Dell XPS 8500 is the current model of Dell's famous XPS desktop series targeting power users like designers (previous versions were even called "Studio XPS") and gamers who want the latest generation of Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors and capable graphics cards.
Previous models numbers XPS 8300 and XPS 9100 have been discontinued. Also the 7100 series with AMD chips is no longer available. As of January 2013 Dell is just selling the XPS 8500.
Sure, many computer geeks will tell you to just build your own desktop to get the best components for the best price. But if you're not quite ready to do that, or you just don't want to deal with the hassle that can come with DIY projects, then getting a Dell XPS desktop can be a good way to go.
The XPS 8500 base configuration comes with Core i5 and 8GB RAM for around $700. Anything cheaper than that, we'll certainly have it posted at the top of this page. You can upgrade that base config to Core i7 for $125, which is a decent price considering that as of mid-January 2013 at retail prices Core i7-3770 cost about $110 more than the Core i5-3350P if you just bought the CPUs off Amazon. So at least you know it isn't a huge ripoff, since it's about the same price and upgrading on the Dell site means it will come pre-installed for you and ready to work out of the box without you having to loosen the screws.
Can you get a cheaper Dell desktop? Sure. One option is the Inspiron 660 - check it -- but it's important to note that you can't get a Core i7 from Dell in the Inspiron 660. It tops out at Core i5.
Tell Me About XPS 8500 Specs
RAM / Memory: - Ranges from 8GB to 24GB, and the XPS has 4 DIMM slots so you might want to pop in your own memory.
GPU / Video Cards: - Here are the GPU options for the Dell XPS 8500 desktop as of January 2013:
NVIDIA GeForce GT 620 1GB DDR3 - Low-end, entry level GPU. Its better than the Intel HD 4000 and but honestly not by a significant amount. You'll be able to play most games a generation behind but expect low settings for anything new-ish.
AMD Radeon HD 7570 1GB GDDR5 - Faster entry level GPU but not much faster than GT 620. You'll be able to do a bit more newer games with this GPU, but again, an entry-level GPU.
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 1GB GDDR5 - The GT 640 is a lower-end mid-range GPU, offering speeds faster than the 7570 but you're still stuck with low/medium settings if you play modern games.
Radeon HD 7770 2GB GDDR5 - HD 7770 is a solid mid-range GPU that can play most modern games without a problem. Expect medium settings for some more intensive games.
So if you're a gamer and you want a Dell XPS desktop, get a config with the Radeon HD 7770 2GB. You'll be happiest with that over the other options. Or, get whatever deal is cheapest and just upgrade the GPU on your own with the exact part you prefer.
Storage / Hard Drive: - 1TB or 2TB at 7200RPM, and some XPS configs come with mSATA or "mSSD" add-ons for speedy "flash cache"
The Bottom Line
Dell’s XPS desktops look pretty good and can make a great PC for power users or even a very decent gaming rig if you don’t want to shell out for the Alienware Aurora.