Friday, August 29, 2008
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 AM
Dell's Studio Hybrid desktop PC is an interesting computer, partially because it comes from Dell, not usually a company known for taking risks or really doing much of anything interesting when it comes to design. The Studio Hybrid is a departure for a company usually known for playing it safe; the design of the Hybrid is quite unlike anything else on the market by any major manufacturer. I purchased the Studio Hybrid the first day it was released because I needed a small, quiet computer for my "digital wall" project. The day I received it, I published an unboxing and first impressions video. After that, I used it pretty intensely for a week to see if it was what I wanted. So how did the Studio Hybrid measure up? I shot a series of three "deep dive" videos that go into as much detail as possible on this new computer from Dell. Below is part one of three - after the break is parts two and three.
Part two of three...
Part three of three...
As you can tell in the third video, I wasn't very impressed with Media Center performance. After I shot the video I did discover, however, that turning off Aero Glass resulted in a significant performance boost - which is a bit odd when you consider that Aero Glass shouldn't be used at all when the Media Center interface is in full-screen mode.
So where am I now with the Dell Studio Hybrid? It kept beeping three times when I booted it up, which is apparently a sign of a chipset failure of some sort. It also crashed Windows Vista with a blue screen of death whenever I tried to boot directly off the HDMI port. These two things together made me return the unit to Dell for a refund under their 30 day customer service policy. Sure, I could have gotten it repaired/replaced, but I took the opportunity to upgrade: I re-ordered a Studio Hybrid, same colour, hard drive space, and RAM, but I upgraded the CPU from 1.86 Ghz to 2.5 Ghz.
The 2.5 Ghz processor is a bump in every way: it's 45 nm instead of 65 nm, it has a nearly 200% faster bus speed (533 mhz bumped to 800 mhz), and the cache goes from 1 MB up to 6 MB. I wasn't thinking clearly when I ordered this thing the first time, or I would have at least gone for the 2.0 Ghz CPU. I also added in the 802.11n mini-card - you never know when wireless will come in handy. I plan on posting a follow-up video once I get it all integrated into my digital wall. And if the performance of this new unit isn't up to snuff, I'll be returning it to Dell.
If you have a YouTube account, please rate the videos, post a comment, and subscribe to our channel. Thanks for your support!
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He likes little computers!