The Dell XPS x8900-2506BLK is a reasonably priced, well-designed gaming rig with impressive overall performance. It boasts a relatively small and sleek design and delivers good 1080p gaming and superb overall multitasking without breaking the bank.
PROS: Reasonably price. Sleek, compact case. Solid overall performance. Good number of open bays for upgrades.
CONS: Lacks a solid-state drive. Has only a single GPU.
The Dell XPS x8900-2506BLK is a midrange desktop PC that strikes the sweet spot between power, features and price. Personally, I have never liked the term prosumer, but this system practically screams it. Positioned between Dell’s Inspiron line of value desktops and the more expensive Alienware gaming rigs, the XPS X8900 is designed to appeal to digital content creators, enthusiast-level gamers, and power users who’ll probably never but a boutique built system, but can’t do without the performance of generic retail PCs. It is well equipped to play games at 1080p resolution, thanks to a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 745 graphics card, Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB system memory–all of which represents the good value and power it offers.
Design and Features
The Dell XPS x8900 is set in a compact case that measures 16.01 by 7.30 by 17.49 inches (HWD), which is surprisingly short and slim considering the immense power packed inside. It weighs in at 30.42 pounds, which is quite heavy, but is quite acceptable for a desktop, as you shouldn’t be moving it quite often. Looking at it from the outside you’ll notice that it bears a rectangular shape, safe for its angled front panel at the top that add some little style. The front is made of glossy-black plastic with a silver trim, while the sides are made of black aluminum, but the top edges are black plastic. On each side, you have vents, as well as on the bottom of the front panel.
Put side-by-side with similarly powerful systems, it stands out as being relatively small, which is a plus if you’re looking for a space saving setup. Even with the small design, its port selection is excellent. A recess on the top of the system holds two USB 2.0 ports, a microphone jack, and a headset jack. The front panel features two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a card reader. A DVD-RW drive is hidden behind a cover to keep the front panel uniform, only popping open when you hit the button. This is quite good for aesthetics.
On the rear, there’s a plethora of ports, including four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, audio lines, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort. (Including the four on the GPU, that’s five total DisplayPorts.) There’s an open PCIe x16 slot that you can use for an additional graphics card, but note that the system only comes with a 460-watt power supply unit (PSU), so you’ll have to stay within that power limitation.
It’s still possible to throw-in a second budget graphics card to facilitate multiple-monito support, though an additional GTX 975 Card is out of the question. Additionally, there is some real estate for two more 2.5-inch drives and an optical drive, as well an open memory slot for a maximum of 32GB.
For storage, the system comes with a massive 1TB 7200rpm hard drive. While this is sufficient for storing your movies and videos, we’re disappointed that Dell didn’t include a smaller solid-state drive (SSD) for snappier booting. Nevertheless, this is still much more storage than most competing rigs. The ASUS G11CD-US008T offers the best of both worlds with a Solid State Hybrid Drive-SSHD (1TB 7200RPM HDD +8GB SSD cache), which is way faster than a mere hard drive, though it doesn’t match a true SSD, while the ASUS G11CD-DB72 comes with a 512GB SSD for storage.
Wireless Connectivity comes via DW1801 802.11bgn on board, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. Dell includes a USB wired keyboard and mouse with the system, which are basic, but capable. The monitor is not included in the package, you’ll have to buy it separately, in our tests we hooked the system to the latest LG 32MA68HY-P 32-Inch IPS Monitor and the out was impressive.
The Dell XPS x8900 features a 3.4GHz Core i7-6700 processor, a 4GB GeForce GTX 745 graphics card, and 16GB of memory. More memory would be useful, and the system is capable of upgrades to 32GB, but these are pretty speedy components as is. The Intel Core i7 is not exactly what gamers are looking for–but it is fine for everyday multitasking, but being an everyday use and traditional gaming PC, it isn’t designed for virtual reality so it does offer good frames per second (FPS) on most modern titles played at higher (1080p) resolutions. Apart from gaming, this configuration is still perfectly capable of quickly finishing media projects, and offers good speed on most tasks thrown its way.
Of course, there is a quantitative difference between buying a midrange desktop and a high-end desktop, with the price being the main factor. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 745 graphic card here suffices as a great component and a good value, but in quarter 4 of 2015, we’ve seen some of the top-of-the-line Pascal-based cards (GTX 1060/1070&1080) cards that are significantly powerful. For instance, our Editors’ Top Pick midrange gaming desktop, the ASUS G11CD-DB72, boasts the boasts the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX1080 graphics card, a sixth-generation Intel Core-i7 quad core processor and 16GB DDR4 system memory alongside a fast 512SSD and is VR-ready. I wouldn’t be surprised if newer gaming desktops hit the market bearing the new graphics cards a little later this year.
The Dell XPS x8900-2506BLK is a reasonably priced, well-designed gaming rig with impressive overall performance. It doesn’t stack to more premium gaming systems in its class, and is painfully lacking extras like an SSD, but it’s still a good value purchase. Its relatively slim tower is a bonus, especially, if you’re grappling with limited room on or around your desk, with the additional ease of opening up. It’s a safe buy if you’re working on a budget, but the ASUS G11CD-DB72 –(see review here)– offers a lot more power, thanks to the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX1080 graphics card, a sixth-generation Intel Core-i7 quad core processor and 16GB DDR4 system memory alongside a fast 512SSD and is VR-ready. Extra spending up front can go a long way toward increasing your gaming system’s lifespan, and given the latest GTX 1080 graphics card in the ASUS DB72. For this reason, and its generally superior performance, the ASUS G11CD-DB72 remains our Editors’ Top Pick for midrange gaming desktops.