Buy new, or upgrade existing Dell XPS?


Jun 14, 2012
Hi everyone,

Having some issues with my existing Dell STUDIO XPS 435MT, mainly random BSOD seemingly caused by memory and/or GPU RAM issues. (I can pull the error messages if that would be helpful.) But, I'm also thinking an upgrade to a newer, faster, better system might be in order. I am not a gamer, but am a photographer and videographer, and thus run Lightroom, PS CS6, Premiere, and also InDesign and Illustrator, plus the MS Office suite programs regularly. I often have a lot of things going on at once, so am running FF with many tabs, PS, Lightroom, PTGui, etc. simultaneously.

My current system specs, from PC Wizard, are:

<<< System Summary >>>

> Mainboard : Dell 0R849J

> Chipset : Intel X58

> Processor : Intel Core i7 920 @ 2666MHz

> Physical Memory : 6144MB (6 x 1024 DDR3-SDRAM )

> Video Card : ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series

> Hard Disk : ARRAY (640GB)

> Hard Disk : FireWire Disk 001A620290621406 LUN 0 (2199GB)

> Hard Disk : Disk drive (2199GB)

> DVD-Rom Drive : HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GH50N

> Monitor Type : Dell Computer DELL 2408WFP - 24 inches

> Network Card : Intel 82567LF-2 Gigabit Network Connection

> Network Card : Broadcom BCM43XNM 802.11n Network Adapter

> Operating System : Windows 7 Home Premium Home Edition Media Center 6.01.7601 Service Pack 1 (64-bit)

> DirectX : Version 11.00

> Windows Performance Index : 6.8 on 7.9

The systems I'm looking into are a Dell XPS 8500, and an iBuyPower (or other custom build).

On the Dell, here's what I was looking at:
NEW XPS 8500

Module Description
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Professional, 64Bit, English
Processors 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3770 processor 3.40 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.90 GHz
Memory 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs
Keyboard Dell KB213 Wired Multimedia Keyboard
Monitor No Monitor
Video Card AMD Radeon™ HD 7870 2GB GDDR5
Wireless Driver Dell SRV Software 1703
Hard Drive 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s + 256GB SSD SRT Enhancement
Chassis XPS 8500, White Chassis w/19:1 media card reader
Mouse Dell Laser Mouse
Network Card Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Adobe Reader Adobe® Acrobat® X Reader Multi-Language
Optical Drive 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW), write to CD/DVD
Sound Integrated 7.1 with WAVE MAXXAudio 4
Speakers No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
Wireless Dell Wireless 1703 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0+LE

TOTAL: $1,869.99

And, the iBuyPower system I just configured is:
Case 1 x Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Gaming Case-Black
iBUYPOWER Labs - Noise Reduction 1 x Basic - iBUYPOWER Harmony SRS Sound Reduction System-Reduce System Noise
iBUYPOWER Labs - Internal Expansion 1 x iBUYPOWER Internal USB Expansion System + Bluetooth Module
Processor 1 x Intel® Core™ i7 3820 Processor (4x 3.60GHz/10MB L3 Cache)-Intel Core i7 3820 w/ Intel Performance Tuning Protection
iBUYPOWER PowerDrive 1 x PowerDrive Level 2 - Up to 20% Overclocking
Processor Cooling 1 x Liquid CPU Cooling System [SOCKET-2011]-ARC Dual Silent High Performance Fan Upgrade (Push-Pull Airflow)
Memory 1 x 32 GB [4 GB X8] DDR3-1600 Memory Module-Kingston HyperX
Video Card 1 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 - 2GB-Single Card
Video Card Brand 1 x Major Brand Powered by AMD or NVIDIA
Motherboard 1 x [3-Way SLI] ASRock Extreme9 -- 5x PCI-E x16, 8x SATA 6Gb/s, 4x USB 3.0
Power Supply 1 x 700 Watt - Standard
Primary Hard Drive 1 x 120 GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD-Single Drive
Data Hard Drive 1 x 1 TB HARD DRIVE -- 32M Cache, 7200 RPM, 6.0Gb/s-Single Drive**Free Upgrade to 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s Single Drive**
Optical Drive 1 x 24X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive-Black
Sound Card 1 x Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SE
Network Card 1 x Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100)
Operating System 1 x Microsoft Windows 7 Professional + Office Starter 2010 (Includes basic versions of Word and Excel)-64-bit
Monitor None

Subtotal $2,149.00

So, my first question is: Could I make some changes/upgrades to my existing Dell to squeeze some more time out of it? And, if so, what would those be?

Second, if the first is not doable or worthwhile, is the above mentioned Dell a good buy, or would the iBuyPower or another custom vendor PC be better? (I lean toward the Dell mainly because of their easy financing and the ability to not dump a couple grand all at once, and I've had reasonable luck with my last 2 Dell desktops.)

Any thoughts you might have would be great, and much appreciated.


Jake Norton

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