Okay, NO! This is a big difference I'm seeing...I am currently running diagnostics from Dell's Boot Disk Diagnostics CD...actually, I am impressed with the thoroughness of the tests...they are testing every part of the machine systematically...of course, there's no 3D tests!
Jay, your comment about the fans gives me hope, though, because when the diagnostic program turned on the three fans to their max RPM (~4300), I was BLOWN AWAY! These things are Uber-Powerful; however, I have NEVER heard them kick in like that during 3D gaming...I can hear them kick in to 'medium' roar sometimes, but that usually only lasts for a few minutes, and if I stop the 3D action for ANY reason (i.e. hit 'escape' to save a game) they turn off (or go back to 'quiet' mode). But now I'm second-guessing myself, thinking maybe the sound was on too loud for me to hear, but I could SWEAR they never came on at 4300 RPM! Anyhow, I'm going to game some with sound turned way down after the diagnostics finish, and I'll let you know for sure. Anyhow, I'm CERTAIN there is NO WAY all three of the phuckers could have been blazing away, 'cause it would have blown me out of my chair!
My guess is, the MB settings are not kicking the fans in EARLY enough, turning them on LOUD (high) enough, or keeping them on LONG enough to blow the parts back to spec. This is really unacceptable, and definitely means that Dell did not bother running any 3D apps on the box before the sent it out the door. Anyhow, please, for the love of god, make it your mission today to get through the entire Max Payne2 game in one sitting! This should tell us if your fan settings are making the difference...else just set the 3dmark2001 demo or benchmark tests on infinite repeat.
Seriously, Dell should have done this for at least 12 hours on each machine leaving the factory to ensure stability! It is common sense...I do it with every desktop machine I build...if I wake up after a 12-hour nap and the screen is frozen or the machine has rebooted, I know it's time to
A. Turn down the clock speed on whatever part I'm pushing beyond spec
B. Get more cooling in there
C. Make more space for air flow with existing cooling
I mean, christ, isn't this the first law of 3D-crash thermodynamics or something? I'm not even an engineer, just a bloody hobbyist!