Dell XPS 720
- Great for gaming, fast hard drive performance
- The case is too big and too fussy on the inside, the CPU speed options in the BIOS are locked, no eSATA ports, doesn't support a high-end SLI configuration
The Dell XPS 720 is a little hard to judge. One can't help but admire the effort Dell has put into its design and construction, yet by the same token, its a little awkward and the construction is excessive. It sure does look good though, so if you're after a machine that will be used for gaming, or even 3-D and video rendering applications, then it's worth considering.
Price$ 2,599.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
Dell's XPS 720 is aimed primarily at gamers who don't mind having the world's biggest PC in their room. While its configuration can be tailored to suit your needs and budget, the configuration we tested is tame compared to its housing, which stands about 55cm tall, 22cm wide and about 57cm deep. It's quite possibly the suburban Humvee of desktop PCs because of this impractical size.
Our test unit shipped with an Intel Core 2 Quad 6600 CPU, running at 2.4GHz, along with 4GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM and a GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card. Two Western Digital Raptor hard drives were installed in a RAID 0 array, for a total formatted capacity of 298GB; a Serial ATA-based DVD burner was installed, as was a Creative X-Fi sound card.
This configuration produced a competitive score of 109 in WorldBench 6 and its 8800 GTX-based card returned mostly favourable results during our DirectX 10 gaming tests. In fact, it recorded the fastest score we've seen to date in the Call of Juarez test -- 34 frames per second (fps) -- but it averaged only 19fps in the Lost Planet test. However, it will play current DirectX 9-based games very smoothly at high resolution and detail settings. This is just as well; the monitor options for this system, when going through the ordering process, start at 24in, move to 27in (both with a native resolution of 1920x1200) and end at 30in (with a native resolution of 2560x1600). We had no problems playing FEAR at a resolution of 2048x1536 with 4x antialiasing and 16x anisotropic filtering enabled -- it scored 117fps in this test.
Additionally, because the XPS 720 is based on NVIDIA's nForce 680i SLI chipset, it can support a second graphics card in SLI mode (you wouldn't think so by looking at the layout of the motherboard, as the two graphics cards end up with barely any clearance between them). But, Dell says it will only support two mid-range cards (8600GTS), and not two high-end cards, as the power supply isn't strong enough to handle them. Therefore, a single GeForce 8800 Ultra is the most graphics power that can be packed into this system.
The motherboard is based on the BTX form factor, so it's installed on the left-hand side of the case, rather than the right-hand side (when looking at the case from the front). It's a large motherboard by any standard, yet it's not gluttonous. It has six SATA II ports, eight ready-to-use USB 2.0 ports (two at the front of the case), two FireWire ports (one at the front) and one gigabit Ethernet port.
All around the motherboard, structural supports abound for the add-in cards and the cooling fans -- and there are lot of cooling fans in the case. Two 12cm fans at the front of the case push cool air through the large CPU heat sink and the graphics card, respectively, towards the rear of the case, while an 8cm fan is positioned in between the two hard drives cages at the top. Almost all of the front and rear of the case is vented, so there is no shortage of fresh air, but dust filters aren't installed. Because the case is a little fiddly to work on (the hard drives are at the top, behind the DVD burner) Dell has included pre-routed cables for all of the available drive ports. This means if you want to install another hard drive, all you have to do is plug in the power and data cables that are already hanging from the empty drive cage. It makes the case look messy, but then again, it's not like it has a windowed side-panel. Tools aren't required when installing a new component either, as everything is held in place by clips and brackets.
You might want to opt for a third hard drive when configuring this system, as the two 160GB Raptor drives will fill up fast, and you'll also want something to back them up. During our tests, the Raptors produced a transfer rate of 61MBps, which is a slightly faster result than we were expecting. They do make a fair bit of noise, however, and this is noticeable due to the size of the case and its vents. The fans, however, are mostly quiet except during boot-up.
At the front of the case, LEDs give off interesting line patterns, and their colours can be customised in the BIOS. Unfortunately, the CPU speed can't be customised in the BIOS. Dell has locked the front side bus and clock multiplier settings, which is a shame as the Core 2 CPUs are known to be good at running faster than their rated speeds.
Join the newsletter!
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Sport AT
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Apple iMac Pro
Toys for Boys
Tivoli PAL BT
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Smart Security Premium
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Internet Security
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ransomware has been one of the most prolific malware families for years, generating financial losses for targeted users and organizations, as well as significant revenue for cybercriminals.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 3 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 4 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
- 5 Huawei Nova 3i review: All Sell, No Soul
Latest News Articles
- Apple finally updates Mac mini with new quad- and 6-core CPUs, space gray case
- MSI releases Trident X Series
- MSI teams up with Sony for the upcoming Venom movie
- ASUS announces Intel Mehlow workstation products
- ASUS bring VivoMini PC to Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?