Dell XPS 8300 Sandy Bridge desktop PC
Dell XPS 8300 review: An Intel Core i7-based PC that's useful for almost any task
- Fast performance
- 2TB hard drive
- USB 3.0 is optional
- Wi-Fi isn't included as standard
The Dell XPS 8300 offers plenty of performance for users who want to perform multimedia tasks. It's also perfect for heavy multitasking, can be used for a little gaming, and it has a 2TB hard drive. We just wish it came with USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi as standard.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
Dell's XPS 8300 desktop PC is available with a Second Generation Intel Core i7 CPU and it can be used for practically any task, except hardcore gaming.
It's a smallish PC that looks good and it doesn't harbour any old-fashioned ports and slots. You won't find VGA or PS/2 ports on it, nor does the motherboard have PCI slots. Instead you get two DVI ports, HDMI and DisplayPort, eight USB 2.0 ports, eSATA and Gigabit Ethernet. The motherboard has only PCIe slots, with two free PCIe x1 slots available for expansion cards. It doesn't have USB 3.0 ports and it doesn't come with a wireless card or a digital TV tuner as standard — if you want Wi-Fi and a TV tuner card, you'll have to add them to the configuration when you order the PC. An 802.11n wireless card only adds $8.50 to the price, but a Happauge hybrid TV tuner adds $119.90.
The XPS 8300 ships in a small case that's around 410mm high, 450mm deep and 190mm wide. That said, it still feels a little chunky due to the design of its front panel, which flares toward the bottom. There are two USB 2.0 ports hidden by a sliding door; two more USB 2.0 ports and audio ports are located at the top of the machine. Furthermore, there is a recessed area in front of the USB ports that can be used to safely rest a phone or MP3 player while it's charging. The location of this area and the USB ports means that the XPS 8300 will be most convenient when situated on the floor rather than on a desk top. The overall size of the XPS 8300 is small, but still a little chunky due to the front panel being thicker at the bottom than at the top.
On the inside, the XPS 8300 is quite cramped. It has a micro ATX motherboard that's decked out with an Intel Core i7-2600 CPU, 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM (using four 2GB modules) and an AMD Radeon HD 5770 graphics card with 1GB of RAM. Storage is handled by a 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT hard drive and you also get a DVD burner. It produced very fast results in our tests: 18sec in the Blender 3D rendering test, 43sec in the iTunes MP3 encoding test and 40min in the DVD transcoding test. You can use the XPS 8300 for many tough tasks, including video editing and video conversion and it's also perfect for multitasking.
In 3DMark06, its Radeon 5770 graphics adapter recorded a score of 17671, which means it can be used to run many of the latest games, but not at super-high settings. Depending on the game, the smoothest gameplay will be at a resolution of 1280x1024. As the Radeon 5770 is a DirectX 11-based card, we also ran 3DMark11, which is a DirectX 11-based benchmark, and the XPS 8300 recorded a score of P2772.
The hard drive performance of the XPS 8300 was stellar — it recorded a file transfer rate of 124.7 megabytes per second in our tests. The drive that our test PC used was a 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT, which has a SATA 3.0 (6 gigabits per second) interface and a 7200rpm spin speed. It's a very good transfer rate for a single drive — one of the fastest we've seen — but the more data that gets packed into it, the slower it will become. With 2TB of space available, it could take a while before it gets filled. There is room in the case for one more hard drive, but as the case is cramped and the hard drive bay is mounted sideways, you might have to remove the graphics card and some of the cables that are in the way when installing it. There are four SATA ports on the motherboard and it supports RAID 1 and RAID 0.
The XPS 8300 runs reasonably quietly, even when it's under a heavy load, but it will be noiticeable in a quiet bedroom. It has four fans: the CPU fan, the graphics card fan, a 120mm rear extraction fan, and there is also a fan in its 460W power supply. You'll hear some hard drive noise when the heads are busy reading or writing data.
Dell has installed a few bits of software that aim to make the user experience a little better (Dell Dock), and also to make it easier to get support (Dell Support Centre) and back up data (Dell DataSafe Backup). When you first start using the PC, there are many pop-ups from these applications requesting that they be updated. It's best to do this right away as the constant reminders can be quite frustrating. The Dell Dock sits on the Windows desktop and provides easy access to regularly-used applications and Web site shortcuts. It's not really a necessity, but some users may appreciate it.
For $1499 (without a monitor), the Dell XPS 8300 is a good option for anyone who wants a fast desktop in a reasonably small form factor. The drawbacks are that it can't easily be expanded due to its small case, and it also doesn't have many value-adds — you don't get extras such as USB 3.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi or a digital TV tuner for the price.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony returns to profit, cuts full-year loss forecast
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BQLD
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- TPSenior IT Business AnalystVIC
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)VIC
- TPFront End DeveloperWA
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Technical ArchitectWA
- CCSenior Project Coordinator - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- FTERP Data Migration Consultant - Software Company - Permanent - SydneyNSW
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- TPAgile Business AnalystQLD
- FTInfrastructure Security Compliance OfficerNSW
- FTDigital Strategist - Global Consulting FirmACT
- CCSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTInfrastructure Solution ArchitectSA
- FTMicrosoft ProgrammerSA
- CCSystems Engineer (Systems Architect/Designer)VIC
- CCService Designer (CX)NSW
- TPJava DeveloperVIC
- CCTechnical Support AnalystACT
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTLead PMONSW
- FTSenior C++ EngineerACT
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT