Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS Review

Image of the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS desktop front face

As prices for components such as graphics cards skyrocket, the thought of a budget PC with great performance is a welcome one. And that holds true for users without the knowledge of building their own PCs from scratch. The Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS is such a PC, with an impressive prebuilt system that’s great for newbies looking to get into the gaming arena. It’s a simple answer to prospective buyers who don’t want to go through the overwhelming number of components to built a PC on their own. So why is the Dell Inspiron 5680 worth your money? Let’s have a look below.

Pros

  • Decent price
  • Impressive design and aesthetics
  • Powerful components
  • Plenty of ports including USB-C
  • Smooth Full HD gaming performance
  • Strong Intel i5-8400 (Coffee Lake) processor
  • Ample storage (HDD and SSD)
  • Easy to upgrade

Cons

  • Interior arrangement would have been done better

Verdict

Positioned as a mainstream PC and an entry-level gaming desktop, the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS has both the components and horsepower to back its claims. If you have no experience with building your own PC, the Inspiron 5680 is a great pre-built system to get you started on the gaming wagon and at an affordable price. It’s easy to get under the hood and upgrade to your designed performance level. On top of offering an upgradable design, you get an i5-8400 processor, 8GB RAM, plenty of HDD and SSD storage and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 card. Because of this awesome on-paper specs list and performance, it receives our Editor’s Choice for entry-level gaming desktops.

Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS Specs

Processor 4 GHz Core i5 8400
RAM8GB DDR4
Storage1TB 7200 RPM HDD/ 128GB SSD
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5
Connectivity802.11 ac/ Bluetooth 4.1
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Dimensions17.2 x 8.5 x 18.1 inches
Weight30.3 pounds

Design and Features

In terms of design, there’s hardly any much difference between the Dell Inspiron 5680 series and its predecessor Dell Inspiron 5675. Still, that’s a good thing because it means the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS sports the same low-key business look of its predecessor. The front design is all polished dark-gray plastic chassis enshrouding the metal frame within. From a distance, what catches your eye as the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS turns on to life is the blue LED lighting on the logo and through the grille-like mesh finish on the better half of the front face. The lights shining through the better half of the left side give off an epic classy theme. It’s a constant reminder that the

system while low-toned is always ready to game. Generally, we appreciate that Dell decided to tone down the appearance which is a breath of fresh air to Dell gaming PCs.

At 17.2 x 8.5 x 18.1 inches and 30.3 pounds, the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS is a tower made to be bold and the highlight of both your home and office desk space. Remember, because of the rather large size of this tower, you might have to clear some desk space to accommodate this beast.

Getting Inside

Getting to the hood requires you to go through the side panels. Because the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS doesn’t have a tool-less interior, getting inside will require a bit of screwdriver action. You will need to unscrew a few screws at the rear to get the panel out of the way. Once inside, you can get to whichever part you want to get rid of or upgrade. you can upgrade whichever part, cooling fan or graphics card, especially if you’re looking to boost performance. There are 2 x 3.5″ + 1 x 2.5″ bays for adding storage whenever you’re ready. Unlike most CyberPowerPC desktops, the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS has no see-through glass panel for viewing inside the PC. That would have been a great add for this PC in my opinion.

Ports

The Dell Inspiron takes VR to a whole new level by having a good blend of ports including a dedicated port at the front face of the system. There is a USB 3.1 port that perfectly located for easy access. You can plug in your Oculus Rift and HTC Vive without having to use the rear ports. The front also features two USB 2.0 port and a microphone/ headphone combo jack.

Meanwhile, the rear houses 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, Gigabyte Ethernet port, and a microphone port. Thanks to the Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card, there are 3 Full sized DisplayPort and a single HDMI port. Both of these two ports come in use when you want to hook up to a monitor and VR headset simultaneously. You can also have a double or triple monitor setup for work or play should you need to.

The double array of USB 2.0 ports work perfectly when it comes to connecting your keyboard and mouse. The ports would work well with complimentary keyboard and mouse that comes with this PC. To be precise, you get a Dell KB216 Wired English Black keyboard and Black Dell MS116 Wired Mouse. The ports system should also allow you to connect to your printer too. 

Dell also include some other connectivity options like a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.

As far as warranty goes, Dell mentions a one year warranty for parts on this desktop.

NO optical drive

One other thing we noticed on the front face of the Inspiron 5680 is that there is no optical drive. Well, that didn’t come as such a surprise to us because its a trend that’s taking root now. It’s not such a wrinkle because manufacturers are taking advantage of the growth of industry technology such as cloud storage, and online software. If you’re prone to using DVDs/CDs, you can opt for an external optical drive or consider the configuration with an optical drive.

Upgradeability

First off, before you go opening under the hood, there is an Intel i7 processor configuration available. With a stronger processor, there should be more power to muscle through intensive tasks so Dell included an option for it. For about $100 more than our unit, the Dell Inspiron i5675-7806BLU-PUS brings in an Intel Core i7 8700 (6-Core/12-Thread processor.

Image of the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS desktop's removed side panel
The side panel opens easily

The other option for an upgrade is opening up the hood to boost the SSD and HDD. While there is already a sufficient 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD, bumping these to a higher amount should offer even more power. Storage aside, what we essentially recommend upgrading is the 8GB DDR4 memory. Out of all the features, the memory is the one that seems a bit lacking. And boosting it to at least 16GB should ensure more multitasking capability.

For avid gamers, the graphics card should be the priority. The available Nvidia GTX 1060 card should offer impressive Full HD with no muss or fuss. However, if you’re thinking of hitting higher frames per second on high settings, upgrading to a larger graphics card should do the trick. At the moment, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 is a great choice to go for.

Outstanding Performance

When you get down to it, the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS offers outstanding performance without feeling sluggish. And that’s all owing to a great assembly of components including an Intel i5-8400 processor, 8GB DDR4 memory, 1TB mechanical hard drive, 128GB solid-state drive, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5 card.

Right off the bat, the six-core Intel i5-8400 processor’s advantages are clear. Since its inception, the i5 8400 processor has been the surprise package of the Coffee Lake CPUs grabbing headlines in the gaming world. Intel released this as a response to AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600 processor, another great processor with serious computational chops and affordable starting price. Outside gaming circles, the Ryzen 5 2600 captures our hearts more for being overclockable and therefore great overall multitasking performance. However, since overclocking gives you no extra gaming performance advantages, the Intel i5-8400 remains a great choice for its multi-core performance and

Image of the well polished Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS side panels.
A side view of the polished panels

value. Dell also offers a configuration with the option of higher Intel Core i7-8400.

The processor flaunts a base clock speed of 2.8Ghz and 4.0 GHz at turbo. However, the speed does reduce as each core joins in. Still, because of the extra 2 cores, the performance is much faster than the Core i7-7700K in most tasks and applications.

Active CoresBase Frequency1246
Intel Core i5-84002.8 GHz4.0 GHz3.9 GHz3.9 GHz3.8 GHz

Meagre Memory

Moving on, the Dell Inspiron 5680’s versatility doesn’t end there. It gets more gusto to handle multitasking thanks to the 8GB DDR4 memory available. For the most part, 8GB is considered the baseline recommendable for most users. However, if you’re planning on using this PC for professional work (graphics intensive tasks) and demanding games, then consider upgrading to 16GB. Otherwise, 8GB should be enough to handle your operating system, web browser with a couple of tabs open, and run some applications. That means you can open your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge etc), do some web browsing on Gmail, stream Netflix, play some games and manage some Excel spreadsheets while simultaneously handling a Photoshop project.

The great thing about a large memory is that it doesn’t strain under the weight of professional programs and engineering software that are memory intensive. The rule of thumb for hardcore gamers and enthusiasts is 16GB so if you’re thinking of going serious, you know where to start. P/S Don’t worry, RAM isn’t at all expensive and it’s one of the easiest components to upgrade.

