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Desktops

Dell Dimension E310 Home - First Take

Dell bills the Dimension E310 as an entry-level entertainment PC, but we feel it's better suited as a budget PC for basic home and office tasks because of its single-core processor and minimal hard drive options.

Entry-level PCs usually scrape the bottom of the barrel in terms of components and performance; they're good for Web surfing, e-mailing, and word processing--and not much else. With the Dimension E310, Dell is raising the bar (and the price). Dell calls the E310 an entry-level entertainment PC, largely because it uses the Media Center version of Windows XP. For serious multimedia work and frequent multitasking, we suggest a dual-core system such as Dell's own XPS 200 or the HP Media Center m7260n. Choose the Dimension E310 for basic tasks and more occasional use. In the E310's favor are its attractive price (the baseline model costs $499), its 64-bit-capable processor, and Dell's DataSafe hard drive backup solution. We just wish it used a more recent chipset than Intel 915G and offered a graphics upgrade path. Busy multitaskers looking for a similar system with a dual-core processor should take a look at the Dimension E510.

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