Dell's first desktops to carry the Inspiron name look good, inside and out. With a huge range of available components and two equally attractive cases, mainstream consumers ought to be able to find a config that meets their budget, tastes, and computing needs.
The big range in price is due in large part to the wide array of CPU options. The Intel-based models offer both low-end Celeron and dual-core Core 2 Duo processors, while the AMD-based models offer both low-end Sempron and dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors. Memory ranges from 512MB to 4GB. All four major flavors of Vista are offered as well, and though you have to hunt around on Dell's site to find it, the Inspiron 530 is available with either Windows XP Home or Pro.
Both the midtower and the slim chassis offer two hard drive bays (which you can populate with two 500GB drives for a 1TB of storage) and the option for a PCI Express graphics card (the half-height variety for the 530s and 531s units). Also available in all models but particularly useful in the slim models, which are likely candidates to be shoehorned into home theater racks, is an optional 802.11b/g (but sadly, not 802.11n) Wi-Fi card, which will save you from having to run an Ethernet cable through your living room. Another living-room friendly technology, Bluetooth, is an option, and a Blu-ray drive is offered on a higher-end model. One note about the optical drive: the Intel G33 motherboard features only serial ATA connections, meaning you're out of luck if you want to add in an old parallel ATA optical drive you may have lying around.
Aesthetically, the new Inspiron line extends the silver-and-white color scheme that you can find on late-model Dimensions. The last generation of Dimensions were sleek-looking, but the area around the optical drives was black, which was in stark contrast to the rest of the case. Now, the Inspiron cases feature drive-bay covers, lending a more unified design to the PCs.
The Inspiron line carries Dell's standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty, but the company's DataSafe backup has moved online. Dell offers you 3GB of online storage and won't charge you for the first year.