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Dell Dimension XPS 710 H2C review

The PC we're afraid to be left alone with...

Our Verdict

A true monster of a system, designed only for the minted and/or clinically insane gamer


  • About as mighty as they come

    Icy-cool factory overclock


  • Panic-inducing price

    Dodgy software overload

We're still recovering from the battering to our self-esteem that the last XPC gave us. Its steely goliath of a case is designed to humble, to make a man feel like a boy. Last time around, though, it was a bit of a nine-stone weakling wearing a muscle suit, its innards not quite living up to the love-it-or-hate-it brawn of its outer shell.

A quick glance at the core spec of its follow-up, though, reveals a system that's as good as it gets for gaming - the latest Intel Core 2 Quad overclocked from 2.66 to 3.2GHz, and a pair of GeForce 8800 GTXes providing graphics juice by the gallon.

The benchmarks tell a proud tale - over 14,500 3D Marks at 1280 x 1024, with only a slight drop to 12,000 at 2560 x 1600, and a healthy average of 101fps with everything maxed out in Company of Heroes at that latter monster pixel count.

Most telling is the direct result of that 2 to the CPU's multiplier overclock. At the chip's default clockspeed, it's over a minute slower at calculating Pi to 16 million places in SuperPi than it is at 3.2Ghz.

The factory overclock, perfectly stable throughout our tests, is possible due to a massive custom liquid, fan and Peltier hybrid cooling unit bolted onto the CPU. It's effective enough that none of the cores pipped over 53 degrees whilst taxed to the max with CPU Burn-in.

Given the size of the cooler, the bespoke internal constructs designed to hold everything neatly in place (and thus make upgrades a nightmare) and the price of the XPC, it's a bit of a slap in the face that graphics cards don't benefit from this slick heat-slayer too.

Still, it's an awesome offering, blighted by the twin forces of a raft of crap Dell software and an excessive price (our review spec clocks in at around £3,500).

Whether it's one you're happy to pay depends greatly on your feelings about the styling. It's imposing, but a manly metal rather than flimsy plastic front plate and a window to show off that mighty cooler wouldn't have gone astray.