Aside from its performance, the Inspiron 530 is fairly unremarkable. It has the standard DVD burner/media card reader package that comes with nearly all modern desktops. You get six USB 2.0 ports between the front and the rear of the system, the 10/100 Ethernet jack, and a standard array of 7.1 analog audio ports. PCs with more recent chipsets, particularly from Acer and Gateway, tend to offer better options in this regard, including HDMI video and eSATA ports.
The Dell also offers a basic complement of internal expansion options. We mentioned that you can add a secondary hard drive; you also get a graphics card slot, a 1x PCI Express slot, and a standard PCI slot. Removing the PCI modem card will free up another expansion slot. Sadly, Dell uses four 1GB RAM sticks in this system, which means if you want to upgrade to 6GB or 8GB, you'll need to throw out at least two of the current memory sticks.
As we noticed with the Dell Inspiron 530s, the retail version of the Inspiron 530 includes little in the way of preloaded software, aside from Windows Vista. A Roxio disc-burning application is the only extra program. On the one hand this is good, because lean installs free up system resources for other things. On the other hand , the system information software Dell ships on its other systems can be useful.
For other support, Dell provides the same level of coverage as its built-to-order PCs. The warranty covers parts and labor for one year, and you get a toll-free 24-7 phone line and a variety of useful resources at Dell's Web site if you need technical support. You'll also likely have to fend off Best Buy's service and support up-selling if you purchase this system in a store.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz AMD Phenom X3 8400; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 8200 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.8GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5400; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip; 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.
Dell Inspiron 530
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.2GHz Intel Pentium E2200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip; 3200GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz AMD Phenom X3 8450; 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive.