Dell are known to provide quality desktop PCs and Laptops, especially with their Alienware range, while everybody wants to be mobile nowadays there will always be the need for a powerful desktop machine with plenty of space for expansion, powerful graphics and plenty of memory and processor speed for editing movies, playing games and even graphics work.
Dell’s XPS 8500 looks to fill this need with its powerful new Core i7 based desktop PC. Adding more advanced technology than was in the 8300 range (for example USB 3.0 and Blu-ray) it’s definitely looking to make an impact in a market that is arguably flagging in the age of Tablets and Laptops.
The look of the XPS 8500 is not as sleek and fashionable as some of the Alienware range (for example the Alienware X51 which looks to copy the games console look), this desktop is more centred on functionality. The front of the case has a traditional look with its optical drives on display, the memory card readers and USB ports are also easily visible with no sliding covers to hide them. Access to the 3.0 USB ports is easy as they are on the front of the case; the usual connectors on the back are available with DVI, HDMI connections being provided by the AMD graphics card in the back.
Inside the machine there is space for expansion, but this is limited. There two free SATA parts for extra drives if necessary, There are four memory slots which hold 4GB DIMMS which means out of the box the XPS 8500 can have 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM which is said to be expandable to 32GB later in the year. Using a 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-3770 to power the machine it's Ivy Bridge quad-core chipset provides plenty of speed.
The Graphics card is a Radeon HD 7870 which takes up one of the two PCIe x1 slots, which leaves little expansion space for that variety of card. The power supply in the case is 460-watt which although is adequate for the spec of the computer is again something that will probably need to be updated, especially with more power hungry graphics cards. The included hard drive is a 3TB drive which has around 2.72TB free when first used which means there is plenty of space for anything you wish to install.
The XPS 8500 comes with Windows 7 Home Premium installed on a 256GB SSD boot drive and plenty of other applications on boot up including a free trial of McAfee SecurityCenter. Of course this would be nicer if it was a full version but free security software can easily be downloaded off of the internet. With the use of the SSD drive Windows is very fast, especially in loading (taking approximately just over 30 seconds to load).
If you are looking for a desktop with plenty of power for almost everything you want to do this computer will definitely meet your needs. For gaming, the Radeon HD 7870 is billed as a strong card that can provide all the power you want, the fact that it’s actually a separate board and not on board graphics is a huge bonus in terms of not only performance but also upgradability.
The one weakness this desktop does have is though that there is little space for upgradability, but looking at the specs this may not be that much of an issue. The only time this will affect the machine will be when you wish to add additional drives, especially if they are SATA as there are only two available slots left. Of course upgrading will use additional power too and with a power supply that can only be described as adequate for the set up provided this is one thing that any upgrader will have to think about changing to accommodate the new power requirements.