Upgrading My Brand New Dell XPS 8700 Desktop [ Review ]

Updated: May 24, 2016 / Home » Computer PC Hardware » Reviews

My first laptop was an Acer Aspire, I bought that laptop because I was about to further my studies in Australia, thus mobility is the primary reason for choosing a laptop over desktop. Fast forward 3 years later, my Acer laptop died, by that time I’ve finished my studies and I am back in my own country. I bought a Sony laptop because I was in the process of moving and searching for a house, therefore mobility is yet again the primary factor.

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6 years later, my Sony laptop is dying. There are spots of dead pixels on the screen and the overall system is very sluggish even after a clean format, I even went to the extend of vacuuming the internal components of dust but it remains sluggish. This is when I decided to buy a desktop, I’ve been eying the Dell XPS 8700 for quite sometime. 2 weeks ago I made the faithful decision to buy it. Dell XPS8700 is a good multimedia desktop, but not good enough for me. I’ve decided to upgrade a few key components to make it even better.

Samsung 850 Pro SSD

Based on various benchmarks and reports, this is by far the fastest SSD in the market. It comes with a 10 year limited warranty. It is not cheap, for the same price, one can easily own a 512 GB Kingston SSD. Since speed is more important than storage, I’ve decided to go for Samsung 850 Pro SSD, to compensate the limited storage capacity, I installed a secondary Western Digital 1TB Black hard disk. The SSD Bootup speed is simply amazing, worth the price.

Reason for choosing – It is the fastest SSD in the market, after all, the reason for using a SSD over hard disk is speed.

ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 970 Graphic Card

I play Dota 2 and occasional some video editing for my YouTube. A good graphic card means faster processing speed and better graphics for Dota 2 (50 Beautiful Dota 2 Heroes Silhouette 1920×1080 HD Wallpapers). Problem arise when my Dell XPS8700 failed to boot up and shows a black blank screen. This is because Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 is not compatible with Dell XPS 8700’s A09 Bios, Dell was made aware of this and they released a new A10 Bios. If you’re having the same problem such as blank screen or not able to boot up your computer, download and upgrade your motherboard’s bios. Visit Dell’s forum for more info – XPS 8700, GTX 970/980, Black Screen on Boot, Bios A10 released.

Reason for choosing – Asus Strix GeForce GTX 970 uses less watt, generates less heat and comes with a 0db fan. Lets you enjoy light games in complete silence, and hardcore gaming 30% cooler with 3X-quieter performance!

ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 970 Dell XPS 8700

ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 970 Dell XPS 8700

As shown in the photos above, the graphic card is huge, so huge that I have to purchase 2 new 1 meter long SATA cables for my DVD drive and WD hard disk. The dell’s SATA cables are not long enough to go around the graphic card.

Corsair AX760 Power Supply Unit

The PSU (Power Supply Unit) that comes with Dell XPS 8700 is a 460 watt unit. The graphic card I am upgrading to requires a minimum 500w PSU. From what I read online, some people have no problem running their GTX970 on a 460 watt PSU. Just to be safe, I decided to upgrade my PSU to Corsair AX760 ATX Power Supply — 760 Watt 80 PLUS® Platinum Certified Fully-Modular PSU.

Reason for choosing – Less heat generation and lower operating costs with their 80 PLUS Platinum certified efficiency. All components are from Japan and 0 RPM mode for silent operation at low loads. It is quiet.

Asus Xonar DX Sound Card

Crazy as it sound, installing a sound card on your desktop doesn’t make any sense. Since I own an expensive Sony Headphone, I find the sound quality of the on board sound system below average. This is when I decided to buy an Asus Xonar DX sound card. It is powered by complete Dolby Home Theater technologies. There is a slight difference, not recommended for those not without an expensive headphone.

Reason for choosing – Dolby Home Theater technologies

Dell Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo – KM714

I dislike the bundled keyboard and mouse, thus I decided to upgrade it to a better quality keyboard and mouse. Initially I thought I was having batteries issue, after swapping another set of batteries, the sluggishness and lagging by both keyboard and mouse in term of responsiveness continues. It could not have been the CPU because the YouTube video was playing on the background with no sign of lag.

After much research, I discovered the Unifying receiver is interfering with my Router’s Wifi. Dell KM714 uses Logitech Unifying technology, and since both my router and Unifying runs on 2.4GHz frequency, it is causing unwanted interference. Unfortunately there’s no option to change the channel that the Unifying device uses. I tried solving this problem by placing the unifying receiver away from the wireless router. and I changed the channel of the WiFI router. If you own a router that has a 5Ghz frequency, I suggest switching off the 2.4GHz and use only the 5GHz.

