The Dell Studio XPS 7100 is a capable mainstream desktop, with power to spare for everyday computing and most processor-intensive tasks. It also is a more-than-respectable gaming machine, offering very good gaming performance for the price. Although some configurations of the Dell Studio XPS 7100 start at $500 and up, experts recommend the top-of-the-line configuration, which starts at $900, if you plan on gaming. At this price, you get an AMD Phenom II X6 1045T processor, 6 GB of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive and a 20-inch monitor. Experts also recommend that gamers upgrade to the ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, which raises the price to around $1,200, which is still inexpensive for a gaming desktop. A Blu-ray drive (*Est. $100) also costs extra. Additional options, including faster-still versions of the AMD Phenom II X6 processor, are also available.
Reviewers are floored by the Dell's performance in its high-end configuration. It runs multimedia tasks with ease and posts very good frame rates for gaming. Most modern titles are playable at medium-to-high settings, including "Crysis" and "World in Conflict," which is impressive for a desktop in this price range. One downside to the Dell Studio XPS 7100 is that the desktop has limited upgrade potential compared to dedicated gaming rigs that cost much more. If you want a gaming-oriented desktop that can grow with you, reviewers recommend the CyberPower Gamer Dragon (Discontinued) , which has plenty of space for hard drive, RAM or graphic upgrades.
A number of sources test and evaluate the Dell Studio XPS 7100. The most detailed analysis comes from AnandTech.com, which evaluates the desktop from the perspective of a serious gamer. PCMag.com, CNET and HotHardware.com also have excellent test-based reviews. The reviews at PC World and DesktopReview.com are good complements to the other professional sources, although their analysis is not quite as detailed.
Although AnandTech.com normally focuses on custom-built gaming desktops, Dustin Sklavos gives the Dell Studio XPS 7100 a positive review. Performance is good across the board, he says, but the power supply limits future upgrades.
Review: Good From the Factory? The Dell Studio XPS 7100, Dustin Sklavos, July 7, 2010
The Dell Studio XPS 7100 earns an Editors' Choice award in the mainstream multimedia category from PCMag.com. Joel Santo Domingo says the desktop can also double as an entry-level gaming computer.
Review: Dell Studio XPS 7100, Joel Santo Domingo, July 9, 2010
CNET gives an excellent rating to the Dell Studio XPS 7100. Rich Brown says the Dell desktop is a great value and capable gaming performer. However, he says it's not as easy to upgrade as other gaming desktops.
Review: Dell Studio XPS 7100, Rich Brown, June 11, 2010
The Dell Studio XPS 7100 also earns an Editor's Choice award from DesktopReview.com. Like other reviewers, J.R. Nelson says there is little space for upgrades, but he's floored by the performance of this relatively affordable desktop.
Review: Dell Studio XPS 7100 Review, J.R. Nelson, May 20, 2010
Paul Lilly at HotHardware.com gives the Dell Studio XPS 7100 an Approved award. Lilly likes the "classy" design and says the desktop offers plenty of performance for the price. The biggest downside, however, is the lack of room for upgrades, he says.
Review: Dell 6-Core Studio XPS 7100 Review, Paul Lilly, July 5, 2010
6. PC World
PC World gives the Dell Studio XPS 7100 a 3.5-star rating (out of 5). Nate Ralph tests a slightly upgraded version with an AMD 1055T processor and 1.5 TB hard drive, but he says it offers strong graphics performance and an attractive design. It does have limited upgrade potential, however.
Review: Dell Studio XPS 7100: A Versatile PC in a Pretty Package, Nate Ralph, Aug. 9, 2010