Is My New Dell E520 Good?

  NETCHRIS 23:38 17 Apr 2007

Hello fellow forum goers, I've got problem and knowing you guys I bet you'll help me out a bunch. You see, I'm buying a new desktop DELL computer for my birthday in 2 months. Everythings gonna be new; the speakers. keyboard, monitor... You name it. I've already customized my new Dell PC on the UK website and the current price is 850 pounds more or less last time I checked. But that included EVERYTHING. Now it's fairly obvious what I'm asking help for: Is my future computer good, average or crap? Now before we start discussing the aspects of my new PC I must first tell you my current PC set-up and how I use my computer so you can judge upon my new set-up. My current Dell Dimension 8300 (It's 5 years old and American but was a good PC at the time) set-up is more or less:

I can't tell you much about it because I'm not in my house right now and I don't remember much about it. It's a flat panel Dell Ultrasharp and features tilting and a few buttons with power off, contrast and such on the front. I think the display is 1,280 by 1,024... You know, the average square type of screen. As for the pixel pitch and pixel response rate I have no idea. But its probably something like one you would see on a under 500 pound PC + Monitor set-up today if that. The maximum resolution would probably be 1,280 by 1,024.

I can vaguely remember it runs on a Intel Pentium Processor 4 and I think it was like 3 GHz for speed.

Hard Disk:
It has 512 MB of RAM and about 60 GB of disk space (Way too low for todays standards).

I have no bloody idea!

Graphics Card and Sound Card:
No idea again but it would be safe to say that it would have been the best of five years ago.

My computer has 6 USB ports and a Floppy Disk Drive, DVD Drive, Compact Disc Drive and I think they both write. My keyboard is a standard one and so is my mouse which works on a ball on the inside, they are both non-wireless. As for my speakers and sub-woofer I can tell you that I have 2 speakers and a subwoofer which plays okay and they are made by Harmon/Kardon. The operating system is Windows XP Professional and the computer came with quite a lot of Dell Applications. My printer is a HP Deskjet 5550. It's fairly basic and only prints.

Now that I'm finished with my vague description of my computer, I hope you can visualize what I currently have. So on to what I use the computer for and how I use it:

  NETCHRIS 23:39 17 Apr 2007

- I don't play games at all on my PC but I think I might start playing Battlefield
- I use Flash all the time
- I'm begining to use Photoshop more
- I take pictures a lot and do a lot of editing on videos and photos
- I use the internet a ton
- I frequently watch DVDs on my PC
- I like customizing my PC a ton
- I talk to my friends on MSN and AIM all the time
- I listen to music constantly on iTunes

So I'm just the guy who is into IT and Media and I'm not fond of coding and such and I'm not a super advanced user but I would consider my self a true knowledgable PC user and at the rate I'm going I might be heading towards the advanced stages of computing. I'm gonna be 16 soon too by the way. Also price isn't a issue for me that much but I would like it under 1,000 pounds. Basically, I need a good computer which will last me another 4 year maximum and won't make me say "Damn, the new Dell Galaxy Intel Core quadruple 8 is out and now this PC is lacking the technology for all the programs." The computer I'm looking for should be fast, reliable, non-buggy, smooth, pleasing to the eye and simple to use: Basically what any PC user would want out of his computer.

Finally the most important stage of my topic, my NEW computer. This one is being customized on the UK Dell website and includes everything for 850 pounds so far. It worried me a bit when I was looking in the back of PC Advisors top 5 750-1,000 pound computers and found that many of the features these desktops boasted weren't in my Dell. But maybe thats because if I take out all the acessories its really a 500 pounds PC? whatever the cause, I wanna make this desktop into a 750-1,000 pound machine which would make it a good PC. I don't mind any criticism on any of the aspects I chose in my system but please do not say "Don't buy a Dell" or "Don't get Vista Home Premium" because those are essentials in my mind. Try to keep it under 1,000 pounds and make sure that the parts you suggest will help me not just make the PC better for the hell of it. Anyway here it is, my DELL DIMENSION E521:

  NETCHRIS 23:39 17 Apr 2007

I'm getting the 20" Dell Widescreen Flat Panel LCD Monitor included in the price which from every aspect is amazing besides the response time which is 16 ms... Is this really bad? If you want details such as the pixel pitch and stuff on either of these monitors just Google it because I don't have it with me.