Reason for choosing – Sleek, clean simple design.

Dell UltraSharp U2913WM 29” Ultrawide Monitor

As for monitor, I chose Dell’s Ultrawide Monitor because I love multi-tasking. My normal routine involves editing photos or blogging or surfing the internet while watching YouTube. This Ultrawide monitor is the best, it is probably the least expensive component but it is my favorite component. For those unsure of which port to use, always choose Displayport. Displayport is far better than HDMi and DVi port.

Reason for choosing – It is like have a dual monitor setup.

Dell UltraSharp U2913WM 29 Ultrawide Monitor

As shown in the photo above, that’s my old trusty Sony laptop and a very good Sony headphone.

My Dell XPS 8700 Specs and Quick Review

My Dell XPS 8700 comes with 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4790 processor (8M Cache, up to 4.0 GHz) and a 16GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (4GBx4) upgradable to 32GB. Overall, I am really happy with my new desktop. I can’t say this is the best desktop but it is definitely a huge upgrade for me in term of speed.

24 comments on “Upgrading My Brand New Dell XPS 8700 Desktop [ Review ]

  1. Gravatar
    Robert Wheeler [ Reply ]

    I just bought this same desktop. I took advantage of the Raid controller and installed two Samsung 840 Evo SSDs. One mSata and the other SATA. Having 500 gb’s worth of silicon rocks. Even better when thats split between two Sata 3. I also upgraded the memory to 16 gb, I want to upgrade the Mvidia video to an AMD r9, but this one works for now. One thing I did notice unless you enjoy pruning the heck out of the Windows 7 pro install that comes bundled, my best advice is to “dump” the OS. I paid extra to have my Windows 7 licence and I can say I am not impressed with the gb’s of extra drivers. One Size fits none in my humble opinion. It came with an 8.1 disk, but there’s no way I am using that either. So after installing Windows 7 Ultimate retail this thing flies. It’s a very nice piece of hardware for the price. Some complain about the XPS’s case, I find it just fine. Nice post! Good job.

  2. Gravatar

    Have had a Dell XPS 8700 i7 4770 for the last 2 years. Upgraded the GPU to a reference 970 gtx using the stock PSU and A10 BIOS. Never had an issue with the system and I think I can squeeze another couple years out of it. Not bad for a base system I only paid $700 for!

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      GTX970 requires a minimum of 500w PSU. from what i read online, some people have no problem using the stock PSU with GTX 970. Unless you are into gaming, I don’t see a reason for changing your desktop any time soon unless it is broken. Mine comes with a 16GB of RAM, it never once utilized more than 40%, even when I am playing dota with the browser running on the background. Kind of overkill.

  3. Gravatar
    Marcus Swallow [ Reply ]

    I was wondering whether you could suggest a psu with a lower efficiency for the same setup? Hoping to save a little as I am not too bothered about energy?

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      Cooler Master is the closest thing to Corsair, I believe it is a Taiwanese company. Quality and efficiency wise it is almost the same. Corsair is still the best.

  4. Gravatar
    Carlos [ Reply ]


    I’m actually planning on upgrading to MSI GTX 970, and a Corsair PSU. My concern is if you have ran into any heat issues. Have you left the stock cooler and fan? I’m wondering if it would be worth upgrading the fans/cooler in the future.

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      so far so good. the only problem I had was compatibility with my graphic card, which I managed to solve via a BIOS update. Am still using the stock fan since my Asus Graphic Card is designed to run cooler and quieter than other card, so does my Corsair PSU. Go for those that generate less heat and 0db noise. slightly more expensive but it is worth buying a more expensive GC and PSU because more heat and noise = more enegry wasted. If you plan to use your desktop for 3 or 4 years, this is a good investment.

  5. Gravatar
    patrick [ Reply ]

    I Also upgrade the xps 8700 w/i7-4790 and 12 gb ram. Originally I put and evga 600w bronze psu and a gtx 760, but this black Friday I wanted more out of it so I put in a evga 1000watt supernova P2(overkill but will support sli or anything else in the future) and a EVGA SC ACX 2.0 980ti. All I did was update to A10 bios and put the card in, worked like a charm. This rig can now put out 1440p 60fps ultra settings even on the witcher 3, it can handle 4k also at 30 fps or 60 if you turn down settings. It’s an extremely tight fit, heat seems fine gpu gets up to 70°c on full load but if you really want to pop the case open while ur gaming and it’ll sit under 70°. I HIGHLY recommend this upgrade the 980 ti is a beast and in an xps I don’t think you can beat that bang for your buck!!

