Dell Inspiron 5680 gaming desktop
"It's not perfect, but it's the best affordable gaming PC you can buy."
Great gaming performance
Fast 8th generation processors
Excellent overall value
Mediocre storage options
No USB-C in some configurations
In the middle of the roller coaster of the skyrocketing GPU prices, there were always cheap alternatives for building your own gaming PC. In recent years, our favorite has been the Dell Inspiron 5675 gaming desktop, which runs on AMD hardware. It went well for a good price, starting at just $ 600.
Dell updated the system with updated Intel and Nvidia components, including 8th generation core processors, and a GTX 1060 graphics card. Our test device was the first-class configuration, which costs $ 1,100 for a Core i7-8700, 8 GB RAM, a 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB hard drive.
While the price of desktop graphics cards remains high, Dell's Inspiron 5680 is just so affordable that it's a great alternative to building a PC from scratch.
The Inspiron 5680 looks almost identical to the 5675 – and that's a good thing. It's not overly eye-catching like many dedicated game systems, but the blue LED lighting is just enough to spice up the aesthetics. The open ventilation slots on the left side seem to be a noble reminder that the system is ready to play
We appreciate that Dell stuck to this more modest look rather than heading towards the Asus G11DF, which clearly looks like a cheap gaming desktop. The Inspiron 5680 is safer in what it wants to be. If you want a little more edges, Dell optionally offers a transparent side wall to highlight the internals. That brings you back $ 50.
The specially made chassis also feels robust and the plastic plates have little flex. However, the gaps between these panels are large, which makes it difficult to keep the internals clean.
Two port options
The Inspiron 5680 is delivered in two primary port setups for each configuration – with an optical drive and without an optical drive. Having an optic won't be a selling point for most, but for the few who deal with DVDs and CDs, this is a good option. The version of the tower with an optical drive offers yet another advantage. A forward-facing USB-C port. It costs an additional $ 50, but it could be worth making your system both backward compatible and future-proof. These fifty dollars will also give you the clear sidewall as part of a package deal.
It would have been nice to see another HDMI port if you wanted to connect a monitor and a VR headset at the same time, but you can always use DisplayPort for that.
At the rear connections you will find the standard offers of all models – four USB-A 3.1, two USB-A 2.0, one Ethernet socket, three full-size DisplayPorts and one HDMI connection. It would have been nice to see another HDMI port if you wanted to connect a monitor and a VR headset at the same time, but you can always use DisplayPort for that too. Otherwise, the system comes with a standard 802.11ac WLAN card and support for Bluetooth 4.1.
Easy to update, within limits
As with the exterior, not much has changed on the inside of the Inspiron 5680. The access to the interior is opened by removing a few screws. Due to its relatively small size, the components are a bit narrow, if not as tight as the XPS 8930. You have a clear view of your RAM and expansion slot, so no other components are required for most upgrades or additions.
Bill Roberson / Digital Trends
The graphics card is the biggest obstacle. It is held in brackets to hold it in place, which prevents damage to the PCIe slot when shipping. That means you have to remove the bracket to replace the GPU. In certain situations, the added mass may conflict with another upgrade. It's certainly not the most convenient for customization, but it's not surprising to see in a mass market system.
The main problem with upgrading your GPU is the power supply. This tower comes with a 460-watt supply that is well hidden in the lower corner of the case. It can handle a GTX 1060 easily, but a GTX 1070 or 1080 – or AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 – is likely to be too much for that. In comparison, even the Acer Aspire GX gaming desktop offers a 500-watt supply, which provides a better basis for powering some better graphics cards.
The 8th generation Intel CPUs are a significant leap over the previous generation, and you can feel it especially with the Core i7-8700. We went through Geekbench and got some impressive results, especially in multi-core performance. A multi-core score of 19,642 was achieved using the six cores and twelve threads. In our tests, it is only surpassed by Origin & # 39; s hideous gaming desktops with K-series chips. This is also not a problem with single-core performance.
We guided the CPU through a more difficult task in the form of a handbrake, where we see how quickly a system can encode a 4K video. The Inspiron 5680 scored 3 minutes and 15 seconds, which is impressive, although surprisingly it was surpassed by the Core i7-8809G from the Intel Hades Canyon NUC.
In daily performance, we found that the Inspiron 5680 can handle productivity well without hesitation or slowing down. Do 10 YouTube videos need to be played while Spotify is streaming, multitasking with 25 Chrome tabs, and opening Photoshop? This desktop will handle a ridiculous scenario like this well.
While the processor options are great in the various configurations, the storage options are not quite as detailed. Here Dell lowers some costs – with such a cheap system it has to be somewhere.
It would have been nice to see a 256 GB SSD configuration as an option from Dell.
The $ 600 and $ 800 configurations ship with 1 TB of storage, but only in the form of a slow hard drive. It delivered sad read and write values of less than 200 MB / s. The $ 950 and $ 1,100 models offer a secondary SDD, but it's a SATA-attached drive with only 128 GB of storage. It achieves less than a quarter of the speed of faster standards like PCIe, which are commonly used on modern laptops and high-end desktops.
On the other hand, this would have added some cost to the overall price of the product – and some of the Inspiron 5680's rivals, like the Acer Aspire GX desktop, don't even include a solid-state drive.
We want at least a 256 GB Dell SSD configuration to be listed as an option. You may not think storage is that important, but let's draw up a completely hypothetical situation for you. You're trying to download a very large game like Battlefield 1 to test it on a new game system you're reviewing. Problem? It is too big to fit on the included 128 GB SSD. So you have to rely on this old hard drive. You will of course find this out in the middle of the installation and have to start over.
Ready to play for 3D and VR
The Inspiron 5680 is labeled as a "gaming desktop" so it can play better. Don't worry – it can! The system comes with either a GTX 1050 (2GB) for $ 600 or the GTX 1060 (3GB) for $ 800 or more. Both are capable GPUs, although the 1060 gives you a significant increase in frame rate. You can also use the AMD system that comes with either the AMD Radeon RX 560 or 570.
Bill Roberson / Digital Trends
In 3DMark you can see how well the GTX 1060 handles 3D rendering of all kinds. It blows 1050-based systems out of the water – and again, it's a solid thing to buy one in a system for just $ 800. This not only makes it good for games, it can also process high-resolution photo and video editing as well as intensive 3D modeling software.
VRMark even delivered impressive results that test how well a system can be rendered in virtual reality. In the Orange Room test, the GTX 1060 exceeded the requirements for the power supply of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets. Dell calls the system "VR ready" and according to our benchmarks, it should be able to handle most VR experiences at solid frame rates, although you may have to decline a setting here or there.
You won't be disappointed with the performance of games. The GTX 1060 does not come close to the performance of a GTX 1080, but even at 1440p, most games can be played with rotated settings at constant frame rates.
We achieved an average of 50 FPS in F40 at 1440p with settings for Epic in Fortnite, while setting to "High" increases the setting to over 100 FPS. The same applies to other lighter tariffs such as the Rocket League, in which 132 FPS were achieved at the highest graphics settings at 1440p. We couldn't test it in 4K, but for lighter games like Rocket League or Fortnite, a GTX 1060 should more than be able to achieve playable frame rates at this resolution – even with medium graphics settings.
But what about more difficult games? Well – in Battlefield 1 the system effortlessly produced 87 FPS at medium settings and very solid 59 FPS at Ultra. That looked and felt fantastic. A similarly graphics intensive game like Civilization VI produced solid 62 FPS on Ultra in 1440p and 107 better 107 on 107.
However, we managed to outsmart the Inspiron 5680. It was in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at 1440p with the graphics on Ultra. At 26 FPS, it wasn't entirely playable, though reducing to 1080p solves this problem. The last word? Outside of the most graphics-intensive games, you should be able to play most modern games with respectable frame rates, even at higher resolutions and graphics settings.
The Inspiron 5680 is not a first-class gaming desktop. However, if you want to take a break from the high GPU prices on the market or are just looking for an affordable gaming desktop to buy, the Inspiron 5680 is the best you can buy.
Are there alternatives?
If you want to save a little money and are willing to degrade gaming performance, the AMD-based Inspiron 5675 isn't a bad alternative. On the other hand, the Dell XPS 8930 offers a similar price with a creeping, office-friendly design.
You can find solutions from other desktop manufacturers like the Asus G11DF or the Acer Aspire GX Gaming Desktop, but they often don't offer you as much for your money. The upcoming HP Pavilion gaming lineup offers a number of strong configurations, but doesn't offer a GTX 1060 for just $ 850.
How long it will take?
The Inspiron 5680 prepares you well for future component replacement and upgrades. The lack of USB-C in some configurations can bite you in the future.
Should you buy it
Yes. People looking for a high-end system won't be happy, but if you want to play PC games on a budget, the Inspiron 5680 is for you.