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Dell XPS 720-- What should I do

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November 22, 2011 8:47:36 PM

Hello,

So lets not crap all over my XPS 720... I didn't know much when I bought it (and still dont) but its served me very well and I am still pretty happy with it. Now I am looking to upgrade as games are not great on my system any more, but found out that my XPS 720 or Dell in general is not great for that. So what your opinions, should I get some extra memory (I read 8 GB is max) and a new video card and ride it into the ground or should I take the good stuff and make a new system (whatever that means) or just sell it a buy something new!

Let me know what you think or if you need more info and try and keep it somewhat simple,

System

Dell XPS 720
Q6600 @ 2.40GHz
4GB Ram
450 GB hd
NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256Mb

More about : dell xps 720

November 22, 2011 9:08:32 PM

Hello & Welcome.
I'd say if your machine supports Overclocking , give your CPU a hard OC and get a high end GPU. You'll be able to max out most of the modern games.

Your CPU is not bad for gaming but with a good OC you'll get the most out of it.
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November 22, 2011 9:12:41 PM

I had an XPS 720 with the 8800GTX that I bought like 5 yrs ago. I had always built my own PC's in the past but decided to give it a go since I was feeling lazy that time. It was a good machine, but overpriced for what you actually ended up getting.

You cant upgrade it very much since almost everything is proprietary in the system, which sadly I didn't find out until I started looking into upgrading it. Last year I changed out the video card to a GTX 580 and it gave it a slight boost but the card was pretty bottle-necked by the rest of the system and it wasn't coming close to its full potential. I tried going to 8GB of ram in it however even though it says it technically can support it I had all kinds of issues with it and eventually pulled out the extra 4 GB and it worked ok again.

I finally just built a new PC about 6 mos ago built around the i7-2600k. I even grabbed another GTX 580 and ran them in SLI as well as a 250gb SSD. Almost everything I bought was overkill and I still spent less money than I spent on that XPS 720.

In short I recommend starting totally from scratch since you basically have no choice, nothing in your old system will be of any use in a new one outside of maybe the HDD. You cant even use the case (which was the best part of the 720) because it is for BTX motherboards. The PS wont work either because it has its own custom harness and sockets that wont work with anything else.

Build around an i7-2600k or an i5-2500k if you are on a budget. If you are not in a hurry wait until 1Q next year and get an Ivy Bridge. You will be surprised how much more awesome of a machine you can get for what that XPS 720 cost.
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November 22, 2011 9:15:03 PM

ilysaml said:
Hello & Welcome.
I'd say if your machine supports Overclocking , give your CPU a hard OC and get a high end GPU. You'll be able to max out most of the modern games.

Your CPU is not bad for gaming but with a good OC you'll get the most out of it.


You cannot overclock anything on the 720 except the ram through an XMP profile. The BIOS on them is EXTREMELY limited. I had the highest processor you could get for the 720 and it still bottle-necked the GTX 580 I put in there like crazy.
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November 22, 2011 9:18:03 PM

Some dell machines allow software OCing as the BIOS is not fully locked like the H2C.

And as long as the CPU is handling the game, no bottleneck. You experience a CPU bottleneck when you have excess of GPU power or the CPU is not able to handle the game.

Achieving higher FPS with a i7 based system than Q6600 bases system is a different thing to discuss.
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November 22, 2011 9:25:20 PM

ilysaml said:
Some dell machines allow software OCing as the BIOS is not fully locked like the H2C.

And as long as the CPU is handling the game, no bottleneck. You experience a CPU bottleneck when you have excess of GPU power or the CPU is not able to handle the game.

Achieving higher FPS with a i7 based system than Q6600 bases system is a different thing to discuss.



I fully explored all those things with my 720, you cannot hardware or software overclock the CPU at all unless you have the extreme edition CPU (purchased with the system originally) and even then it is VERY limited. It is also asking for trouble with the poor quality of many components on the motherboard as well as the shoddy quality PSU.

His CPU was slower than mine and it was bottle-necking the 580 GPU like crazy, its easy to tell because the CPU is at 100% while in game and even lowering some graphics settings made no difference at all in frame rate. In the new machine the exact same card (before I added the 2nd in SLI) performed massively better and the CPU is never close to 100%, IE, no bottleneck. What actual path is bottle-necked is irrelevant, the point is upgrading to a faster card will only yield minor improvements due to the rest of the system being significantly slower and will mostly be wasting most of a new GPU's potential. My frame rates in the games I was playing at the time (WOW, BFBC2, Crysis 2) more than doubled in the new system using the EXACT same GTX 580 video card.
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November 22, 2011 9:38:59 PM

I'm not sure of the 720, but i knew the Dell XPS 710 HTC that supported OCing, that's why I asked the Op if the machine supports OCing.

For the CPU thing, CPU usage is different than CPU strength the Q6600 is almost performing close to my X6 1055T in gaming @ stock speeds. Besides most old & modern games are GPU intensive games, some gone out of the rule like Skyrim but the majority is GPU dependent. Also most of the games benchmarked didn't utilize more than 2-3 cores so talking about a bottleneck is out of the argument.
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November 22, 2011 9:47:53 PM

ilysaml said:
I'm not sure of the 720, but i knew the Dell XPS 710 HTC that supported OCing, that's why I asked the Op if the machine supports OCing.

