Ugh...looking back. And here we thought this industry was only supposed to move forward. Still, it's only fair that since we made such a stink about Dell's XPS 700 last year, we ought to give it credit for addressing one of that system's key problems, even if it is 10 months later.
If you'll recall, the Dell XPS 700 and XPS 710 shipped with Dell's own version of Nvidia's 590 SLI chipset. The Dell hardware lacked that chipset's support for BIOS-based overclocking of Intel's Core 2 Duo Extreme chips, as well as support for automatically detecting overclockable EPP memory that can further boost system performance. It also lacked certain kinds of RAID support and Intel's Virtualization technology. All bad stuff, especially since the missing features initially weren't documented as such.
Ten months later, an announcement on Dell's blog says the company not only plans to remedy those issues, it's also going a step further. For one, a forthcoming BIOS update will address all of the issues above. Even better, in the coming months Dell says it will offer XPS 700 customers a free quad-core CPU-supporting motherboard, complete with on-site install service, with the option to purchase a quad-core chip at a 25 percent discount from the current price at Dell.com. XPS 710 customers who already have a quad-core CPU also will be able to get in on the motherboard exchange program.
Dell hasn't specified hardware makes and models yet because the parts it has in mind haven't been officially announced. But bringing these systems up to date retroactively is a major customer service move, and more like something we'd expect from one of the smaller boutique shops. It sounds as if Dell is finally getting the message about what it takes to compete in the high-end PC market.