Dell's one advantage over the Gateway is that it gives you plenty of upgrade room. You get a 16x PCI Express graphics card slot (half-height cards only, because of the slim case), a 1x PCI Express slot, two standard PCI slots, an extra hard drive bay, and two open memory upgrade slots. The Gateway has only a graphics card expansion slot and no room for an extra hard drive. Adding a graphics card with an HDMI output could go a long way toward making the Dell more useful as a media-streaming box. The Gateway, however, offers that feature out of the box, and for less money.
|Dell Inspiron 545s-1476N||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||161.60448|
|Energy Star compliant||Yes|
|Annual energy consumption cost||$18.34|
We applaud Dell's capability to keep energy costs low on the Inspiron 545-1476N. At only $18.34 per year to operate, it's on par with other systems in its category. The one advantage of the Dell's dual-core chip next to the Gateway's quad-core CPU is that the Dell uses just a bit less energy. It's not enough to make a dramatic difference in annual operating cost, but at least this system is behaving as it's supposed to.
Dell's service and support policies are in line with the rest of the PC industry. The default plan gets you one year of parts and labor coverage, 24-7 toll-free phone support, and a variety of online resources on its Web site. You'll also find an OS X-like icon dock running along the top edge of the Dell's Windows screen that connects you to a handful of included programs to help with system maintenance and troubleshooting. Novice users might find the icon dock useful, but we also can't help thinking that it reveals a certain level of Apple-envy.
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Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel MGA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Dell Inspiron i545s-1476N
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 2.6GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 6GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 1TB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.6 GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Intel GMZ 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive