Dell XPS 8300 review

5 May 2011

A stylish, compact PC, but it’s underpowered, underwhelming and overpriced next to the competition

Dell XPS 8300
Price when reviewed: 
1,158(£1,159 inc VAT)
3

Most small PC manufacturers long ago made the switch to Intel’s cutting-edge Sandy Bridge processors, but it takes a global behemoth like Dell a little longer to overhaul its lines. Finally, the popular XPS range catches up with the competition.

In an unusual step, only one Sandy Bridge chip is available – the XPS 8300 comes with the Core i7-2600. The lack of a “K” suffix indicates that it lacks the unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking, so it’s restricted to the stock speed of 3.4GHz.

Despite 8GB of DDR3 memory, the processor is lacking next to the majority we see pre-overclocked these days. The Dell’s overall benchmark score of 0.95 is perfectly fine, but if you’re looking for raw power we’ve seen plenty of faster PCs: the A-Listed Yoyotech Fi7epower 4.8, for example, runs the same processor at 4.8GHz for £1,199.

Dell XPS 8300

The Dell falls behind in the graphics department, too. While the ATI Radeon HD 5770 is a perfectly competent card – its frame rate of 28fps in our High quality Crysis test means most modern games will be playable at relatively demanding levels – your cash will certainly go further elsewhere. For a start, it’s a last-generation chip, and the Yoyotech includes a Radeon HD 6970 that proved three times as quick.

For the XPS 8300’s £1,159 inc VAT price tag you also get a 1TB hard disk, a Blu-ray drive, an 802.11n wireless adapter and a TV tuner. If that doesn’t fit your needs, Dell provides plenty of customisation options, albeit for a sometimes hefty fee. The RAM can be upped to 12GB for an extra £150 or to 16GB for £250. For hard disks, the single 1TB drive can be joined by a second in RAID0 for £80 more – or you could opt for a single 2TB disk and pay a massive £240 for the privilege.

Details

Price ex VAT £965
Price inc VAT £1,158
Overall rating 3
Performance 4
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 3

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,000GB
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Screen size N/A

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i7
CPU nominal frequency 3.40GHz
CPU overclocked frequency N/A
Processor socket LGA 1155
HSF (heatsink-fan) Dell proprietary

Motherboard

Motherboard chipset Intel P67
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 1
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 1
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 1
Internal SATA connectors 4
Internal SAS connectors 1
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 2
Memory sockets total 4

Graphics card

Graphics card ATI Radeon HD 5770
Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards? no
3D performance setting Low
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD 5770
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
DVI-I outputs 2
HDMI outputs 1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 0
Number of graphics cards 1

Hard disk

Hard disk Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C
Capacity 1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity 931GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Cache size 32MB
Hard disk 2 make and model N/A
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity N/A
Hard disk 2 spindle speed N/A
Hard disk 2 cache size N/A
Hard disk 3 make and model N/A
Hard disk 3 nominal capacity N/A
Hard disk 4 make and model N/A
Hard disk 4 nominal capacity N/A

Drives

Optical drive Dell DH-8B2SH
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader/DVD writer combo
Optical disk 2 make and model N/A
Optical disk 3 make and model N/A

Monitor

Monitor make and model N/A
Resolution screen horizontal N/A
Resolution screen vertical N/A
Resolution N/A x N/A
Pixel response time N/A
Contrast ratio N/A
Screen brightness N/A
DVI inputs N/A
HDMI inputs N/A
VGA inputs N/A
DisplayPort inputs N/A

Additional Peripherals

Speakers N/A
Speaker type N/A
Peripherals Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1200 Hybrid DVB-T TV Tuner

Case

Chassis Dell proprietary
Case format Full tower
Dimensions 170 x 441 x 408mm (WDH)

Free drive bays

Free front panel 5.25in bays 1

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 6
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Modem no
3.5mm audio jacks 6

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 2
Front panel memory card reader yes

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Dell keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 61W
Peak power consumption 224W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 137fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.95
Responsiveness score 0.82
Media score 1.05
Multitasking score 0.99