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DELL XPS 7100 vs. 8300

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April 2, 2011 2:50:31 AM

Hey everyone...first time poster here, please be gentle.

My current DELL XPS of over 5 years (not including repairs/upgrades) is going through what I've been told is its death rattle.

I'm looking to upgrade to one of two XPS models, the 7100 or the 8300.

I use my machine for primarily for writing, but as I write for comic books, I also need it to hold/display a large quantity of images.

I'm also a gamer.

Building a system on my own or even with the help of a friend is not an option. And as bad as Dell tech support can be, having one place to call for all my hardware makes life easier for.

I'm thinking I can still use the monitors/speakers I have, there's nothing wrong with them, although I might have to call Dell for the compatibility.

In any event, here are the two base models I'm looking at, based on two expiring deals I saw on techbargains:

XPS 7100 AMD Phenom II X6 1045T 6-Core (Hexacore) @ 2.7GHz; 6GB DDR3; 1TB; DVD burner; gigabit; Windows 7 Home Premium; ATI Radeon HD5450 1GB w/ DirectX 11 + Eyefinity; 2yr warranty
$599

or

XPS 8300 22" Dell ST2220L LCD; Intel Core i5-2300 [Sandy Bridge] Quad-Core 2.8GHz; 6GB/1TB; DVD burner; gigabit; Win7; ATI Radeon HD5450 1GB; 2yr warranty
FREE Bose Companion 2 Series II 2.0ch Computer Speakers with purchase (automatically added to cart)

I can afford to upgrade, but don't want to go over $1000.

Given those parameters, which do you think would be the better system/deal for me.

I'm particularly confused over which has the better processor. I seems like for the price difference, I could upgrade the 7100 (assuming I don't need the monitor). But as I understand it, might be sacrificing future expandability. In other words, maybe it would be better to a lesser build of the 8300 now (less ram, for instance) but upgrade in a year or two and have the ability to add USB 3.0.

If my next system lasted 3 years I'd be happy.

I know this forum gets bombarded with questions like this all the time, and I hope I'm in the right place for answers. Thanks in advance for your help.

Mark

More about : dell xps 7100 8300

April 2, 2011 10:35:28 AM

I am an Intel fan, but in this case it seems the AMD processor is better...
Both system have a good GPU, both with eyefinity...
If i were you I would go with the AMD version (Assuming you're not Intel nor AMD fan)
April 2, 2011 11:54:28 AM

Welcome to Tom's Hardware!

In my own opinion, I would choose the XPS 8300 over the 7100. My reasons?

I'm trying to be as even on both sides but for your use, the 7100 is fine, however, the architecture of the Sandy Bridge processors put's it ahead of AMD. Because of the lack of the overclocking function on both of these desktops, these really are on par with each other, but as shown in some benchmarks, some programs favor Intel more.

In other words, the Intel CPU is a better choice than the AMD in my opinion.

The package the XPS8300 is in however, is on par with the AMD system, as it includes the monitor and speakers. These speakers must be at least $70 retail; and the monitor should be $125 retail. The weak point of this system is the video card. In the previous post, the HD5450 was said that it was good. I disagree with this, as it is not good for gaming, but perfect for multi-tasking with Eyefinity. If you would like to game at reasonable settings with settings at medium, I strongly recommend you configure this dell to an ATi HD5670.

I can't find the offer with the Dell 7100 with an ATi 5450 Video Card, but I find them bundled with the HD5670 but with a price tag of $699. This solves the 'gaming problem' but it lacks the monitor and speakers. Assuming that you will be using your other monitor, I find the use of dual screens in Eyefinity very handy for multi-tasking, but I barely use my third monitor. Seeing that you need a screen that can display a large amount of images, bigger the screen the better. 21.5" is small-ish; 23" or 24" would be handy.

I would take the Intel system over the AMD system, but this is just based on my personal opinions. I have never owned an AMD so this may have biased my views against AMD. You can upgrade the 7100 with a faster processor but the speed increase would not be noticeable; you will have to upgrade to a 1090T in order to 'notice' a difference. Or you can bundle in the same 21.5" monitor which would be nice but would limit your upgrade options and it doesn't include the decent Bose speakers. Another option is to bundle the screen and also upgrade the Video card to a more powerful HD5770. It is here that games can be played without turning down alot of the settings but this is getting very close to the $1000 price ceiling. The lesser builds of the XPS 8300 do not have as good of a configuration as the one being discussed here and don't include the special offers with the free speaker and the substantial price drop.

I'd just upgrade the Video Card on the XPS 8300 to a HD5670 and be happy with it; I'd be happier if you spent a little more and upgraded the monitor to the 23" ST2320L monitor but this exceeds your price limit by a tiny amount. If you are going to be using both monitors then there won't be any need to upgrade to a larger size. Leaving a small headroom on top of everything would be handy in case a few complications turn up.
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April 2, 2011 12:08:51 PM

You've got the basics I'd recommend:

- CPU, at least a quad core
- CPU running about 3Ghz
- 4Gb of RAM min

- Monitors, for writing a 24 inch or use both your old & new monitors for a dual display setup...

- I'd agree, upgrade the video card to 5770 if you want to play any kind of games


To me, looks like the Intel package offers more of what you need....

April 4, 2011 12:53:42 AM

Unfortunately, the XPS 8300 sold out before I could place an order. While there's no guarantee there will be as good a deal, I think I've been convinced to at least wait a bit rather than settling for the 7100.

What I've learned is:
It seems like more of you feel the Intel chip is better than the AMD one.
I'm going to want a processor that runs at least 3GHZ or higher.
For a GPU, at least the 5670 if not higher.
And I may have been convinced about getting a monitor if I can find a deal where it's offered. I'm actually not certain my old monitor will work with a new GPU.
As for the RAM, I haven't seen anything less than 6GB. But it seems like that's something I could upgrade in the futuer.

I might have to go over my budget of $1000 to get all of the above. I'm hoping my desktop will be able to hold out until there's another deal, possibly with a deeper price cut.

Thanks everyone.

Mark
April 4, 2011 6:05:22 AM

I just purchased the 8300 yesterday. Like you, it sold out before I could purchase the sale including the Bose speakers. However, when I was exploring configurations I placed it in my cart thinking I would sleep on it first.

Talked to an awesome Dell rep, who set me up with an 8300 with the following to lesson the blow if missing the deal above.

1 XPS 8300
1 XPS 8300 Intel Core i5-2400 processor(6MB Cache, 3.1GHz)
1 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4x2GB
1 Dell Consumer Multimedia Keyboard
1 DELL 24-IN WIDE, ST2420L
1 ATI Radeon HD 5670 1GB GDDR5
1 1TB Serial ATA 2 Hard Drive 7200 RPM
1 Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
Total came in at 1,182 because of a monitor and video card upgrade.
They even threw in their Dell speakers and subwoofer to make up for the Bose speakers.
April 4, 2011 9:28:04 AM

@taranakikurth - I'm glad you were able to get them to throw in the speakers.

Two questions, if you don't mind me asking:

1) how many years was the basic service plan? I'm feel like I'd want at least 2 years, maybe 3 (I feel like I could add another year or two 2 years on)

2) Just saw this 1 day "Signature Deal" for $999

XPS 9100
Intel® Core™i7-930 processor(8MB L2 Cache, 2.80GHz)
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
Dell Consumer Multimedia Keyboard
Dell ST2420L 24"W Full HD Monitor, 24.0 VIS, VGA Cable supplied only (that actually upped the price $70)
ATI Radeon HD5670 1GB GDDR5
1.5TB - SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache HDD

It only includes a 1 year service deal, and it costs $169 (!) for another year.

To upgrade the processor over 3GHz (to 3.20 GHz) is $470!

What I don't understand is, is the i7-930 is better than the i5-2400? If so, how/how much?

The XPS 9100 sounds more advanced, but the i7-930 seems slower. I don't know enough about computers to know if, say the 8MB cache or something else in the i7-930 makes up for the processing speed.
April 4, 2011 12:22:07 PM

Oh I don't mind you asking, this is what this forum is all about!

The i5 2400 is about the same as the i7 930. The i7 2600 could be similarly compared to the i7 980x but only in some cases. The i5 2400 is sometimes better than the i7 950 but are usually on par with each other, however the improved architecture is worth getting it over the older i7 950.

Just because it seems that the i7 930 has more cache or more RAM slots does't mean that it can fully utilize that cache as efficiently as the i5 2400. Remember, the new CPUs improve nearly everything of the older i7's.

The only reason to get the older i7's now is it's support for two or more High-end video cards that work in tandem. Unfortunately, since Dell became a little cheap here and there, you can only put one video card in the 8300 and the 9100. But I suppose this is fine for ordinary consumers like you and me.

The basic service plan was 2 years. All XPS 8300 models apart from the base model are 2 years as wit the XPS 9100.

Now regarding that 'signature deal', I reckon that deal is good with the 24" monitor, 8Gb RAM and the 1.5TB. The HD5670 is still fine for your needs but I reckon upgrading to the HD5770 is worth it, if it were possible. Otherwise its a fine deal. About the basic plan though, if this is worrying you, take a look around with the XPS 8300. It should provide nearly equal performance.

Here, I hope this does something, below is a coupon I just found on Coupon Mountain. I tested it and it works! If you spend over $999 on any Studio XPS Desktop, you get $100 off. When you have the product in the cart, enter in this promo code, and it should deduct $100 ONLY if the Desktop is over $999. It is valid until the 30th of April so you'll have a bit of time. Code is below:

LM?BF7P$FR9KCK

The processor upgrade is not worth it, especially when they charge you $470! The processor is only $340 on Newegg anyway!

Waiting for another deal on Dell for the XPS 8300 is my personal choice. If another good deal comes out, apply the code, and use the additional headroom to get some more upgrades that suit you. The upgrade from 2Yr to 3Yr basic service plan is $80 as well.
April 4, 2011 7:23:04 PM

I received the standard warranty with my system. The coupon code, as stated above saved me an additional $100. If you call a Dell rep they may be willing to work with you. They were more than helpful with me.

Good luck
!