Dell XPS 730 H2C Performance Gaming System

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Dell's XPS branded products have come a long way since they first appeared in 1993. Starting life as a performance trim for the Dimension product line, Dell has nurtured XPS into a well-known and respected premium performance brand. While not all XPS branded products are specifically targeted at gamers, gaming has always been at the core of the product line-up. The XPS brand's flagship desktop and notebook products have always been heavily gaming oriented, but it looks like that is set to change.

The XPS 730 is Dell's latest XPS flagship desktop product, the fourth generation of the XPS 700 series, and it may be the last. Or at least the last XPS flagship product as we currently know them; large, aggressively styled behemoths sporting the latest hardware and adorned with colorful LED lighting. A week after the XPS 730 was launched, news regarding the demise of XPS as a gaming brand began to circulate. Since its acquisition of Alienware in the summer of 2006, Dell has effectively been operating two separate gaming brands with directly competing products. It was speculated that some changes, possibly in the form of consolidation of the two brands, would eventually be in order. It is now fairly clear that Dell is to focus on Alienware as its premier gaming brand in the future.

While Dell has only now acknowledged that the XPS brand will give way to Alienware as Dell's premier gaming brand, there have been numerous signs that such a move was in the works. Since Dell brought Alienware into the fold, they have been busy introducing new, non gaming oriented products to both the XPS desktop and notebook line-ups. Starting with the XPS M1330 notebook and its derivatives and then the XPS 420 desktop, Dell is busy converting XPS into a premium multimedia brand. While the XPS brand of the future may still include gaming systems, they will not be the high-end flagship systems of today.

So it is with a slight bit of regret that we begin our review of the XPS 730 H2C, possibly the most exciting and last generation of the flagship XPS 700 series.

Dell XPS 730 H2C
System Specifications - As Reviewed
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 (3.2GHz @ 3.8GHz,6M L2 Cache,1600MHz FSB)

Operating System
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium

2GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHZ OC to 1600MHz

Graphics Card
Dual 1024MB ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 (Quad-Crossfire)

NVIDIA nforce 790i Ultra SLI
 - Supports ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 in four way Crossfire or NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 in quad SLI
 - Standard ATX Form-Factor

H2C 2-stage Hybrid Cooled CPU and MCP

Dual Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000Base-T)


Creative Xi-Fi XtremeGamer
Integrated 7.1 Audio (disabled by default)

Hard Drive
2x160GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000RPM SATA Hard Drive (programs and OS)
1x1000GB Hitachi 7,200 RPM SATA Hard Drive (data)

Optical Drive
16x CD/DVD Burner (DVD +/- RW) w/ Double Layer Write

Expansion Slots
2 x PCIe x16 Gen2 slot
1 x PCIe x16 slot
2 x PCIe x1 slot
2 x PCI slot

External Ports
8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 4 rear)
2 x 1394a Firewire port (1 front, 1 rear)
2 x RJ45 Ethernet (
) port
1 x eSATA
1 x PS/2 Mouse Port
1 x PS/2 Keyboard Port
1 x 19-in-1 card reader (front media-bay)
1 x 1/8" headphone port (front)
1 x 1/8" stereo line-in (microphone) port
1 x S/PDIF Optical
1 x S/PDIF Coaxial
1 x 1/8" surround sound outputs
Dell XPS 730 ATX Aluminum Chassis
 - ESA Compliant
 - 4 x 3.5" Internal Bays
 - 2 x 3.5" External Bays
 - 4 x 5.25" External Bays

Color Option
Anodized Aluminum in Victory Red

Power Supply
1000W Power Supply
 - EPA Compliant
 - 80+ Certified

Physical Dimensions

Width: 21.9 cm (8.6 inches) without stand; 35.6 cm
(14.0 inches) with stand

Height: 55.5 cm (21.9 inches) without stand; 57.2 cm
(22.5 inches) with stand
Depth: 59.4 cm (23.4 inches)
Weight: 21.7 kg (47.8 lb) typical configuration, 25.6 kg (56.4 lb) maximum configuration

Included Accessories and Extras
DVI to VGA Adapter
Recovery DVD
Norton™ Internet Security 2007 or McAfee SecurityCenter (15-months)
FREE Turtle Beach Ear Force HPA2 6-channel Headphones
FREE Dell XPS Mouse Pad
FREE Dell XPS Beanie Cap
FREE Dell XPS 2-in-1 Pen & Laser Pointer
FREE Dell XPS Tool Kit
FREE System Recycling (recycle your old system with Dell)

Warranty And Support
1-year In-Home Service (upgradeable to 4 years)
1-year Parts and Labor (upgradeable to 4 years)
1-year 3GB DataSafe Online Backup (capacity upgradeable)
24x7 Online and Phone Support
Optional CompleteCare Accidental Damage Protection

Price: $6,629.00 USD (as configured here)


As we saw in our unboxing and preview article, the XPS 730 H2C is possibly the most well-specified XPS desktop ever. It is powered by the latest dual and quad-core Intel processors cooled by a redesigned H2C hybrid TEC-assisted water cooling system and complete with a warranty that has room for processor and memory overclocking. Not to mention the graphics performance afforded by Quad-GPU graphics setups from both ATI and NVIDIA (although at this time the Quad-SLI option is not yet available). All of this is built on NVIDIA's top-end nForce 790i Ultra SLI platform in the form of a fully-ATX compliant motherboard, unlike all other XPS 700 series machines which used BTX designs. Other features new to the XPS 700 series like a fully ESA compliant chassis design round out the package.

One of the XPS 730's most interesting new features is the motherboard's support for both Crossfire and SLI. The nForce 790i Ultra SLI based motherboard under the hood of the XPS 730 will be able to support both multi-GPU technologies, making it compatible with basically every single graphics configuration currently available. While Dell is not the first manufacturer to pull this off (Voodoo PC has offered this on several systems in the past), it is certainly still a novelty.

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rapid1 6 years ago

Very good deal for an off the shelf computer, Heck very good performance for any current tech computer. Great job dell I love the cooling system but wonder if this thing would perform better with 3 3870 OC's a gig and a half of ddr4 should perform better than 2 gigs of ddr3 should it not? Of course you' lose a GPU to but from what I've seen benchmark wise 3 of the ATI or NVIDIA card generally outperform 4 for some odd reason. The memory is the only thing I can think of unless it's threading and the increased bandwidth of a ddr4 bus related to that of a ddr3 bus on the component.

entermymatrix03 6 years ago
I thought Dell was waiving bye-bye to the XPS systems...
MikeL_HH 6 years ago
They are... just not right away like the original WSJ article suggested. All current products get to have a full product life but there will be no new high-end gaming oriented XPS machines from now on.
squid267 6 years ago
I hope these are engineered by Alienware and don't cost ridiculously.
ice_73 6 years ago

 i could of sworn dell h2c used coolit... (maybe they used to) glad to see they arent coolit tends to be hit and miss (my fan on my unit sometimes wont start up... not too big of a problem just annoying to have to check it at start up... once its up its good! )

edit- seems that the problem was the wiring... they looped the molex... (hoping that i fixed the problem by puting in an extra molex... hoping...) 

LaMpiR 6 years ago

 Only regret that they use 3870X2 instead of 9800GX2 :)

Nice system. Did any of you noticed how Alienware's quality dropped like year ago? They use to have first the newest hardware and everything maxed out. Now, you have to wait like two months to see latest tehnology...

MikeL_HH 6 years ago
Actually, 9800GX2's are on the way and eventually it will be an option for the XPS 730. Dell s still not done rolling out the full line-up yet.

Sure, Alienware used to allow you to order the latest stuff almost right after it comes out, but you had to wait like a year for your order to ship.
ice_73 6 years ago

 alienware quality dropped before that when they used bloat ware with their systems and got those UGLY cases. ohh and i remember alienware holding back systems for reviewers unless they were "gauranteed" a favorable review.

alienware sucks. xps is good bang for buck (in high end imo) smoothcreations/voodoo/falcon northwest for premiums! 

amdcrankitup 6 years ago

[quote user="ice_73"] xps is good bang for buck [/quote]


Honestly back a couple years ago I never expected Dell to get into the high end market.

ice_73 6 years ago

[quote user="amdcrankitup"]

[quote user="ice_73"] xps is good bang for buck [/quote]


Honestly back a couple years ago I never expected Dell to get into the high end market.

dell was in the high end market a few years ago, in fact i think they started the xps line in 1993, but lately they went full out on what enthusiasts want. the case looks good, price is.... decent.... and the hardware is amazing.
amdcrankitup 6 years ago

Well I guess what I was getting at that now they are geared more to the enthusiasts! Never thought I see them put out a Modded case with hardware also geared for upper end Gaming!

SqUiD267 6 years ago
Dell needs more customers, appealing to the high end percentage of pc owners is a good tactic.
Crisis Causer 6 years ago

 [quote user="SqUiD267"]Dell needs more customers, appealing to the high end percentage of pc owners is a good tactic.

Hmm, I dunno about that.  High end enthusiasts are more likely to build their own, I think.  Plus there can't be that many high end people compared to most of the market.

horseshoe7 6 years ago

We actually bought an XPS 710 at my work, to use as a flight simulator visualization PC.  This was because we had to buy Dells thru our MIS department, and it was the only way to get a decent graphics card in a Dell PC at the time.

It looks like they fixed the power button on the XPS 730... On the XPS 700/710, if you pushed the power button IN, it would bust off, and fall inside the front panel!  The "button" was actually part of an elaborate lever contraption, which actuated to a small button on an overly complicated circuit board(which also drove all the "cool LEDs") that was mounted higher up behind the front panel assembly... you had to PULL the button UP, not push it in...this was not obvious to ANYBODY.  Really bad design.

The other stupid thing is the locking mechanism... it uses the puny Kensington laptop style locking mechanism, instead of a big loop that would allow a simple padlock... it is easily defeatable by cracking the plastic lip coming off the side cover.   At least the computer is so huge that thieving punks won't be able to carry the box down the street without being noticed.

- Stewart Teaze

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