Dell's launch today of the latest version of its XPS desktop is timed for what is usually the start of the back-to-school shopping season, though this year "back to school" is a far more complicated proposition as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But while some students won't need a new PC to take to the dorms, they may need one to take online classes at home for the fall semester.
Like its laptop sibling, the XPS desktop is designed for those who need more performance than a budget system can deliver, but at a (potential) lower price -- and with a subtler aesthetic -- than an alternative like a gaming PC powerhouse. This year's model features a distinctive design on the lower front of the chassis and is available black or white -- Night Sky or Mineral White in Dell parlance. It takes up less space than its predecessor -- 19 liters versus 24 liters -- but still holds on to some expandability, packing in four drive bays, three expansion slots, and up to a 500-watt power supply for those configuring the XPS with Nvidia (and, eventually, AMD) discrete graphics cards.
While the base configuration relies on integrated graphics, the new XPS can handle a wide range of card updates, everything from the GeForce GT 1030 to the GeForce RTX 2060 and 2070 Super. Those latter cards are part of special "Creator Edition" configurations that are part of the Nvidia RTX Studio program that caters to digital media content creation. As you might expect, Dell has also upgraded the 2020 edition of the desktop to the latest 10th generation of Intel Core processors (a.k.a. Comet Lake), offering everything from the quad-core Core i3-10100 to the top-of-the-line 10-core i9-10900K. (AMD Ryzen alternatives are not available.)
Dell says it's keeping the new XPS cool through a combination of component layout to maximize airflow and the front bezel helping to vent hot air out of the back of the desktop. Speaking of components, in addition to the CPU and GPU options mentioned above, the XPS can be equipped with anywhere from 8GB to 128GB of RAM along with a variety of storage options: 7200rpm hard drives, NVMe M.2 PCIe solid-state drives, or a combination of both in various capacities. For those of you still making use of CDs and DVDs, the XPS can be optionally equipped with a DVD-RW drive or a Blu-ray version.
Available ports include a pair of front-side USB 3.1 connections, including a Type-C charging version, with four more USB 3.1 ports on the rear as well as two USB 2.0 ports and HDMI and Display Port outputs. Your choice of network connectivity ranges from the standard 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 to the upgraded Killer AX1650i 802.11ax Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 or Killer E2600 Ethernet.
You won't need to wait long to order the new XPS if you're in the market for a new desktop. It's available to purchase today starting at $649.99 for a base model and going up (potentially way up) from there.