Plenty of storage

Dell included a handsome amount of both mechanical hard drive and a solid-state drive. At 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD, there is little to fuss about. Data hogs will find it easy to save their movies, music, data, game collection and multimedia. The SSD storage also works well in providing a smooth experience with your PC. It makes loading and running software/apps fast and quickens the booting processor to less than a minute.

Remarkable Full HD Gaming

One of the defining features of Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card is the excellent capacity to handle Full HD, 1440p gameplay and VR. It does a better job on Full HD than its predecessor Nvidia GX 1050 without compromising on graphics settings, smooth performance, and power consumption. While it’s nothing like the powerful GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 cards, it still is a powerful card with pretty decent frame rates under its belt. When it comes to performance, it receives almost parallel performance aggression from the Radeon RX 480. Both of these cards are powerful and mostly go toe-to-toe on 1440p performance.

As far as VR gaming goes, the GTX 1060 is sufficient and provides smooth frame rates. However, bare in mind that it’s also a base graphics card in VR and is not capable of handling the highest possible settings. If you’re serious about indulging in VR games in the next few years, then it would be wise to invest in a higher-end graphics card, for instance, the GTX 1070 or 1080. The latter should offer the best performance in the most recent AAA VR gaming titles.

Are there any other alternatives?

The Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS is a pretty sweet deal thanks to its competitive pricing, components, and performance. We also loved the port selection and the room for expandability. But of course, the common question arises. Are there any other options available? Are there any similarly-priced options perhaps with office-friendly designs or performance?

Well, the truth is yes. You can find other options in this price tag. But they won’t offer the same amount of value as the Dell Inspiron 5680. 

Here are a few examples:

Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUSCYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 DesktopHP Pavilion 790-0020 DesktopHP Pavilion Power 580-023w Desktop
Processor 2.8 GHz Core i5 8400Core i5 8400 (2.8GHz)2.8 GHz Core i5 84003.0GHz Intel Core i5-7400
RAMOnly 8GB DDR4The 8GB DDR48GB DDR48GB DDR4
Storage128GB SSD and 1TB 7200 RPM HDD1TB 7200 RPM HDD/ 128GB SSD256GB SSDOnly 1TB 7200RPM HDD
Graphics Card GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1 802.11 ac/ 802.11 ac/ Bluetooth 4.1Bluetooth 4.1 802.11 ac/ Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/ Bluetooth 4.1
Operating System A Windows 10 HomeThe Windows 10 HomeWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 Home
ReviewDell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS Desktop ReviewCYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 Desktop ReviewHP Pavilion 790-0020 Desktop Review (Coming Soon)HP Pavilion Power 580-023w Desktop Review

As seen in the table, none of the desktops matches our unit’s (Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS Desktop) design and aesthetics. In fact, all except the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 Desktop have the design appeal of a gaming PC. Furthermore, the HP Pavilion Power 580-023w Desktop has an older version processor (Intel Core i5-7400) while the HP Pavilion 790-0020 Desktop only flaunts SSD storage (256GB). At the end of the day, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 seems to be the only that stands a chance against our unit.

Yes, it’s worth your money

Between the handsome case, styling, slew of ports, gaming performance, and upgradability, the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS isn’t all that different than other entry-level gaming desktops we’ve reviewed. That said, while it’s not the most attractive, or the most powerful desktop in the gaming scene, it’s got the muscle to handle casual use, gaming, and VR. Additionally, because of a well thought through price tag, it hits the right boxes suitable for it to be considered a budget gaming system.

Further, we loved that the system runs silently and is easily upgradeable down the line. Also, you can rest assured that the multi-core processor will shine through your multitasking tasks which is a great advantage on your corner.

Bottom line, if you’re in the market for an affordable desktop to jump into gaming with, the then the Dell Inspiron i5680-5842BLU-PUS is a worthwhile choice. It satisfies our requirements for entry gaming and therefore receives our Editor’s Choice for affordable entry-level gaming desktops.