Dell's Inspiron gaming desktop gives you solid power at an affordable price

Daniel Howley

PC gaming can be a pricey hobby, especially compared to less expensive home consoles. But since PC gaming is the one aspect of the overall PC market that’s growing, manufacturers have begun offering machines that are surprisingly capable and affordable.

Dell’s new Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5680 fits that mold perfectly. Starting at $749 and available Jan. 9, the Inspiron 5680 packs some impressive horsepower at a price that won’t force you to take out a second mortgage on your home.

A familiar face

The Inspiron 5680 isn’t an entirely new machine. Its chassis is pretty much lifted directly from last year’s Inspiron 5675. That means you’ll get the same blue lighting and optional see-through side window as last year’s model, which isn’t exactly a bad thing.

Most gaming PCs have over-the-top chassis that are meant to standout at gaming meetups. I, however, prefer a machine with a more subdued style. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Brains and brawn

Speaking of what’s on the inside, the Inspiron 5680 now comes equipped with 8th-generation Intel (INTC) Core i-series processors and Nvidia (NVDA) graphics cards. Last year’s Inspiron 5675 used AMD (AMD) CPUs and GPUs, so if you’re an Intel fan, this is the Inspiron desktop to get.

The base model comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. That’s certainly enough to play most games, but don’t expect to get the best graphics experience.

If you’re hankering for the top-of-the-line model, you’ll get a Core i7 processor, a genuinely excessive 64GB of RAM, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card with 8GB of RAM and either a 256GB solid-state drive paired with a 2TB hard drive or a 32GB Intel Optane memory with a 2TB hard drive.

That kind of machine will let you play all of today’s newest games at their highest graphics settings. There’s no word on what the configuration will cost you, though.

Oddly, Dell forces you to purchase an optional optical drive to get a USB-C port rather than including it on the base model. That’s a bummer, since chances are you’ll be purchasing this desktop with the hopes of holding on to it for a few years and while USB-C isn’t the standard now, it will be in the future.

Beyond that, the Inspiron 5680 looks to be quite a solid gaming machine for an affordable price. We’ll have more on Dell’s offerings from the show floor at CES 2018.

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Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.