Dell XPS 630

Despite what a lot of the console manufacturers will say, PC gaming is still really big. But to play, we’re going to need a beast of a computer…

Despite what a lot of the console manufacturers will say, PC gaming is still really big. We’re talking about the only market that really lets you get a grip on games from companies like iD Software, Blizzard, and Valve. And while console gamers convinced their versions of Half-Life 2, Portal, and items from the Quake series might think their gaming experience is better, we in the gaming industry know that the PC is where the action happens.

Take a game like Age of Conan for instance, an MMORPG that requires fairly large system requirements and delivers a monster of a game. So to play a monster of a game, you obviously need a beast that can tame those system requirements, and short of building one yourself, what are you supposed to do?

Well there are some options available to you one of which might just be the Dell XPS 630. Part of the XPS range marketed towards people who want excellent performance geared more towards intense graphics & gaming, the XPS range has now added this model, the 630, to its ever growing range.

Here’s the thing: what does your normal computer look like? A beige box with a couple of odd round buttons on it? What about those black sleek boxes that kind of remind you of a fridge except without the ice maker and ability to get ice cream out where the DVD drive is supposed to be?

Well the XPS 630 uses that whole geared-for-gamers feel by making the computer feel like it’s an evil transformer hell bent on making sure you fight it to the death in the latest of games. While it comes in black or red, the XPS 630 has a heavy set grill set into the case at an odd angle. It’s made from what feels like a heavy steel alloy and features lighting down the front to give off the impression that XPS 630 is alive and breathing. It’s almost as if it’s saying “piss me off and I will nail you into the ground.”

And that’s what the core componentry of this case might just do because it’s capable of some fast & furious power. While the version I looked at had an 8800GT, I saw a box that was running an Intel Core 2 Quad processor clocking in at 2.5Ghz working together with 4 gigs of 800Mhz memory, 1 terabyte of space. Newer versions can come with an increase of graphics performance from what two Nvidia GeForce 9800GT’s running in conjunction with each other can give. Adding the cherry on top of this red devilicious gaming system is a 24″ widescreen monitor which will be perfect for the next fragtastic deathmatch you find yourself in need of.

For American configurations, Dell are even letting you get a version that runs Windows XP. I wonder if they’d extend that to Australian customers since the XPS 630 isn’t something you can customise online here, sadly.

Upgrading yourself even looks to be something of which you should have no problems with. While I haven’t seen a case open from the right side in I think…ever… the insides of the XPS 630 which I was playing with look to be completely tool-less. Meaning Dell have engineered this to be used and maintained by you, me, anyone… and we don’t feel like we’re being screwed around. Literally. Tool-less means you can put those flathead and Philips-head screw drivers away for the most part as upgrades are handled by way of internal design which is nice to say the least.

But design is probably not what you’re after from me. You want… performance.

So how does it perform?

Like the evil transformer it wants you to think of it as.

We were able to ramp up the graphics of some of the current high-definition first-person shooters to the point where you might have wanted to get out the old magnifying glass and look for jaggies as anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering kicked in. At a little over 3 grand, the Dell XPS 630 proves itself to be a great looking and excellently performing machine that might just scare the hell out of anyone who never expected a computer to have a personality or a life of its own.

But with true power comes true responsibility and sadly there are some aspects of the Dell XPS 630 that might let you down.

While the price point puts it almost a thousand dollars under competition in the same price bracket, some of the competitors are still ahead. Companies packing newer graphics cores and better Quad-core CPU’s might make you question whether the extra thousand bucks paid by others is worth it.

You might like the stylings that the Dell XPS 630 has but the weight might throw you a curveball. At around 18 kilos unpacked from its box, it’s not light. Granted, a lot of high spec’d PC’s aren’t light as it is – I know my custom box at home isn’t light – but this is far heavier than anything I expected and I think a lot of this has to do with the case. It’s just something to keep in mind if you plan to do a lot of Lan gaming and you need to lug your computer everywhere.

The screen didn’t impress me either, but I’m a stickler for screens. The E248 that the XPS 630 ships with is one of Dell’s cheaper screens. Running a TN panel, I’d have hoped for something with a little higher quality in this primo rig from Dell. A Twisted Nematic panel should be fine for most gamers as the often inexpensive price places them as favourites for many a gamer these days; I just kind of expected more from Dell with this one.

But if you can live with the few shortcomings that the 630 has and you don’t want to try your hand at designing a PC yourself, the XPS 630 is a great way to play many of the current and upcoming games heading the PC’s way.

Product: Dell XPS 630

Vendor: Dell

RRP: Starting from $2299

Website: Dell

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark

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