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Dell XPS 8300 review

Dell XPS 8300

Verdict

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

Review Date: 5 May 2011

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £965 (£1,158 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

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.

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