This all-in-one dares to take on our zero-point rig
All-in-one PCs like Dell’s XPS One 24 aren’t the most powerful computers on the market and they know it. Like thin-and-light notebooks, they trade brute power for a thin, stylish profile and quiet operation—and we’re absolutely fine with that. We’d never give up our benchmark-crushing uber rigs for an all-in-one, but a good one can be a terrific second PC for the kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Don’t take that to mean the XPS One 24 is wimpy, though. It’s far more powerful than the HP TouchSmart we reviewed in the Holiday 2008 issue (you’ll find our review at http://tinyurl.com/dxcxkf), thanks to a foundation based on Intel’s 2.33GHz Core 2 Quad Q8200 CPU, a respectable mobile GPU (Nvidia’s GeForce 9600M GT with a 512MB frame buffer), and a desktop 750GB hard drive. The trade-off for that power is heat and noise: The components in Dell’s machine produce more heat than the parts HP chose, and Dell compounded its thermal issues by sticking the power supply inside the chassis (HP uses an external brick). So, while the TouchSmart is all but silent, the cooling fan in the XPS One 24 emits a slightly annoying whine.
We dig that we can tilt the Dell's XPS One 24, but it would be even better if it could swivel, too.
Noise aside, when we sat the Dell and the HP side by side, we were surprised at how much more screen real estate the Dell has to offer—we hadn’t realized what a difference two inches could make. It’s not a touch screen, but it does boast volume and media-playback controls hidden in its bezel that light up when your finger comes near (a proximity sensor is responsible for this parlor trick). The screen has a native resolution of 1920x1200, but you have to move up to the “Product Red” model ($2,200) to get a Blu-ray drive.
The XPS One 24’s footprint isn’t as large as you might think, but it probably won’t fit in your armoire-style desk: The machine emerges from a glass base that measures just 13 inches wide and eight inches deep, but the JBL speakers permanently mounted to the left and right of the display render the computer about four inches wider than the typical 24-inch monitor. The base cannot be removed, so there’s no way to hang this computer on the wall. The JBLs, meanwhile, are better than what you’d typically find incorporated into a display, but that’s not saying much. They’re much too bright and lack enough bottom end to deliver an enjoyable performance with movies and music.
We’ve been reluctant to benchmark this class of PC because the zero-point rig we use as our basis of comparison is by design the polar opposite of an all-in-one. It wouldn’t be fair to belittle an all-in-one for being a slow gamer because it’s not designed for that—so we don’t. But the CPU in the XPS One 24 is only slightly slower than our zero-point and the machine has twice as much memory, so we decided to see what this baby could do with our productivity benchmarks. As you can see from the benchmark chart, it delivered respectable performance, edging past our zero-point in three of the four tests. Not bad.
Dell XPS One 24
Big Red One
Beautiful display; wireless keyboard features a built-in track pad; fast (for an all-in-one).
One Life to Live
No Blu-ray drive; keyeboard lacks a numeric keypad; speakers sound harsh; annoying fan noise.
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 (2.33GHz)
4GB DDR2/800 (two 2GB sticks)
Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT
Integrated TV Tuner
AVerMedia A317 Hybrid NTSC/ATSC TV Tuner
Realtek ALC262 onboard
750GB Seagate ST3750630AS (7,200rpm)
Teac DV-W28SLC DVD-RW
Vista 32-Bit Benchmarks
Dell XPS One 24
Premiere Pro CS3
169 sec (-9%)
Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700, 2GB of Corsair DDR2/800 RAM on an EVGA 680 SLI motherboard, two EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI mode, a Western Digital 150GB Raptor and 500GB Caviar hard drives, an LG GGC-H20L optical drive, a Sound Blaster X-Fi soundcard, a PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 Quad PSU, and Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit.