Dell Dimension E310

Dell Dimension E310 Budget Desktop PC
Dell Dimension E310. ©Dell

Dell's Dimension product lineup has been discontinued for some time now. If you are looking for a low-cost desktop computer system, I recommend checking out my Best Desktop PCs Under $400 list for systems that are currently available. Most desktop systems are not sold with a monitor either so you would probably want to check out my Best 24-inch LCDs for a low-cost compatible display.

The Bottom Line

Apr 11 2006 - Dell's Dimension E310 is a step above their basic Dell Dimension B110 series budget desktops that trades a more powerful processor and graphics expansion for hard drive space.

This may be useful for some people but something to avoid if you need it for 3D gaming or work.

Pros

  • Good Pentium 4 Processor
  • Includes Monitor

Cons

  • Smaller 80GB Hard Drive
  • Limited Software Package
  • Media Center OS Without Corresponding Hardware

Description

  • Intel Pentium 4 521 (2.8GHz) Processor
  • 512MB PC2-4200 DDR2 Memory
  • 80GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 16x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
  • AC'97 Audio
  • Intel GMA 900 Graphics with 128MB Shared Memory
  • 17-inch E773 Dell CRT Monitor
  • v.90 56Kbps Modem and 10/100 Ethernet
  • Six USB 2.0 Ports
  • Windows XP Media Center 2005 and Word Perfect 12 Word Processor

Review - Dell Dimension E310

Apr 11 2006 - Unlike the Dell Dimension B-series systems, the E310 is powered by the more powerful Intel Pentium 4 521 (2.8GHz) processor. While this is still a lower end Pentium 4 processor, it provides a significant performance boost over the Celeron D thanks to its larger cache and improved clock speeds.

It is matched up with 512MB of PC2-4200 DDR2 memory that should let it run most productivity programs without much problem.

While the Dell Dimension E series may have a better processor, the same is not necessarily true for the storage. While the B110 came with a sizable 160GB hard drive, the Dimension E310 comes with just half that at 80GB.

Thankfully the system does come with a 16x DVD+/-RW dual layer burner to create music, movie or data CDs and DVDs to conserve space on the hard drive. In order to reduce costs, it also does not come standard with a media card reader that is common to many systems now. There are six USB 2.0 ports for use with external storage but it lacks any FireWire ports for high-speed storage or downloading video from digital camcorders.

Like most budget systems, the Dimension E310 uses an integrated graphics processor. The Intel GMA 900 graphics may be a step up, but it still lacks much of the performance required for 3D applications or for many of the features in the upcoming Vista Aero interface. Sadly, it does not feature an AGP slot and only has a single PCI-Express x1 card slot meaning that you cannot upgrade the graphics card. Dell does include a 17-inch CRT monitor with the system which is a nice touch.

One of the big areas for improvement with the E310 is the software. While it comes with a word processor, it lacks any other productivity software. The Media Center Edition operating system is also wasted on this system. The main benefit of Media Center is the ability to use it as an entertainment center by using a TV tuner card and remote to watch and record video.

Sadly, the system does not come with any of that hardware making the software features useless.

So who should consider the Dell Dimension E310? The system certainly offers improved performance especially compared to the B110. This is great for those doing more professional work that need the extra processing power. Those looking to do graphics work especially something like gaming or that might benefit from a graphics card are still out of luck though due to the lack of a graphics card slot. The smaller storage space can also be an issue for those that might need to work with large files such as graphics work that might need the space.