Purchase Decision: 8400 vs XPS Gen 3

Discussion in 'Dell' started by J. Rodney Grisham, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Based on the technical specs, it seems to me that the main difference
    between a model 8400 and an XPS Gen 3 is the power supply. The 8400 has
    a 350 watt power supply while the XPS has a 460 watt ps.

    The specs for the XPS on Dell's web site go to great lengths to tout the
    benefits of an isolated power supply and multiple fans for the XPS. The
    specs for the 8400 are silent about fans.

    There are other minor differences, 2 vs 3 internal drive bays, 2 vs 3
    external drive bays. (XPS has 3 of each.)

    Is 350 watts adequate? I looked into building my own computer, and one
    piece of consistent advice was to get a 400 watt ps or higher.

    What about noise? Perhaps more fans, each moving less air, are quieter.
    Then again, maybe not.

    Any comments about these or other differences between a 8400 and a
    similarly equipped XPS?


    J. Rodney Grisham, Oct 6, 2004
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  2. J. Rodney Grisham

    Axinar Guest

    Thank God Dell has a mall kiosk here in the Tri-County Mall in
    Cincinnati so you can actually go and handle the boxes.

    The 8400 is great if you are pretty much 100% sure you are never going
    to make any major mods. It is, I guess you would call it a
    "mid-tower" and is pretty compact.

    The XPS is a "real" case -- or at least as real as you are going to
    get with all the styling and the neon lights and all that BS.

    It has lots and lots of empty PCI slots and at least two empty front
    slots depending on how you configure the machine.

    The XPS also has a 3.5" floppy drive.

    The XPS is targeted at the "gamer" market but would be the only
    machine I would probably go for.

    Axinar, Oct 8, 2004
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  3. Thank you for the idea. I had not thought about that. There is a mall
    within a 20 minute drive with a Dell Kiosk - found via Dell's web site.
    I will go there this afternoon.
    thanks again for the input.

    J. Rodney Grisham, Oct 10, 2004
  4. We were faced a few weeks back with the same decision: Dimension 8400
    or Dimension XPS Gen 3.

    We chose the XPS Gen 3, for the following reasons:

    (1) it was upgradeable to a superior graphics card;
    (2) one of the free extras that week was a 160GB hard-drive;
    (3) we were able to add a second 160GB hard-drive, without a RAID
    controller, for a pure, second hard drive; this was not possible with
    the 8400;
    (4) the other freebie that week was an upgrade to a total 2GB of RAM;
    (5) it comes with eight USB ports, six in the rear and two in the
    (6) I am not sure the 8400 was available with the Intel® Pentium® 4
    processor 560 with HT Technology at 3.60GHz, which the XPS Gen 3 was;
    (6) the XPS comes in a wicked blue case with a color-adjustable night
    light, if you will, around the floating logo plate on the front, and
    that's cool . . .

    I hope this helps with the decision!

    Scott A. Smith, Oct 29, 2004
  5. J. Rodney Grisham

    WSZsr Guest

    3) Not true. You can add second hard drives of any size without setting up
    a raid.
    WSZsr, Oct 29, 2004
  6. J. Rodney Grisham

    Leer Guest


    How useful is setting up a RAID in personal computers today, if some one can
    have two, let's say 80 gig hard drives, in a PC?

    I am curious and would like to know and understand how a RAID controller is
    used in a PC.

    Thank you in advance for your help and comments.

    Leer, Oct 30, 2004
  7. J. Rodney Grisham

    David Guest

    You get the Same Cards on the 8400. (X800SE, 6800GTO, or X800XT)
    Dell was running a Free upgrade to a 17" Flat Panel Monitor when I bought my
    Untrue. The XPS Gen3 and Dimension 8400 share the same Motherboard, and the
    same storage options. You can get a single drive, dual Drive, or Raid setup.
    I took advantage of this with my Dimension 8400 as well.
    So does the Dimension 8400
    It sure is.
    True.... The XPS Gen 3 also comes with SB Audigy2 Sound Standard, and a
    Floppy Drive. Not worth the extra Premium IMHO.

