updated 10:30 am EST, Tue November 11, 2008
Dell XPS 430
Dell on Tuesday silently released the XPS 430, the latest incarnation of its mid-range media desktop. The new update to the glossy black tower system pushes it past 4GB of RAM for the first time and gives even the base XPS 430 a full 6GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM (up from 800MHz DDR2) in stock trim. Also new are recent-generation Core 2 Quad processors at the baseline that trade some Level 2 cache for a faster 1,333MHz system bus.
The update is unusually a half-step backwards for Dell and sees clock speeds and video options scale backwards in the starter $1,307 XPS 430 model, which carries a 2.33GHz Core 2 Quad (down from 2.4GHz) and a slower Radeon HD 3450 versus the 3650 of the XPS 420. Besides doubling the memory of the original system's 3GB, the new model also partly justifies its cost by moving up from a 500GB hard drive to a 640GB version.
A second factory-default system is available at $1,767 and adds a 22-inch SP2208WFP display along with a faster 2.5GHz Core 2 Quad and a 750GB hard drive. Expansion allows either of the systems to hold as much as 8GB of RAM as well as a quad-core 3GHz Core 2 Extreme, a Blu-ray burner and either a Radeon HD 4850 or 3870 X2 as a top-end graphics option. Orders taken today should start shipping by late November.