Intel Viiv Intel Core Duo 2 E4300 is the processor I'm getting and it runs on 1.80 GHz, 800 mHz, 2mb cache. I could get a Intel Core Duo 2 E6600 with 2.4 Ghz but is it worth it? I like fast computers so maybe the 2.4 will help.

Hard Disk:
I'm getting 320 GB of serial ATA disc space and I think thats more than enough so the only problem in this area is if its good quality and fast.


Graphics Card and Sound Card:
For the graphics I'm getting a 256 mb ATI Radeon X1300 Pro Graphics Card. But I think I need direct X 9.0 for vista and I'm not sure if that card has it. As the the sound I'm getting Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music PCI Soundcard. Please tell me if theres anything wrong with these cards.

My keyboard is a Logitech Cordless Desktop MXsomething keyboard which apparently one of the best keyboards you can buy, many hot keys and pretty much everything you could ever imagine. I have no probelms with my keyboard or the wireless laser mouse which comes with it. Now to my sound system, I'm getting a Dell 5650 5.1 Surround Speaker System but maybe 7.1 is better? I think it includes like 6 speakers and a subwoofer. I have no idea how many USB ports there are asides from there being like 2 in the front of the PC. The DVD drive seems fine and so does the Compact Disc Drive as well it also has a all in one card port too but I'm fine with these so I don't need you to advise me on this. The operating system will be Windows Vista Home Premium too. I'm also getting a Dell All-In-One Printer 926 printer and it seems fine. It faxes, prints and scans so I think its okay, but just to make sure you can tell me if its a bad decision.

As soon as I get back home from Kenya I'll be sure to post the full details of my current PC as well as my new one if I need to. Anyway, I couldnt be more grateful for your help and I appreciate your responses to my detailed quieres, sometimes too detailed. I apologize for the brief descriptions on my set-up explanations but thats the best I could do. I hope to see some genuine helpful advice and learn a thing or two from the real PC pros out there. Thanks again!

  NETCHRIS 23:58 17 Apr 2007

Oh and I didnt include the RAM of my new PC which is 2 GB and I'm actually getting 2.13 Ghz not 1.8 Ghz.

  NETCHRIS 17:18 18 Apr 2007


  LABMAN 18:36 18 Apr 2007

Hi Netchris,

I'm not a computer genious by any means and have depended on this site for help on numerous occasions but if your prepared to at least consider mt point od view here goes.

Reading the spec of your new PC I'd ditch the E4300 processor as it's the slowest of the core2 duo processors and go for a mixture of the fastet processor and memory bundle you can afford especially with Vista being memory hungry.

The sound card and speakers should be more than adequate as is the hard drive capacity, the graphics I know absoloutely nothing about but Dell usually don't supply top of the range cards and sometimes I've heard that they can't be fitted owing to no Dells motherboards and power supply etc. being exclusive to Dell.

Finally ditch the printer as it's a rebadged Lexmark they are good printers but horrendously expensive to run, only take Dell cartridges and compatibles as a result are hard to come by.

Well thats about it, hope I've given you something to think about and I wish you all the best when you get your new PC, it makes my old Athlon XP2400 look like a

  LABMAN 18:50 18 Apr 2007

Hi Netchris,

Or you could consider the following Dell 9200

PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6400 Processor (2.13GHz, 1066MHz, 2MB)

OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Premium

HARDWARE SUPPORT 3 Year At-Home Service Package

MONITOR Dell™ 20" Black Wide Flat Panel (E207WFP)

MEMORY 2048MB Dual Channel DDR2 667MHz [2x1024] Memory

HARD DRIVE 500GB Serial ATA RAID 0 Stripe [2x250GB 7200rpm drives with DataBurst™ cache]

GRAPHICS CARD 256MB nVidia® GeForce® 7900GS graphics card

OPTICAL DRIVE 16X DVD+/-RW Drive & 48X CDRW/DVD-ROM combination Drive

KEYBOARD Dell™ Enhanced USB Multimedia Keyboard - UK/Irish (QWERTY)

MOUSE Dell 2 Button USB Scroll Optical Mouse - Black edit

SOUND CARD Integrated Audio with Dolby Digital 7.1 capability

SPEAKERS Dell™ A525 Speakers with Subwoofer

FLOPPY/MEDIA DRIVES Internal 13-in-1 Media Card Reader


As configured it's £992.74 it may only have on board sound and a 2.1 speaker set up but gives you 500GB of storage and a superior graphics card.

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