One of our office PCs was already more than 5 years old and I had to replace it with a Dell Inspiron 530s. Aged PC tends to slowdown in its speed even after say a clean format and a complete reinstall. Anyway I loathed doing a reinstallation as it is a very tedious task. Better to submit a new PC purchase to the management, after all the same amount of tediousness of preparing the PC was the same anyway.
Since I did not have the luxury of waiting for the best offer from Dell as I normally would if I were to make a personal computer purchase, I had to take whatever that was on offer on Dell’s web site. The key to choosing a Dell system is to compare amongst the various configurations on offer by customizing them to more or less the same specification and see which pricing was more attractive. This time around, the Dell Vostro series weren’t as promising as the Dell Inspiron series after customizing them to similar specification. After making a careful study on the Inspiron series, I also noted that the slim tower versions were also priced better than the mini tower configuration. Though a wider body would be easier for maintenance and PCI card installation, the slim tower offer was more attractive. Having decided on the Dell Inspiron 530s, I obtained the management approval for the customized price and placed in the order. The delivery was quite fast, as soon as my credit card transaction was approved, Dell made the delivery within a week even though they mentioned it might take longer.
Unpacking the package, and having a first look at its components, the Dell Inspiron 530s was not any difference in their design and layout with my Dell Vostro 200 slim tower. The difference was the silver casing instead of black for the Vostro series. And as usual the components were really packed inside the casing to get that small footprint. It was a big difference with my colleagues’ old Dell Dimension 2400 which in comparison was really fat! Time to change to the new slim version.
Before I could pass it to my colleague I needed to prepare the PC first by migrating the Office Access data over as well as all her documents over and her Office Outlook settings and email too. Changing over from Windows XP / Office XP to Windows Vista / Office 2007, inevitably there will be some incompatibility. The Outlook 2007 uses a new format for data storage and thus I could not just reuse the older Outlook XP data file, though it could still be opened by Office 2007. What was a little worrying was the Office Access switching from XP to 2007. Initially there was a problem in that it wouldn’t read the Access database and the data sharing would react weirdly. After some troubleshooting, I found out the data was somehow corrupted. After a quick recopy over from the old PC, the Access database could be use by the new Office 2007 without any need for modification. The older office XP could also access the same database under sharing mode too. So problem solved!
The Dell Inspiron 530s runs on Intel Dual Core E2200 (2.20 GHz, 1MB L2 cache 800MHz FSB) CPU with Intel’s Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 chipset and a pre-installed Windows Home Premium O/S runs speedily. Plus a 19″ wide screen LCD makes for a big desktop work place, good for working with many open files and large spreadsheets. My colleague liked the sidebar gadget as it provided on hand information at a glance.
The internals is configured with 2GB of DDR 800MHz SDRAM (configured 1 GB x 2 pieces of RAM for dual channel capability, 4 memory slots so there is future memory expansion capability) and a 250GB SATA hard disk. It also came with a DVD +/- RW player. It has the usual 6 points of USB ports and VGA port but no HDMI/digital video (although the LCD monitor could accept HDMI signals) and no 1394 Firewire ports. If you think about it, the Dell system price can be lower than their competitors but Dell will exclude certain parts from their PC system to keep their price cheaper than other branded computer systems. This set didn’t even come with a media reader and of course no 1.44″ floppy drive as all the new PC nowadays are doing away with it as it is now considered obsolete.
This time round, I ordered the modem together as I know I would not be able to get a conventional modem to fit properly into the narrow casing without having to remove the PCI card’s metal guard. Sure it will cost more, but it will sit in the slot properly. You may wonder why in this day and age of Broadband I still need to get a good old dial-up modem. That’s because Streamyx ISP broadband service is still not up to par with occasional line breaks and line congestion and extremely bad service connection during year end high internet traffic volume.
The speakers that came with it were a different design than what we usually get. It has made the on/off/volume dial as part of the design so that I didn’t know there was a dial on the speaker and thought that they send us a faulty set of speakers. A quick call to the Dell support centre and they soon explained that I needed to turn that circular thing on top of the speakers to switch it on. Ha-ha, I had a good laugh with the support guy when I could make the speakers come alive. It was so simple, right under my nose, but just could not see it because it was so well camouflage.
Overall the Dell Inspiron 530s functioned well and was able to handle Windows Vista Home Premium adequately and with the 19″ wide screen LCD more could be displayed and was rather fast in handling many open files at the same time.
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