The Dell Studio XPS 8300 is a well-regarded mainstream desktop, with enough power for everyday tasks and a bit more. Though no one will mistake it for a dedicated gaming rig, gaming performance is not bad for the price. Although base configurations of the Dell Studio XPS 8300 start at around $700, experts lean toward a higher-end configuration, which starts at $1,000, if gaming is of interest. Such configurations typically include a second-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a discrete AMD Radeon HD 6770 graphics card and a 2 TB hard drive. A Blu-ray drive (*Est. $100) is available as an option. Additional options, including faster-still versions of the Sandy Bridge Intel processor and higher-performance graphics cards, are also offered.
Most reviewers are satisfied by the Dell's performance, especially when stepped up from its base configuration. It runs multimedia tasks with ease and posts very good frame rates for gaming. Most modern titles are playable at medium-to-high settings, including "Crysis" and "Far Cry 2," which is unusual for a desktop in this price range. However, the ability to upgrade later on is more limited than the typical gaming computer. If you want a gaming-oriented desktop that can be easier to upgrade as your budget and your needs allow, reviewers recommend the Velocity Micro Edge Z40 (Discontinued) . It has ample provisions for hard drive, RAM or graphic upgrades; gamers will be most interested in step-up configurations that start at around $1,200 and go up from there.
We saw lots of reviews for the Dell Studio XPS 8300. ComputerShopper.com, CNET, HardwareHeaven.com and HotHardware.com all have excellent test-based reviews. The reviews at PC World, PC World (Australia), DesktopReview.com and About.com are good complements to the other professional sources, although their analysis is not quite as detailed.
1. Computer Shopper
Daniel A. Begun gives the Dell Studio XPS 8300 an Editors' Choice award and an 8.4 out of 10 rating after subjecting it to extensive hands-on testing in this long review, which is supplemented with a number of photos. The PC achieved good frame rates even on intense titles like "Just Cause 2" and "Alien vs. Predator."
Review: Dell XPS 8300, Daniel A. Begun, May 2011
The Dell Studio XPS 8300 fails to earn an Editors' Choice award from Rich Brown at CNET. Although the PC posts good productivity benchmark scores and achieves a very playable frame rate in "Crysis," it struggles when faced with the intense "Metro 2033."
Review: Dell XPS 8300 desktop, Rich Brown, April 20, 2011
Hothardware.com reviewer Paul Lilly compares three mainstream computers head to head in this roundup. Although he prefers both the iBuyPower Gamer Power BTS11 (*Est. $1,000) and the HP Pavilion Elite H8 1050 (*Est. $1,300), the Dell Studio XPS 8300 posts very good benchmark scores in several video games and comes away with a Recommended award.
Review: Dell, HP, and iBuyPower Back-to-School PC Roundup, Paul Lilly, Sept. 20, 2011
A cheaper version of the Dell Studio XPS 8300 also earns a Recommended award from HardwareHeaven.com. Stuart Davidson wishes the internal wiring was a bit neater, but says the XPS 8300 is "A well balanced system which starts at a very reasonable price and scales well with the users budget."
Review: Dell XPS 8300 Media Desktop Review, Stuart Davidson, Aug. 15, 2011
5. PC World
Reviewer David Murphy only gives the Dell Studio XPS 8300 a 3-star rating, but the text in the report indicates he's quite happy with the PC. While, the computer posts very high scores in productivity benchmarks, Murphy says the gaming capabilities are underwhelming, though adequate. "You'll still be able to crank the next-generation titles you throw at the XPS 8300, but its benchmarking results are among the lower scores of all the performance PCs we've tested over the past year," he writes.
Review: Dell XPS 8300: High on Features, Low on Price, David Murphy, Feb. 2, 2011
DesktopReview.com gives the Dell Studio XPS 8300 a 4.5-star rating (out of 5). J.R. Nelson puts the machine through a number of benchmarking tests, and it blows away the competition -- which was the older Dell Studio XPS 7100 and some well-regarded all-in-ones -- in the graphics category. "Any of today's newest games -- Portal 2, Brink and others --will play with room to spare," he writes.
Review: Dell XPS 8300 Review, J.R. Nelson, May 15, 2011
7. PC World (Australia)
The Dell Studio XPS 8300 performed well in all benchmark tests posed by PC World (Australia), including the 3DMark06 application that tests a computer's 3D gaming capabilities. The XPS 8300 "can be used to run many of the latest games, but not at super-high settings," reviewer Elias Plastiras writes. However, he remarks that the small case limits upgrade options.
Review: Dell XPS 8300 Sandy Bridge Desktop PC, Elias Plastiras, April 29, 2011
Matt Kyrnin names the Dell Studio XPS 8300 as the best all-around performance PC available. If he conducts hands-on testing, it isn't mentioned. Kyrnin says the computer should provide decent gaming performance at 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, although he warns that "this probably is not the best choice for a high end gaming system as the power supply can't handle the top of the line graphics cards." (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Best Performance Desktop PCs, Matt Kyrnin