My Holiday Gift: Dell XPS 420

December 20th, 2007

FedEx delivered my shiny new XPS 420 yesterday and I was very happy to receive it right before Christmas.  My XPS 420 came with a Intel Q6600 quad-core CPU hosted on a Intel X38 based motherboard, plenty of USB ports, two 1394a ports, five sound jacks, SPDIF, and a surprise eSATA port.  Dell also included a card reader with bluetooth receiver and a little LCD screen called Windows SideShow.

The installation was piece of cake and I lighted it up almost instantly.  My first impression regarding this machine was: OMG this machine is HORRIBLY SLOW! How much crap ware did they install on it?  Well, not much.  Google Desktop, Norton Internet Security 2007, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Roxio CD burning software, and that’s it.  I wondered that Google Desktop was dragging too much CPU and I/O resource because the system booted faster after  its removal.

If you did not order two hard drives as RAID, then the default BIOS settings prohibited the use of eSATA because it did not turn on RAID on ICH9R.  However, if you had turned it on, then the preloaded Vista refused to boot.  As a result it left me little choice but to reinstall the OS because I had an external SATA drive to hook on.

Reinstalling Vista 64 bits was not that bad compared to the installation of XP 64 bits.  Fewer questions were asked and the installation speed was decent.  Yeah, we all knew that things never ran too smoothly especially reinstall a Windows machine from scratch.  This time it was the nVidia x64 VGA driver that screwed my installation and I was forced to reinstall Vista again.  If the nVidia driver’s installation had failed, Vista asked you whether you wanted to re-install using default settings or not.  NEVER SAY YES.  It called the uninstaller, and nVidia had a bug in their nvuninst.exe which crashed due to calling string comparison function without checking the input pointer.  Best of all, the error message was extremely misleading because it said that you were using a 32 bit uninstaller in 64 bit environment.  The steps suggested in their forum was not helpful.

The machine was much more responsive and booted faster after the installation was done.  Of course I did not hook on Google Desktop this time.  I hoped that Dell shipped my gift cards faster so that I could keep on shopping other computer stuff on their web site before I ran out of my money in purchasing toys for my kids :)

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2 comments on “My Holiday Gift: Dell XPS 420”

  1. 01

    Hi

    I also just ordered a DELL XPS420, I was wondering if you had time to LIVE CD Run/install any version of Linux (preferably Sabayon, Knoppix) on the Del XPS?

    Vivek

    Vivek at January 7th, 2008 around 5:08 am
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  2. 02

    Not a big fan of Knoppix. I’m waiting for Sabayon 3.5 to be out of beta. Current entropy implementation does not work too well with my configurations.

    arthur at January 7th, 2008 around 10:09 pm
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