If you take a look at pre-built systems, you will find that a few major manufacturers have excellent options for everyone’s budget. One of them is Dell, along with its gaming brand, Alienware. The gaming desktop PCs they have are scattered throughout various model lines – Inspiron, XPS, Aurora, etc., and below we have reviewed the 7 best Dell gaming desktop PCs from all of them.
We’ll touch upon some moderate systems for the casual gamer, but we’ll also look at Dell’s higher-end options, too, for those of you who don’t mind spending a bit extra on a system.
1. Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10
We’re well aware that anyone who hears the name Alienware and knows a thing or two about computers, will think that this is another overpriced gaming rig by Dell, and steer clear of it. However, the Aurora is everything but, as it gets you pretty great value and excellent performance for the money.
To begin with, the design of the Aurora R10 is beautiful. You can choose between a Lunar Light and a Dark Side of The Moon case, which are the two colors available with both air and liquid cooling, and either a 550W or a 1000W PSU. The custom case everything is packed in is extremely elegant and minimal to an extent, only coming with the things you need and not much more. The entire front panel that surrounds the buttons and I/O is an air intake, which allows for cold air to come inside the case and keep the components cool. There are also two intake fan holes on the left side, which are made to look nicer, in a hexagonal shape. Dell wanted this system to look nice when placed on a desk.
And while the outside is pretty neat, the internals of the system are excellent, too. It is configurable, and being the Ryzen Edition, there is basically the entire Ryzen 3000 series palette of CPUs to choose from, from a Ryzen 5 3500, to a Ryzen 9 3950X. You can also choose the GPU, and available are everything from an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super, to an RTX 2080 Ti, as well as a couple of AMD options. Whichever combination you choose, you can easily push competitive titles to higher framerates, and if necessary, you can even play some more demanding games by opting for a more powerful GPU.
The rest of the build is rather simple – you get anywhere from 8GB to 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. Storage is versatile too, and you can go with a single hard drive, or add dual storage with an HDD and SSD, or even two SSDs. If you aren’t able to get a LAN cable to it (which you definitely should), there is an 802.11ac Wi-Fi module, which will get you reliable networking. It’s overall a great build, and it just looks stunning, no matter what angle you look at it from.
- Powerful Ryzen CPU options
- Great choice of GPU models
- Plenty of storage
- Compact and beautiful design
- Good value
2. Alienware Aurora R11
The Aurora R11 is the latest evolution of the Aurora series by Alienware. And even though it’s not that much of a radical redesign over its predecessor, it’s still an excellent machine that will get you great performance and is worth the asking price. It seems like Alienware’s systems aren’t the overpriced machines people took them for a few years ago, so let’s take a look at the Aurora R11.
The first thing we have to discuss is the chassis itself. If you took a look at their previous system, the R10, this is a very similar chassis. It’s just as beautiful, and it even adds a bit of lighting to the front, where the front intakes are. Visually, it’s very pleasing, and you’ll get the clean, minimalist design all around, with the two hexagonal air intakes on the left side. On the right, there’s an Alienware logo at the back which lights up, and that’s about it. Simple, minimal, and stunning. Oh, and it’s surprisingly compact for what it is, which we can’t say for a lot of other prebuilts. Both the Lunar Light and Dark Side of the Moon models come with a 1000W PSU, and you can choose between air and liquid cooling.
Moving on to the internals, you will find a great range of options. You can pick and choose a CPU from Intel’s 10th gen models, from an i5-10400F to an i9-10900K, as well as a GPU, which can either be the GTX 1660 Ti, or any of Nvidia’s RTX series graphics cards. You can even have two of them, or have one that’s liquid-cooled, too, and there are a few AMD options as well. RAM ranges from 16GB to 64GB of HyperX FURY memory, and storage options are either an SSD or an SSD and a hard drive.
As you can see, any configuration you go for, you’ll get excellent value and great performance in a compact, stunning looking chassis.
- Latest, 10th generation Intel CPU
- Plenty of RAM choices, which is great for multitasking
- Large SSD options for your OS and games
- 1000W power supply
- Stunning case with LED lights
3. Alienware Aurora R8
Ask anyone what’s the best way to get a powerful system for casual gaming without spending too much, and chances are, they’ll point you towards builds that are a generation or two older, but still pack a punch and come at greatly reduced prices at the moment. One of those rigs is Alienware’s Aurora R8, which by today’s standards, is a very capable system, and the price is great.
On the inside, you can choose from Intel’s 9th generation processors. The most value-oriented build comes with an i5-9400, but you can go up to an i9-9900K if you want to get a bit more power. There is plenty of versatility with the GPUs, too, ranging from an Nvidia GTX 1650 up to dual RTX 2070 Super, or a single RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. Even the most basic components can give you great performance in games, but feel free to upgrade as you see fit. You do have a few AMD models in terms of GPU, too. Memory options range from 8GB to 64GB, and you can even add an Intel Optane Memory module to some options, too. Last but not least, when it comes to storage, you can go from a single 1TB hard drive to a combination of a 2TB hard drive and a 2TB SSD. On to the design.
One of the key selling points when looking at Alienware prebuilts is the design, and that’s no exception with the Aurora R8. It comes with a pretty neat looking case that does have a lot going on, and you can choose between air and liquid cooling. At the front and the left side are air intakes, but they aren’t just holes – Dell has come up with a way to make them look attractive on the case. The I/O is on the top, and you have a decent port selection, with USB and audio ports. On the right panel are the three RGB LEDs, which add a lot in terms of aesthetics and finish out the entire build. The case isn’t too compact, however, which might be a drawback to anyone who doesn’t have too much desk space to work with. If you do, however, the Aurora R8 is one of the best ways to get a great prebuilt at a reasonable price.
- 9th generation Intel CPUs
- Large storage options, dual storage is available
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- A great value system at the lower end
- RGB LED strips on the side panels
4. Alienware Area-51
When it comes to Dell’s prebuilts, the Area-51 has always been the top-of-the-line system, which came with the best looking designs and innovative features that you couldn’t find elsewhere. It’s expensive, yes, but for the price, you’re getting quite a lot, and you have a highly configurable system. And the design is as stunning as they come.
The internals of the system are basically whatever you want them to be. The case has quite a lot of room, which is why Alienware offers you Intel processors, and you can choose from a Core i7 to a Core i9 Extreme CPU – and liquid cooling. Not many other brands will give you the option to go for an 18-core CPU, which is impressive. And the same applies to GPU power, too. The case and motherboard of choice are made to work with two Nvidia or three AMD graphics cards, and some of them are liquid-cooled for better performance under load. Of course, few people use multi-GPU setups today, but having the option is still great. You can add up to 64GB of RAM and use it in quad-channel, which can come in handy if you’re using the Area-51 for intensive workloads such as rendering or video editing. Oh, and there are plenty of storage options too, from U.2 drives to conventional mechanical hard drives.
Now to the best thing about the Area-51 – the case and design aesthetics. The case Alienware opted for is their highly popular triangular design, which comes with two chambers. The larger one houses most of the components, while the rear one allows for cable management and has room for your storage devices. There’s plenty of “empty” room inside, which allows air to flow freely and keep the components cool even when you’re pushing the system hard. On the outside, you have very clean looks. The front panel is an air intake, with the I/O to the right side, and you have LEDs surrounding it. There are also LEDs on the side panels, too, and they’re compatible with the AlienFX lighting system which you control from the Alienware Command Center. It’s simple to use, and it’s obvious Dell wanted the system to look as good as it performs.
The only downside to the Area-51 is the price because this is a very expensive system. However, if you don’t mind that, it’s one of the most beautiful prebuilts you can get.
- High-end build with up to a Core i9 Extreme CPU
- Liquid cooling on the CPU and GPU(s)
- Excellent airflow in the case
- Dual-chamber design
- Triangular case design with software-controlled RGB LEDs
5. Dell Inspiron 5680 Gaming Desktop
The Inspiron series, both when it comes to desktops and laptops, is Dell’s mainstream lineup. And while some might look at this as a negative, it’s also the lineup where you’ll get the most bang for your buck – and the Inspiron 5680 Gaming Desktop is a great example. It’s a highly configurable gaming desktop that you can spec as you like and comes packed in an interesting looking chassis with a transparent side panel.
Inside, similarly to other Dell models, the Inspiron is what you make it. CPU options are Intel’s 9th generation processors with the choice of up to an i9. Even though this does exclude some CPUs, Dell wanted to make sure they can keep the CPU cool, which is why these limitations were put in place. Considering this is advertised as a VR-ready system, all the CPUs you can choose from are all pretty capable of modern-day workloads. That can’t be said for the GPUs, unfortunately, because the configuration options top out at an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. While this is a great midrange graphics card, people who would’ve liked to see ray tracing or DLSS might be disappointed. Memory and storage are pretty decent though, as you can go up to 32GB of RAM, and you can choose between an SSD, a hard drive, or both when you need plenty of storage.
