Dell Studio XPS 8000 Review: Performance and Conclusion

September 28, 2009 by J.R. Nelson Reads (71,130)

Performance
Intel has been the undisputed performance king for some time now, and that was only cemented with their release of the Nehalem-based Core i7 microarchitecture last November. Today, they launch their Core i5 platform. The new chips are aimed at a slightly more mainstream audience, and their performance is supposed to reflect that: the processors use a dual-channel RAM configuration to save money, in addition to having hyperthreading disabled. Our review system has a Core i5-750, which should be similar to the Core i7-920.  It doesn’t use the tri-channel memory configuation, though, obviously, and it’s been gimped by Intel since they took hyperthreading off the table for the lower-end CPUs in order to artificially create market stratification.

wPrime benchmark test results:(lower scores equal better performance)

Desktop Score
Alienware Area-51 x58 (Core i7 965 @ 3.2GHz) 7.426s
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 8.835s
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 9.1s
AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz) 9.671s
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750 @ 2.66GHz) 11.717s

PCMark Vantage system benchmark test results: (higher scores equal better performance)

Desktop PCMark Vantage
Alienware Area-51 x58 (Core i7 965 @ 3.2GHz) 11,310 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

AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz)

6,134 PCMarks

Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz)

6,056 PCMarks

3DMark Vantage graphics benchmark test results: (higher scores equal better performance)

Desktop 3DMark Vantage
Alienware Area-51 x58 (Core i7 965 @ 3.2GHz 2 x ATI HD4870X2) p21865
AVA Direct GT3 (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz, ATI HD4850) p9834
Dell Studio XPS 8000 (Core i5 750 @ 2.66GHz, NVIDIA GTX260) p9458
HP Pavilion Elite m9600t (Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz, ATI HD4850) p7815
Dell Studio XPS (Core i7 920, ATI HD4850) p7603

HDTune results:

Dell Studio XPS 8000

Gaming benchmark test results: (higher scores equal better performance)

Game Min framerate Max framerate Average framerate
Bioshock, settings maxed @ 1440×900 91 fps 208 fps 129.497 fps
Bioshock, settings maxed @ 1680×1050 70 fps 174 fps 105.696 fps
Bioshock, settings maxed @ 1920×1080 58 fps 145 fps 99.100 fps
Left 4 Dead, settings maxed @ 1440×900 61 fps 188 fps 129.602 fps
Left 4 Dead, settings maxed @ 1680×1050 70 fps 145 fps 102.870 fps
Left 4 Dead, settings maxed @ 1920×1200 60 fps 128 fps 92.178 fps
Call of Duty: World at War, settings maxed @ 1440×900 48 fps 90 fps 74.909 fps
Call of Duty: World at War, settings maxed @ 1680×1050 44 fps 91 fps 69.432 fps
Call of Duty: World at War, settings maxed @ 1920×1200 42 fps 76 fps 60.158 fps
Batman: Arkham Asylum, settings maxed @ 1440×900 23 fps 36 fps 30.106 fps
Batman: Arkham Asylum, settings maxed @ 1680×1050 16 fps 30 fps 24.466 fps
Batman: Arkham Asylum, settings maxed @ 1920×1200 15 fps 32 fps 21.502 fps

The Studio XPS 8000 sailed through the benchmarks and selected games just fine.  Batman: AA is noticeably low, but we did enable PhysX GPGPU acceleration on the card, which is often recommended for dual graphics card systems.

Power and Noise
As mentioned earlier, the system features Intel’s Core i5-750 (supposedly), which is a 95W quad-core part. You might not expect it to be the most power efficient desktop in the world, and the test results bear that out, to a certain extent. Resting power draw is just under a hundred watts at 92W. That means that if you left it on and idling 24/7, you’d see an increase of close to seven dollars a month tacked on to your electric bill. That’s $84 a year. It’s no worse than most other desktops, especially in this performance bracket, but it does help drive the point home that it literally pays to take advantage of sleep modes. Pushing all of the components as far as we could make them go ran the power draw up to 250 watts. Not too bad, considering it’s using a pretty powerful CPU and GPU, and well under the power supply’s 350 watt rating.

The system itself manages to be surprisingly quiet, at least while idling. There are a total of four fans inside the computer: one for the power supply, one for the video card, one on the CPU heatsink and one to help funnel air out the back of the case. Most of the noise sounds like it’s coming from the heatsink, though; stopping both case fans resulting in a barely detectable drop in the noise levels. The GTX260 does add a fair amount of background noise, even at idle; playing a game obviously pushes that up a bit, at least at times.

Conclusion
Dell has come an awful long way from their boring grey boxes of yore. These days, they have some of the most innovative and attractive desktop cases that mix powerful features with modern design. The Studio XPS 8000 is just the latest in a recent line of stylish computers that really hold their own against the rest of the market. Powered by Intel’s newest processors and an NVIDIA video card with ridiculous amounts of memory, the new system is capable of chewing through just about any task you could ask of it with aplomb. The plastic on the top of the case does feel a little cheap, however, and considering the system’s $1299 price tag, that’s really unfortunate. There are also a few issues regarding fit inside the case, with a big video card blocking at least one important port.

Those are pretty easy to overlook, though, when the system looks as sharp as the 8000. The tray on top is fantastic for charging your iPod or keeping a pocketful of change, and the USB ports on top are a lot more useful than the two sitting in the middle of the front panel. Even though the tray is plastic, it’s sturdy and scratch-resistant. At the end of the day, the Studio XPS 8000 is a solid offering with a great look and some of the latest tech, and who can say no to a combo like that?

Pros

  • Great design
  • Integrated charging tray
  • Blu-ray drive

Cons

  • No wireless
  • Plastic top feels cheap
  • Video card blocks SATA port


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