Dell Dimension C521
Dell’s Dimension C521 has been tailored to the home entertainment and 'general needs' market and combines decent all-round features with an accessible price point, complemented by a bundled 19in LCD monitor. Notably, the Dell is a good-looking and supremely well-proportioned system, sitting at only 11cm thin when side-standing and finished in an attractive, sculpted black and silver chassis. It shouldn’t look out of place in any home office or living room.
A general perusal of the specs list reveals the Dell’s capable but not overly ambitious aspirations. Powered by an AMD Athlon 64 6800+ CPU and an ATI Radeon X1300 GPU, and with 1GB of DDR 2 RAM, it’s located in the mid-range but is more than powerful enough to run the Windows Vista Home Premium it now sports. And even with modern software’s seemingly insatiable appetite for running high demand multimedia applications, the graphics chip will ably cater to it, and the system run as quietly as a mouse with its mouth taped up.
Hard drive options in the C521 stretch all the way to a massive 500GB. The more storage you want, the more it will cost, though hard drives are not as pricey as they once were. There’s also a DVD writer for further storage options that writes to all formats bar DVD-RAM.
On top of this comes 7.1 audio support, plenty of connectivity, that 19in display - which whilst nothing spectacular is perfectly respectable - and plenty of room to upgrade for the future. And all at a price that won't leave your wallet in serious need of resuscitation.
Shuttle XPC P2 3700G
Granted, Shuttle’s 3700G may not be the cheapest small form-factor PC currently available - and probably doesn’t represent the best pound-to-gram ratio budget wise - but it is an unbelievably capable machine crammed into a tiny little box.
This is the very top spec model available from the Shuttle online system builder, as you can tell from the price, although opting for less memory, smaller hard drives and the like can significantly reduce the cost and hence the performance. The 3700G is a tiny system – half the size of your average desktop – and won’t take up too much room no matter where you put it.
Pre-installed is a proprietary motherboard based on an Intel 975X chipset and Core 2 Duo Extreme X6800 CPU, and packing 4GB of 667MHz DDR 2 SDRAM. Shuttle has also managed to somehow cram in a 400GB Samsung SATA hard drive and 14x dual-layer DVD writer. So there’s plenty of power and storage for numerous multimedia applications and storing your files, photos, music and movies. For gaming, graphics are looked after by the excellent Nvidia GeForce 7950 GX2 card - a dual-GPU board, it renders the Shuttle a very serious option for gamers as well as HD fans thanks to its HDCP compatibility.
Tooled up with Windows XP Professional Edition, and packed with so much high-end hardware, the 3700G is capable of performing absolutely any task you’re likely to throw at it, and will do so with the smallest footprint on your home thanks to that minimal, cubist exterior.
You know what....
If you have so much of a problem with the Macintosh then don't f-ing buy one. I am so sick and tired of you Microsoft fanboys bashing something simply because you are too lazy to dedicate the time it takes to really learn a new platform.
Here's a hint people... all of the old stigmas regarding price are gone. Spec a comparable Dell against any Mac and you will see that the prices are close, and that (shocker!) the Mac even comes out cheaper sometimes!
Just because Apple chooses not to compete in the ultra low end does not mean that they are ridiculously expensive. The base Mac comes with a Core Duo.... How come I'm still seeing PC manufacturers selling Pentium Ds or even Celerons even though the last time I checked Intel stopped manufacturing the Pentium.
I may not like Windows but I don't go around to all sorts of online forums bashing Microsoft like you cowards do.
Also, as for the productivity comment, since switching my organization over to the Macintosh we have seen overall productivity increase upwards of 35%. And the comment about OS X for a server... all I can say is it's awfully nice not having to connect remotely on the weekends as to restart the servers with the hope that it will run smoothly for the week to come. Oh and how I miss messing with conflicting services because three different programs like to use the SQL server.
Give me a break already.
The only way one can deliver an educated opinion on an operating system is to learn it, and to learn it you must immerse yourself in it. You can't just use something for a weekend and think you're enough of an expert to say it's horrible. And you can't download an illegal copy of it and run it on an unsupported machine and then blast it's author for having sub par performance.
Bottom line - most of you are pathetic.
Register schizophrenia issues...
Ok, I have to admit I have high hopes from this publication (El Reg) but when it comes to reviews I am left feeling that the editor of Reg Hardware suffers from a serious case of schizophrenia.
How is it that in the same publication there can be ten page in depth reviews of graphics cards that delve to the level of comparing shader operations performance and are so involved that the reader can come away with a feeling that they have an intimate knowlegde of the product and its comparative performance AND THEN THERE ARE ARTICLES LIKE THIS???
This is not a review. This is not an article. This is not even an opinon column. It is a montage of opinion column pretending to be a review and that is deceitful.
There is no structure to the 'review' criteria, or reason/motivation for ratings, or anything of substance. What happened? Did DELL, ACER, ALIENWARE, MESH and APPLE chip in together to get an 'Advertainment' spot on El Reg? Thats certainly what it looks like. I will tell you what this ISN'T: Journalism.
Ed. Be ashamed, be very ashamed.
"You don't buy a Mac just because the hardware looks good or the software is pretty much immune to viruses; you buy it to get OSX. I think it is worth the extra bucks."
This is the typical closed platform thinking. You have to buy the hardware to get the software. This is why the pcs survived so long, even though they are the worst from a design point.... And now the only difference between a mac and a pc is the small tpm chip that checks the osx licence and this is what keeps apple's computer department alive. Dumping an osx image to a pc and replacing the kernel with its free open source version will result in a totally illegal but working mac clone. The problem is with all those good software and games running under windows xp, who really needs the macos?
Personally for work I run a mix of windows and linux software under windows xp on a company standard asus box, because unfortunately currently xp is the only os that is compatible with almost everything and you can get the most performance for the lowest price mostly from the asian manufacturers who make the western brands too.