Now, there’s no way around this – the Inspiron 5680 Gaming Desktop is pretty massive. The chassis is big to house all of the components of choice and be able to cool them. On a desk, it will take up a lot of space, which might be an issue for some. However, if that doesn’t bother you, it looks pretty neat. The front is divided diagonally, with a mesh-like bottom and a clean top that houses the I/O and the optical drive. This is also where you’ll find the backlit Dell logo, too. On the left side is the transparent side panel, and you’re looking at a transparent bottom half only, which does give you a glimpse of the inside, but nothing too spectacular.
One things’ for sure, the Inspiron 5680 won’t be making the news anytime soon, but it’s not meant to, either. It’s designed for people who want a nice looking prebuilt system that performs good in a variety of scenarios and will last a good while. If that sounds like you, go for it.
- Up to a 9th gen Intel Core i9 CPU
- VR-ready GPU options
- Up to 32GB of RAM
- Dual storage options
- Transparent side panel
6. Dell G5 Gaming Desktop
Not everyone has the room on their desk (or under it) for a massive full-size tower, and if you’re one of those people who don’t, Dell has you covered with the G5 gaming desktop. The G5 is one of those systems that’s made to be compact and provide as much value as possible, and the second one is the reason why it goes under the Dell moniker instead of the more expensive, Alienware option. However, take a look at what’s inside (and the design), and you see that the G5 is no slouch, and can easily handle modern workloads regardless of how intensive they are.
To begin with, the case is rather simple. It’s what Dell calls an Abyss Grey color, which is a not-so-black black. It does come with a blue LED strip at the front, and the design of the entire front panel does look pretty nice, we must admit. The I/O is on the right side, and branding on the chassis itself is minimal. All you get is the Dell logo in the lower right corner, and a small G5 logo to let you know what system you’re looking at. You do have the option to go with a clear side panel if you want, but honestly, the case looks a lot better without it. It’s a simple, minimal design – take advantage of it.
Inside the case, things are pretty interesting. At the core, you have an Intel Core i7-9700 processor. This is an 8-core chip that can turbo up to 4.7GHz, but Dell has opted for the locked, non-K variant. Considering this is a compact build without liquid cooling, we aren’t surprised – overclocking and keeping things stable would be tricky, to say the least. You also get an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, which is a great midrange graphics card with 6GB of VRAM. It’s perfectly capable of handling today’s workloads without any issues. Storage is great, too, because Dell has included not only a 512GB NVMe SSD for your OS and apps but also a 1TB mechanical hard drive – not something you see too often. Oh, and did we mention 16GB of dual-channel memory, that you can upgrade up to 64GB? The G5 is a great choice for a lot of people, you can’t go wrong with it.
- 9th gen Intel Core i7 CPU
- Dual-channel memory, up to 64GB
- Dual storage options with an SSD + HDD
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Tremendous value
7. Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition
If you step away from the gaming models Dell offers, you’ll find that they also have a couple of excellent products that are tailored towards the more professional crowd. And they’re usually found under the XPS moniker, which is Dell’s work-oriented lineup of products, like the XPS Desktop Special Edition. It’s a highly configurable desktop machine that looks extremely clean on just about any desk, so if that’s your cup of tea, read on to see whether or not it could be the right one for you.
Whichever configuration you go for, you’ll get plenty of power. They all use Intel’s 9th generation processors, ranging from the Core i5-9400 to the powerhouse that is the i9-9900K. You can also spec anything from an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super or an AMD Radeon RX 5600, up to an RTX 2080 with 8GB of VRAM. Memory is left up to you as well – the builds start with 8GB of DDR4 memory at 2666MHz and top out at 64GB of it, so take as much as you need. What we love is that even the most wallet-friendly model comes with dual storage, there’s both a 256GB NVMe SSD, as well as a 1TB hard drive. As you can see, even though this is supposed to be a work-oriented machine, it’s perfectly capable of gaming, especially if it’s casual and doesn’t push the system too hard.
On the outside, the XPS Desktop Special Edition looks very, very clean. The silver color is beautiful, and there’s nothing “extra” on the case, except maybe the optical drive at the front. There is decent airflow thanks to the side panel vents, and the components inside don’t really have high TDPs, so you can rest assured there is sufficient cooling.
All things considered, if you still want a prebuilt PC that’s capable of gaming, but aren’t too much of a fan of flashy, “gamer” aesthetics, the XPS Desktop Special Edition is a great choice for you. And the great price makes it even better.
- Up to an i9-9900K processor
- Up to a GeForce RTX 2080 GPU
- Excellent configuration options for memory, both RAM and storage
- Optical drive
- Clean and professional looking case