We can't say we'd prefer fewer video outputs, either, but like the eMachines, the Dell is limited in its video-playback capabilities. It will handle Flash and Silverlight-based video online, which covers the likes of Hulu, NetFlix, YouTube, and other sources, including streamed 1080p content. The Dell stumbled on 1080p Quicktime video, though, dropping enough frames to make for an irritating viewing experience. Perhaps due to its video chip, the eMachines system had a harder time with some video files, so the Dell has a minor edge here as well, but that's not enough to overcome its generally poor value.
You do get some room to expand the Inspiron i560-2050NBK, although we don't recommend it as an upgrade platform any more than we do for its current specifications. You get a 16x PCI Express graphics card slot, two 1x PCI Express slots, and a single standard PCI slot. There's also room to add a second hard drive, but all four RAM slots are occupied.
Ports on the back of the Dell include four USB 2.0 jacks (two of which are taken by the mouse and keyboard), a VGA video output, the aforementioned HDMI jack, a set of 7.1 audio jacks, and an Ethernet adapter. The front panel features another pair of USB jacks and a set of headphone and audio inputs. That's a reasonable level of connectivity for a PC in this price range, although we've seen less expensive systems with dedicated digital audio output, and extra data ports like FireWire or eSATA.
|Dell Inspiron i560-2050NBK||Average watts per hour|
|Off (60 percent)||0.88|
|Sleep (10 percent)||1.99|
|Idle (25 percent)||43.14|
|Load (5 percent)||70.26|
|Annual energy consumption cost||$19.09|
We suspect the difference between Dell and the eMachines' power efficiency comes down to the different chipsets. Considering the different motherboard circuitry also likely accounts for the Dell's video playback edge, we can't feel too excited by the eMachines more modest power needs. We'd gladly pay $3 more over the course of the year for an uptick in the eMachines' video performance. Compared with other budget PCs with more modern chipsets than the eMachines, the Dell is right where it should be in terms of its power consumption.
Dell's service and support is more or less the same as that of its major retail competition. You get 24-7 phone support, a yearlong parts-and-labor warranty, and a variety of support resources online and on the system itself via various diagnostic tools.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5500; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 HD integrated graphics chip; 1TB 7,200 rpm Hitachi hard drive
Dell Inspiron i560-2050NBK
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.7GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 7050 integrated graphics chip; 750GB 7,200 rpm Seagate hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.8GHz AMD Athlon II X2 240; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE intergrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive