I am going to buy a desktop from dell to use as a general computer, numerical simulations, and for recording audio from instruments/ also midi inputs and as a DAW.
I am torn between the xps 435 and the 730x. It seems like they are pretty similar except that the 435 can take more ram. Does anyone have any thoughts? The reason I am buying it from dell is because I can use my slush fund at dell, I cant do it with newegg or I would just build one.
Did you compare the specifications side by side? They are not similar at all - not the least of which is price. The 730x generally has much better features - although not sure of the value to you given your uses which do not put much demand on a system.
PSU - 435 has only 475w vs 1000w in the 730x.
The 475w should be adequate for a normal mainstream system though, with a single mid-range graphics card (not to exceed a AMD 4870 or nVidia GTS 250).
Drive Bays - the 730x has several more internal and external drive bays - I guess the question is does the 435 provide all you need, now or in the future.
Memory - the 730x has only one set of 3 channel memory slots while the 435 has two sets, which makes it easier to add another set to increase memory later - compared to the 730x where you will need to throw out the old and buy new larger sticks if you want to increase memory.
PCIe and PCI slots - the 730x again has more including 3 PCIe x16 slots for multiple graphics cards. But maybe the latter is not significant if you will never game. Otherwise multiple slots are again advantageous especially for upgrades as you can just pair the old card up again rather than buying the larger new one.
Sound cards - the 435 has more, better choices
Dimensions - Case sizes are considerable different.
I suggest you go back and really look at the differences in specifications and base prices. The 730x costs almost twice as much.