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This $999 Dell XPS gaming PC is great for 1080p gaming after a small upgrade

Dell XPS Desktop PC
(Image credit: Future)

Since Dell acquired Alienware back in 2006, it's been easy to forget that Dell produces its own gaming PCs. Its XPS Desktop PC range can be kitted out with all the latest hardware, and while the cases don't scream 'gamer' in the way that some boxes do, they're still capable systems. That more sober approach actually appeals to some, especially with their distinct lack of RGB bling. 

This particular model is enjoying $400 off its normal list price right now, thanks to an early Black Friday deal, making it a machine worth considering if you're in the market for a gaming system for under $1,000. For that, you get a six-core, 12-thread Intel 11th Gen Core i5 11400, which can boost up to 4.4GHz.

You also get a Radeon RX 5700 XT, which may be from AMD's last generation of graphics cards, but it's still a capable offering and will go toe-to-toe with the newer Radeon RX 6600 XT in most games. If you're looking for a 1080p gaming machine, this is more than up to the task. The only thing that is lacking from its silicon arsenal is the ability to trace light rays—hardly a deal-breaker, given that even AMD's newest cards can still struggle on that front.

Dell XPS Desktop | Intel Core i5 11400 | AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT | 8GB RAM | 512GB SSD | $1,399.99

Dell XPS Desktop | Intel Core i5 11400 | AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT | 8GB RAM | 512GB SSD | $1,399.99 $999.99 at Dell (save $400)
The understated styling of the XPS will appeal if you're not interested in lighting up your room while playing games maxed out at 1080p. The RX 5700 XT may be last-gen, but it can still pack a punch and the 11th Gen Core i5 is a capable chip for work and play. You'll need to upgrade the RAM to get the most from the system though. 

There's a slight caveat with this machine though, and that is you're going to want to upgrade the memory the moment you get it, because Dell, in its wisdom, has decided to kit it out with just a single stick of RAM. This means it's only operating in single-channel memory mode as opposed to the optimal dual-channel configuration. The PC will work just fine, but it won't run as well as it can do, so do yourself a favor and upgrade it.

You could buy another stick directly from Dell, but it will charge you well over the odds for the privilege—how does $89.99 for another stick sound? The answer here is an emphatic 'no' by the way. You're better off looking elsewhere.

You need another stick of the same memory, which for this machine is DDR4-2933 with a CAS Latency of 21. There's a stick of Nemix RAM on Newegg (by way of example) for $35.94 which sells itself as a replacement for Dell RAM and features compatible timings. Alternatively, you can buy a whole kit of Corsair's slightly quicker Vengeance LPX RAM for $67.99, which is quality memory that I've used in several builds over the years. 

Memory aside, the rest of the spec is a lot more serviceable, and along with getting Windows 11 pre-installed on the 512GB NVMe SSD you also get Wi-Fi 6 connectivity as well as a Blu-Ray drive, because physical media is definitely still a thing. 

Overall, this is a decent price to pay for a solid gaming machine that will handle modern gaming well at 1080p. 

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.