updated 08:50 am EDT, Tue October 23, 2007
Dell XPS 420
Dell this morning quietly slipped out the XPS 420, its first significant redesign of the mid-range performance tower in more than a year's time. The new model is housed in a glossy black case and is the first Dell computer of any kind to include a Windows Vista Sideshow LCD; the top-mounted screen lets users play music, view photos, and track basic information through gadgets without having to turn on the full system. An optional internal card, dubbed the Xcelerator, also boosts the system's ability to encode video. Using the hardware to re-encode video for an iPod or similar player takes 25 percent less time and offloads as much as 86 percent of the CPU work, according to Dell's estimates.
At $1,499, the stock XPS 420 trim level is designed to be immediately usable with a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, a 256MB Radeon HD 2600 XT video card, and a 20-inch E207WFP display. Buyers can upgrade to a quad-core, 3GHz Core 2 Extreme as well as a Blu-Ray optical drive and a GeForce 8600 GTS for faster 3D performance. Systems can be custom-ordered beginning today but are not expected to ship in stock form until November 20th.