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AMD, meet the Dell Dimension. Dell Dimension, AMD

AMD, meet the Dell Dimension. Dell Dimension, AMD

It's been what, 10 years since AMD's K5 desktop chip came onto the market? In all that time, Dell has turned up its nose at Intel's main rival in the consumer desktop game. Until today, that is. In addition to updating the Dimension E510 midtower to the Core 2 Duo-based Dimension E520, Dell also added Dimension E521 and Dimension C521 models to its mainstream consumer desktop family. The latter two are special because they come with AMD Sempron, Athlon 64, and dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors in them.

The Dimension E521 is a standard midtower design (as is the E520); the C521 is a sort of small-form-factor wannabe that's a bit larger than Dell's XPS 210, also announced today. All three new systems come with Windows Media Center 2005 and a combination of optical drives, hard drives, and graphics cards that make them solid middle-of-the-road PCs. They all go on sale tomorrow, and prices for the Dimension E520 start at $719, the E521 starts at $329, and the C521 starts at $359.

Given the current state of the processor market, we're not surprised that Dell relegated AMD's chips to the budget end of the spectrum. The Dimension E520 and, as of today, the entire XPS line all have Intel Core 2 Duo chips in them (Pentium D is still an option if you must), giving them the performance edge. But AMD still has the advantage in performance and cost at the lower end of the CPU spectrum. If you're wondering why Dell finally decided to go with AMD after all this time, one theory we've heard is that Dell wasn't happy about Intel working with Apple, and thus crossed the AMD line. If that's true, we expect it's only part of the story. And regardless, the deal is done.

And if you're wondering what they look like, you can try Dell's online photo bank. We couldn't get the Dimension C521's link to work at the time of posting, but perhaps Dell will fix it soon.