In the continuing deluge of Intel 3rd Generation Core i-Series product announcements, Dell has released details on their XPS and Vostro desktops, along with their Inspiron laptops. For now, we have one product each for the Vostro and XPS desktop lines, with two Inspiron Special Edition (“R”) laptops. We’ll start with the desktops.

Dell XPS 8500

At the top of their product stack, the XPS brand continues to be a high performance “do everything” desktop. CPU support for the XPS 8500 currently consists of the Core i5-3450 (4x3.1-3.5GHz, no Hyper-Threading, 6MB L3, 22nm, 77W) or the Core i7-3770 (4x3.4-3.9GHz, Hyper-Threading, 8MB, 22nm, 77W). Graphics options are not quite so high-end as the i7-3770, however, consisting of just the Radeon HD 7570 1GB at the low end or the Radeon HD 7770 2GB at the high end. Note that the fully configurable models apparently aren’t available yet, and the press release also lists the GeForce GT 620 1GB and Radeon HD 7870 2GB as (presumably future) GPU options. The XPS 8500 supports up to 16GB DDR3-1600, with 8GB standard on the base model.

Storage options are likewise somewhat limited right now, with either 1TB or 2TB drives in the pre-configured models and little option to change them. The $1300 model also includes a 32GB mSATA SSD caching drive, which appears one of the only major upgrades over the $1300 model The PR blast also mentions up to 3TB hard drives as an option we’ll see at some point. The $750, $900, and $1300 models come with a DVDRW drive while the $1150 configuration includes a Blu-ray/DVDRW combo drive.

All models ship with a standardized 460W power supply (no mention is made of 80 Plus certification, though we’d hope Dell uses at least a Bronze PSU for an XPS brand PC), 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 4x USB 3.0 (two at the front) and 6x USB 2.0 (two on the top), and a media card reader. The mATX motherboard uses the H77 chipset and the chassis is a mini-tower available in white or black, with white only coming on the $1300 model. Overall, the systems look fairly nice and I’ve used XPS desktops in the past and been pleased with the overall experience. Still, there’s definitely a price premium with the XPS systems, as the chassis consists of higher quality materials. If we attempt to match the components of the $900 model, at Newegg we ended up at a total price of around $950, but that includes a substantially more potent Radeon HD 7750, as the HD 7570 is an OEM-only product right now. Overall, then, if you’re after a fast CPU with an anemic GPU in a higher quality chassis, the XPS 8500 looks like a reasonable option.

Dell Vostro 470

The Vostro 470 is focused more on the small business market, with appropriate components for the most part. The CPU options are the same i5-3450 and i7-3770 as the XPS 8500; meanwhile the graphics options consist of Intel’s integrated HD 4000 (which should be more than sufficient for most business users), GeForce GT 620 as a slight upgrade, or the Radeon HD 7570 as the highest-end option—so nothing really gamer-centric, not surprisingly, though that also means GPU-accelerated applications like Adobe’s CS5/CS6 suite also won’t benefit as much.

Memory and storage options take a hit as well, not surprisingly. RAM configurations include 4/6/8GB, with 12GB as an upgrade on the top-end SKU (oddly, 16GB is missing even though the system should support it). Hard drive sizes consist of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, and all of the systems are DVDRW only. SSD configurations will apparently be available in the future. All of the configurations use a 460W PSU—or a 350W PSU; it’s not clear as the press release lists 350W while the web site lists 460W. Again, there’s no indication if it’s an 80 Plus certified PSU or not. Other features include 4x USB 3.0, 6x USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, flash memory, and 7.1 audio support. The base unit ships for $550, with the i7-3770 model doubling the memory and storage and going for $950.

Dell Inspiron 14R and 15R

Wrapping things up, we don’t have many details on the Inspiron 14R and 15R. The press release states, “The Inspiron 14R Special Edition and 15R Special Edition laptops offering up to Intel’s 3rd generation quad-core processors are available today in select countries in Asia and will be available in more regions in the coming weeks. An expanded Inspiron line-up will be unveiled later this spring in time for the back-to-school shopping season.” Other than the fact that the 14R/15R will support Ivy Bridge processors, all we know for sure is that they also support SSD caching with mSATA drives (on select models, I’m sure). For pricing and US/Europe availability, we’ll simply have to wait until “later this spring.”

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  • dexterkarthik - Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - link

    Very glad that they did not hesitate to implement IVB i7 in Inspiron and Vostro series - considering they are the most basic in Home and Small-Business categories. Was afraid that it would be restricted only to XPS and Latitude and above!
    May be they cannot wait for months for IVB i5 series to release I guess.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - link

    odds are only a few of the high end laptops will be getting i7's; the rest will be updated later when the i5/i3 parts come out.
  • Khenglish - Thursday, May 3, 2012 - link

    All I care is that they put out BIOS's to support Ivy Bridge on the QM67 systems. Has any laptop manufacturer done this? I heard this hinges on Intel bothering to release a ME update for QM67 systems. I see no reason for them not to since who in their right mind would dump a whole Sandy Bridge system for a whole new Ivy Bridge one. Not worth the cost.

