November 5, 2013
- Wi-Fi & Intel WiDi connectivity
- Plenty of USB 3.0 ports
- Blu-ray drive
- Solid performance
- Limited internal expansion
- Pricier than similar desktops
The Dell XPS 8700 Special Edition tries to provide you with lots of performance power, some added connectivity features, but it doesn't leave much room for future expansion or a second graphics card. It delivers in the performance category, but it's pricier than most other desktops.
The Dell XPS 8700 is very similar to the XPS 8500 from last year, especially on the exterior. The inside only has some minor updates, but the biggest one is the new Intel Haswell CPU.
Dell's traditional XPS desktop design continues with an all-black exterior and a blank front panel with a multiformat memory card reader at the top. The only front ports are two blue, USB 3.0 ports. At the bottom, there is an air grille with some chrome accents to finish off the sleek design. On the top, there are two USB 2.0 port and microphone and headphone jacks.
At the rear, there are four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, analog & digital ports, HDMI-out, DisplayPort-out and two full-size DVI-out ports.
On the inside, we were a little disappointed. Because the included discrete graphics card occupies two slots, there is only one PCIe x1 slot for any future expansion. The motherboard in total offers one PCIe x16 slot and three PCIe x1 slots. The four memory slots are also all occupied by 4GB memory modules. There is a mSATA slot, which is taken by a 32GB solid-state cache drive, which really helps to speed up boot times. For wireless, a mini-PCIe slot is filled by a WLAN card that offers 802.11n Wi-Fi as well as Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology.
Our review unit included an all-new Intel 'Haswell' Core i7-4770 (3.4GHz) CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 2TB hard drive, 32GB SSD cache drive, a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 (1.5GB video RAM) and a Blu-ray/DVD+/-RW combo optical drive.
In a PCMark 7 benchmark, the Dell XPS 8700 Special Edition clocked in at 5,670, which is right on-par with the category average. So far the slightly more than average price, you don't get above average performance, instead you get solid performance. This might be because this system still uses a traditional hard drive for main storage, instead of a solid-state drive. However, you'll find this system does a great job at streaming media, multitasking and the usual computing tasks.
The discrete Nvidia GTX 660 graphics card does a good job at 3D gaming and multimedia performance. You can definitely play today's 3D games at maximum or near maximum performance settings.