If you do have a mind to upgrade, the Dell gives you some flexibility. There's room for one additional PCI expansion card, and there's also four memory slots. Our configuration came with two of them populated, but it's nice to know that you can add more RAM without throwing your current memory away. There's also room to add a second hard drive, although you'll need to mount it by screwing its underside into the metal panel that serves as the drive cage. That installation method might be a little unorthodox, but it's certainly not the worst we've seen.
For service and support, Dell offers the traditional one-year-parts-and-labor warranty, along with its 24-7 toll-free phone support. Online you get the usual support pages tied to your configuration's unique ID number. Dell also includes a reasonably helpful support application on the system that helps you maintain your PC's drive space and overall health. We're also glad to see Dell ship this system with little in the way of superfluous icons on the desktop, unlike HP, which is the worst offender in this area.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Acer Aspire M5100
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.19GHz AMD Phenom 9500; 3GB DDR2 667MHz SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 1250 graphics chip; 500GB 7,200 rpm hard drive
Apple Mac Mini
Apple OS X; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics chip; 120GB 5,400rpm Hitachi hard drive
Dell Inspiron 530
Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium E2160; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM 128MB Nvidia GeForce 8300GS graphics; 320GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.21GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6100 graphics chip; 400GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
HP Pavilion a6400z
Windows Vista Home Basic; 2.1GHz AMD Sempron X2 2100+; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150 SE graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
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