The Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop series has been one of the better entry-level desktop options since it launched in 2017, offering solid AMD Ryzen gaming power in configurations that start as low as $599. The new Inspiron 5680 series brings Intel into the fold, giving you powerful Intel CPUs and decent Nvidia graphics for similarly low prices.
Thanks to its speedy Core i7 CPU and dependable Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics, the Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5680 ($1,099 as tested, $599 starting) offers strong gaming and VR performance in an affordable, attractive package. However, if you can pony up a bit extra, Dell's other gaming PCs offer far better upgradability and even nicer designs.
The Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop has an attractive, no-nonsense design that's subtler than Dell's Alienware PCs while still touting some eye-catching flourishes.
The system's diagonal vents give way to some nice blue backlighting; you can't customize the color or pattern, but it looks pretty slick as is. The model I tested features a pretty basic silver, plastic chassis, though there are configurations with see-through side panels for folks who want a bit more pizazz.
At 18 x 17 x 8.5 inches, the Inspiron Gaming Desktop commands a decent amount of desk space and is notably taller than the Alienware Aurora (18.6 x 14.2 x 8.35 inches) and Dell XPS Tower (15.22 x 14 x 7 inches). It's also fairly hefty, at 30 pounds, though its indented rear panel makes the desktop easy to grip should you need to move it.
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Ports and Upgradability
The Inspiron Gaming Desktop packs all of the essentials for connections, starting with two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack up front. I would have liked to have seen a front-facing HDMI port (for VR) and a USB-C connection, both of which are becoming more common on gaming desktops, but their absence is not a deal breaker.
In the back, you'll find four more USB 3.0 ports, two more USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet jack and a full suite of audio connections.
The machine's Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card houses its usual three DisplayPorts and single HDMI port, giving you plenty of options for connecting to your monitor of choice.
Getting inside the Inspiron Gaming Desktop is easy; after removing two screws in the back, I was able to pop the side panel right off and get access to the system's internals. From that point, you can swap out the PC's RAM and storage drives, and there are only a few screws keeping you from removing the graphics card.
I wish this PC had the same tool-free, blissfully easy-to-upgrade chassis as the Alienware Aurora and XPS Tower, but the Inspiron's upgradability is still decent for an entry-level model.
Packing an Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card, our Inspiron Gaming Desktop had no problem playing mainstream games at decent settings; just don't expect to crank anything to 4K.
Dell's desktop performed well on our Hitman benchmark (1080p, max settings), rendering the game's sleek stealth action at a smooth 79.9 frames per second. That tops our CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR's showing (75 fps, Radeon RX 580) but barely misses our 85-fps gaming PC average.
The Inspiron ran our more demanding Rise of the Tomb Raider test (1080p, max settings) at a just-playable 30 fps, trailing the CyberPower (35) as well as our 63-fps average.
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Dell's PC scored a 6.8 out of 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test, which Valve considers a "High" rating and optimal for virtual reality. That's a bit above the CyberPower's 6.4 but under our 9.9 average.
The Inspiron scored a 10,291 on the 3DMark Fire Strike test, coming up slightly short of our 12,489 average but roughly tying other GTX 1060 machines, such as our MSI Trident (10,452).
In addition to offering solid gaming power for the price, the Inspiron Gaming Desktop is a reliable multitasking machine, thanks to its speedy Intel Core i7-8700 processor and 8GB of RAM.
Dell's desktop performed well on our Hitman benchmark (1080p, max settings), rendering the game's sleek stealth action at a smooth 79.9 frames per second.
Dell's desktop netted a 19,666 on the Geekbench 4 general performance test, topping the CyberPower (11,791; Intel Core i5-7400) and besting our 16,781 average.
The Inspiron's 128GB SSD wasn't quite as speedy, however, taking 53 seconds to copy about 5GB of files, for a transfer rate of 94 MB per second. That's slower than our MSI Trident's rate (134 MBps, 128GB SSD) and way behind our gaming PC average.
Mouse and Keyboard
Bring your own gaming mouse and gaming keyboard. The Inspiron Gaming Desktop ships with a generic Dell office keyboard and mouse, which get the job done for everyday use but aren't tailored for gaming at all.
The keyboard felt fine for the most part (and allowed me to type at a brisk 85 wpm with minimal errors), but its keys felt far too mushy to be comfortable for long stretches of time.
The mouse is comfortable and accurate, but it lacks any extra buttons or DPI controls.
Dell's PC ships with the company's standard suite of software, including Dell Audio for tweaking sound settings and a variety of apps for software updates and customer support. Other than that, you get the same bloatware that comes with any Windows 10 machine, including Candy Crush Soda Saga and apps for Netflix and Spotify.
The Dell Inspiron 5680 is one of the most affordable gaming desktop lines out there, starting at just $599 for an Intel Core i3-8100 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB and 7,200-rpm hard drive, and Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics. Stepping up to the $799 model gets you a Core i5-8400 CPU and GTX 1060 graphics, while the $949 config adds a 128GB SSD on top of the 1TB hard drive.
We reviewed the highest-end, $1,099 model, which includes a Core i7-8700 processor on top of the GTX 1060, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD found on the previous config.
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If Intel and Nvidia aren't your thing, you can also check out the AMD-based Inspiron 5675 series. This line also starts at $599 and maxes out at $1,099, but it features AMD 10, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 CPU options, as well as Radeon RX 560 and 570 GPUs.
The Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop 5680 offers strong gaming performance for an affordable price with minimal compromises. Its basic design is attractive; it has enough muscle to handle modern games and VR at decent settings, and it's upgradeable should you decide to buy better components down the line.
You'll enjoy even better upgradeability on the Alienware Aurora (which has customizable RGB lighting) and the Dell XPS Tower (which has a sleeker, silver design). But compared to our $1,099 Inspiron, a similarly specced Alienware Aurora would cost about $1,279, and you'd have to pony up about $1,399 for similar specs on an XPS Tower. If budget is your main concern, the Inspiron Gaming Desktop will more than satisfy your basic gaming needs for a good price.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide