New PC - Your thoughts welcome

  Admiral Allstar 15:26 18 Dec 2005


My niece is lucky enough to be having a PC for her birthday. The requirements are for something to help with her homework and a bit of internet access as well as being as cheap as possible.

I have found the Dell Dimension 3100 click here for £289 delivered.

I have a couple of questions which I hope the forum may be able to resolve.

1. The package comes with a free printer, but no printer cable (Dell charge £10 at the moment for a cable). I assume it is a standard USB cable and nothing special??

2. I think that theere is integrated Ethernet connection. Does anyone agree??

3. If we wished to upgrade the memory or graphics at a later date would it be ok to insert these without invalidating the warranty?

Any input welcome as well as alternatives for the same price (around £300).


  PA28 15:52 18 Dec 2005

Initially looks OK for the money. Expandability a bit cramped with only 2 PCI slots plus a PCI Express, and only a 230w power supply. You'll need a modem whether broadband or dialup by the looks of things, and a graphics upgrade (presumably via the PCIe slot as this is all you have) is a must if games are on the cards. Regarding the warranty, suggest you get a green light from Dell before you commit.

  Admiral Allstar 15:55 18 Dec 2005


Thanks. Graphics aren't too much of a problem as I cant really see her playing too many games - only the educational ones.

I will give Dell a call in the morning.

Many thanks

  gudgulf 15:59 18 Dec 2005

A USB to printer cable will cost around £4 from an independent retailer click here

But by the time you've added post/packing the difference is not worth the bother.

Looking at the specs click here I can't see any mention of onboard ethernet,just USB connections.

You will be able to upgrade the memory.

You wont be able to upgrade the graphics as this pc does not come equipped with either a PCIe x16 or AGP graphics slot(you could add a standand PCI slot card but these are difficult to find now and not much better than the onboard graphics).

With such a cheap pc corners have been cut and upgradeability is severely limited.On the other hand it is a bargain price for a basic XP equipped pc.

  PA28 16:01 18 Dec 2005

No Games? Oh yes - been there, done that with my kids, got the T Shirt! Plan for games - trust me.

  Admiral Allstar 16:17 18 Dec 2005


Thanks. I found the integrated ethernet under communication devices (link on the left of your link).


I appreciate your thoughts re the graphice The thing is tho, there is a PS2 in the house and both her and her brother seem more interested in that.

I did toy with the idea of building one myself, but dont think i could do it for this price.

  Admiral Allstar 18:44 18 Dec 2005


  961 19:13 18 Dec 2005

You certainly can't build it for the price, bearing in mind that Windows Home Edition OEM costs around £60-£80 for a kick off

If you really are after a cheapie I see PCWorld have vouchers in the press today reducing desktops to £299. They'll work fine. I couldn't get the Dimension you mention down below about £358 but there are so many variations you are as likely to be right as me

A niece can be any age of course, but if she is the age that I guess she is, then PA28 will sure be right about the games

  Chegs ®™ 20:57 18 Dec 2005

Externally accessible

6 USB 2.0 ports (Four rear ports and two front ports)

1 RJ45 Ethernet port = Network port onboard

1 Video: 15-hole connector

Sound card connectors (1 line-in, 1 line-out and microphone, one front panel connector for headphones)

Internally accessible

Primary IDE drive: 40-pin connector on PCI local bus = but earlier on it says SATA only

Serial ATA: Two 7-pin connectors

FlexBay drive: USB 10-pin header for optional floppy drive or Media Card Reader (3.5" bay devices)

PCI 2.3: 120-pin connector

PCI Express x1: 36-pin connector = PCI-Ex surely?

CD drive audio interface: 4-pin connector

Fan: One 5-pin connector

  Totally-braindead 21:28 18 Dec 2005

The Dell printers are expensive to run and if you niece is anything like my nieces she will run through cartridges like nobodys business, if so consider a cheap other printer later on as one that can use compatibles will be nuch cheaper to run. Regarding the graphics, you say she will not want to play games other than educational ones I think you may have trouble with that as she will eventually want to play some game that will not run. So regarding the price, which I agree is a bargain spend a little more now to get something with at least an AGP slot if not a PCI Express slot and am unsure that the spec they mention has this, it certainly appears to but would suggest phoning them to ask, would also pay the extra and get 512mb RAM instead of the 256 they mention. Final thing is the power supply, perfectly adequate for the PC as it stands now but if you add something later you may need to buy a new one.

  alexgray104 21:59 18 Dec 2005

Try click here. It's a good company and where I got my current pc, they also offer repairs and upgrades.

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