Now that Intel has officially released its Core i7 processor, fresh desktops are arriving daily. Dell has released four systems with Core i7 processors, including one mainstream Studio XPS desktop and three gaming rigs. Gateway also announced two FX-series gaming systems. Notably absent is HP, which has yet to announce Core i7 updates to any of its desktops including the Pavilion Elite, HP Blackbird or Voodoo Omen.
The new Core i7s are designed for performance desktops and Intel typically charges a premium for its latest and greatest, so it's surprising to see a wide range of system prices out of the gate. The Dell Studio XPS desktop starts at $950 while Gateway's entry-level gaming system starts at $1,250.
The base configuration of the Studio XPS includes the 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-920, 3GB of DDR3 memory, the ATI Radeon HD 3450 with 256MB, a 500GB hard drive and the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium SP1. During the holidays, Dell is running regular specials (details at www.dell.com/xpsevent) and the new Studio XPS is currently on the list. The press release states that for the next 48 hours Dell is offering the Studio XPS with 4GB of memory and a 20-inch monitor for $1,000, but when I configured the system, it also offered the new 23-inch monitor, the S2309W, for the same price.
Dell's gaming division announced three new systems. At the entry level, the Alienware Area-51 X-58 starts at $1,650 with a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-920, 3GB of DDR3 memory, Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT graphics with 512MB, and a 250GB hard drive. The mid-range Dell XPS 730x adds the faster Core i7, the 2.93GHz i7-940, and has a 500GB hard drive for $2,000. At the top of the line, the Alienware Area-51 ALX X-58 has the Core i7-940, 3GB of memory, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 with 1GB, and a 1TB drive for a whopping $3,700. All three systems come with the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 and are now available for order. Of course, prices on all of these can climb quickly with options such as up to 12GB of memory (6GB on the Dell XPS), both CrossFireX and SLI multi-GPU configurations, dual RAID hard drives, and power supplies up to 1,200 watts.
The Gateway FX6800-01 is another budget gaming box from this division of Acer. The specs are similar to the Alienware Area-51 X-58--2.66GHz Core i7-920 and 3GB of DDR3 memory--but it has a better graphics card (AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512MB) and a larger capacity hard drive (750GB), and at $1,250 it costs $400 less. The high-end Gateway FX6800-05 has the 2.93GHz chip, 6GB of DDR3 memory, ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics with 2GB, and a 1TB hard drive and an 80GB Intel solid-state disk for $3,000. Both include the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, and will be available immediately in retail stores.
A few boutique vendors have also released high-end gaming systems based on the Core i7. CNET.com has also reviewed two of them, the perennial Falcon Northwest Mach V, and the Velocity Micro Edge Z-55.
- Read the Dell Studio XPS Core i7 press release
- Read the Dell Gaming Core i7 press release
- Read the Gateway Core i7 press release