“If you’ve ever been to any sort of PC gaming convention or event, you know gamers are willing and able to pay for the cool look. Many of them see it as an essential part of having a high-performance machine. It’s a point of pride, and it’s what many of these individuals pour their time, energy and money into — because they love it, and they’re having a great time. Even though there is some status symbol cachet to cool-looking machines, performance is still key. A pretty box only does so much good. We believe there should be a marriage of performance and style, which is what we’ve got with the XPS 720 H2C” (Kittleson).
“Of course it’s important to have style and a cool presence, but without real substance or value, we wouldn’t have been happy. In other words, we didn’t want to bring out a hunk of aluminum on a crystal trough and force it down an avenue of hype and marketing. Only a couple of companies are somewhat innovative; the rest tend to follow the leaders and differentiate by things like paint and extreme overclocking. This type of thinking is going the way of the dinosaurs, just like gone are the days when you’ll meet people on the street who say they’ve never used a PC before and never will. The guiding principles we used in the design of the Blackbird were based on the needs of our customers. Rather than designing to price, we designed to innovate around our particular customers. Our team listened to gamers and enthusiasts — so much so we practically let them design the specifications for us” (Sood).
Beyond speed, power and style, HP appears to emphasize more engineering innovation tailored to customer needs and wants.
In the design of their XPS 720 H2C and Blackbird 002 computers, both Dell and HP try using water cooling to minimize tradeoffs between computing power on one hand and heat generation and fan noise on the other. The XPS 720 H2C cooling system uses a combination of liquid and Peltier cooling to reduce the CPU temperature, and the Blackbird 002 contains a maintenance-free liquid cooling system (augmented by air cooling) to reduce the temperature of the motherboard, CPU and graphics cards:
“In designing the XPS 720 H2C, our goal was to deliver the most powerful gaming desktop we could without compromising usability or reliability. Since performance scales with power consumption in general, heat generation is an unavoidable side effect. The design of the XPS 720 H2C limits total heat generation by using smart power management to reduce the heat generated under idle conditions” (Chuck Hood, Dell system thermal engineer).
“We wanted to create a no compromise personal computer experience, which meant we wouldn’t sacrifice in one area to gain in another. This is why we chose the best liquid cooling solution on the market. Our system is so far and away more advanced than any other liquid cooling solution, it’s somewhat astounding. The secret is in its simplicity: it’s quiet, leak free and totally sealed. To make things even more awesome, our liquid cooler takes very little power, and it has no additional points of failure, such as the ones most of our competitors are offering” (Sood).
Both companies in different ways have thus tried their best to design no-compromise gaming systems.