Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF vs. Dell XPS 8300
Comparison and Differences
Differences between Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF and Dell XPS 8300
If you are looking for the smaller form factor the Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF is the right one for you. It is smaller than the Dell XPS 8300 and will fit more easily under your desk.
Usually the newer the generation of the CPU, the better the performance and efficiency is. If your budget allows it, you should go with the Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF as it is running a newer generation CPU. This is not to say that Dell XPS 8300 is bad - it can still run some powerful CPUs, albeit being an older generation.
Both models have have equal amount of ram slots (4 RAM). Usually two RAM slots are more than enough for most cases. However, the count should be taken into account when planning how much and what combination of RAM you are going to need for your system.
None of the desktops has an advantage when it comes to the speed of the RAM being used. Both models support RAM speeds of up to 1600. Additionally, if you will be needing a lot of RAM, better go for the Dell XPS 8300 as it has the ability to run 32 GB of RAM. The Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF can do a bit less at max 16 GB. Most of the times, this should be sufficient for the majority of users.
Both models have the same amount of USB ports for total count of 10. If this is not enough, using a USB hub is always a viable option. None of the desktop models has a USB 3.1 port (10Gb/s), so if you need a fast connection to your peripherals, like external Solid State Drive, you will need to look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, only the Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF has a DisplayPort. The Dell XPS 8300 does not have one? Don't worry though, nowadays video adapters are cheap and you can get almost any combination of conversion types.
In case your monitor supports HDMI only, you will be happy to hear that both models come with an HDMI port.
SATA ports are placed on the system board and it is where you connect your HDD, SSD and Optical Disk Drives. More SATA slots will allow you to have more drives running at the same time. In this regard the Dell XPS 8300 is better equipped as it comes with 4 SATA slot(s), while the Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF has 3 slot(s).
If you want the fastest transfer speeds for your SSD, an M.2 interface is crucial. Thus, if the M.2 SSD slot is a mandatory requirement for you, go with the Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF. Sadly, the Dell XPS 8300 has no such slot, and you will be forced to use the SATA interface instead.
Make sure that the available M.2 slot supports the PCIe (also called NVMe) interface. This is important as there are M.2 slots which support only the inferior SATA III interface. For comparison, the SATA III interface has max speeds of 6Gb/s, while the PCIe 3.0 x4 will support speeds up to 32Gb/s!
Having a Power Supply Unit with high power rating is important, if you are going to use components which require extra power. The Dell OptiPlex 5040 SFF comes with a decent 180 Watt PSU, but the Dell XPS 8300 has a more powerful one rated at 460 Watts. Choosing either one depends on your specific requirements and use case. Also don't forget that some models might have more than one PSU option - try to always get the most powerful one, especially if you plan to upgrade to a powerful GPU.