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Dell Inspiron 531 review: Dell Inspiron 531

However different the hardware might be between HP, eMachines, and Dell, all three vendors have comparable support offerings, which offer you a variety of choices for ways to troubleshoot your system. Dell's basic warranty gives you one year of parts and labor coverage out of the box. It also has a 24-7 toll-free phone support. Beyond those basics, all three vendors have remote control tech support, in which you can turn over control of your PC to a support tech via the Web. Dell also has added a software suite with various free and fee-based means to take care of your system. Unlike HP's Total Care software, which stores the information locally on your PC, Dell's Support Center links to various resources on its Web site. If your Internet connection becomes a problem, you might run into trouble, but overall, the information is useful and well-organized.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Dell Inspiron 531
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.6GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card; 250GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive

Dell Inspiron 531S
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.3GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 64MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip; 250GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive

eMachines T5230
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.3GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400; 1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 6150SE graphics chip; 250GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive

HP Compaq Presario SR5050NX
Windows Vista Home Premium; 3.0GHz Intel Pentium D 925; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 224MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive

HP Pavilion SlimLine s3020n
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) integrated Nvidia GeForce 6150LE graphics chip; 250GB 7,200 rpm Samsung hard drive

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