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Dell XPS Desktop (8950) review: Excellent upgradeable performance

The Dell XPS series has long offered premium performance in a package that could fit in any professional or home environment. The latest model, the Dell XPS Desktop (8950) continues that trend, with upgraded silicon under the hood, and a facelift that keeps its scaled-back look, but adds an extra touch of class.

The new XPS Desktop is also ultra-upgradeable, and even highly user-upgradeable too. That means that it’s more future-proof than many of its competitors. And, depending on the specs you get, it starts at a relatively affordable $749 — though our review unit costs quite a bit more than that.

Is the Dell XPS Desktop (8950) the go-to desktop computer?

Dell XPS Desktop (8950)

Rating: 4 Stars
Dell XPS Desktop (8950) Main
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Pros

  • Great performance
  • Stylish design
  • Good port selection
  • Upgradeable

Cons

  • Fan noise

Dell XPS Desktop (8950) design

The new model of the Dell XPS Desktop has been redesigned. It still offers the relatively scaled-back design, and no one would assume that it’s a gaming desktop despite the power under the hood. The computer is available in both a Night Sky and a Platinum Silver. We’re reviewing the Platinum Silver model, and I quite like it.

More important than the overall look, of course, are the ports — and there’s a great selection of ports on offer here. On the front, you’ll get an SD card slot, headphone jack, three USB 3.2-A ports, and one USB 3.2-C port. On the back, you’ll get an even larger selection, including six audio ports, a DisplayPort 1.4 port, and a few more USB ports. Add in the ports from your graphics card, and you shouldn’t really run out of ports here. I do wish there were a few Thunderbolt 4 ports though.

Dell XPS Desktop (8950) DesignImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The computer is about as big as you would expect. It measures in at around 15 inches tall, almost 7 inches wide, and almost 17 inches deep. If you already have a desktop computer, this one should fit in the same spot.

Opening up the computer is relatively easy, and that makes it easier to upgrade down the line. To open it, you’ll unscrew the rear latch, then pull the latch to release the side panel.

Dell XPS Desktop (8950) specs and performance

Under the hood, the base model of the Dell XPS Desktop (8950) offers an Intel Core i5-12400 processor, coupled with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. But there are dozens of options for upgrades, including up to a 1000W PSU, which may make it easier to upgrade down the line. Our review model has an Intel Core i5-12600K processor, with 16GB of RAM and an RTX 3060 Ti graphics card.

Dell XPS Desktop (8950) InternalImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

One of the best things about this computer is that it’s able to accommodate full-sized graphics cards, along with liquid cooling for the CPU.

As you might be able to tell, our review configuration isn’t exactly the most upgraded model of the XPS Desktop, but it was still absolutely able to hold its own. The computer excelled at productivity tasks, but thanks to the RTX 3060 Ti, it was also a reliable gaming machine that was easily able to handle 1,080p video on high quality. Sure, the fans definitely got a little loud at times, but not overly so — and you’ll get used to the noise.

Dell XPS Desktop (8950) Rear PortsImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

When it comes to benchmarks, here are the scores that we achieved:

  • GeekBench 5 CPU: 1,785 single-core, 10,862 multi-core
  • GeekBench 5 Compute OpenCL: 119,458
  • CineBench R23 CPU: 1,876 single-core, 16,267 multi-core

These are excellent scores, and show the XPS Desktop to be capable at the vast majority of tasks in 2022. It doesn’t quite match the likes of the Mac Studio in multi-core performance, but the graphics capabilities clearly outperform Apple’s best, thanks to the RTX 3060 Ti.

Conclusions

BGR Gold Award 2022

The Dell XPS Desktop (8950) is an extremely capable desktop computer that excels at any task you can throw at it, depending on the specifications that you go for. The base model will be fine, but most will want to upgrade to a discrete graphics card — and anyone that does will be extremely happy.

The competition

There is quite a bit of competition, but the XPS Desktop is able to outperform much of it. If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem, the Mac Studio is probably the way to go, though it is more expensive. Alternatively, it may be worth checking out the Alienware Aurora R13, which offers more of a gamer aesthetic. If you don’t want to go with Apple, or don’t care about the gamer-focused design, then the Dell XPS Desktop (8950) is an excellent choice.

Should I buy the Dell XPS Desktop (8950)?

Yes. It’s an excellent computer that should last you years to come.

Christian de Looper was born in Canberra, Australia, where he lived until the age of 14. After his father got a job in Paris, France, Christian lived there for five years, after which he moved to Minnesota for college. During college, Christian developed a passion for consumer technology by writing for tech blogs. Christian now lives in sunny Santa Cruz, California.