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Dell Inspiron I530S-119B review: Dell Inspiron I530S-119B

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The $500 Dell I530S-119B is a refresh of Dell's Inspiron "S" line of low-end, low-budget desktop PCs with a slim chassis. This model has many of the same basic specifications as the Inspiron I530S-114B that we reviewed a few months ago, but this time around, Dell speeds up the processor and adds a larger hard drive for the same decent price. Although competitors, such as Acer, sell a comparable system with more features and an even bigger hard-drive capacity, if you don't need the extra fluff, you'll appreciate the Dell's capability to multitask quickly and efficiently across a wider spectrum of applications.

OVR
6.3

Dell Inspiron I530S-119B

The Good

Speedy processor; attractive design.

The Bad

Missing extra features such as HDMI, multimedia card reader, and eSATA ports.

The Bottom Line

In its present configuration, the Dell Inspiron I530S-119B won't feel at home in a home theater or digital media environment, but it succeeds in providing high performance at minimal cost thanks to a faster processor than the competition. Future upgrades to this system are limited, but if you're shopping for a budget computer for basic functionality, this Dell will do the trick.

Dell using the space-saving chassis in the I530S-119B isn't surprising if you consider the success of its predecessors. The classy silver and white tower can disappear comfortably in tight spaces across many decors thanks to its small size (14.2 inches high by 3.9 inches wide by 17.1 inches deep), and although you sacrifice a bit of expandability and horsepower, the desktop's versatile shape is a testament to its efficient, intelligent design.

However, Dell isn't the only desktop vendor to offer a desktop on a diet; last year we looked at the HP Pavilion Slimline s3500f and Acer just added the Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A, its Aspire AX3200, and the lower end Aspire X1200. For our purposes, let's compare the I530S-119B with Acer's latest addition to its small form factor lineup, the X1700-U3700A.

  Dell Inspiron I530S-119B Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
Price $500 $480
CPU 2.5GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core CPU E5200 2.4GHz Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2220
Graphics 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip 128MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce G100 integrated graphics chip
Hard drives 500GB, 7,200rpm 640GB, 7,200rpm
Optical drive dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner
Networking 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN 10/100Mbps Ethernet LAN
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

The systems share a similar set of components and a slimline shape, but several additions sway our favor toward the Acer's features. First, the Acer is cheaper because of a slightly slower CPU than the Dell (both run on Intel Pentium dual-core processors), but Acer packs in a more spacious hard drive. At the end of the race, Acer pulls ahead with a strong set of added features including a 14-in-1 multimedia card reader, 9 USB ports, an HDMI, and an eSATA port--the Dell has none of the above. Next, the Acer can potentially give media editors and home theater enthusiasts a solid workhorse with a few additional interior modifications, while the Dell Inspiron has limited room to upgrade. Inside, you get a slot for an optional video card, another standard PCI slot, and a single PCI express slot along with an open hard-drive bay. Finally, four single 1GB DIMMS occupy each of the four memory slots inside the Dell, so you can expect to toss out at least one 1GB of memory if you ever want more RAM, although Acer is worse with a pair of 2GB DIMMs slots already occupying the only two slots.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron I530S
130 
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
149 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron I530S
155 
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
175 

Multimedia multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron I530S
739 
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
904 

Cinebench test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Dell Inspiron I530S
5,505 
2,947 
Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
4,796 
2,575 
Acer Aspire X1200-U1520A
4,296 
2,220 
Compaq Presario SR5610f
3,910 
2,029 
eMachines ET1161-07
3,343 
1,721 

Luckily for Dell, the Inspiron I530S-119B's performance test scores offer this system a glimmer of hope. Thanks to an aggressive processor speed and the RAM combined with 64-bit Windows Vista, it registers winning marks in its price range across all four application tests, most substantially in the Photoshop and Cinebench benchmarks that favor systems with quicker clock speeds. Keep in mind that these are all budget systems, so you may prefer overall features to raw performance, but the Dell won't disappoint anyone that wants to run lightweight tasks like file encoding, streaming video, and light image editing.

Dell includes a standard one-year warranty with the Inspiron I530S-119B that includes support for parts and labor as well as 24-7 toll-free phone support. Web troubleshooting is also available on the Dell Web site, and you can also talk online with a live tech support from Dell in real time at any time.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:
Acer Aspire X1200-U1520A
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 4850e Dual Core; 4GB DDR2 SDRAM; 64MB 256MB (shared) Nvidia GeForce 8200 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive.

Acer Aspire X1700-U3700A
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2220; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce G100 integrated graphics chip; 6400GB 7,200rpm hard drive.

Compaq Presario SR5610f
32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.5GHz AMD Athlon 64, X2 Dual Core 4800; 3GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip; 320GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.

Dell Inspiron I530S-119B
64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.5GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core CPU E5200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip; 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive

eMachines ET1161-07
32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.1GHz AMD Athlon Dual Core Processor 4050e; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE integrated graphics chip; 320GB, 7,200rpm hard drive.

OVR
6.3

Dell Inspiron I530S-119B

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 5Performance 7Support 7