Dell XPS Desktop 8940 Special Edition review: lots of computers in a small space


Josh Goldman / CNET

The Dell XPS Desktop 8940 is a great little desktop PC for a laptop like me. Like Dell high-end XPS laptops, the XPS Desktop is attractive and small, perfect for tight spaces. Unlike laptops, however, there are plenty of options for upgrades to help you keep up with changing needs.


  • Compact but still spacious inside
  • Many component options
  • Good assortment of front and rear ports

Do not like

  • Basic accessories included
  • No rear USB-C ports
  • Design not as good looking as XPS laptops

From base to full load

the Dell XPS Desktop starts at around $ 640 and the Special Edition version with its “Mineral White” case starts around $ 980. UK, office starts at £ 899 and in Australia it is AU $ 2,399, however, the Special Edition is currently not available in these regions. Chassis color aside, the differences boil down to what you can get inside.

The basic configuration of the standard model, for example, starts with an integrated graphics card, but can be configured with a 12 GB GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card or an 8 GB Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics card. to it, starts with a 6GB GeForce GTX 1660 Super and goes up to an 8GB GeForce RTX 3070, which I tested with a 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor. Dell now sells it with 11th generation processors up to a Core i9-11900K.

Dell XPS Desktop PC

Loosen two thumbscrews and you’re in.

Josh Goldman / CNET

You can also configure it with up to 64GB of memory at 2933MHz, but it supports up to 128GB. Likewise, you can get it with M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD up to 2TB and a 2TB 7200RPM hard drive for storage, but the open bays at the top of the case allow you to add more. Dell also offers a choice of 360 or 500 watt power and, if you want, you can top it all off with a Blu-ray burner – nice to have if you get it for content creation or if you want to. just want an easy option for backups. A DVD burner is standard. Fully loaded, it comes to just over $ 3,000.

The exact configuration of my test system is no longer available but comparable with an 11th generation Core i7, 32 GB of memory, a 1 TB SSD plus a 2 TB hard drive, an 8 GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, a 500-watt power supply and a Blu-ray player for $ 2,283. Considering current graphics card prices and availability issues, this price is relatively reasonable. At this price, however, it should really come with a better keyboard and a better mouse. Maybe it’s because of my experience with XPS laptops, but pairing this system with a wired keyboard and mouse set just seems wrong. You might think it’s okay, but when Apple gives iMac a high-quality wireless keyboard and mouse, it’s hard to ignore because it is Dell’s high-end PC line.

it looks good too

If you want the performance of a gaming desktop but not the look of a desktop, this XPS is a good place to start. While it lacks the overall elegance and polish of the XPS laptop line, the front is attractive and allows sufficient air circulation while being easy to remove and clean. The rest of the chassis is sort of a basic tan box, but since it’s a magnesium alloy, it’s at least light under 20 pounds.

Dell XPS Desktop PC

There is a nice assortment of port on the front.

Josh Goldman / CNET

There is plenty of space around the processor and graphics card so that the airflow from its fans is not restricted. The desktop remains remarkably quiet even when rendering 4K video or hitting over 150fps with games like Far Cry V in Full HD at high graphics settings. The 10th gen Intel processor in my system performed well, but based on newer systems we’ve tested with 11th gen chips, you can expect it to be faster now. Also, I tested the XPS tower with Dell UltraSharp 4K PremierColor UP2720Q 27-inch Monitor, which has proven to be a great partner for retouching raw photos and color correction videos.

The rear panel offers plenty of connection options including four USB 3.1 (Gen 1) ports, two USB 2.0 ports, 5.1 audio jacks, and a life-saving Killer E2600 Gigabit Ethernet if you need to download large video files quickly. There’s no Thunderbolt 3 or 4 port, which would also be handy for faster file transfers or running a hub on your desktop. There is, however, a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 port on the front for speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second.

Dell XPS Desktop PC

Josh Goldman / CNET

When size matters

A small laptop has always meant the most to me, as I spend more time commuting and working on buses and trains than working at home. Or at least I did it until the pandemic hit and then my years of commuting came to a screeching halt. I suddenly had a small home office for the first time in over a decade and was working on an underpowered laptop for my needs that couldn’t be upgraded.

The XPS Desktop 8940 is a great addition to an ultraportable laptop like Dell’s XPS line. You can configure it for your performance needs, even if it includes video and photo editing and gaming. It’s also a solid choice if you’re looking for something small and attractive that can start with a more modest setup and build as your needs change. That’s the flexibility you won’t get with a smaller Mac Mini or all-in-one-type computer, but not so large that you’ll waste a lot of floor or desk space.

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