Dell Dimension 5100C (Pentium 4 2.8GHz review: Dell Dimension 5100C (Pentium 4 2.8GHz

Business users eyeing the Dimension 5100C can opt for XP Home or Pro. To take full advantage of Media Center's ability to display and record TV, spend an additional $149 to get a TV tuner card and a remote. The 160GB SATA hard drive provides ample storage for most needs, but we'd recommend spending the extra $70 for a 250GB drive if you'll be storing lots of recorded TV programs or other bulky digital media content. Although our build did not come with a monitor, we did receive a three-piece speaker setup that performed adequately. If you'll be using the 5100C as a Media Center, you'll want more power and surround-sound capabilities. A multimedia keyboard and optical scroll mouse are standard, but Dell offers a wireless desktop set as an option.

Bundled software includes WordPerfect 12.0, Musicmatch Jukebox Basic, and Corel Photo Album Starter Edition. The system comes with a stingy warranty covering parts, labor, weekday at-home service, and telephone support for a mere 90 days--a regrettable new standard we're seeing more often. Additional coverage is available for one ($22) or two ($92) years, and for $172 more, you can get three years of coverage with night and weekend at-home service. Other than a generic desktop-information guide, the 5100C lacks printed documentation. Instead, Dell preinstalls user manuals on the hard drive--an approach that becomes less convenient if you're trying to revive a dead system.

Application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo's SysMark 2004 rating  
SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating  
SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating  

Half-Life 2 custom demo (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Half-Life 2 1,024x768 4XAA 8XAF  
Half-Life 2 1,600x1,200 4X AA 8X AF  

Multimedia performance tests
(Lower times are better)
Sorenson Squeeze 4.0 video-encoding test (in seconds)  
Adobe Photoshop CS test (in seconds)  
Apple iTunes 4.7.1.30 MP3-encoding test (in seconds)  

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations
Apple Power Mac G5 dual 2.7GHz
Macintosh OS 10.4; Dual PowerPC G5 2.7GHz; 4,096MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (AGP); 250GB Maxtor Serial ATA hard drive

Dell Dimension 5100
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium 4 531; Intel 945G chipset; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB ATI Radeon X300 SE (PCIe); Maxtor 6L160M0 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

Dell Dimension 5100C
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 830, 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; Intel 945G chipset; 224MB (shared) integrated Intel 950G; Maxtor 6L160M0 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA

Dell Dimension 9100
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.2GHz Intel Pentium D 840; Intel 945GP chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 (PCIe); two WDC WD160JD-75HBB0 160GB Serial ATA 7,200rpm; integrated Intel 82801GR/GH SATA RAID Controller (RAID 0)

HP Pavilion d4100e
Windows XP Home SP2; 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 4000+; ATI Radeon RS480 (ATI Radeon X200 Xpress) chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 (PCIe); Seagate ST3400832AS 400GB 7,200rpm, Serial ATA

Sony VAIO VGC-RA842G
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 830; Intel 945G chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6600 (PCIe); two WDC WD2500JD-98HBC0 250GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 8201/GR/GH SATA RAID Controller

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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