Dell XPS Desktop (8960) review_ a brand new efficiency class

Digital Developments might earn a fee once you purchase by hyperlinks on our website. Why belief us?

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) MSRP $2,850.00 Rating Particulars DT Really useful Product “The brand new Dell XPS Desktop delivers a brand new class of efficiency, but it surely comes at the price of flexibility.” Execs Flagship efficiency

Understated, enticing design

Comparatively quiet

Stable port choice Cons Restricted improve potential


Dell didn’t want to alter the XPS Desktop. It was already among the finest desktops you should buy, so as a substitute of fixing what wasn’t damaged, the Dell XPS Desktop 8960 merely pushes efficiency ahead.

Outfitted with Thirteenth-gen Intel CPUs and Nvidia RTX 40-series GPUs, the brand new vary retains a well-recognized design whereas pushing into a brand new class of efficiency. Regardless of its unassuming exterior, the XPS Desktop delivers a flagship gaming and creator expertise. In that course of, nevertheless, it has misplaced a few of the flexibility that made last-gen’s mannequin so enticing.

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) specs

The energy of the Dell XPS Desktop is its potential to be a efficiency chameleon, however the newest replace adjustments that. Presently, Dell is simply providing high-end configurations, reasonably than a big swath of spec sheets that made the earlier iteration so particular.

My assessment unit is the most cost effective mannequin you’ll be able to at present purchase, outfitted with a Core i7-13700K and RTX 4080 graphics card. That’s a supremely energy configuration, bypassing even the most costly possibility from the earlier technology. One other important change is that Dell consists of unlocked Intel processors by default; beforehand, an unlocked CPU was a $100 upcharge.

CPU Intel Core i7-13700K GPU Nvidia RTX 4080 Motherboard Customized Dell motherboard Case Customized Dell XPS case Reminiscence 32GB DDR5-4800 (2 x 16GB) Storage 1TB NVMe SSD Energy provide Customized Dell 750W PSU USB ports 5x USB 3.2 Kind-A, 2x USB 2.0 Kind-A, 2x USB-C, 1x SD card reader, Networking 2.5Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 Worth $2,850

It shouldn’t come as a shock {that a} enhance in specs comes with a lift in worth, but it surely’s the dimensions of the value enhance that’s stunning. Even the most cost effective iteration of the most recent mannequin is $300 greater than the most costly configuration of the earlier technology. The 8960 can scale a lot increased, too. You possibly can pack in as much as a Core i9-13900K, RTX 4090, 6TB of SSD storage, and 64GB of DDR5 reminiscence. That may run you over $5,000.

Dell is providing the configuration I reviewed for $2,850. That’s not a horrible worth in comparison with high-end gaming desktops just like the Alienware Aurora R15 that pack comparable specs. But it surely’s nonetheless a far cry from the category the Dell XPS Desktop used to fall in.

It’s not all unhealthy. Dell continues to supply the earlier model with Intel Twelfth-gen processors and Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs, and each fashions carry the identical chassis in any other case. I’m simply nervous about the place the cheaper configurations of the 8960 will find yourself after they’re inevitably launched. Primarily based on the configurations we’ve now, it’s not exhausting to imagine they’ll be far more costly.

The final word sleeper PC

The Dell XPS Desktop 8960 is an inner improve, so it carries the identical case because the earlier technology. It’s modern and understated, coming in both Platinum or Graphite, and it seems to be unassuming contemplating the {hardware} you’ll be able to pack inside.

That is true much more so this technology, when you’ll be able to cram within the flagship choices from Nvidia and Intel. It’s the final word sleeper PC, ditching RGB lighting and an enormous case in favor of a subdued design and good airflow.

I say “good” as a result of the XPS Desktop 8960 doesn’t have lots of followers. You get two 120mm followers complete, break up throughout a 120mm consumption within the entrance and 120mm exhaust within the rear. Dell manages how the air flows all through the case, although. The consumption is channeled into the graphics card by a bracket, cooling it first and exhausting the warmth contained in the case. Then, the liquid cooler offers with managing the warmth of the processor whereas exhausting the leftover air out the again.

Dell manages the warmth, however the XPS Desktop 8960 can nonetheless get loud. Attributable to solely having a few followers, the machine will ramp up very loud for transient sprints whereas underneath stress, reasonably than the constant hum of a PC with extra followers. Noise isn’t any dealbreaker right here, although.

My foremost concern is upkeep. Though Dell manages warmth and noise properly, there aren’t any mud filters within the machine. As a substitute, you might have the dated uncooked aluminum look inside that’s ready to be caked in a layer of mud and painstakingly cleaned out with compressed air. A mud filter would assist so much, particularly contemplating the centered air path Dell has carved out.

Though the case is similar because the earlier model of the XPS Desktop, Dell made one necessary change. There’s not a disc drive, so in the event you’ve been hanging onto CDs and DVDs, you’ll want an exterior reader to make use of them with the up to date machine.


The XPS Desktop has by no means been pleasant to main upgrades, and the8960 revision carries the identical proprietary parts as earlier fashions. You possibly can’t swap out the motherboard or energy provide, however fortunately, Dell now presents a 1,000-watt energy provide possibility if you wish to improve some parts sooner or later.

I’m break up in terms of upgrades. On one hand, Dell presents some handy improve spots contained in the machine that even novice builders can use. There’s a spare M.2 SSD slot in the event you choose to not fill it when configuring the machine, for instance, and the 2 drive sleds on prime of the case have SATA cables already routed to them.

Then again, the GPU has an enormous bracket round it, stopping easy upgrades, and there are solely two RAM slots (each of that are crammed in each configuration).

The case isn’t notably pleasant to upgrades, both. It encompasses a toolless entry, the place pulling a lever will snap off the facet panel, however you’ll be able to’t take away the opposite facet panel. That makes managing your cables robust in the event you add one other drive into the machine.

I respect that Dell has made an effort to assist you to improve the XPS Desktop, but it surely nonetheless looks like extra may very well be carried out. Because it stands now, the machine can solely mature to the purpose of the motherboard, which means it has a restricted shelf life.

CPU energy

Regardless of its unassuming look, the XPS Desktop 8960 is likely one of the strongest desktops you should buy proper now. The Core i7-13700K is a 16-core processor from Intel’s most up-to-date technology, and when paired with the most recent DDR5 reminiscence, can tear by probably the most demanding duties you’ll be able to throw at a PC.

You possibly can see that in motion in my outcomes beneath. In uncooked CPU energy, the Core i7-13700K nonetheless sits behind Intel’s most up-to-date flagship, but it surely presents higher single and multi-core efficiency than last-gen’s Core i9-12900K. That’s true in Cinebench and Geekbench, the latter of which is usually just a little extra consultant of real-world efficiency variations.

Dell XPS Desktop 8960 (Core i7-13700K) Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (Core i9-13900KF) HP Omen 45L (Core i9-12900K) Cinebench R23 Multi-Core 24,061 36,783 23,068 Cinebench R23 Single-Core 2,087 2,171 1,893 Geekbench 5 Multi-Core 17,486 21,742 15,685 Geekbench 5 Single-Core 1,974 2,095 1,910 PugetBench for Premiere Professional 1,426 1,242 1,025 Blender Monster (GPU) 4,752 4,913 N/A Blender Junkshop (GPU) 2,352 2,415 N/A Blender Classroom (GPU) 2,259 2,309 N/A

In inventive functions, the XPS Desktop 8960 is a monster. It really outperformed the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i and its extra highly effective processor in PugetBench for Premiere Professional.

The principle cause why is Intel Fast Sync. The Core i7-13700K has built-in graphics whereas the Core i9-13900KF doesn’t. Some apps, equivalent to Premiere Professional, assist you to use each the discrete and built-in graphics to speed up efficiency, and the XPS Desktop 8960 exhibits off what these positive factors can seem like.

You don’t spend practically $3,000 for only a processor, although. Blender exhibits the highly effective RTX 4080 off in motion. It wasn’t fairly as highly effective because the RTX 4080 contained in the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i, probably because of some thermal constraints. If the efficiency is just too low, you’ll be able to configure the XPS Desktop 8960 with the RTX 4090, as properly.

That’s one of many urgent points with the Dell XPS Desktop. It manages warmth properly and doesn’t get too loud, but it surely’s packing far more highly effective {hardware} in a case constructed for the earlier technology. Fortunately, you might have liquid cooling with higher-end processors just like the Core i7-13700K, but it surely’s solely a 120mm cooler. That limits the potential of overclocking in comparison with a few of the finest AIO coolers.

There’s little question that the XPS Desktop 8960 is a supremely highly effective PC, but it surely ships at its efficiency restrict. You don’t have any headroom to squeeze out additional efficiency like you’ll be able to on a machine just like the HP Omen 45L or Lenovo Legion Tower 7i that supply bigger liquid cooling and bigger circumstances.

Graphics energy

The XPS Desktop 8960 doesn’t seem like a gaming PC, however make no mistake; it’s among the finest gaming desktops you should buy. The RTX 4080 on the coronary heart of the machine is a robust GPU able to working probably the most demanding video games available on the market at 4K, and you may see that in my outcomes beneath.

Dell XPS Desktop 8960 (Core i7-13700K) Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (RTX 4080) Customized RTX 4080 desktop (Ryzen 9 7950X) Cyberpunk 2077 (4K Extremely) 62 fps 62 fps 58.9 fps Cyberpunk 2077 (4K Extremely RT) 27 fps 29 fps 29 fps Crimson Useless Redemption 2 (4K Extremely) 98 fps 97 fps 97.2 fps Forza Horizon 5 (4K Extremely) 128 fps 136 fps 133.7 fps Murderer’s Creed Valhalla (4K Extremely Excessive) 98 fps 100 fps 98.4 fps Gears Techniques (4K Extremely) 103 fps 108 fps 103.8 fps 3DMark Time Spy 24,592 24,554 25,402

It really ended up barely sooner than a customized RTX 4080 desktop with a Ryzen 9 7950X, and that machine was constructed on an open-air check bench. Once more, thermal constraints are a priority if you wish to dabble in overclocking, however clearly the smaller measurement of the XPS Desktop 8960 isn’t hindering its efficiency out of the field.The RTX 4080 additionally carries DLSS 3, which makes use of AI to generate frames in supported video games. It may possibly massively enhance efficiency in supported video games like Cyberpunk 2077, even with ray tracing turned on. It didn’t attain fairly the heights of the Lenovo Legion Tower 7i, but it surely was shut.

Dell XPS Desktop 8960 (Core i7-13700K) Lenovo Legion Tower 7i (RTX 4080) Cyberpunk 2077 4K Extremely RT 27 fps 29 fps Cyberpunk 2077 4K Extremely RT w/ DLSS 3 108 fps 115 fps

Probably the greatest components of the Dell XPS Desktop has at all times been its potential to change gears between gaming and intensive compute work with out breaking a sweat, and the 8960 revision isn’t any completely different. It reaches a unique efficiency class this time round, although, providing flagship 4K gaming efficiency reasonably than merely dabbling.

Gentle on bloat

Dell is mild on bloatware, which I at all times respect. There wasn’t a further antivirus put in, so that you gained’t get infinite commercials for Norton or McAfee, and Dell’s personal utilities are helpful as at all times. Crucial one is Dell Replace, which is able to robotically seek for updates on your whole PC and set up them. The one factor it didn’t catch was the graphics driver, however Nvidia’s GeForce Expertise comes preinstalled to use that.

Dell doesn’t load your machine up with bloatware, and that’s a win.

My solely situation, which is according to Dell machines, is that there isn’t a option to discover the entire disparate apps. They’re all helpful, however wanting merely looking out “Dell,” you gained’t know what’s out there to you. Worse, there’s a MyDell app that appears like a hub, but it surely simply allows you to set up apps included together with your PC, such because the Killer Community set. It’s a minor criticism general, although. Dell doesn’t load your machine up with bloatware, and that’s a win.

The guarantee consists of {hardware} assist for one yr, with repairs both in-home or at a certified restore heart. It doesn’t cowl unintentional harm, although; that’s a $70 upcharge. You should purchase as much as 4 years of protection with both Premium or Premium Plus assist, which is able to run you $350 and $700 for 4 years, respectively.

A brand new efficiency class

The Dell XPS Desktop 8960 can deal with the {hardware} packed inside, but it surely’s in a a lot completely different efficiency class than the earlier mannequin. Newer, cheaper configurations will present up finally, however these on the lookout for a strong all-around desktop are higher off selecting up an 8950 mannequin for now.

Then again, efficiency chasers now have entry to a category of {hardware} that wasn’t beforehand out there on this design. The 8960 delivers flagship 4K gaming efficiency and might even dethrone highly effective creator PCs.

Editors’ Suggestions