Dell Studio XPS 7100: Performance, Power and Conclusion

May 20, 2010 by J.R. Nelson Reads (71,150)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 10
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Features
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 9.17
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance
The performance of this system is clearly its biggest draw. This review unit is labeled as an AMD Vision Black, which should place it within the upper echelons of the performance ladder. Number crunching? Feh. Games? No problem. One of the reasons the original Studio XPS rated so highly in reviews (link) is that it offered uncompromising performance for the price. Since the Studio XPS 7100 is Dell’s first offering with a six-core AMD processor, it’s interesting to wonder whether they can do it again.

Inside of this desktop is an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T – in terms of performance, it’s the second-highest processor that the chipmaker offers. The 1090T, which is AMD’s new flagship, performed admirably in tests, and the Radeon HD 5870, is already one of the top graphics cards on the market. In terms of components, the Studio XPS 7100 really makes no compromises.

wPrime benchmark test results:(lower is better)

Desktop Score
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 8.835s
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 9.1s
Dell Studio XPS 7100 (Phenom II X6 1035T) 10.109s
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750 @ 2.66GHz) 11.717s
Dell Studio XPS 8100 (Core i5-650 @ 3.2Ghz) 14.368s

PCMark05 system benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop PCMark05
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960 @ 3.2GHz) 13,099 PCMarks
Dell Studio XPS 7100 (Phenom II X6 1035T) 11,177 PCMarks

Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz)

10,928 PCMarks
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 10,157 PCMarks
AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 9,834 PCMarks

PCMark Vantage system benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop PCMark Vantage
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960 @ 3.2GHz) 10,813 PCMarks
Dell Studio XPS 7100 (Phenom II X6 1035T) 7,406 PCMarks
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750 @ 2.66GHz)  6,825 PCMarks
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 6,479 PCMarks

Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz)

6,056 PCMarks

3DMark06 graphics benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop 3DMark06
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960, 2 x ATI HD5970) 22,235 3DMarks
Dell Studio XPS 7100 (Phenom II X6 1035T, ATI HD5870) 18,253 3DMarks
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) 13,085 3DMarks
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) 13,081 3DMarks
AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) 13,006 3DMarks

3DMark Vantage graphics benchmark test results: (higher is better)

Desktop 3DMark Vantage
Alienware Area-51 ALX (Core i7 960, 2 x ATI HD5970) p20883
Dell Studio XPS 7100 (Phenom II X6 1035T, ATI HD5870) p15556
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750, NVIDIA GTX260) p9458
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) p7815
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) p7603

In an array of standard benchmarks, the system more than holds its own. While the six-core AMD chip may not be as fast as the version offered by rival Intel, it’s clearly no slouch. Additionally, users who perform tasks that can be broken up into little bits by the processor – think audio and video editing, for example – will really see some benefit from the six physical cores.

That’s all well and good, but this is an AMD Vision Black system, and to many people, that means one thing: games. How well can it play games? So well, in fact, that unless you are dying for the style, there’s almost no point in buying one of Dell’s Alienware systems.

Games Frames per second
Minimum Maximum Average
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 25 168 72.992
Just Cause 2 36 133 63.372
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 16 221 133.272

In three popular games, the Studio XPS 7100 ran flawlessly, presenting a smooth – and fun – experience. Average frame rates were more than double the minimum most gamers would consider to be playable, and this was with details and settings like anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering maxed out, and the resolution set to 1920×1080. In other words, no simple task.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0 disk speed benchmark results: (higher is better)

Benchmark Dell Studio XPS 7100
Sequential Read 102.701 MB/s
Sequential Write 98.278 MB/s
Random Read 512kB 27.576 MB/s
Random Write 512kB 47.857 MB/s
Random Read 4kB (QD = 1) 0.299 MB/s
Random Write 4kB (QD = 1) 0.700 MB/s
Random Read 4kB (QD = 32) 0.663 MB/s
Random Write 4kB (QD = 32) 0.656 MB/s

Software
Fusion, which has been seen on AMD desktops before, is back on the XPS 7100. Fusion is AMD, for lack of a better term, efficiency booster. When users are ready to game, they can activate Fusion, which will shut down background processes, close programs that aren’t being used, tune up the computer’s performance, and, in some modes, automatically overclock the machine. Basically, it tunes the desktop for gaming, shifting it into another gear.

With the Studio XPS 7100, it’s been refined a bit, and its threads stretch even deeper into the operating system. On most computers, Power Options gives a couple of different modes in which one can operate the machine – one saves power, one balances power with performance and another forsakes power efficiency to make the machine as powerful as it can be. Dell, AMD and Fusion have changed it up a bit – now consumers really have a number of different options to choose from based on precisely what they want to do.

Power and Noise
Now that it’s been established that the XPS 7100 is no slouch, it’s time to consider two of the most forgotten aspects of computers – their power efficiency and noise. Most users are aware of, and tacitly accept, the high levels of noise gaming computers generate. After all, powerful components run hot, and hot components need fans to cool them off. Consider it something of a surprise, then, that the Studio XPS 7100 runs so quietly. It’s not remotely silent but for a machine this capable – let’s call it a multimedia powerhouse since it’s not precisely a gaming computer – it does very well.

All of that is despite the fact that this desktop is a little power hungry. Idling at a Windows 7 desktop, the machine pulled down 79 watts of electricity. Saturating both CPU and GPU resulted in a power draw of 300 watts, while gaming gave numbers that fell somewhere between the two.
That means that with a 460W power supply, Dell has even given consumers some head room should they wish to upgrade their components in the future.

One of the things the computer company mentioned is that a substantial portion of the traffic to their forums comes in the form of users looking to upgrade their graphics cards. Many of them complained that the power supplies Dell offered in their performance desktops, despite technically being able to power hungrier components, weren’t enough for their requirements. The public spoke, and Dell listened.

Conclusion
It was mentioned earlier that the original Studio XPS rated so well because it offered exceptional performance for a market-leading price. Despite putting out some quality computers, nothing Dell has offered since then has come close. The Studio XPS 7100, with its AMD-based internals, offered Dell the chance to do it again, and boy did they.

This system offers consumers a very stylish design, a six-core CPU and an extremely potent graphics card. It’s hard to ask for anything more. Whether you’re a gamer, an A/V enthusiast or just a media junkie, Dell’s new AMD-powered XPS 7100 deserves some consideration.

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Six-core CPU, powerful GPU
  • THX-certified sound, Blu-ray drive
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • No TV tuner
  • Wired keyboard and mouse

 


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