For the CPU thing, CPU usage is different than CPU strength the Q6600 is almost performing close to my X6 1055T in gaming @ stock speeds. Besides most old & modern games are GPU intensive games, some gone out of the rule like Skyrim but the majority is GPU dependent. Also most of the games benchmarked didn't utilize more than 2-3 cores so talking about a bottleneck is out of the argument.




Gaining more than double the frames using the exact same card is pretty much rock solid evidence that the rest of the system was bottle-necking the GTX 580. You can argue all day over how exactly it was bottle-necking and why or whether "bottle-necking" is even the correct term specifically but the conclusion is the same, I wasn't able to fully utilize the power of a modern high end card like the GTX 580 in that system, on any of the games I was playing and mine was a slightly higher (faster) model than his. I'm speaking from experience with the same Dell he has, the one sitting in my closet right now, not basing it on theory of what it "should" do. I'm not trying to bash you or anything but as far as that model Dell is concerned I know exactly what it is and is not capable of. I went through the same situation he is going through right now about 8 months ago.

He is obviously more than welcome to grab a card like a 580 and see for himself. He has nothing to lose since he can still use it in the new system however I just want him to realize it will not be even close to fully utilized and I don't want him to feel like the card was a waste of money since it didn't yield much in performance gain in that system.
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March 2, 2012 3:12:38 PM

I had the same exact issue. I had an XPS 720 with a newly purchased EVGA GTX 580 and an existing QX6700 and 8GB of ram. SAME exact issue. I was being bottlenecked via the processor and PCI Gen 1 slot. In theory it should have worked and it did, to a degree. In BF3 the processor usuage was up to 100% on all 4 cores. BF 3 was running usually running under 40 fps on med or high and would dip down to 10-30 during large maps or heavy fight scenes. At times it would get to 50 or 60 but usually was in the 20-35 range. Overclocking or setting game to medium didn't help as much as it should have.

I recently just bought an Alienware Aurora R4 with i7 3930k, 8GB 1600 mhz and my existing GTX 580 and it made a HUGE difference. I consistenly hit 50-70 fps and don't go below 40 on the same settings.

It is time to get a new machine. 5 years is a long time in the gaming world, especially for games like skyrim and Bf3

Funny, BF2 made me get a new machine back in the day and now bf3 does.

I loved my XPS and it served me well. It was hard to let it go but I love the new machine!
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March 22, 2013 11:13:01 AM

I realize this is an old thread, but just from my experience, my 720 H2C with an Extreme processor was fine for gaming only as long as it stayed XP, especially on a RAID0 setup for high speed. The Extreme processor was highly over-clockable but if I stepped it up even one notch the CPU fan simply got too loud. The much-vaunted hybrid air/liquid H2C cooling system was too loud in my experience.

The machine never could really support more than 2GB of RAM visible to XP. When I upgraded it to 4GB, the machine saw the 4GB just fine, but XP still could only see 2GB. This apparently was a common problem with the 720 bios -- I think they just hard-locked the BIOS to 2GB for 32-bit.

When I upgraded to Windows 7, it could see the 4GB and maybe even more... but upgrading to Windows 7 had its own problems.

When I upgraded to Windows 7 I discovered that the Nvidia Nforce4-based motherboard had no Windows 7 drivers of any kind, so I had to leave the generic Windows drivers in place for everything. That made gaming an iffy proposition. Gaming worked okay but the machine would occasionally crash or lock up, probably due to all the generic/standard Windows drivers running everything while trying to do gaming.

I had the exact same RAM problem with an XPS 600 which had an Nvidia Nforce2-based motherboard. Windows XP would only see 2GB of RAM but it was a good gaming box with a RAID0 setup on XP. Until I upgraded to Windows 7, and there were no Windows 7 drivers for that Nforce motherboard, and it was flaky gaming on Win7 with all those generic drivers.
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March 22, 2013 11:17:17 AM

But the case was an awesome case -- it weighed about 40-50 pounds by itself! But it was BTX (not ATX) format, so upgraded motherboards or power supplies were a problem. However you could use a cutter and chop out the motherboard portion and rivet/weld/bolt in a $30 ATX motherboard tray if you really wanted to keep that great case.
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March 23, 2013 7:26:45 PM

kades1234 said:
Hello,

So lets not crap all over my XPS 720... I didn't know much when I bought it (and still dont) but its served me very well and I am still pretty happy with it. Now I am looking to upgrade as games are not great on my system any more, but found out that my XPS 720 or Dell in general is not great for that. So what your opinions, should I get some extra memory (I read 8 GB is max) and a new video card and ride it into the ground or should I take the good stuff and make a new system (whatever that means) or just sell it a buy something new!

Let me know what you think or if you need more info and try and keep it somewhat simple,

System

Dell XPS 720
Q6600 @ 2.40GHz
4GB Ram
450 GB hd
NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256Mb


hi heres my 2 cents worth. ive owned this sytem for a few years originally had rhe q6600 2.4ghz and 2 gigs of ram the system was ok for gaming good even.i recently went on ebay got four gigs of dominator ddr2 and found a qx6850 core 2 quad extreme for £80. the computer now flies compared to before ive just left the cpu at normal settings but it can be overclocked up to 4ghz in the bios i just need a graphics card upgrade and i think this machine will still have years of life left in it
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