Dell XPS 8500 - review of configuration requested (incl. graphics card selection)

I'm somewhat of a novice, but am needing a new computer since my Gateway FX530XV died recently. Based on some research, I'm targeting the Dell XPS 8500. I've tenatively selected a customized configuration, although am nervous that I don't know what I'm doing; specifically, I have some question about the overall setup and the suitability of the graphics card.

Basic details are as follows:

- BUDGET: less than ~$1500 total expense (incl. tax, etc.), preferrably under $1250 or so
- MAIN USE: home office applications, Excel, 3D modeling (Rhinoceros 3D), AutoCAD, occasional games, music, photo and video editing as a personal hobby. I'd like a 2TB hard drive (lots of video, family pictures, etc.). Humbly speaking, I generally like fairly fast systems.

I'm thinking of the following from Dell:

- XPS 8500 running Windows 7 Home Premium, 64Bit
- Processor: 3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3770 processor (up to 3.90 GHz)
- Memory: 12GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs
- Hard drive: 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s + 256GB SSD
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 620 1GB DDR3
- Optical drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW), write to CD/DVD
- Sound: Integrated 7.1 with WAVE MAXXAudio 4

The above system would cost about $1300 all told, which I could be okay with. My main hesitation is with the graphics card. I'm considering going ahead with the above order and having a better graphics card installed by my local computer shop if issues present themselves during future use. I was pretty happy with my current computer (before it died), although things seemed to bog down a bit with larger Rhinoceros files (3D modeling); my current computer, a Gateway FX530XV, has the following specifications:

- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (2.40GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB cache)
- Memory: 4096MB 667MHz Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM (4-1024MB modules)
- Hard Drive 1000GB 7200rpm Serial ATA II/300 hard drive w/ 16MB cache & Raid 0 (2-500GB hard drives)
- Optical Drive: 16x Double-Layer Multi-Format DVD Writer DVD±/R±RW/CD-R/RW
Video
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTS w/ 320MB, Dual DVI-I Dual link TV Out (Factory Overclocked) w/ VGA
adapter
- Sound: Sound Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI Sound Card

I'm hoping for some feedback about the new system I've selected so as to avoid mis-matched components, and so as to avoid graphics capabilities that will be a bottle-neck to the overall system. I'd also appreciate feedback as to how the new system would compare with the computer I'm replacing.

Many thanks for your feedback! I hope to be knowledgable enough to be able to offer my own feedback some day.


Best regards,

Tristan
5 answers Last reply
More about dell xps 8500 review configuration requested incl graphics card selection
  1. What do you hope to do with this computer? If it is gaming, you will not have a good experience with the selected graphics card.

    If it is not gaming, you can save A LOT of money by getting a less powerful computer.
  2. I have the XPS 8500 and it's running like a champ. The graphics card was pretty meager (Nvidia 640 I believe). I threw in a mSata SSD (Crucial M4) and a Gigabyte 660 TI OC graphics card. Running like a champ.
  3. tigerg said:
    What do you hope to do with this computer? If it is gaming, you will not have a good experience with the selected graphics card.

    If it is not gaming, you can save A LOT of money by getting a less powerful computer.


    Definitely agree. Gaming wise at it's current set up, isn't a great deal.
    Processing wise? It's fantastic. A TAD bit overkill though :P
  4. Thanks for the responses! I'm not a 'hard core' gamer, and actually only own 1 game at present (Flat Out 2), but I like the idea of being able to get more into gaming. However, my most demanding primary use for the time being will be running engineering-related software, including finite element analysis software, 3D modeling using Rhinoceros 3D, AutoCAD, and very large Excel spreadsheets. I wanted the processing power mainly for the finite element work, and figured since the machine would therefore be pretty powerful, why not have a graphics card that would be on par with the rest of the system. That's when I began to question the GT620 card. Is it a simple matter to pop in a new, better card? If so, what would I be looking for that would cost, say, less than $250 or so?
  5. By the way, digitial photography is also a big hobby, so I'd like to be able to process/edit large image files (Photoshop, etc.). And I've been meaning to organize/edit several hundred GB of family video...that's on the eventual 'to do' list. I imagine that the graphics card could be a critical consideration for these uses as well? Any feedback as to what graphics card would be appropriate would be much appreciated, and also other tweaks to the system. I'm not looking for extreme overkill, but do tend toward that direction. Many thanks for any advice that you could offer!
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