Computers / Hands-on Review

Dell Inspiron Desktop PCs Offer Real Value


You can’t beat the intrinsic value of desktop computers like these Dell Inspiron 560 and 570 towers. No notebook or all-in-one computer comes close in terms of price, performance and expandability. Whether you want to use a screen you already own or buy the computer with an oversize monitor, Dell offers seven systems that let you configure it your way.

All these models contain a 16x DVD/RW burner, optical mouse, USB keyboard, Gigabit Ethernet jack and Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). All feature an HDMI output in addition to VGA, headphone output, microphone input and a 300-watt power supply.

The Inspiron 560: i560-887NBK is sold without a display, but you can always add one. Though less than $400, the computer doesn’t shirk on power. It contains an Intel Pentium 3.2 GHz Dual Core E6700 CPU with 4 Gigabytes of RAM plus an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD for graphics-related tasks. There’s also a 500GB SATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm, six USB ports (2 front, 4 rear) and a 19-in-1 media card slot. The system supports 7.1-channel audio via its coaxial digital output for connection to your audio receiver. Speakers aren’t included.

If you’d rather go with something other than Intel inside your computer, Dell offers the Inspiron 570: i570-5066NBK using an AMD Athlon II X2 245 processor and ATI Radeon HD4200 Graphics. The computer contains 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, 19-in-1 Media Card Reader, 6 USB ports and Dell AX210 speakers. The i570-5066NBK is distinguished by the inclusion of the Dell ST2220L Full HD Widescreen Monitor.

At 21.5-inches, the monitor dwarfs almost any screen built into a laptop and is likely larger than your last computer monitor. Also, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels—also known as Full HD—the display is probably sharper than anything you’ve seen on a computer, too. Another way to think about the resolution’s crispness is that it’s equal, in pixel count, to an even larger HDTV set. With a fast response time of 5 milliseconds, expect an amazing game playing, movie watching and photo-editing experience. The monitor has HDMI, VGA and DVI-D inputs. (Display cables are sold separately.) The LCD technology uses LED backlights to meet the latest Energy 5.0 compliance standards and helps you reduce energy consumption. The monitor is tilt adjustable, letting you lean the panel forward or backward for the most comfortable viewing position.

The Dell Inspiron 620: i620-229NBK steps up the ante with a second generation 3.1 GHz Intel Core i3 processor accompanied by an Intel HD Graphics 2000 chip. With 4GB of memory, 1TB hard drive, 6 USB ports, 8-in-1 card reader and built-in Dell Wireless-N connectivity, the system gives you plenty of opportunity to stream entertainment from your Wi-Fi network or store your content on the computer’s massive hard drive. Neither a monitor nor speakers are included.

All these Dell Inspiron desktop computers come with Dell Stage Software for viewing, syncing and sharing your photos, music and videos from one smart interface. Microsoft Office 2010 is preloaded, but you’d need to purchase a product key to fully activate it. McAfee Security Center with Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Firewall software is included as a 30-day trial. The computers come with a one-year limited hardware warranty, in-home service after remote diagnosis and 24 / 7 phone support.