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XPS 8930, Benchmark results, Reliability/Longevity concern

Hi, I recently received an XPS 8930 that I got a really good deal on (refurb + coupon). This is to replace my incredibly reliable, but dated, 12-year-old hand-built machine. I put my old machine together in 2007, using all top-rated parts, and it's been going strong 24/7 for years. Just can't keep up very well with current Adobe apps (Photoshop, Lightroom, Premier). I'm not a gamer, just need a great machine for serious photo work, some video & audio editing.

Upon receiving the Dell, I was immediately put off by just how cheap the case & components looked & felt. Seemed like something from the 90's, but I'm used to my custom-build at home and Macs at work. So maybe expectations are unrealistic.

I'm now debating about returning it (still have a week or so) and building a new one from scratch like I did my current machine, or purchasing from a custom-build shop. That just takes a lot more time, money, & effort.

So to gauge what I have, I've run burn-in tests, and a BUNCH of benchmarks (e.g., PassMark, Geekbench, PCMark 10, Cinebench, 3D Mark, etc.). Fortunately, it passed MemTest86 for 4-5 hrs, and Prime95 for 18-20 hrs with no crashes or errors. So I'm hopeful it's not a lemon.

But most all of the benchmark results are lower than similar systems with the same specific CPU & GPU (i7-9700K & GTX 1070). Some aren't way off, but the Dell averages about 90-95% of the scores of comparable custom machines. It seems like the memory & graphics cards may be weak spots. The memory is some generic Samsung and I have no idea who actually makes the GPU (it's just flimsy black plastic).

- Are the lower benchmark scores to be expected, and due to bios settings, motherboard, and overall component quality?

- How reliable are 'higher-end' Dells like this these days? Is there a fair chance things will start failing in 3-4 years?

- As a back-up plan, would most components (e.g., CPU, GPU, memory, HDs) be transferable to a new high-end case/motherboard in the future, as long as socket & chipset were compatible?

I've learned time & again through life that you get what you pay for, and I did get a very good deal here. The cost to build or purchase a custom machine using top-brand parts with similar specs (same CPU, GPU, etc.) would be about $700-1000 more than what I paid for the Dell. So weighing current performance & future longevity against the 'good-enough'...

THANKS FOR ANY INPUT!

 

XPS 8930 SE
i7-9700K
GeForce GTX 1070
32GB RAM
512GB M.2 NVMe Boot Drive
2TB 7200 RPM Storage Drive

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9 Replies
7 Plutonium

Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

I won't touch your comments, just to say a friend that has a commercial recording studio in Nashville is using one as his main recording studio machine (running "ProTools") and is happy with it.  He is an ex "IT guy" that built his own systems previously and did a lot of investigation and comparison before the purchase.

 

 



I am not a Dell Employee

Dell forum member since 2002

Dell Inspiron 15 - 5577 Laptop

Home Built Desktop PC with ASUS ROG Z170, i7 6700K CPU

Windows 10 64 bit Pro and Windows 10 Insider Program Beta Versions. SSD drives. Cakewalk by BandLab and Studio One 4.1 Recordng Studio Software.

Dell S2719dgf Monitor

Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

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7- Thorium

Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

Sounds like buyer's remorse. If you wanted custom, you should have bought or made your own custom rig. 

Not that it would do you much good. In a nanosecond somebody will come out with newer/faster/less-costly components, and your hot rig now has just run-of-the-mill performance specs.

IMHO, even if you're doing the most demanding work, you won't notice the difference between 95% and 100%. So just use it...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

Thanks for the responses! Sorry to come off so negative. I know I got a great deal and saved a lot of time & $$$, so I do weigh that in my decision.

And I'm not necessarily looking for the utter cutting-edge of performance, more long-term reliability. I know the minor difference in performance may not be too noticeable in day-to-day activities, I was more wondering about this being an indication of lower-end components and their affect on reliability. And also if I was truly comparing apples-to-apples in looking at other machines with same specs (e.g., i7-9700k & GTX 1070, etc) instead of maybe slightly lesser specs (e.g., i7-8700K & GTX 1060) that would be closer in price to this one (although if I would have paid full price, it would have only been a few hundred dollars difference). 

- Can any long-term Dell users speak to reliability & longevity of these machines & their components?

Thanks! I'm leaning towards just keeping it and hoping for the best. Just don't want to have to shell out a lot more $$ eventually down the line if things wear out or break prematurely...

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Vic384
3 Zinc

Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

I you wish to know about the reliability & longevity of these machines the best thing to do in my opinion is to read through the posts in this forum. To me two things stand out, the first is complaints about fan noise and attempts to fix the problem and second is that the front USB ports are fragile.

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7- Thorium

Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

Price is irrelevant. You have to compare performance by specs. And if you got an i7-9700, keep in mind that's the brand new 9th generation CPU, and it typically takes a while for things to get fully optimized for new hardware.

As Vic mentioned, there have been some complaints. But peeps who are happy with their PC rarely (never?) post on this forum. So you have to look at posts in perspective because nobody knows what % of users are actually having the issues being reported.

Don't know how you define: "wear out or break prematurely", but you have a 1-year hardware warranty from Dell, which I believe is same warranty as other OEMs. And some credit cards offer free coverage that adds a 2nd year to a manufacturer's warranty if you purchased the product with their card. So check with your card issuer.

