Dell’s Inspiron series of laptops and desktop PCs, that target mainly home and SOHO users, are very different from the high-end and gaming rigs. However, if you look at the performance of some of them, they offer very good value for money. A fine example is the Inspiron 580 desktop PC.
At the first glance this machine looks quite sober and elite and it is, but only in terms of aesthetics. The performance of this PC says more, but let’s leave that part for a bit later. Onward, the cabinet has a glossy piano-black front panel with a faint white design, and the combination looks quite smart. So be it at home or at work, it will suit both environments. With a very no-nonsense design, the only prominent button in front is the power button on the lower half of the front panel.
The other button is slightly disguised; it’s the one next to the optical drive cover, which slides the tray out when pushed. The point is that there’s no fluff and messy buttons and lights, it’s a simple, sober-looking machine.
Even in terms of build quality, the front panel is plastic and the side and top covers are metal with black matte powder coating on them. All-in-all, it’s a great-looking combination. Connectivity is quite simple, and it’s a 10-minute out-of-the box plug-n-play setup. Arrange the PC, connect the bundled monitor, and wired keyboard and mouse, and it’s ready.
The main highlight, in terms of features, is the core hardware, rest, aspects like the ports on the motherboard and the front panel ports connected to the headers are rather common. This PC features mainstream hardware with decent graphics, which is why; it’s an ideal machine for home entertainment and even for a SOHO setup.
Built around an H57 chipset and powered by a mainstream processor, the machine has 4 GB DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB hard drive and an Nvidia GT310 GPU. So, this rig suffices for daily computing chores and is able to handle video and audio editing without hiccups.
In addition to the DVD writer, which is enclose in a collapsible cover, there’s another bay to accommodate a second optical drive, and below it, there’s is a bay for a floppy drive, not that many of us use that any more, but the provision is available. Next to the floppy drive bay, are two USB ports and two audio jacks, though common to most desktop PCs, accessibility is sorted.
Behind the cabinet, the ports on the motherboard include, HDMI, VGA, 4 USB ports, and, six audio jacks (7.1 channel audio) and an Ethernet jack. The graphics card has a DVI, VGA and an HDMI port, and is the primary source for display. Now, the monitor that comes with the machine is the 18.5-inch Dell IN 1920, with a native resolution of 1366 x 768.
Since we did not receive the monitor for testing, we connected the machine to a larger monitor for running the benchmarks. We even connected it via HDMI, to an HDTV and ran some game benchmarks at optimum resolution (1920 x 1080). FPS scores weren't the best, but watching movies was awesome. We scaled down and ran the game benchmarks at the native resolution (1366 x 768), and here’s what we got.
With a quad-core CPU backed by Hyper Threading technology and with 4 GB RAM, there’s nothing to be concerned about when it comes to performance. Now, this PC is not a gaming rig or an entertainment powerhouse like Dell’s Alienware series of desktop PCs, but it seamlessly handles even demanding applications like design suites, light audio/video editing and entertainment. So watching movies at the native resolution and playing games at medium to low settings are certainly an enthralling experience.
In Left 4 dead, at 1920 x 1080 we got 25 fps at low settings, and in Crysis, at 1360 x 768, we got around 33.12 fps and 14.63 fps at Performance and Mainstream settings. So, it’s clear that gaming is possible even at the native resolution, but only at low or medium settings, also depending on the game you play. Overall, we’d say that at Rs 40,500, it’s a very good all-in-one desktop PC to have for one’s home.
There are two variants of the Inspiron 580 available and both have the exact same configuration, except that one is with an Nvidia GeForce GT310 GPU and 500 GB hard drive (Rs 40,500), and the other has an ATI Radeon HD 5450 and a 640 GB hard drive (Rs 43,500). Both machines come pre-loaded with Microsoft Office Starter 2010.
- Form factor: Mini Tower
- Dimensions (inches): Height 14.8, Depth 44.22, Width 17.59
- Weight: Starting at 7.9 Kg
- Chipset: Intel H57
- Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz, 8 MB L3
- Memory: 4 GB DDR3
- Hard drive: 500 GB
- Bundle: 18.5-inch monitor (Dell IN 1920), wired mouse and keyboard.
- Price: Rs 40, 500
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