, mostly movies, music and normal usage. I had the hardest time choosing the video card and had too much input to soak in, lol. I had no idea. So the ATI 5770 would be an upgrade? What makes a video card different from another or I guess for my usages what should I be looking for? Keep in mind I will use it for downloading and watching movies.(what would give me the best quality?) Assuming I have a great monitor too.

Thanks again for your time and if Im bothering you just don't respond!

Take care

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March 18, 2010 6:29:12 PM

Yes, the 5770 would be an upgrade. It's more powerful and has is better for future proofing because of DirectX 11 support and better Crossfire abilities. However, for your uses that doesn't really matter. What you should have been looking for was a cheaper, cooler running, quiet card. The 5xxx series is new, and are very good as an HTPC card because they're quiet and run cool.

To be honest, you likely overspent for your uses. If you had gone to a custom builder, you could have gotten the base computer that you needed for about $700-900. Then you could have thrown in additional HDDs for storage.

Of course, if you had built it yourself, you would have had a lot more options for that price...
March 18, 2010 6:31:32 PM

The 5770 would indeed be an upgrade, but since you stated you do not game the 5770 is overkill for even that. For watching even HD video nowadays an expensive video card is not required.

The i7-920 is a great processor, but chances are your uses won't use it to full potential. That is not necessarily a bad thing as it will last you a long time before upgrade is needed.

And 9GB ram is indeed overkill, you could have gotten by with 3. I would have gone 6.

And sound cards are almost never necessary with modern motherboards.
March 18, 2010 6:39:06 PM

I honestly don't know a lot about the G310. If you simply went with one of the low-end ones and it ends up meeting your needs, that's awesome. In some cases, you don't even need a discrete graphics card for your uses, though true HD has until recently (the new i3 chip + H55 mobo) been difficult/impossible without a graphics card.

Based on this article, it's pretty near the bottom of the barrel. At least as far as gaming cards go. (And let's be honest, a lot of the people on the THG forums, me included, focus on gaming pretty heavily.)

The reason I like the 5770 as a decent solution in non-gaming computers is that it has both DVI and HDMI ports as well as DisplayPort, and it should be able to support 3 monitors with EyeFinity. (If you're into that sort of thing.) It's a decent gaming card, but it's also a relatively inexpensive HD movie card and it does DX11.

I've been hearing a little bit about DirectX-enabled web games/sites, though I'm unsure if that's ever really going to happen. If it did, the 5770 would be ready for it.

EDIT: Looks like I was a little slow on the response. :)  Basically, everything that MadAdmiral said. Yes, the 5770 is overkill for non-gaming, but it has some other attractive features that might be of interest. When I was putting the XPS 9000 build for my dad, I don't recall seeing any of the less expensive 58nn series cards available, though that could have changed recently.
March 18, 2010 6:48:27 PM

Looking at the Dell webpage right now, the options are:

nVidia G310
nVidia GT220
ATI 5450 - may result in a delay
nVidia GTS240
ATI 5770
ATI 5870

Now that I look at that list again, I remember why I didn't go with the 5450. :)  That would probably be the best option for movie-watching, etc. and it's only a $50 upgrade from the G310.

Really, what matters is that it meets your needs. If you aren't (or don't in the future) have any problems doing what you want to do, then it's all good.
!