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Dell XPS 700   (Source: Dell)
XPS 700 owners to receive free nForce 680i motherboard upgrade

Dell this week began offering motherboard upgrades to owners of XPS 700 and 710 systems. XPS 700 and 710 owners that purchased their systems on or before June 30, 2007 qualify for the upgrade program.

The upgrade kit includes the motherboard from Dell’s latest XPS 720 system. Dell also includes the required front panel I/O assembly, cables, mechanical assemblies, resource CD, owner’s manual, XPS mouse pad and DTS audio upgrade in the kit.

The Dell XPS 720 motherboard features NVIDIA’s nForce 680i SLI MCP chipset. Dell supports NVIDIA SLI, MediaShield and Native Gigabit Ethernet technologies. The motherboard also supports NVIDIA’s Enhanced Performance Profiles, or EPP, memory specification. First Packet and DualNet technologies are not supported.

Dell XPS 700 owners qualify for a free-of-charge upgrade with optional free on-site installation service. XPS 700 owners also receive a discount on Intel’s Core 2 Extreme QX6700 processor from the Dell Electronics & Accessories store. The discount is good for 25% off the current pricing on the Dell Electronics & Accessories store. Dell currently sells the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 for $1,199 – twice as much as a similarly clocked Core 2 Quad Q6700.

Dell XPS 710 owners have the option to purchase the upgrade kit for $250 USD from Dell. On-site installation services are available for a fee, not to exceed $150 USD. XPS 710 owners do not qualify for the 25% Core 2 Extreme QX6700 discount.

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By therealnickdanger on 8/16/2007 4:20:01 PM , Rating: 4
I'm seeing a lot of "what", but why are they doing this? Is there a defect?

RE: Why?
By Anh Huynh on 8/16/2007 4:27:15 PM , Rating: 5
From what I've been able to gather from forum posts, the Dell blog and such, they're offering replacements for XPS 700 owners because the original nForce 590 motherboard was lackluster. Dell used the nForce 590, even though there were reports it was an nForce 4 SLI X16 (not true), but didn't implement all the features.

There was no SLI Memory support, overclocking options were limited and such. It was a terrible enthusiasts offering and Dell is trying to remedy it by offering free motherboard replacements for original XPS 700 owners.

As for XPS 710 owners, its an optional upgrade because the systems didn't have the same problems. Dell is just following through with promises the systems can be upgraded with standard BTX motherboards. Unfortunately for Dell, no one really makes BTX motherboards so they have to offer upgrades themselves.

RE: Why?
By Phynaz on 8/16/2007 6:12:53 PM , Rating: 5
Shouldn't this have been in the article?

RE: Why?
By Polynikes on 8/16/2007 8:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
I pity the foo that buys a gaming rig from Dell.

RE: Why?
By Phynaz on 8/16/2007 8:20:31 PM , Rating: 4

When was the last time your vendor said "you know what, the product we sold you didn't live up to expectations...Here's a free replacement"?

RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 8/16/2007 9:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
That is a great thing top do... Kudo's to Dell. On the other hand, I have to agree buying a gaming rig from Dell (or any OEM for that matter) is not wise. Dell makes great basic PC's for business, and internet/Office apps though.

RE: Why?
By Samus on 8/17/2007 5:30:29 AM , Rating: 1
My DFI Infinity i975/ Core E4400 overclocked to 3.33GHz could smoke any Dell. 5.9 Performance Index [Vista] in ALL categories and my whole system cost <1,200 bucks.

Sure, it has a limited warranty (DFI - 1 year) but after a year, I'll probably replace the motherboard just like Dell's telling everyone too anyway. lolz

RE: Why?
By HotdogIT on 8/17/2007 6:53:16 AM , Rating: 3
You're actually using the Vista Performance Index to show how good your system is? Really? Wow. Impressive.

RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 8/17/2007 9:03:52 AM , Rating: 2
My DFI Infinity i975 (soon to be Lanparty UT P35 T2R) - Core2 E6700 overclocked to 3.33GHz could smoke Dell, or any other OEM computer too. Thats not really a fair comparison though. Comparing DFI, or any other high end mobo to a Dell is like comparing a Corvette to a Camry. They aren't priced the same and aren't geared for the same market. The Camry (Dell) is a basic family car, and does its job well, not going to win any races with it though.

RE: Why?
By Flunk on 8/17/2007 10:40:27 AM , Rating: 2
I'm confused, which is the Camry? Building your own high end computer system is much cheaper than buying of the highly overpriced XPS systems from Dell and it performs better.

This analogy does not make sense.

RE: Why?
By retrospooty on 8/18/2007 11:01:34 AM , Rating: 2
the Dell is a Camry,

Agreed, but most people don't have the skill to build a computer, therefore they buy it. You cant really compare a high end system you build yourself to a mass produced Dell. Somewhere you spent time learning how to build a PC (either by reading/researching, classes, or trial and error).

Also, you made my point. "buying a gaming rig from Dell (or any OEM for that matter) is not wise. Dell makes great basic PC's for business, and internet/Office apps though.

RE: Why?
By afkrotch on 8/21/2007 12:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
You do know that Dell also can provide watercooling for their XPS desktop lineup. Not to mention, you can also overclock them. Your system isn't going to smoke every Dell out there. Let alone every OEM computer. Take Northwest Falcon, Alienware (aka Dell), Voodoo PC, and so on.

