Another plastic cowling sits over the two hard disks. Each is a 250GB Western Digital but these have been set up a single striped array of 465.66GB capacity and logically partitioned into a C and and F drive, with the letters in between taken up by the card reader. The C drive is 445GB in size, with the F drive containing recovery image files.
Another unique feature of the Dell is that the power supply is integrated into a completely separate section in the base of the PC, with two small fans at the rear. This means that your power cable is attached at the bottom rather than the top, which does make things neater.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this massive machine is that it’s surprisingly quiet. Though there’s a raft of fans, all of them are large and low speed, reducing noise, while the bulk of the chassis and the cowlings ensure that you won’t be deafened while trying to play your favourite game. This is of real importance as whatever its spec, if your system is too noisy, you won’t enjoy using it.
The keyboard and mouse are also important for working on. The ones supplied with Dell don’t look as if they’re from a system that costs well over two grand. The mouse is a rather bog standard optical job, but the keyboard was actually perfectly comfortable to type on with a pleasing amount of travel in the keys, and some nifty media controls including a volume wheel.
Inevitably, the CPU is from Intel. While Dell’s hand was forced into using a non Intel motherboard chipset by its wish to move to SLI it is still keeping safe with Intel CPUs. The processor used here is a Pentium D 840, a dual-core CPU running at 3.2GHz. There’s a healthy 2GB of RAM, but this is split over four DIMMs so you can’t increase it without replacing what’s there. 2GB should be enough for a good while though.
For the Gen 5 review, Dell made the mistake of supplying a too small 17in LCD display. This time it’s the box only, though with SLI an ideal screen would be Dell’s 24in behemoth with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. If you’re interested, don’t go to Dell as Overclockers has got it for much less.
When it came to testing this machine, things did not go smoothly. The biggest issue was that Steam simply refused to finish updating – it would hit 100 per cent and then start again, relentlessly. It turns out that this was a problem with nVidia’s drivers and took a registry hack to fix. However, when we updated to newer drivers the problem came back again, hence the lack of Day of Defeat performance scores.