Dell XPS Tower Special Edition (8930) Review: A Coffee Lake-Infused Sleeper Rig

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Dell XPS Tower Special Edition (8930): Performance Summary And Conclusion

Performance Summary: Intel's Coffee Lake roll-out gave Dell a reason to update its XPS Tower Special Edition desktops, so that is what the system builder did in quick fashion. The result is improved performance over the previous generation. As configured, the XPS Tower SE muscled through PCMark 8 and Cinebench, with its 6-core/12-thread Core i7-8700 chip showing what it is capable of. And when we turned our attention to graphics and gaming, the infusion of a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card paid dividends. It is not quite burly enough to handle 4K gaming in every single situation, but the config did some of the time, and is certainly powerful enough for 1080p and 1440p game play.

Dell XPS Tower Special Edition Main

For one reason or another, OEM systems are not often exciting, and sometimes not even overly interesting. Dell's XPS Tower Special Edition is an exception, blending a clever case design with updated internals that give the new configurations a performance boost over their predecessors. These desktops may not look like speed demons, but armed with a Core i7-8700 processor, 16GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, and a 256GB NVMe SSD paired with a 1TB HDD, the XPS Tower SE brings plenty of pep to whatever it is you want to do, whether it is hammering out a PowerPoint presentation or playing modern games with the eye candy cranked up.

That said, there are pros and cons to the presentation. Overall we like the compact design, which will not dominate your desktop or living space. And on the inside, Dell makes the most of the available real estate by utilizing a swing-arm that lifts the power supply up and out of the way, giving you full access to the guts of the PC. However, the small footprint comes at a cost, and that's fan noise. The inherent problem with compact designs is keeping components cool in a cramped space. As such, it does not take much for the fans to ramp up and the XPS Tower to generate some noise. The saving grace is that this really only happens when stressing the system, but if you are a gamer, it is going to happen sooner rather than later. Otherwise, under more every day productivity chores, the machine is whisper quiet.

That is no reason to thumb your nose at the XPS Tower SE in our opinion. There are too many positives that overshadow it. Among them is the price. Our configuration costs $1,525, which is reasonable for a gaming PC. Not that anyone should pigeonhole the XPS Tower SE as strictly a gaming system. But as configured, game play is more than a core feature, and it comes without the high markup that is often found in boutique builds.

If you are not a gamer, there are lower end GPU options that lower the price of this desktop. In fact, Dell is promising significantly more customization over the previous generation—it has been described to us as pretty much built-to-order, versus selectiig from a handful of pre-configured systems and calling it a day. We are taking Dell's word on this for the time being, until the new configurations go live on the company's website later this month.

There are flashier looking desktops out there (and quieter ones, too), but if you want a fast system without all of the flashing lights and aggressive angles, the XPS Tower SE (8930) is worth looking at.
hothardware recommended
  • Solid gaming performance
  • Compact case does not take up a lot of room
  • Fully upgradeable
  • Subdued but stylish design
  • Appropriately priced
  • Noisy under load
  • Power supply wattage (460W) could limit some GPU ugprades

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