Also going from one mobo to another doesn't really offer significant gains. Maybe significant gains in overclocking, but not overall gains in the mobo's performance.

A Dell caters to many markets. They are more like all of Toyota. Providing a Prius, Corolla, Camry, Celica, Supra, Tundra, and so on. Not to mention, providing modified Supras with 1000 hp under the hood.

I can't imagine too many homebuilt PC's beating a Dell XPS with an overclocked QX6850 with dual 8800GTX in SLI and 4 gigs of ram.

RE: Why?
By Polynikes on 8/17/2007 8:02:38 PM , Rating: 2
No, see, what happened was the person who bought that piece of crap gaming rig either was too stupid to notice or was not informed of the crap motherboard they were paying a huge premium for. They never should've payed for the thing in the first place. From what I've read, the XPS 700 could be bought with two graphics cards for SLI, but the chipset wasn't even capable of doing it!

More of an issue is the lack of SLI functionality. Dell currently allows you to spec this system with dual 7900 GTX cards, using the nForce 590 chipset, although it only sent us a system with one board in. We tried to do things manually - by installing a second 7900 GTX and a bridge connector - but found that the NVIDIA driver wouldn't pick up the presence of the second card. Despite the second graphics slot on the motherboard, it appears that SLI is a no-go in this system, at least until Dell hits us with a BIOS update and NVIDIA releases a suitable driver. Given that it offers the option on its page, do the guys at Dell know something that we don't?

Vista OEM?
By pauldovi on 8/16/2007 5:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
Are they going to need new licenses for their OEM Vista?

RE: Vista OEM?
By heyguy on 8/16/2007 6:25:25 PM , Rating: 3
While Dell machines come with XP/Vista keys, if you use Dell installation CDs (which are the exact same as regular Windows discs, as far as I can tell, except for the BIOS check), you're never asked for them - they just work and are valid automatically.

RE: Vista OEM?
By nordicpc on 8/17/2007 9:57:23 AM , Rating: 2
The Dell PC's have special flags in their BIOS's which Microsoft made special versions of Vista for that do not require product keys or activation.

According to Microsoft's OEM Licensing though, you would be required to purchase a new license if you replace the motherboard.

RE: Vista OEM?
By tcsenter on 8/20/2007 3:48:33 AM , Rating: 2
According to Microsoft's OEM Licensing though, you would be required to purchase a new license if you replace the motherboard.
Nope. The OEM license agreement expressly states a new machine/computer is NOT created if the motherboard is replaced due to defect or OEM authorized exchange/replacement. Only when a perfectly good motherboard is upgraded (not replaced) to obtain new enhancements, features, or functionality is a new machine/computer created that would necessitate a new license.

While this particular case does not seem to fall within the literal exception for defect, it does fall within the spirit and intent of the exception. In cases of defect, the motherboard is being replaced to restore lost function or features (i.e. to make whole again). Dell is authorizing the replacement to restore function or features that were promised but never delivered (i.e. to make whole again).

By Haltech on 8/16/2007 8:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
Would Dell get the same motherboard as I can get a Newegg or something or just a BTX version

By Hearse04 on 8/16/2007 8:57:25 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Dell use proprietary motherboards in its XPS systems?

By TomZ on 8/16/2007 10:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
Anh stated above they are BTX - I doubt they're any more non-standard than that.

Too bad BTX never really took off (yet?). Maybe not a revolutionary improvement, but the format is slightly better than ATX.

By Haltech on 8/17/2007 12:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
However, future development of BTX retail products by Intel was canceled in September 2006

The first company to implement BTX was Gateway Inc, followed by Dell

Both from Wikipedia about BTX

EPP Memory
By DotComEddie on 8/16/2007 4:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
The motherboard does not support NVIDIA’s Enhanced Performance Profiles, or EPP, memory specification, First Packet or DualNet technologies.

According to Dell's website, the XPS 720 supports EPP Memory for simplified memory overclocking...


RE: EPP Memory
By Anh Huynh on 8/16/2007 4:45:44 PM , Rating: 3
That's strange, because the checklist shows it as not supporting SLI Ready Memory, which are essentially EPP modules, yet it says it supports EPP. Nevertheless, its fixed.

Asus board?
By CZroe on 8/18/2007 10:25:59 AM , Rating: 2
I can't help but think that this closely parallels the Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus and non-Plus boards. Asus combined essentially an nForce 650i NB chipset with an AMD chip for the extra PCI Express lanes to make the cheaper "Plus" version and claimed that it was feature-identical to the standard 680i-based P5N32-E. In fact, in the comparisons, they said that the "Plus" version based on the 650i chipset was superior because it had solid caps compared to a mixture of solid and electrolytic on the non-Plus 680i model! I've seen 680i boards for significantly less but, as it stood, it was still the cheapest modern Intel SLI board with DTS Connect, so I chose it anyway. Asus' website lists it as something like "nForce Dual X16 SLI" chipset.

It just seems amazingly similar, considering the chipset fiasco, naming, AND the fact that it has DTS Connect.

Anandtech/DailyTech: Could you please report "why" next time so we don't have to hunt or speculate?

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