So you want to be dominated, do you? Dirty little puppy. Then short of taping a cat o' nine tails to your DVD slot so that it gently flogs you when it opens and closes, this is definitely the gaming rig for you.

Dell has set a new watermark in imposing aesthetics, and one that sweeps Mount Rushmore and the Colossus of Rhodes clean off the map. It's all in the solid metal construction, and the way it leans forward to tower over you, its front swathed in an unearthly blue glow... make no mistake, this chassis wants you to cower like a dog before it. Like a dog.

Still, won't be everyone's cup of tea, will it? Opinion around here is divided between cool and fugly, depending on who you ask. And looks aren't everything. Like all Dell desktops, the XPS 700 is entirely configurable through the Dell website, so you can make it as pokey - or as pikey - as you like.

The sample unit we received is most of the way to being a honking great game-muncher of a rig - but only most of the way. Sacrificing a bit of power for a more realistic price tag, this Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, 7950GX2 machine still does the business.

But if you want to run games at searing framerates on the bundled panel's massive native res, you would probably want another 7950GX2 in there. Well, ideally you would want a pair of 8800GTXs, but that sort of spec is going to spank your wallet raw.

Pure power

Out of the box, however, the rig performs rather pleasingly. The 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo hits the CPU price sweetspot combining, as it does, that glorious 1,066MHz FSB speed with a massive 4MB L2 cache for pure puissance at a pocket-patting price. And, frankly, it'll pebbledash 99 per cent of the CPUs on the market when it comes to games and frames. Combined with the 7950GX2, it's definitely a sweet little bundle.

But perhaps the top component in the deal is Dell's magnificent 2407FPW - 24-inches and 1920 x 1200 pixels of pure, bright, widescreen joy. Short of forking out more than a grand on the 30-incher, this is the perfect gaming panel, and will make HD content shine like a gem.