Difference between the XPS 420 and 720?

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Difference between the XPS 420 and 720?

  • Hi everyone. I've been thinking about getting a new PC for a little while, especially for gaming, so I've been playing around with the customizations for the XPS 720.

    But just for fun I tried the 420, and it turns out that I can actually get a better computer for less money! Now, of course I know there are some differences between the systems, but I'm hoping you guys can explain it better to me. Is there any reason to go with the 720 anyway? I don't need an extreme gaming system, just something with a 512MB graphics card would be good. Here's what I came up with for each system:

    XPS 420:

    PROCESSOR Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E6850 (4MB L2 Cache,3.0GHz,1333 FSB)
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Premium
    MEMORY 3GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 4 DIMMs
    HARD DRIVE 320GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
    OPTICAL DRIVE Dual Drives: 48x Combo + 16x DVD+/-RW w/ dbl layer write capable MONITORS 22 inch E228WFP Widescreen Digital Flat Panel
    VIDEO CARD 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT
    SOUND CARD Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music
    BLUETOOTH AND MEDIA READER Dell 19 in 1 Media Reader with Bluetooth
    KEYBOARD Dell USB Keyboard
    MOUSE Dell Optical USB Mouse
    WI-FI AND MODEM 56K PCI Data Fax Modem

    $1990
    --------------------------------------------------

    XPS 720:

    PROCESSOR Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E6850 (4MB L2 Cache,3.0GHz,1333 FSB)
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
    MEMORY 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 2 DIMMs
    HARD DRIVE 320GB - Seagate 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
    OPTICAL DRIVE Single Drive: 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/double layer write capability
    MONITOR 20 inch SP2008WFP Widescreen Digital Flat Panel w/ Webcam
    VIDEO CARD 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT
    SOUND CARD Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ XtremeGamer (D) Sound Card
    KEYBOARD Dell USB Keyboard
    MOUSE Dell Optical USB Mouse edit FLOPPY
    MEDIA READER No Floppy Drive or Media Reader Included
    MODEM No Modem Requested

    $2315
    ----------------------------

    Are there other things I should be considering when I choose between the 420 and the 720, other than these things?

    (The difference in RAM is one thing that really amazes me!)

    Thanks, John

    Message Edited by JohnJSal on 11-29-2007 04:21 PM

    Message Edited by JohnJSal on 11-29-2007 04:22 PM
  • The 420 is a midling system that will give you good performance. The 720 is designed to accommodate just about anything you want to throw at it. It (the 720) has a larger power supply, can support SLI (two graphics cards at once), more hard drives, more of pretty much everything. I chose the 420 because of price and the fact that the 8800 GT cards are more than sufficient to play what I want.

    EDIT: I cannot find an image showing the 420 and 720 side by side. The size differential is significant.

    Message Edited by ckoharik on 11-29-2007 02:24 PM
  • I just did a quick check of the dimensions. The 720 seems *enormous*!!!!
  • Pretty much anything that you can get on the 420 you can get on the 720 plus more. I don't know the exact specs on either system, but the 720, which is designed for heavier gaming should have a better motherboard, more geared towards gaming. Also, like was said above, it has a bigger power supply for dual video cards and future expansion.
    The 420 is designed mostly for multimedia and light gaming. Personally I would go for the few extra $$$ and get the 720. Remember what your parents told you, you get what you pay for :)


    Message Edited by thomasp94 on 11-29-2007 03:40 PM
  • Also remember that if you want to add another 5,25 drive it has to be SATA. There is no IDE support on the 420. The 720 also has a MUCH better power supply and motherboard. You also have two PCIe X16, 1 PCIe x1, 1 PCIe X8, can support 8GB ram, 3 PCI slots, and a 750 power supply. The 420 has 4GB max, 1 PCIe X16, 1 PCIe x1, 1 PCIe X8, 3 PCI, and a 375 power supply.

  • bodybrdng wrote: Also remember that if you want to add another 5,25 drive it has to be SATA. There is no IDE support on the 420. The 720 also has a MUCH better power supply and motherboard. You also have two PCIe X16, 1 PCIe x1, 1 PCIe X8, can support 8GB ram, 3 PCI slots, and a 750 power supply. The 420 has 4GB max, 1 PCIe X16, 1 PCIe x1, 1 PCIe X8, 3 PCI, and a 375 power supply.


