Pros Fast when running Windows XP and is priced very well for the performance obtained
Cons Slow when running Vista and would need memory and video upgrades to be as good as one running Windows XP
Summary I have successfully installed Windows XP on an Inspiron 531 and am really impressed with the speed and performance of this machine. For the relatively inexpensive cost of this machine, running XP makes it seem like a system that would have cost hundreds of dollars more.
It came with Vista Home Basic, and the 'User Experience' was rated a 3 out of 5 and it did not really run that fast.
Most software that I need to run on this box is not compliant with Vista, which nags often about that fact when trying to load and run most of the software titles that I own. Most of the software vendors that produced the software I use have upgrades available to make it work on Vista, but they usually charge for the upgrade and at this point in time, what I have works and I am not anxious to go through any upgrade process.
I located the drivers needed by Windows XP on the Inspiron 531 at the following locations:
Chipset Driver-Included NIC Driver too...
Video Driver - NVidia 6150 LE graphic GPU
The 'Unknown Device" Driver (AMD Away)
Use Dell's R151573.EXE
Realtek Audio Driver
Use Dell's R162030.EXE
That was about it... Was a pain to locate all these drivers, but hopefully posting them here will save others a whole lot of time finding them should they decide they want to run XP on this system.
Pros Style, quietness, speed
Cons Windows Vista OS
Summary I configured and purchased a Dell Inspiron 531 three weeks ago (early October.) I built a great system, and was thrilled to be able to use a $350 coupon (on any build over $999.) I'd never had Vista before, but I figured it would be cool, too. I was excited over the whole thing.
The new computer came, and I was able to migrate much of my old XP stuff over by using the Belkin cable. Fine, so far.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, but none of that is the fault of the Inspiron 531 itself. The problems stem from Vista, 100%!
My Epson RX500 printer didn't work as it previously did. I was able to locate a driver on Google, but in order to use all the features that I'm used to (and that I paid for in the first place), I was supposed to order an update for $10. Even after I installed some of the features, I got a pop-up error message every single time I tried to print anything.
Then, I realized that my personal screensaver (a CD I'd purchased privately a couple of years ago) wouldn't work either. Neither would my Broderbund Printmaster program, which I use a lot. Neither would any number of handy-dandy little useful utilities that I use in my everyday life. My Logitech MX610 laser mouse wasn't able to be configured properly anymore, either.
Google Earth was a nightmare, but I finally was able to locate a driver or fix or something for that.
The final straw came when I realized that none of the fonts I'd laboriously saved for years were available on Vista. Worse yet, even if I located them again, I was unable to download or use them with this OS. Since I'm in the middle of a couple of web design projects, I wasn't about to have to abandon all that work and start over by making hundreds of new graphics!
Factor in the constant annoying pop-up messages requiring authorization and passwords for my every move, and I'd reached the breaking point. I live alone. I'm the ***** user of my computer, and I don't need to be treated like a stupid child who's incapable of making a download decision on my own!
As luck would have it, it was the last day of Dell's 21-day return policy, so I contacted them, and they agreed to let me send it back. I explained to the Dell rep (in India) that my problem wasn't with the computer itself, and I'd have been very satisfied if only it ran XP instead. He then advised me that XP was indeed an option on the Inspiron 530!
Interesting that the option to purchase a new system with XP instead of Vista is now a special box on the Dell home page, because it hadn't been there a few weeks prior. Obviously, they've had many unsatisfaied customers, and rather than go through the hassle of returns (since it isn't even the Dell system that's at fault in the first place), they're now giving customers the options. The fact that Dell has been forced to offer XP as a special item speaks volumes to me.
I then re-configured an even better, more powerful 530, and again was able to use a $350 off coupon! The new one came, and I love it! It's lightning fast, super powerful, whisper quiet and very stylish.
I totally recommend Dell Inspiron desktops to anyone, but I'll hate Vista forever. Until I got "tricked" into upgrading, I had no idea that Vista had all the probelms it does, but since my experience, I've been researching it, and I'm thrilled to know that I'm not alone.
The only problem with the Inspiron 531 is Vista. Aside from that, it's a great machine.
Pros Fast, not very big, very quiet
Cons Vista ruins it, CD draws clumsy
Summary I had the Inspiron 531 computer for 2 and a half weeks. It is going back. The computer is fast and operates good. It is quiet not like the noisy Dimension I had.
It has 8 fast USB ports 4 in the front 4 in the back. The only operating system you can buy this computer with is Vista. Vista is has two many problems and makes this computer a real hassle to use.
One is security permission like Windows Defender that cannot be shut off and if it stops a program like my email retriever from starting up you get a pop up each time saying it was blocked. When clicking on many programs you get a popup message to cancel or allow the program to be opened. Even if you are the administrator or the only one using the computer you still have this pop up for permission every single time you open these program. This is very time consuming.
Vista does not allow the “ignore unsigned driver” option so I cannot use it with my Motorola Phone Tools and other programs. It has a feature to help you use some XP program. A couple of my programs worked after that some with error messages when closing the program. It does help you to find drivers that are compatible.
