I’ve had my Dell XPS 420 six months now so I thought I’d give you an update on my impressions of the machine and changes I’m made to it since the initial purchase. In reality, it just now does everything I want correctly. Windows Vista SP1 fixed the last issue I had with the machine. So once again for all of you that want to stick with Windows XP, this machine is a really good reason to go with Windows Vista.
My XPS has been running Windows Vista Ultimate x64 since nearly day one. All of the applications I use work really well on the 64 bit platform, even though most of them aren’t native 64 bit compiled apps. I am using two main video editing tools. Sony Movie Studio Vegas Platinum Edition and Expression Studio 2. Vegas is my workhorse and I am getting ready to create my first high definition DVD on Blu-ray. I don’t yet have a Blu-ray disk burner, so if someone has a good recommendation, let me know.
A few weeks ago I pulled the two 512MB RAM sticks and replaced them with two 2GB sticks. I have a total of 6GB of memory now in the machine. I don’t really need all of that memory but the memory at dell.com went on sale and I had a $200 gift card waiting to be burned. So I got some memory, a Zune charger for my wife, and some other stuff.
The one thing that hasn’t worked correctly until recently is the machines ability to wake up from sleep and record a program. If you are buying one of these to be a DVR, then that would be a key feature that needs to work. Mine didn’t. It would sleep correctly. It would wake up on time and attempt to record. But the machine wouldn’t record. It had something to do with how long the tuners need to wake up before they were ready. I guess they need strong coffee like I do.
A few days ago I upgraded the firmware on my ATI TV Wonder Digital cable tuners. Here are the links to the new updates:
After I upgraded the tuners, I installed Windows Vista SP1. I was told after applying SP1, I should re-apply the NVIDIA video drivers for my 8600 GTS so I did that as well. Magically everything works now. For the past three or four days it has woken from it’s slumber, recorded whatever I had scheduled, then gone back to sleep ten minutes after doing the recording. Yaaay !!! It has never done that correctly until this week. I don’t know exactly what fixed the issue. It was probably the combination of the firmware upgrade, and SP1.
Now keep in mind my XPS 420 is a pretty lowly model by XPS standards. It has the Intel Q6600 quad core processor. The video card is a good video card, but it is by no means a top of the line card. But my machine is very quiet and does exactly what I want it to do, and I have high confidence it will continue to do so for the next three to four years.
If you are considering one of these, buy with confidence. Rock solid. Nice looking. Good price.