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Dell Inspiron i560-3910NBK Reviews

High Technology Product Trends | Dell Inspiron i560-3910NBK Reviews
Design and Features
The i560-3910NBK is built into the same glossy black chassis that I've seen before in previous Inspiron 560 and 580 desktops. The optical drives, front USB ports, and media card reader are hidden behind a door, presenting a sleek front panel to the user. You will need a screwdriver to get under the hood, but once inside you have room for upgrades. There's space for one optical drive, one hard drive, two SATA ports for the drives, two PCIe x1 cards, a PCI card, and a PCIe x16 graphics card. Just about the only thing you can't upgrade is the memory, since all the slots are filled. However, 8GB should suffice for 90 percent of users out there. Out back, there are the usual ports: Audio, VGA, 4 USB 2.0 ports, and a port for the power plug. What's out of the ordinary is the included HDMI port, a rarity in entry-level desktops. The desktop comes with a 500GB (7,200rpm) hard drive, a capacity that used to be found only on expensive desktops, and more than enough to hold tens of thousands of pictures, audio tracks, or over 100 DVDs worth of videos.

Specifications
Type
Value
Processor Family
Intel Pentium Dual-Core
RAM
8 GB
Storage Capacity (as Tested)
500 GB
Graphics Card
Intel GMA X4500
Primary Optical Drive
Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
The system comes with a 20-inch widescreen monitor, which has its own VGA and HDMI ports. The ST2010 monitor looks bright and crisp. The drawbacks are that the monitor only supports 1,600 by 900 resolution (not 1080p True HD), and doesn't have speakers built-in. If it did, then i560-3910NBK could omit the included speakers and users could view and listen to stuff on their PC through just one HDMI cable, as opposed to a VGA cable plus an audio cable. The HDMI cable isn't included either, but that's of limited utility because of the monitor's aural shortcomings. The included speakers are ok for listening to Web videos and the like, but you'll want to plug in headphones for critical music listening, as the speakers are a little tinny.

The i560-3910NBK comes with hardly any bloatware. The closest thing you'll find is a bookmark to eBay in Internet Explorer (where it should be), and possibly Skype. The desktop comes with 6 months of updates to McAfee Security Center (anti-virus, firewall, etc.), plus a full version of Adobe Photoshop Essentials, a consumer level photo-editing program. That's pretty good for an inexpensive system in a box. The i560-3910NBK comes with Office 2010 Starter, which will let you create and edit simple Word or Excel documents. Since Office Starter's functionality doesn't expire, I don't consider it bloatware. If you need more advanced features (like Excel macros), the program will let you upgrade to a full version of Office online.

Performance
The i560-3910NBK is a good performer for the entry-level desktop category, particularly at our multimedia tests. The desktop completed the Handbrake video encoding test in less than 3 minutes (2:57) and Photoshop CS5 test in 5:06. While a higher-powered Intel Core i3- or AMD Athlon II X4- equipped desktop will certainly beat both scores, this is a good showing for a budget desktop. As expected, the i560-3910NBK couldn't even run our 3DMark Vantage, Crysis, and Lost Planet 2 benchmark tests that test 3D capabilities. However, systems, like this one, that support only integrated graphics and lower resolutions can't be expected to have sophisticated 3D prowess. If you want to play 3D games look at the entry-level gaming desktops around $1,000-1,200. Last but not least, the i560-3910NBK outperformed the others in this category in the PCMark Vantage test (5,161), which quantifies each system's day-to-day speed.

Compared with desktops like the HP Pavilion p6607c-b ($799.99 list, 3 stars), the i560-3910NBK is certainly faster and has more up-to-date graphics that are better for viewing HD content streamed online. The i560-3910NBK is also unencumbered by bloatware, a prime flaw of the HP p6607c-b. Though the HP p6607c-b has a 2-year warranty, its price is $150 more expensive, which just isn't worth it. However, when you compare the i560-3910NBK to the Editors' Choice Asus Essentio CM1630-05 ($479.99 list, 4 stars), it's even cheaper, has a larger 750GB hard drive, and more ports (such as DVI, so it's more flexible to connect to monitors you already own). The $170 difference is enough to buy a 20- to 23-inch monitor if you don't already have one. I'd certainly recommend the Dell i560-3910NBK bundle if you want the convenience of one-box shopping, but you can put together a cheaper combo with the Asus CM1630-06.

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