It must be nice being Dell.

While other manufacturers are at the mercy of various component manufacturers, Dell sidesteps the problem by commissioning its own unique parts.

With the current shortage of Core i7 motherboards, that's a distinct advantage.

It means Dell's been able to put together this stylish mini-tower system without compromising on power or flexibility.

It may be compact, but it still has six memory slots and can therefore run 6GB of DDR3 memory at full pelt in triple-channel mode without the need to resort to expensive 2GB sticks.

The Studio XPS also accepts full-sized video cards, in this case a moderately powerful Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT. Factor in a pair of 500GB hard disks and, of course, the Core i7 920 processor, and you have a very effective system.

The built-in digital TV tuner and Media Center remote add to the overall polish and functionality.

However, thanks to a weedy 350 Watt power supply and proprietary internals, Studio isn't so upgrade friendly.