    According to the 420's owner manual:
    Your computer supports a maximum of 8 GB of memory when you use four 2-GB DIMMs.


    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/xps420/en/OM/HTML/parts.htm#wp1462641

    Also, there are two different power supplies available to the 420 depending upon which base model you chose. The entry level has the 375 watt unit and the top tier has a 425 watt. The 425 watt is recommended by Dell if you plan on having any video card that requires more than 75 watts of power during peak operation. Either default unit can be easily replaced later on by a standard ATX power supply for not a lot of dough. Based upon what I have seen of the diagrams, the 720 also has more cooling capacity. Again, if you plan on being a power gamer and want tons of components, go with the 720. If you are a modest gamer and want to save some dough, go with the 420.

    Message Edited by ckoharik on 11-29-2007 03:11 PM
  • The 420 has a more modern (and IMO superior) chipset, the Intel X38 vs. the nvidia 680 in the 720.  The really key point is, the 420 should accomodate the new Intel Yorkfield processors if you want to upgrade next year when they become available at reasonable prices.  (In fact it has been posted elsewhere that Dell already released a bios update for this, but you should confirm that before buying.)
     
    The 720 does not support Yorkfield and so is a very close to being an "end of life" system.
  • According to the Dell website http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/xpsdt_420?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&~tab=bundlestab Click on tech specs and scroll down to memory and its states "Minimum 1 GB (2 512 MB DIMMs), Maximum 4 GB"
  • Understood. That is why I linked to the system manual. Once my system actually arrives I will be able to test the 4GB+ to see if it is true.
  • I know this is probably more of a personal decision, but what exactly would you say constitutes modest gaming or power gaming? Specifically, I want to play a game like Oblivion, which requires some higher end stuff, but nothing that the 420 can't provide (and more so). I'm not really a big gamer in the sense of buying specialized hardware like gaming keyboards, mice, headsets, joysticks, etc. I play games often, and most of them have modest requirements. Only a few have higher end requirements, so that's why I'm thinking the 420 might be enough even for that.
  • Modest would be playing Oblivion at 1600x1200 with just a few graphics mods. Power gaming would be running it at 1920x1200 with the extreme sight distance mods.
  • As far as the power supply goes, what would be the difference in getting the lower 420 power supply or the higher 720 power supply? What exactly does it mean the 420 can or can't do in comparison?
  • There are several reasons for the "larger" power supply, but the main reason is for multiple graphic cards. Remember the 720 supports multiple vid cards, graphics accelerator, and other cards. Add in multiple hard drives etc and the power requirements climb....
     
    FWIW, I was comparing these two systems myself and opted for the 420 due to my usage, size of the tower, and $$. I play games, but not any of the newest rts or fps that might require very fast frame rates....

    XPS 420 with Vista Ultimate 64-bit - Q6700 - 8 GB 800 MHZ Mushkin RAM - 2 500 GB Samsung - 425 Watt PSU

    Nvidia 8800gt - 24" Gateway LCD

  • How has the gaming experience been for you? Do you play anything that is fairly system-heavy?

    Also, if I can ask, how big is your monitor? Does it display games well?
    1. haven't received it yet.
    2. the most demanding games I play are Heroes of Might and Magic V and Oblivion. They were fine for me on my older system with a 256 MB graphic card.
    3. I opted for the 22 inch WS monittor. The reason I opted for the 22 is that I share the monitor between my personal pc and work laptop -- (I work at home). The additional real estate of the 22 inch monitor will make work easier for me....
    4. I was tempted to get the system without monitor -- I love my Sony SDM-HS95P 19 inch LCD. It is a fantastic display. However, a display on a different PC is failing and needs replacing ...

    XPS 420 with Vista Ultimate 64-bit - Q6700 - 8 GB 800 MHZ Mushkin RAM - 2 500 GB Samsung - 425 Watt PSU

    Nvidia 8800gt - 24" Gateway LCD