Product Type: Dell PC desktops
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Dell Dimension 8100
Member Name: huddro
Dell Dimension 8100
Date: 30/01/01, updated on 30/01/01 (3652 review reads)
Advantages: looks sexy performs like a dream
Disadvantages: key board still can't spell properly
First, some background, why did I buy Dell? To summarise; I bought Dell as their warranty was far more comprehensive than the nearest competition, their web site was clear, easy to use, and gave me the custom price immediately, and the guys on the telephone did their best to be helpful and provide exactly what I wanted. After some sorting out of my custom order my PC finally took 4 days to arrive from order to delivery at my door. So, excitedly ripping open the boxes, I became the proud owner of the Dell Dimension 8100.
First impressions of this machine were “wow its black”. The mini tower case is black with a brushed stainless steel effect front trim. The screen, keyboard, and mouse are all black. Surprisingly the black surround to the screen makes viewing easier on the eye.
Each item was packed with care and every item on the inventory was present and correct. Plugging in the system was so easy as Dell colour code each lead with the relevant slot, so even a guy like me who never reads the instructions can have this machine up and running in about 10 minutes.
So what makes up this PC? Let me break this down into hardware and software:
The mini tower is (Height) 499mm x (Width) 222 mm x (Depth) 450 mm and comes in black with a bushed stainless steel effect trim as already mentioned. There are 3 x 5.25-inch external bays for use with either CD-RW; CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive (CD-ROM is standard but I specified CD-RW and DVD-ROM instead) and 1 x 3.5 inch integrated floppy disk drive. The power switch is located just above a button that according to, the finally read, instructions connects to the Dell Help Site. How this connects to the Dell web site I have no idea but presume automatically opens the Internet connection. I will update this review when I have used their help function!
At the rear are 1 x AGP and 5 x PCI expansion slots as well as 4 USB ports and a hub connection.
use keyboard and screen plug via the usual serial connections.
Hard Drive: 20.4GB 7200 EIDE, UltraDMA, ATA-100 ich showed 18.4GB after installation of all the Dell provided software and the extra software I installed. At the rate we have used the 1.6GB of memory the spare 18.4 should last until I am 105!
Intel Pentium 4 processor 1.3GHZ with 256k cache. 400MHz system bus speed, Intel 850 chipset, Includes MMX technology, Motherboard with integrated networking.
Memory 128MB Rambus RD Ram that transfers data at speeds of up to 1.6GB per second – this is alleged to be 100% faster than PC100 SDRAM. Providing better simultaneous processing of multiple tasks and is geared for the software of the future, such as streaming multimedia, speech recognition and multi-threaded applications.
CD-RW (Optional Extra) 5.25” 8X recording speed (CD-RW), 12X recording speed (CD-R),
32X maximum reading speed (CD-ROM), 650MB - 680MB maximum data capacity, 600KB - 3600KB per second data transfer rate. Enabling creation and copying of music cds, not that we would of course!
DVD-ROM (Optional Extra) DVD-ROM Drive 5.25” 16X (DVD-ROM), 40X (CD-ROM) maximum play speeds, 17.0GB (double layer, double sided) maximum data capacity, 11.08MB - 16.6MB per second data transfer rate.
Video Card provided as standard is the 32MB nVidia TNT2 M64 2X Video Card which gives 1900 x 1200 at 75Hz and 16 million colours maximum resolution 32MB SDRAM memory, AGP 2X interface, 64-bit nVidia TNT2 graphics engine, 125MHz graphics clock speed, 150MHz memory clock speed, 300MHz RAMDAC.
I upgraded the sound card, choosing the Creative Labs SoundBlaster 1024 LiveValue Card to allow me to plug in my joystick or games controller pad. The card provides 1024-voice wavetable (64-voice hardware, 960-voice software), On-board connectors: line in jack, microphone in jack, line out jack (front and rear), joystick/MIDI, MPC-3 CD audio in
, auxiliary in, and speaker out.
The modem is a V.90/56K Voice/Data/Fax Modem Plug and Play PCI card; this is an upgrade, as I want to utilise my PC as a telephone answering service. For MSN or Net meeting it is not necessary to have a voice modem in order to chat, as that is digitised sound and can be processed as data. It is only if using analogue voice, for instance a telephone.
The Network Card is an Integrated Network Interface Card 3COM Etherlink XL. 10/100 megabits per second data speed, RJ45 connector. I have no idea if this is good or not I am afraid, as I do not use networking at this stage but windows ME provides a home networking wizard so may well play with this further.
The monitor is a Dell 17" Active Matrix. As I said earlier for some reason the black surround makes the screen seem very sharp and easy on the eye. The picture is crystal clear and doesn’t suffer from reflection or flickering at all.
The mouse is a Microsoft PS/2 Intellimouse, 2-button 1 wheel control. My first encounter with a wheel mouse and I have had to upgrade my work one as wheel (sorry awful joke I know). Try it you will be hooked!
Keyboard is a Dell Quiet Key, 104 keys layout with 3 Internet keys, Euro currency symbol provided. This keyboard has a very nice feel firm yet springy.
Operating Systems: Windows ME, (incorporating Internet Explorer 5.5) There are some new features with Windows ME over 98 which I have not yet fully explored but they include Auto Update, Enhanced digital media features, and of course Internet explorer 5.5. So far this system has run smoothly with no glitches, touch wood. The only difference I have noticed is the boot up window.
Office Application Suites: Microsoft Works Suite 2000
Incorporating MS Works 2000, Picture It Express 2000, Money 2000, MS Word 2000, AutoRoute Express Europe, Home Publishing 2000, Encarta World Atlas 2000
tion Software: Norton AntiVirus 2000
Incorporating Bloodhound™Heuristic Technology, LiveUpdate, AutoProtect
I installed Microsoft Office to provide Excel, Powerpoint, and Microsoft Outlook.
The internet can be accessed via Dellnet and a shortcut option is already installed on the PC. I chose to set up Internet Explorer to access my existing ISP.
3 years standard service programme comprising: 1 year Next Business Day on Site.
2 years 6-day Collect and Return.
Complimentary services comprising: 24-hour on-line technical support
E-mail and telephone technical support during local business hours
This PC has everything I could ever want, apart from the fact it doesn’t make the tea! I have moved from a Pentium 2 to a Pentium 4. From a PC that takes a week to boot up to a PC that takes 5 to 7 seconds. This PC would chew up my old one and spit it out before breakfast.
Primarily this machine is designed for business use I would guess, hence no speakers, DVD-ROM, or CD-RW as standard. Even adding these as extras the price remains reasonable. My advice on speakers is to go out and buy your own as the speaker choice at Dell is limited and there are some excellent offers on the market.
After installation of a web cam (OP to follow) giving video clarity so sharp I could cut myself I decided to try the sound. Wow the sound quality from my Labtech speakers, added as after sales(OP to follow) ((creating work for myself here!)) is amazing. I have never watched a DVD before and was so impressed with the clarity and sound I might buy another.
What can I say for under £1400 this PC is amazing I would thoroughly recommend the Dell Dimension 8100 to anyone looking for a state of the art PC at a reasonable price.
Visit www.dell.co.uk for further details and to spec your own PC.