Dell XPS 8940 desktop-Key upgrades
Updated: Apr 23
Dell has recently released the new XPS 8940 desktop supporting Intel 10th Generation processors. The desktop is positioned for media workloads as well as a good entry level gaming machine.
Key Specifications are:
Up to 10th Gen Intel® Core i9-10900k processor
Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB DDR6
Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid state drive nn
Upto 500W PSU – This component has caused some discussion on forums as it’s a custom PSU and not replaceable with standard PSU’s if you ever want to upgrade with a more powerful graphics card. A 350W PSU is also offered which should meet requirement for most users but probably going with a 500W PSU will cover most use cases if you intend to add more components.
Dell XPS 8940 specifications are available here https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/en-uk/xps-8940-desktop/xps-8940-setup-and-specifications/set-up-your-computer?guid=guid-7d31423b-ee0d-44a1-b2de-35e4fcd3de19&lang=en-us
The service manual is available at https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/en-uk/xps-8940-desktop/xps-8940-service-manual/working-inside-your-computer?guid=guid-dd3ae169-a824-4f1d-832e-585b176f6faf&lang=en-us
Upgrades and Expansion
The Desktop is very easy to add or replace with components of your choice and comes with:
2 x 3.5” HDD enclosure
4 x DDR4 2933MHz memory slots
2 x 2.5” HDD enclosure
1 x 4 channel PCI-e
1 x 8 channel PCI-e
1 x 16 channel PCI-e used by the graphics card
For most installs only the left side cover needs to be removed by unscrewing the two screws at the back and then rest of the desktop on its right side.
3.5” HDD upgrade
There are two 3.5” HDD enclosures. If your factory configuration includes a 3.5” drive then you will have one spare slot. My desktop was configured with only a 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD. I bought a Western Digital Black 2TB drive https://shop.westerndigital.com/en-gb/products/internal-drives/wd-black-desktop-sata-hdd#WD1003FZEX. As per various reviews its certainly a noisy drive but one which comes with a 5 year warranty. I found out that by putting some weight on the XPS tower like books the vibration noise goes down significantly.
My configuration had 1 free data and power cable available for the 3.5” HDD drive. I think if the drive is included in the factory configuration then addition of a 2nd drive will require additional data/power cables to be purchased. Also don’t forget the screws. I bought No. 6-32 UNC x 6mm screws for the Western digital drive. You need four screws for the job.
Fitting the drive was very straight forward and just required a screw driver. Please watch the video at the end of this post showing the install process.
2.5” HDD Upgrade
The desktop has 2 x 2.5” HDD enclosure. But only one carried the Dell caddy to house the drive. There were two power connectors but only one data connector, so if you are installing two 2.5” drives you will have to buy a data cable.
Installation was again straightforward and doesn’t require any tools to install. Watch the video at the end of this post for the upgrade process.
Memory card installation
My factory configuration had 1 x 8GB DDR4 2666Mhz card installed. There are total 4 UDIMM slots supporting a total of 12GB RAM made up of 4 x 32GB 2933MHz dual channel cards.
Since the memory speed is capped to the speed of the slowest card, I opted for a Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR4 2666MHz card. Installation is as simple as inserting the card into the spare slot.
If you are adding only One Memory Card then add it to the slot with same colour clip as existing card. In the video at the end of this post, a single card should go in the slot with white clip to make use of dual channel mode. When selecting memory card go for one whose non XMP performance is 2933MHz or more.
PCI-e card installation
The desktop had 1 x 4 PCI-e and 1 x 8 PCI-e slots free. Since I had lot of Mini-DV tapes which I needed to convert to a modern format, I installed an IEEE 1394 card into the PCI-e x 4 slot. I am not sure if anything can be installed in the x8 slot as its too close to the NVIDIA graphics card. The installation of the card again was painless apart from minor effort to remove the backplate which needs to be pried out.
All in all I am well pleased with my purchase and the ability to easily add more components gives sense of satisfaction for the casual DIYer.