Besides, in 2-3 years, you'll be wanting to upgrade again because the hardware will be newer/faster/less-costly...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

Thanks again for the additional replies! I'll see if I can browse through the forums or figure out what terms to search for to narrow the search a bit. And I do realize this is a place where people might come with problems only, but was just thinking some folks may have a long-term experience with various Dell machines and could speak from that angle. 


@RoHe wrote:

Price is irrelevant. You have to compare performance by specs.

 

Besides, in 2-3 years, you'll be wanting to upgrade again because the hardware will be newer/faster/less-costly...


Well, if I have to compare specs-to-specs, this machine doesn't fair very well compared to other systems that also have 9th gen processors. Does Dell ever do much with Bios updating to help things run better/smoother as time goes on?!?

And I probably come from a bit of a different approach than some, as I would prefer to not have to shell out $1500-$2000 every 2-3 years for a new system. I paid a bit over $2000 back in 2007 for the components in my current machine and it's been pretty rock-solid for over a decade (of course it doesn't run current Adobe apps very fast, but they do run). I'm not expecting this to last 12 years, just hoping for a bit more than 2 or 3...

Thanks again all!

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7- Thorium

Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

What version of BIOS is running on this PC? Version 1.1.3 has been released that is "Enhanced to support Intel i9-9900K, i7-9700K and i5-9600K processors"
https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/drivers/driversdetails?driverId=M3TT9&osCode=WT64A&produc...

Read and follow instructions carefully to install this update. Do NOT use SupportAssist to manage the update. Manually download the .exe directly to your desktop. Then temporarily disable your anti-viral suite (eg Windows Defender, McAfee...) before running the update.

And when that's done, update the chipset drivers, video drivers, etc. Dell updated a lot of drivers for this model at end of Dec'18 and in early Jan'19.

FWIW, I'm typing this post on Dell PC that is 14 years old. Not a single problem (knock wood!) in all that time. The only changes were to increase RAM to its supported max and to update from XP to Win 7.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con


@RoHe wrote:
What version of BIOS is running on this PC? Version 1.1.3 has been released that is "Enhanced to support Intel i9-9900K, i7-9700K and i5-9600K processors"
https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/drivers/driversdetails?driverId=M3TT9&osCode=WT64A&produc...

Read and follow instructions carefully to install this update. Do NOT use SupportAssist to manage the update. Manually download the .exe directly to your desktop. Then temporarily disable your anti-viral suite (eg Windows Defender, McAfee...) before running the update.

And when that's done, update the chipset drivers, video drivers, etc. Dell updated a lot of drivers for this model at end of Dec'18 and in early Jan'19.

FWIW, I'm typing this post on Dell PC that is 14 years old. Not a single problem (knock wood!) in all that time. The only changes were to increase RAM to its supported max and to update from XP to Win 7.


Thanks for the response! Good to know that a system lasting over a decade is at least possible ; )

And thanks for the tips on the updates. My system already had the latest BIOS, and the only driver that appeared to need updating was the Intel Rapid Storage driver. Is SupportAssist OK for detecting & installing other drivers (excluding BIOS)? Just wondering about best way to keep everything up-to-date. I'm also new to Win10, so not sure if other auxiliary drivers (like nVidia GPU drivers) are included with that or with SupportAssist (or manually on their own).

I'm guessing my system must have been pretty new. I went to the Dell Outlet page last night and there aren't any 9th gen Intel machines available. And mine was less than a lot of the 8th gen are going for, so I really did get a great deal. Even if I spec'd a custom-build a bit lower (e.g,. 16GB RAM instead of 32GB, no 2nd 2TB HD), it would still be about $750 more than what I spent on the low end.

I also found out I get an extra 1yr warranty through my VISA. Not sure how much of a hassle that would entail, but at least that 'should' cover parts for 2yrs. Maybe in a few years I could update the case/motherboard/psu for a good deal (high-end Z390 MB would prob be pretty cheap by then) and port everything that's still working over to it to get a bit more extended life...

Hoping for the best here! Thanks again.

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7- Thorium

Re: XPS 8930 - Benchmark Results - Reliability/Longevity Con

Everybody has to make up their own mind about SupportAssist so you should read some of the threads about that topic on these forums.

I personally don't like software running in the background that's hogging resources and phoning home on its own. I also don't like to be nagged about installing updates or software that can install updates on its own, even BIOS updates, without asking. And it seems that when SupportAssist manages BIOS updates, they can fail and brick the motherboard. So I've uninstalled SupportAssist on my PCs.

Dell may tweak drivers for the hardware they install. So Win 10 may not always offer the optimal driver. And in that case, you can use SupportAssist to offer Dell's latest version or just check the XPS 8930 support page on your own from time-to-time for updated drivers, if you decide to disable or uninstall SupportAssist. (It can always be downloaded again for free from Dell's site.)

I've been pretty lucky with this desktop PC. But by today's standards, it's not just old, it's pre-historic. Can't run Win 10 and has a max of 4 GB of RAM. So when Microsoft stops supporting Win 7 next January, I'll have to replace it or risk that new security holes will be found in Win 7 that never get fixed. Or maybe just start using my Win 10 laptop all the time and not have a desktop.

Don't know about your credit card, but when I had a (non-Dell) tech device fail one week beyond its 1-year warranty, it was easy to replace it with a brand new device because repair parts weren't available to fix it. I just had to charge a new device with the same purpose and functions to the card, and they magically credited back the cost of the original device (not the new device) the following month.

Just remember, YRMV for both longevity of your XPS 8930 and ease of getting extended coverage beyond Dell's 1-year warranty.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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