New £600 Desktop buying questions


Established Member
I'm after a desktop and I'm looking at spending around £600, but this is not set in stone.

We use the PC mainly for internet surfing, storing photos, using iTunes/iPods, and the kids use it sometimes for (basic) games. I don't intend to do any serious photo or video editing, and I don't download much from the net either. I'm also not bothered about speakers as I have my desktop connected to my hi-fi. A TV tuner is also not needed as there is a TV near the PC.

The desktop we currently have is about 7 years old and is on it's last legs. We've upgraded certain components over the years but the processor is quite slow now, and the hard drive only has 3gb left.

I was looking around and see that Dell do a reasonable machine for £600.

It is an Inspiron 530s with the following spec:

Base Intel® Viiv™ Core™ 2 Duo E6750 Processor (2.66GHz,1333MHz,4MB cache)
Microsoft Operating System Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium - English
Memory 3072MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2x1024+2x512]
Keyboard Dell™ Entry Quietkey USB Keyboard - UK/Irish (QWERTY)
Monitor Dell™ 22" Black Wide Flat Panel (E228WFP) - UK/Irish
Video Card 256MB ATI® Radeon™ HD 2400 XT graphics card
Hard Drive 500GB (7200rpm) Serial ATA/100 Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst™ cache
Floppy Drives and Additional Storage Devices 19-in-1 Media Card reader
Mouse Dell 2 Button USB Scroll Optical Mouse - Black
Modem No Modem
Optical Devices 16x DVD +/- RW Drive
Sound Cards Integrated 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio

Now for my questions:

  1. Are Dell any good?
  2. Is this a decent package or what are the alternatives? Are there any "upgrades" I should definitely add to this spec with Dell?
  3. I also can't see how many USB ports it has, any idea?
  4. I notice that Dell are advertising "XP Optional" on this system - does this mean Vista is a bit iffy? I'm quite happy with XP atm, and also have an XP laptop that we use on the wireless network in the house, so would it be a lot less hassle if I stick with XP? My wife wants Vista because she's worried XP will become dated, but I'm sure it will be popular for a good while yet?
  5. Is there any disadvantage with a slimline model? ie. Is it easy to install components in the future?
  6. Are the Dell monitors any good? I currently have an HP 19" 4:3 monitor which is excellent. I could save £130 on the Dell package by opting for no monitor.

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm at the early stages of researching and buying a new PC, and I don't know a great deal about them.

Thanks in advance,



good system for the spec and should do perfect for what you want.

dell monitors are very good and will do a fine job for you.
usb's should be at least 4 or 6 ports on the back of the motherboard and usually 2 on the front panel
vista is fine. only real gripes you here is from gamers etc that it's not compatible with bits and bobs but for a home pc it's fine.
dell are known to be a bit akward to upgrade in the future but basic stuff in it should be fine.


Established Member
Cheers booyaka :smashin:

When you say Vista is "fine", do you mean it is better than XP? If I have a choice, as I seem to have with Dell, should I go for Vista or XP? ie. Which would be the "best", for my needs anyway, with this specification machine? Would it run noticeably faster with XP? If not, I think I'd probably go for Vista, but I wouldn't want to sacrifice performance. For what I use the PC for, performance/multitasking/speed are the most important factors to me.



Standard Member
I am not a techie so cannot offer advice except that I've been told if you get Vista, make sure you get the premium version, which you have specd. Have been recommended to DELL and they get the vote on 'Which', but my local expert says HP from John Lewis who offer a 2yr. warranty.

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