Dell sock it to the competition
Competition rocks, well as long as you believe you can win right? We believe that the high end system builders were more than happy with Dell’s attempts to bring a gaming system to the market. Well it would appear that Dell have "scooped" the entire high end gaming system integrators with the showing of the Dell XPS Renegade 600. NVIDIA have always been very distinct in regards that SLi will scale to more than just 2 GPUs. It is good to see a solution on the market (or soon to be).
Dell are big and scary and its more than clear that it has been a case of the dad dancing at the son's party, with previous XPS systems not delivering anything sensible to this gaming or performance market; some even touted them as mutton dressed as lamb and, to be fair, I am inclined to believe them. However, around 18 months ago we saw Dell launch the XPS Gen2 notebook which brought NVIDIA 6 series graphics and Pentium-M to the market. This marked the beginning of a new era giving a solution which enthusiasts wanted.
With Dell delivering this system they are not only showing their size and influence in the market but they have raised the bar and made it harder for the high end system builders, such as Alienware, VoodooPC and Velocity Micro, who were less than impressed with the fact this had launched with Dell. When we spoke to NVIDIA they acknowledged that there were a number of reasons but mainly down to the fact it was a large financial investment from both parties.
Each system comes with a custom paint job, which is done by hand and rumored to cost over $1,200 per system. We are confused over the reasoning behind Dell using their "cheap" current Dimension 8000 and XPS chassis. If anyone was going to spend nearly $10,000 on a system then it’d be reasonable to expect an aluminum chassis not a cheap plastic one.
One thing which we also found interesting was the inclusion of branded performance RAM from CORSAIR; in the form of their Pro series ram… we don’t remember seeing branded memory within a Dell solution before. If this is the case and Dell start to ship systems for gamers with CORSAIR ram this would be a big coup for the memory guys too.
When SLI launched there was a lack performance across the board but over time there have been various tweaks and improvements in support and drivers, giving users the performance we see now. We have some reserves about the performance scaling on a 2+ GPU solution, and it may take time for a multi GPU solution to have the driver and gaming support needed to deliver the extra power the system is theoretically capable of.