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When Dell took over Alienware in 2006, there was much speculation as to what would happen to Dell's XPS gaming range, and some relief when it appeared they would peacefully coexist. Recently, however, that future looked unsure, with rumours of the Dell XPS range's demise. Thankfully, these rumours were greatly exaggerated. I say thankfully not because Alienware's gaming PCs are bad, but because having the XPS range alongside them affords the customer more choice - and surely that can't be a bad thing.
Especially since the target customer group in this case is gamers, and gamers like their individuality. They're basically the reason PCs are no longer boring beige boxes, as at some point the industry in general copped on to the fact that people were investing large amounts of time and money on prettying them up, and decided to do it for them - at a premium, of course.
Dell, being the second-largest PC manufacturer in the world, has obviously got in on this action, offering custom looks across its entire XPS desktop and laptop range. And though personally I've not always found Dell's XPS desktop designs the most attractive, I must admit its current case line-up (420, 630 and the high-end 730) is rather gorgeous. What we have before us today is a 630, falling between Dell's budget and extreme lines. The 630 is quite attractive, despite lacking features like the LCD panel, front mounted video ports and rubberised recess that are found on its lower spec sibling, the XPS 420.
But before getting onto the case, let's first examine what you get. The core specifications are impressive, comprising a 2.4GHz Intel Quad Core QX6600, dual nVidia GeForce 8800GTs running in SLI, 2GB of RAM, twin 500GB hard drives striped in RAID 0 and a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer soundcard.
In the box you'll also find a full user manual in English, multi-lingual electronic safety instructions, and a full-colour quick-start guide. All of these are contained in a lovely leather XPS folder with pockets for 16 DVDs, two Velcro cable ties and a textured XPS cleaning cloth. You also get Roxio Creator DE 10.1, Microsoft Works 9, an OS re-installation disc, Dell drivers and utilities, and the SoundBlaster X-Fi CD.