I finally caved in a purchased a new desktop. For the past year I’ve been using my XPS 15 as a lab machine and my primary day to day workstation. It is definitely much more capable than my XPS 420 but it’s not the bump in performance I was looking for in a lab PC. Since my last couple of machines have been Dells, I really didn’t search around for a machine outside of a Dell. I considered an iMac and MacBook Pro with Ritna but the XPS 15 is comparable to the MBP and I still like the comfort of a full desktop opposed to the iMac. Interesting enough the iMac is capable of holding just as much RAM as the XPS 8500.
The main reason for choosing the 8500 was it’s ability to be upgraded to 32GB of RAM. I’ve said it time and time again that your cpu bottleneck is a virtual environment that will almost always be RAM and/or disk. Understandably, not everyone is going to get this straight away, which is why doing some research could be of assistance. I can promise you that you can buy as much RAM and as fast disk as you can afford and look back and wish you could buy more. So, I also ordered a 256GB OCZ SSD to replace the 2TB 7200 RPM HD as the system drive. The CPU is an Intel i7 3770 running at 3.7 Ghz. Dell didn’t offer the 32GB upgrade so, I had to purchase after market memory. I installed Windows 7 Pro a few nights ago and I’m currently allowing all the 3rd party equipment to burn in before I jump all the way into using this beast.
One note is that I’m not very impressed with the system case. The case on my XPS 420 is really nice with a lever on the top making it a tool free case. The sheet metal of the new case seems thinner and the fastener for the cover is a thumb screw. It seems like a step back in fit and finish.