When I purchased my Quad Core XPS-720, I was excited to be able to purchase a major vendor's system with over clocking built into the default BIOS. Unfortunately, the promise has never been fulfilled. The system has locked up regularly since I purchased it and Dell's only support response: reinstall the OS. Given the amount of work and uncertainty of the fix I never did. Since Dell has released the XPS 730 and failed to certify the XPS 720 for Windows 7, I suspect that a hardware design issue may be causing the lockups, but given my options (this system was too expensive to dump after 2 years) I have decided install a clean copy of Windows 7 64 bit to see what happens.
I used my Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate upgrade DVD and installed using the fresh copy installation option (vs. the in place upgrade). This allows me to dual boot my machine (Vista or 7) in case something goes horribly wrong. The down side is that I have to recreate my environment.
The installation went fine and all the hardware drivers were detected found. The only issue was the failure of a critical Windows Update patch for the NVidia GeForce 8800 GT video card. Since, I could not find a valid Dell Windows 7 driver for the video card; I decided to try the Vista 64 bit driver. This driver solved the issue and actually provided more control panel functionality than the one found by the installation. I now need to install the NVidia RAID drivers to add the disk management functionality to the NVidia control panel.
I have started the application reinstallation process with Office 2007 Ultimate and SQL Server 2005 with all associated Service Packs. So far so good; I will add applications day by day and update this blog. I will start testing over clocking today by setting the processor to 3.2GHZ.