    Also, the Dimension 8400 and the XPS Gen 3 Have the same amount of PCI
    Slots, PCI-e Slots and Dimm slots. As I mentioned, the 8400 and XPS Gen 3
    share the same motherboard.
    David, Oct 30, 2004
  8. Leer,
    IMHO I wouldn't mind having a RAID 1 setup. What ever is written to one
    drive gets written to the second, creating a mirror image. Gives ya a warm
    fuzzy feeling about your data being safe from a drive failure. I guess the
    downside would be the extra cost and I imagine your still venerable to virus
    attacks that could take out both drives (data wise)
    Paul Schilter, Oct 30, 2004
  9. Leer,
    One other point. If money were no object RAID 5 would be fun. Two drives
    mirrored as in RAID 1 and another two drives linked as in RAID 0. RAID 0
    speeds up drive access time. The downside here as I understand it is that if
    one of the drives fail, bye, bye all the data on both drives. But hey with
    RAID 5 you still have the data on the mirrored drives. Like I said, if money
    were no object. If I got my facts wrong I'm sure I'll be corrected.
    Paul Schilter, Oct 30, 2004
  10. J. Rodney Grisham

    Leer Guest


    Thanks. That helps. What type of software is needed to have a RAID setup?

    Leer, Oct 30, 2004
  11. J. Rodney Grisham

    Leer Guest


    Thanks again. I will have to do some research and homework. I need to look
    up what the different types of RAID setups there are and what they do.

    Thanks again,

    Leer, Oct 30, 2004
  12. J. Rodney Grisham

    Tony Guest

    Wow I am feeling better already. I have a new 8400 with one gig going to
    Tony, Oct 31, 2004
  13. Leer,
    Since I've never had a RAID capable computer I can't answer you
    question. Here's a link that might answer your question:


    If the link is too long, go to the Dell site and search on RAID, then
    technical support, then RAID again. It'll tell you a lot about RAID systems.
    Paul Schilter, Oct 31, 2004
  14. J. Rodney Grisham

    S.Lewis Guest

    For most people it's most useful to set up a RAID 1 configuration
    (mirroring), which provides one with a real hard drive clone on the second
    drive should the primary drive fail.

    RAID 0 is overrated (imo) for most home use. In that configuration, disk
    performance is increased but there is no redundancy - meaning, one drive
    dies and kiss your data goodbye.

    You might wish to do a google search on 'redundant array of inexpensive
    disks' for in-depth comparision and information regarding the RAID 0 and
    RAID 1 choices.

    S.Lewis, Oct 31, 2004
  15. J. Rodney Grisham

    Leer Guest

    Thank you for your help and comments. I will do a Google search and learn
    more about RAID.

    Leer, Nov 1, 2004
  16. J. Rodney Grisham

    Leer Guest


    Thanks for your help and support.

    I will check out your sources and do some reading about RAID.

    Leer, Nov 1, 2004
  17. J. Rodney Grisham

    S.Lewis Guest

    You're most welcome. And as has been pointed out in this thread, just
    because you have a RAID controller, it does not mean you have to use it.
    One can simply utilitize the two hard drives with no RAID array - like any
    other system.

    S.Lewis, Nov 1, 2004
  18. J. Rodney Grisham

    WSZsr Guest

    In my opinion and based on what I have read, there really isn't any
    performance advantage for desktop systems. Servers yes, but not desktops.
    The apps we run just don't need it. Backup is another issue. I prefer to
    add a second hard drive and run regular backups. Having two matching hard
    drives in RAID 1 is not necessary unless your data is worth more than the
    gold in Fort Knox.

    WSZsr, Nov 1, 2004
  19. J. Rodney Grisham

    S.Lewis Guest


    I don't know if I fully agree with the last part of that.

    It seems to me that RAID 1 would be a bit more convenient than even
    scheduled (software utility) backups on a two-drive system - as the backup
    would be created automatically, no?

    Of course, there might be drawbacks to that in the event of a bad software
    install, etc - where a manual backup allows some discretion.

    S.Lewis, Nov 1, 2004
  20. J. Rodney Grisham

    Leer Guest


    Thanks. I did not know that you had a choice once the RAID was set up. I am
    going to do some more research and reading. This will be a new experience
    and I am looking forward to learning something new.

    Leer, Nov 1, 2004
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