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I'll be the first to respond in order to give you at least some hope.
Yes, you will be able to edit video on the XPS 7100. Now, if you are planning on editing full HD, that system will bog down. If you use proxies, you will have no problems.
BUT, do you want to take advantage of the hardware acceleration with the Mercury Playback Engine? The MPE is only compatible with certain nvidia graphic cards. It seems as though the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 available on the xps9100 can be made to work using the ever powerfull hack.
Up the RAM to 8gb min, go for a couple of 7200rpm HDDs and certainly take the nvidia card option.
Keep in mind that many people on these forums are pros that do this for a living and will more than likely not agree with my point of view. But in my opinion, that system is more than enough for a hobbyist.
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XPS 7100: Wrong CPU (AMD is too slow), wrong video card (ATI), only 2 HDD's (too few), mini tower (too small), insufficient PSU, Dell (crippled BIOS and no overclocking), extravagant price. Those are the first minuses I can see on this system and no positives.
XPS 8300: same limitations as the 7100.
Look for a big tower, Intel i7-9xx or i7-2600K CPU, 16+ GB memory, nVidia GTX 460+ video card, Win7 64 Pro, room for at least three HDD's.
Avoid Dell and HP, unless they have a system with all the components in a single system as the base system. If you need to configure a system, they steal you blind on the add-ons. Where you can buy a HDD on every street corner for $ 80, Dell or HP charge you around triple that amount, around $ 240, where you can add memory for $ 40 per stick on every street corner, Dell and HP charge you far more.
If you don't want to build yourself, look at ADK for a custom build machine.
I looked at the i7 DVC - that might be a workable option for me. Thanks very much for the link.
Sounds like I was looking into fitting a square peg in a round hole. I looked at the ADK options, and I was surprised that there was only $300 difference between the Dell XPS8300 (in the config the dell rep quoted) and the i7 DVC. It does seem like I'll get more for the money from ADK. Thanks for your help!
The thing about ADK is they know what they are doing when it comes to building an EDITING computer... which mass market vendores generally do NOT
You may work with ADK to customize everything... not so with companies like Dell or HP or "what have you"
I've been doing for several years (1st editing computer was Alienware with Premiere 6) and I've learned enough that I built my last 2 computers - http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0
If you don't want to build, ADK is a good choice
thanks Harm and John!
more important is the support for adobe! well as important.