Overall: A very solid entry into quad-core computing, and comes with Dell’s excellent customer support. Earlier this year I bought a new Zino. It was a nice machine but had issues. On the bright side, I learned the value of Dell’s support: fast, professional, and they will send a replacement machine to you if necessary, all at no charge. Many other makers require you to ship the machine at your expense if there are issues. Take this into account when you decide to buy… On to the machine. This is the quad-core AMD version; mine has 6GB and a smallish hard drive. This is a great budget entry into multi-core computing. The AMD processors are cheap, quick, energy efficient; you get ‘more cores for your dollar’ than Intel. They are in the sweet spot for budget video encode/decode: i.e. internet streaming! Further, they’ve been using the same socket types for some time, so you might actually be able to upgrade later on. The processor is a beast. The most intensive task I put it to is streaming shows (Hulu, Netflix etc) at the highest resolution possible. Note that a graphics card will do you nothing in this application; it is all up to the CPU. The cores cruise along at no more than 20% or so each. Tremendous reserve capacity! The performance is limited to how fast the provider will let you pull data, and how fast your network is. My wireless is 54Mbps, internet connection is 10Mbps, Hulu limits me to 1Mbps. Overall, this computer's performance is very fast and is only limited by the hard drive. This would be a great machine to use a small SSD for the OS, keep those cores fed. Pros:
Excellent value for the dollar
Excellent performance. Boot up is under 20sec. Runs very snappily.
Very quiet. Although not advertised as such, this machine is almost silent.
Nice media card reader
Standard DVD drive handles mangled library DVD’s with aplomb
Integrated graphics processor is a great value
AMD “Cool and Quiet” ramps the processor speed up and down – runs very cool, energy efficient
Includes a clean Windows 7 disk Cons:
Comes with various bloatware on the Win7 install
Other than that, nothing really. Pretty big case. Not necessarily a con, it comes with the territory for mid-size desktops If you get it, I suggest throw in the Win7 disk right away, nuke the extra partitions (they contain Dell tools for which there are better alternatives) and start with a nice clean install. You will be happy! 5 star rating. Great job Dell.