Other glitches in trying to use this beautiful computer. They have a feature called “Personalize” in this feature you can change your font size, wallpaper, sound etc. It is something like the “right click” on properties on the desktop in XP. It comes with beautiful wallpaper. The problem I have is the resolution for my wide screen 900 X 1400 you can only set the resolution for 60 . If I set my fonts to a certain size it adjust the size of the icons with the fonts. There is no separate feature to adjust just the font size or just the icons. Then the icons are distorted. When installing or clicking a program the icons get bigger or smaller automatically I don’t have an virus in my computer that might cause any of these things. When clicking on a program it starts off looking small to the left of the screen then moves forward and doubles it size. I know how to use XP maybe I just don’t know how to adjust these things. Sometime click on a program the desktop jumps or turn black temporarily.
The software is really nice. It comes with Works 8. Roxie depending on the kind of CD driver you put in. PowerDVD is very plain, basic only good to watch a video.
Vista is overwhelming with security, warnings, flashing downloads etc. I might find away around this if I spent 10 years on the computer. Dell has business options that do have XP choices for OS installed in their computers. They don’t put that option in the Personal computer or home link. XPS is another computer that is on their site with XP but it is over a thousand dollars.
You can install XP on this computer but if your reformat it you will not have drivers for your ether net card and other needed drivers. The software you paid for with your new Inspirion 531 will not install on an XP operating system. Computers with XP on it are in the “business” links on Dell. I believe Microsoft still has to offer XP because many businesses cannot change all of their systems over to Vista. Too many hardware problems and driver problems for one thing and a whole lot of retraining employees.
One computer is a mini tower computer which I believe offers both Vista and XP. It is Optiplex 320 there are more you can build this one for under $1000.
Save yourself a headache. Buy something with XP.
Pros small footprint and can handle most tasks well.
Cons The memory that it came with made it run very, very slow.
Summary I bought the 531s with 1gig of memory and Vista home premium. What a mistake! The system was so slow that I taught that there was something wrong with the computer. I spoke to my son-in-law and he suggested that an immediate upgrade in memory would help. I followed his advised, bought more memory and lo and behold the system is now working much faster. If I had read some of the reviews on Vista I would have bought the system with more memory to begin with. As to support, I called Dell on an issue and the gentleman asked if I would allow him to look at my system. I did and he was able to diagnose the problem and give me the solution. As someone who only uses a computer for internet and word processing, this computer takes care of my needs.
"READ THIS IS YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT BUYING THIS PC. Great value, esp. if you upgrade yourself."on by delarge655321
Pros Great bang-for-buck, many multimedia options
Cons Fan on mine is loud, limited for gamers
Summary The key that I figured out after I bought my first computer from Dell 5 1/2 years ago is that they charge you more for doing stuff than doing it yourself. Adding memory yourself is simple and MUCH cheaper than getting it from them. BTY, the OS only recognizes 3.25 GB of RAM, so you don't really need 4 gigs. Just buy 1 gig and buy some fast stuff at newegg.com (2X1GB sticks of Corsair dual channel 6400 DDR2 for $34 after rebate - they charge $100 just to go from 1 gig to 2 gigs!)
Same with hard drive, optical drives, and graphics cards (got a XFX 8600GT XXX /w Comp of Heroes for $85 - they charge $150!). Don't skimp on the CPU though. I have a Core 2 Quad 6600 and the fan is really loud. It's so much louder than my old computer. Got the Bluetooth keyboard/mouse and headphones, which were a pain to get used to, but I'm good now.
Maybe it's because of the CPU, but this thing runs kinda warm. They do give you a 350 watt PSU with the Quad chips (otherwise, you get 300), so you might be able to overclock some parts. As is, you will have to get a new PSU if you want any serious gaming with a 8800 GT and above. PSU's are pretty cheap and easy to install though.
It's pretty smallish in height, which is what I like. This also limits the exansion slots (2 PCI, 1 PCI-E X1, 1 PCI-E X16). The door buttons do get covered up when open, but gently pushing the tray shouldn't ruin the drives. You can press them though, if you really want to. The screws to open the panel are a bit annoying. Most of the exterior is painted metal, but the front panel is plastic - doesn't feel cheap though. The lights are pretty bright if you want a totally dark area. Even the green PSU light is pretty bright when the machine is off.
Vista is a pain in the butt, but it's the future, so I went with it. It takes some getting used to, and ask permission for everything, but does have some cool features like the Media Center (only in Home Premium and above). It is a resource hog, but if you want to look to the future (like DirectX10 gaming) bite the bullet and prepare for the headaches. If you just want pure performance and current gaming, go with XP. I'd check out a Vist PC before to see if you like it.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO BUY THIS, LOOK ONLINE FOR DELL COUPONS. I FOUND A $300 DOLLAR COUPON, WHICH WAS $200 MORE THAN THE SITE'S DISCOUNT. ALSO, ONLY GET WHAT YOU NEED. LASTLY, SEARCH AROUND TO GET THE BEST DEAL ON DO IT YOURSELF COMPONENTS LIKE RAM, HARD DRIVES AND GRAPHICS CARDS (get the best CPU you can afford though). LASTLY, THINK ABOUT BUYING THE MONITOR SEPARATELY. IF YOU ADD THE MONITOR DURING CONFIG, IT WAS $310. EARLIER, THE SAME MONITOR WAS $239 (I MISSED OUT, DAMN!) AND IT'S $300 NOW. HEY, $10 SAVED IS $10 EARNED!