Dell Home Desktop any good?

i'm planning on getting a new desktop so i was checking out some websites. i liked the fact that you can pretty much design your own pc on Dell's. this is what i've come out with. nothing fancy but i was wondering if i could get a better pricing with pretty much the same specs if i go to one of those smaller pc companies or even to other places like micro center or bestbuy. here are the specs:

Dell Dimension 4600 Series: Pentium® 4 Processor at 2.60GHz w/800MHz front side bus/ HT Technology

Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition w/ Microsoft® Plus!

Memory: 512MB Dual Channel DDR SDRAM at 400MHz 512M4P

Hard Drive: 40GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive

Floppy Drive and Additional Storage Devices: 3.5 in Floppy Drive

CD or DVD Drive: 16X DVD ROM Drive

CD or DVD Burner for 2nd bay: 8x DVD+R/+RW Drive with CD-RW

Keyboard: Dell® Quietkey® Keyboard

Mouse: Dell™ Optical USB Mouse

Bundled Software: Productivity Pack including WordPerfect® and Money® by COREL

Security Software: Norton Antivirus® 2003, 90-day introductory offer

Monitor: 19 in (18.0 in viewable) M992 CRT Monitor

Video Card: 128MB DDR NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Graphics Card with TV-Out and DVI

Sound: Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 (D) Card with Dolby® Digital 5.1 capability

Speakers: Harman Kardon® HK-395 Speakers with Subwoofer HK395

Dell Media Experience: Dell Media Experience

Digital Music: Dell Jukebox powered by MUSICMATCH

Digital Photography: Dell Picture Studio, Paint Shop Pro Trial, Photo Album Starter Edition

Multi-Media Players: RealOne™ Player, with 14 day SuperPass trial

Network Card: Integrated Intel® PRO 10/100 Ethernet

Modem: 56K PCI Telephony Modem 56KWS

Internet Access Services: 6 Months of EarthLink Internet Access (FREE)

Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options: 1 Year Limited Warranty plus 1 Year At-Home Service

Price: $1127.00 (before $200.00 rebate)
Tax: $84.53

also, feel free to critique this system. it will be used for the following:

35% internet
35% school work (elementary/jr. high level)
25% gaming
5% misc (digital camera, photo albums, etc)

we build our own computers here.


well, excuse me there, feller...

What kind of gaming? If you're going to want to play Doom 3 and other new games, that video card isn't going to cut it. Everything else looks good, except you might consider getting a bigger hard drive, especially if you have broadband.

i'm thinking a few age of mythology type games, but mostly online (card games and such). as for broadband, i don't think so; as much as i wanted to i can't since i'm in the boonies...

I like my Dell and they also have good tech support.

Dells are some of the best out of box for non-techies, only drawbacks are that compared to getting HP/Compaq/Emachines off the shelf at retail (which are usu. cheaper after rebate sometimes, and companies like FIC/Asus/MSI make the mobo just like in some Dells) are that many Dell cases/mobos are not standard ATX or MicroATX format. Meaning that when it is time to upgrade you have a tosser, you cant just stick in a new mobo. Just about everything at retail is standard MicroATX in contrast.

Anyway if you plan to run Doom, you'll want RAM, fast HD, and an ATI 9600 Pro or faster (9700 Pro or 9800 Pro for that matter if you have the cash).

With Dell/Gateway/Compaq etc. you get raped on peripherals and upgrades. If you know how to install a video card, just get the rig with the free onboard video, also dont get the HK-395's which you get overcharged for anyway. Select 256 ram or whatever minimum you can.

Then go to - find an ATI video card with at least 128mb RAM. Find some good (Mushkin, Crucial, etc. or anything with name chips like Siemens, Samsung etc. and lifetime warranty) PC3200 or PC 3500+ memory to the tune of 512mb or more. Also look for some Logitech Z-series speakers (best sound bargain right now) OR pick up some excellent refurb Klipsch ProMedia's from a vendor on Pricewatch or from the Klipsch website directly.

The HD you are stuck getting from big D since you cant get a system without it. try 60gb 7200rpm or larger. Dont go crazy because you will get charged a premium by Dell, you can always add a lot more for cheaper via a 2nd drive from a Pricewatch vendor.

Oh and don't pay more than about $100 for a DVD burner because the prices are dropping like a rock right now.

Oh and check the hot deals forums at and for additional Dell rebates, coupons, and stackable deals. Always some cheap deals to be found on those sites.

I love

thx arclight...