Whether hard-core games enthusiasts will purchase a high-end gaming PC from Dell is perhaps questionable, given its dominating presence and the fact that it doesn't offer a dual graphics card configuration, courtesy of Nvidia's SLI technology. But if you're looking to blow a serious amount of cash on a new computer, you might think about the Dimension XPS Gen 5. Its capabilities go beyond blowing up baddies.
Most notably, the Dimension XPS Gen 5 features Intel's new dual-core Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 CPU and the 955X Express chipset. While not necessarily built with raw processing power in mind, the new dual-core design gives you stronger multitasking capabilities. You will also see improved performance in multithread applications (software encoded specifically to take advantage of multiple processing streams). You won't find any current games that support multithread processing, but plenty of multimedia applications do (for example Adobe Photoshop CS and Apple iTunes).
As the first system to be announced with both Intel's new dual-core Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 CPUs and Microsoft's Windows Media Centre Edition 2005 operating system, Dell is banking on the new CPU's multithreaded processor giving users a compelling performance with multimedia apps. You don't need a powerful CPU to watch movies, but if you want to encode a video file while streaming a movie out over your home network, the Dimension XPS Gen 5 is able to handle the task.
You won't fall out of your chair when we tell you that the Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 is clocked at 3.2GHz, but enthusiasts will raise an eyebrow when they discover that the chip is the first from Intel in years that can be overclocked. The usual caveats about appropriate cooling and reducing system longevity apply.
Those who demand the most out of their gaming machinery will bemoan the lack of SLI support; these days, support for two graphics cards seems a must for the enthusiast. The Dimension XPS Gen 5 isn't entirely out of the picture, due to the fact that it technically has a pair of PCI Express graphics slots, but until someone comes up with a way around the second slot's bandwidth limitation (one slot runs at the standard PCI Express 16X, the other at 4X), you're currently stuck with one 3D card (although considering that you can get this system with ATI's 256MB Radeon X850 XT card, you could certainly do a lot worse).
Dell won't talk about cost yet, but you can expect a hefty price tag for the most fancy configuration. You may also take issue with the case. We hate to harp on, but we've taken Dell to task before over its cumbersome upended packing case design. As long as the design continues to show up, we're compelled to moan. There are plenty of streamlined cases out there. This design is not one of them.
Lastly, the Dimension XPS Gen 5 won't be available for a while. Dell announced that the system would be launched later this year (that's as specific as the company would get).
As always with new processors, benchmarks will reveal the full story. That Dell is selling this system as a gaming PC and a home entertainment hub makes sense, especially considering the CPU and the lack of support for SLI.