Dell Core i7 Systems Target Gamers

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Computer maker Dell has introduced its first systems based on Intel’s new Core i7 “Nahalem” processor…and, surprising no one, the souped-up desktop systems target gamers and multimedia enthusiasts.

First up, Dell’s Studio XPS Desktop feature Core i7 processors running at 2.66 or 2.93 GHz, from 2 to 6 GB of DDR3 RAM (with support for up to 12 GB), and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista. The Studio XPS Desktop supports two internal drives for up to 1 TB of storage, has Blu-ray and DVD±RW options, gigabit Ethernet, a 19-in-1 memory card reader, and support for 7.1 audio. The system also boasts four USB 2.0 ports, IEEE 1394 and eSATA connectors, 802.11n wireless networking, three PCIe ×1 slots and one PCIe ×x16 slot for graphics, and a selection of ATI Radeon video cards available as options. Prices start at just $949 for a bare-bones unit, but “instant savings” make even fairly tricked out systems (with monitors) land around $1,500.

Gamers, however, will want to check out the XPS 730x desktop, which is available in red, blue and steel designs with Dell’s well-known (if little-loved) X-Panel windowed side panel and Alien FX lighting system. The XPS 730x is available with the full range of Core i7 processors (including the 3.2 GHz Extreme Edition—which, with overclocking, can be pushed as far as 3.73 GHz. The massive tower supports four hard drives as individual units or in RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 configurations, with options for Blu-ray and DVD burners and (of course) heaps of RAM. The system offers three PCIe ×16 slots for graphics cards with ATI and Nvidia graphics available, along with dual gigabit Ethernet and device connectivity via USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, and eSATA. The XPS 730x’s also sports four 5.25-inch optical bays…you know, just in case.

Pricing for the XPS 730x starts at $2,599, but quickly ramps up to almost $5,000 once you start adding must-have options…at least options other than monitors. But for players who absolutely must dominate their games—and their enemies—those are just details.