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      XPS motherboard supports sli graphic card?

      • Gravatar
        patrick [ Reply ]

        God no I plan I getting a new motherboard, bigger case and second 980 ti in the future

  6. Gravatar
    Alvarez [ Reply ]

    Ii also got a xps8700 year ago want to change the PSU, was not sure about the dimensions if a new one is going to fit, but I see that you got a Corsair AX760 Power Supply Unit, so that’s my next expense.

    got 32GB memory, was going to get a evo pro 2T but to expensive for my budget, got a WD 6TB primary drive, maybe in a year change it. thinking on getting 2 more drives 6TB or 8TB not sure which ones, thinking on getting to a msata for cache of the hard disk

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      The dimensions are standard size, thus, it will fit. I’ve upgraded mine to AX760 Corsair. 32GB is alot, I can’t even use 16GB while playing dota and photoshopping, why do you need 32GB? Seems like you are building the biggest and fastest comp, may I know for what? Go for SSD instead of HDD. Way faster.

      • Gravatar
        Alvarez [ Reply ]

        well i to use photoshop and edit once in a while some videos, and since was not so much money went to the limit 32GB

        • Gravatar
          Alvarez [ Reply ]

          Since I got my dell xps M1530 on 2007, with the little space on it had to have external hard drives to store all my things, the first failure hard disk got a lot of my pictures, since then when just to work on the laptop always put everything on external drivers, already had to change 3 hard disks, been packing everything on the external hard disks

      • Gravatar
        Alvarez [ Reply ]

        Well I really was thinking using a SSD as my primary drive, but was too much money over $900 dollars (Samsung evo 2TB), so I got the WD black caviar 6TB,later on going to install 2 more 6TB or 8TB WD or Seagate, one for my music the other for my videos, have too many videos –movies ,, and music. Is too bad that I did not have the money to get the SSD, anyway I read that I can use the msata1 to cache the main hard disk so probably would buy one, one of this days,
        I change the wireless card, for the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 – network adapter, when it works it work very good, the Bluetooth is not working to much when I want to transfer something to my phone have to install the driver again ( WP-BT-17.1.1531.1764_t64.exe)

        • Gravatar
          Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

          Why not a 256GB SSD for Windows, one 6TB HDD as D and another 6TB via External USB 3.0?

          • Gravatar

            Well like I said I have too many videos-movies and music on external drivers
            Drive D: music is about 2TB full already
            Drive E: videos 2TB full
            On this computer between documents folder and pictures folder I already used about 600GB
            So I want to have different drives inside the PC, one 6TB for videos, one6TB for music and the main 6TB primary for documents and pictures, OS, Programs.(many programs,documents,pictures)
            If I have chance when have extra $$? I want to change the main disk with a SSD 2TB, since I am using too much space, then have the same internal D:6TB and E:6TB or D:8TB E:8TB

      • Gravatar

        I bought a gtx970 and upgraded the bios. The bios upgraded from ao9 to ao11. Is this ok for the 970 ? I have a dell xps8700

        • Gravatar
          Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

          Hi there, yes, it will work. I have a XPS8700 and GTX970 too. My current BIOS is A011, I have no problem with my system, been using it for more than 6 months now. It is safe to upgrade.

          • Gravatar

            Thank you very much for your help…

  7. Gravatar
    Alvarez [ Reply ]


    I like to know what fan can I install on the front, since there is a place for it, and where I can conect it on the board


    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      Hi, I dont remember XPS 8700 having a front case fan or any mount for case fan at the front. Upgrading the rear fan is not going to make a big difference, if your CPU overheats, try those liquid cooling.

      • Gravatar
        Alvarez [ Reply ]

        when I opened the case installing a new hard drive, I saw like a space to install a fan, it is not a fan in there, and on the botton front is like opening for air, so to me if not mistaken is a space for a larger fan.

        let me know

        • Gravatar
          Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

          I believe the grill/opening is designed for air to be sucked in from the front and out it goes via the rear fan. The rear fan does not suck in air, it expel hot air inside the casing. There is no fan plug to hold any case fan on the front. I wanted to add an additional case fan too, but could not find any fan plug.

          This is how all casing works – http://cdn.overclock.net/f/f1/350x700px-LL-f1c10291_cutoutback.jpeg

          If it gets too hot, maybe you can upgrade the rear fan. From what I read, Noctua and Cooler Master are good. The one used by Dell XPS8700 is a 92mm fan, 90mm works too. 3 or 4 pin works too. 4 pin comes with thermal temp but since dell uses a 3 pin, it will auto ignore the other pin.


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