Dell Dimension E520 Desktop PC Review

Dell Dimension E500 Series Desktop PCs
Dimension E520. ©Dell

Dell has not produced its Dimension lineup of computers for many years instead of using the Inspiron name that it originally used for its laptop systems. As such, it is not possible to find the Dimension E520 anymore. If you are looking for a low-cost desktop system, be sure to check out the Best Desktops for Under $500 list for more current options. Most new computers are not bundled with monitors anymore either so the systems are more affordable as that is not included in the cost.

The Bottom Line

Dell's Dimension E520 is a decent overall system, especially with the 19" LCD monitor included in the package. The problem is the low end older Pentium D processor leaves it far behind even Dell's AMD alternative Dimension E521 and many other budget desktop options.


  • Includes 19&-inch LCD Monitor
  • Full Gigabyte of Memory


  • Older, Low-End Pentium D Processor
  • Limited Software Package


  • Intel Pentium D 805 Dual-Core Processor
  • 1GB PC2-4200 DDR2 Memory
  • 160GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 16x DVD+/-RW Burner
  • 19" Dell E196FP LCD Monitor
  • NVIDIA GeForce 7300LE Graphics Card with 256MB Turbo Cache
  • Intel HDA Audio
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • Seven USB 2.0 Ports
  • Windows XP MCE, MS Works 8

Dell Dimension E520

 Despite Dell's decision to also offer AMD-based PCs they continue to sell primarily Intel processors. The Dimension E520 budget system is based on the older Pentium D 805 processor. This is a fairly low model that while it has a dual-core consistently performs below the AMD Athlon 64 X2 and the new Intel Core Duo and Core 2 Duo models. At least they provide a full gigabyte of PC2-4200 DDR2 memory that should let it run multiple applications without much problem. It is still not optimal for those looking to do high-end graphics or design work as the software really requires a much more powerful system.

Storage is average for a budget oriented system. Dell provides a 160GB hard drive that should provide plenty of space for those programs and data. This is not a large drive but sufficient for those that are not intending to storage a lot of digital media such as music and videos. It uses the SATA interface which does mean that it can be a bit easier to install a replacement or additional one than the older IDE versions. They also provide a 16x DVD+/-RW burner for reading and recording audio, video and data CDs and DVDs. There are a total of seven USB 2.0 peripheral ports making it easy to add additional drives and peripherals without having to open up the system.

Unlike most companies, Dell bundles together monitors with their budget class systems. The Dimension E520 comes with the 19-inch E196FP LCD screen. It is a good size that should work well for most consumers. In addition, the system comes with a GeForce 7300LE graphics card. While it states that it has 256MB of memory, it really only has 128MB and supplements this with 128MB of system RAM. This is a step up from the integrated graphics of most budget systems though although it is not really a high-performance card for those looking to use it for gaming.

In terms of the software, Dell doesn't provide much with the Dimension E520. Users pretty much get the operating system along with the Works 8 productivity suite, but security applications are separate.