In 2022 there are not many desktops around – sure you can buy dedicated gaming desktops but for those who aren’t all that interested in gaming the options are few and far between. Dell though, continues to pop out desktops across the entire range with something for everyone.

The XPS Desktop is no longer their gaming desktop (it has been a long time since it was) but instead is their performance desktop suitable for all high end applications. Whether it be casual gaming or creation of media such as videos etc its hardware makes even the most intensive tasks easy to accomplish.

Hardware

The new XPS Desktop (8950) is bigger and in this case that is considered better. The large chassis is 27L compared to the previous generation’s 19L and this larger chassis allows for improved airflow and more liquid cooling options than ever before on an XPS Desktop.

With the XPS Desktop aimed at the high end user who needs extra power than what a laptop can provide, it is no surprise to see it supporting 12th Gen Intel chipsets up to i9k. Alongside this new chipset is the possibility of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series GPU, up to the RTX 3090 or an AMD GPU up to an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB GDDR6 graphics card. This review unit arrived with an AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT GPU which features 12GB of GDDR6 RAM (and a $1,000 GPU by itself), easily enough to complete all the video editing and encoding that I threw at it.

The review unit also arrived with 32GB of DDR5 RAM which can be specced up to 128GB should you see the need (there are 4 DIMM slots for RAM) – we did not. There are also 2x M.2 SSD, 2x 3.5” HDD bays and 3 PCIe expansion slots. Included is also Wi-Fi 6 capabilities and Bluetooth 5.2 as you’d expect from a high end desktop in 2022.

As mentioned above there is a liquid cooling option for the XPS Desktop 8950 this year – but you are only going to notice this feature if you are performing some serious encoding or gaming. In saying that, the cooling must have been extremely effective as no matter what I was doing it ran quietly, even with the fans going.

Design

The XPS Desktop 8950 is boring. It is a desktop. Sure there is a vent at the front but it’s essentially a big black box. The front of the box/chassis includes 3 x USB 3.2 Type-A slots, 1 x USB 3.2 Type-C ports, an SD card slot and a headphone jack. The review unit also had an optical drive in it but who uses one of those these days?

The rear of the box looks just like a desktop – nothing fancy here either. There are 7.1 channel audio 6-connector stack of restack-able audio ports, a DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB 3.2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports and a 10/100/1000 RJ-45 port.. There are also 3 expansion slots should you wish to spec it up with various graphics cards. The review unit has the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT GPU and thus has an extra three DisplayPort 1.4b slots, one HDMI 2.1 port in the expansion slot for that GPU card.

Performance

The XPS Desktop is designed for the high end users and with the specs our review unit arrived with it performed as expected. It was able to run all the games we threw at it along with various video encoding.

I ran a few benchmarks on it and it performed well considering it is not a dedicated gaming machine. Let’s face it though, it has a 12GB GPU of some note, a Core i9 chipset along with a Samsung NVMe PM9A1 1TB drive so it should perform well.

As you can see from the benchmarks performed below it performed at a fairly high level. If you need a desktop that can perform high end functions including video editing with some gaming you can be sure that this desktop will be able to handle whatever you throw at it – but of course that does depend to some extent on how you spec it when you order it.

Should you buy it?

The Dell XPS Desktop 8950 is a definite upgrade over its predecessor and while not the fanciest looking desktop it certainly has its place. If you need a high-end desktop to perform intensive editing or just dislike the over-the-top RGB look of the various gaming desktops around then this is perfect for you. You can spec it up as high as you want, so as to provide enough grunt for whatever you may be performing with it.

The XPS Desktop 8950 is an unassuming desktop PC with power to spare so if power is what you want and you prefer the subtle design aesthetic of an old-school desktop then look no further — this is for you. You can pick one up in Night Sky (black) or Platinum Silver (basically white) from your local Dell reseller or from Dell online starting at @2,112 (at the moment) up to almost $5,600. Dell often has sales though — for example the XPS Desktop that is usually $5,098 (the second top of the range) is currently selling for $3,314. If you are interested in an XPS Desktop I suggest you grab one when the one you want is on sale.