    Can someone at Anandtech look into this? I will be pretty pissed off if Intel does never end up supporting Ivy Bridge on QM67 and HM65. The thing that made me pull the trigger on a Sandy Bridge system was that Intel said it would be compatible with Ivy Bridge CPUs. Then we get to Ivy Bridge launching, its looking like they only meant DESKTOP systems, and are leaving notebooks in the dust even though the socket is 100% compatible.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 3, 2012 - link

    Generally speaking, I'd say the number of people looking to upgrade a Sandy Bridge laptop to an Ivy Bridge processor is going to be extremely small. It would be nice if the major laptops got BIOS updates to support newer processors, but I would never purchase or recommend a laptop based on the hope/assumption that you will be able to upgrade to a newer CPU down the line. And really, unless you're running HD 3000 with no discrete GPU, there's not much of a point to upgrading to IVB just yet.

    Anyway, what laptop are you currently using? I can certainly check with my contacts at the appropriate OEM(s) to see if there are any plans to support IVB on 6-series chipset laptops.
  • Khenglish - Thursday, May 3, 2012 - link

    It's a Dell Latitude E6520. One of the few laptops that still offers an expresscard slot, which I use to connect a GTX 580 to :) The PCI-E bandwidth reduction hurts a little, but the relatively weak CPU is an issue too, which hurts in games like BF3. There are also some times where I am away from home without the 580, where having a stronger IGP would be nice.

    More about laptops with desktop graphics cards if you're interested:

    There are a lot of people in this thread who would like Ivy Bridge.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 4, 2012 - link

    The official word from Intel is: "The 6 series CAN support Ivy Bridge, but it’s an OEM decision and they have to build it, support, provide firmware/BIOS/ME et al to work. So it's kinda a chicken and egg scenario." I also asked Dell and my contact said, "I can look into it, but I wouldn't expect the answer your reader is hoping for...." Clevo probably has a better chance of updating to support IVB on some of their laptops, but even then I'd be surprised if they actually release the necessary info/firmware to the public.
  • Khenglish - Friday, May 4, 2012 - link

    Hmm. Well thanks for looking into it. Dell did provide the required BIOS updates back when Core 2 duo came out to be run on systems that were originally Core duo only. Seems odd that they would change their stance on offering future CPU upgrades, but maybe SB to IVB requires more work.
  • Nexing - Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - link

    Add the audioworld to the customer list.
    Though Vostro's 3450,3550 and 3750 mobile line uses HM67 chipset, DELL implementation of Renesas daughterboard, which allows for an uncommon and comfortable total of 4 USB connectors (2x USB 3.0).
    Count in the required ExpressCard slot, that allows Musicians, DJ and Studio techs the use of professional SoundCards at low latencies and high bandwith. And then its easy to see why these models have been quite successful in this area.
    Even if the new Vostro Ivy bridge line comes including thunderbolt connectors, there will have to pass quite some time (years) till soundcard makers upgrade their variety of used connectors into the new capacities of thunderbolt.

    Therefore for 2012 and some part of 2013, it will be difficult to sell new laptops to those customers who already bought Vostro's 2nd generation Sandy Bridge.
    In my case, for many concurring reasons (W8, low delay (ms) touch technology, extended battery life, thunderbolt) I will wait until 2013 or Q1 2014 for the "Haswell" generation of new chipsets.
    Consider that this chipset refresh will finally make the switch to 32 nm, (HM67,HM65, QM67 "Cougar" chipset is still built in old and energy consuming, 90nm lithography fabrication process!!!).
    Meanwhile, I (and probably many audio-related users) would seriously consider upgrading my actual 3450 CPU to Ivy bridge CPUs the same way I am considering 1,35v CL8 1600 Mhz 8G memory upgrade.

    Actually as easily as DELL's third party repair service fixed a Vostro laptop that a musician friend broke on a tour, they could provide the actual upgrade while DELL online cart system could just as fast add the service.
  • Nexing - Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - link

    Probably need explaining why musicians, Djs, Studio techs have mostly chosen 2011-2012 DELL Vostro line instead of Inspirions, XPSs or Latitudes.
    First discard XPS and Inspirion for the omission of ExpressCard connector. There are many reasons for this need, pbbly too off topic to list here.
    Latitudes instead have a customer base on a number of studios, mainly because of the good build, however their lack of USB 3.0 (and hence no future-proof from a 2011 perspective) or the low count of USB ports, have distanced Live acts or DJs who need to plug several USB MIDI controllers.

    And in the wide perspective, INTEL will have a thin time window to sell Ivy Bridge; started late on 2012 because of the remaining high stock of Sandy Bridge and ending early 2013 because of the building pressure to bring on Haswell to tone down their own fab process costs and also because of the crescent urgency to lower platform's power consumption and finally to compete with what IS coming; tablets, surging smartphones, other CPU developers, etc.

    Why let go segments INTEL already owns? Offering high quality CPU upgrades to recent customers (1 year +) looks like a sensible choice for them too.
  • plopke - Thursday, May 3, 2012 - link

    Sometimes I want to suggest people buy a dell. But each time i see those memory upgrade prices...

    Going from 4Gb (2*2)1600 to 8Gb (2*4)1600 cost 123 euros more not including taxes. That is 160 US dollars?? I can off course do it myself but still BONKERS!

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