Dell Dimension C521
- Slim design, media card reader, quiet operation
- Single hard drive bay, limited expansion options
The Dell C521 is a reasonable performer for the price. On top of the 17in LCD, keyboard and mouse, the inclusion of a media card reader accommodates the growing use of digital cameras with home computers. Test results indicate it will work well for most office or home tasks and any performance shortcomings could at least be improved by a RAM upgrade down the track.
Price$ 898.00 (AUD)
For under $1000 the Dell C521 comes with a 17in LCD screen, keyboard and a mouse, making it a complete package that's ready to go from the moment it's delivered. As a budget option we were reasonably happy with the performance of this AMD-based machine, and as Dell units are built to order this system can easily be expanded to better fit your needs.
The compact design makes it ideal for cramped working conditions and the case can be positioned upright on its side or laid flat like a DVD player. The clean white chassis has a silver fascia, which houses a few helpful devices for a diversity of uses. In our budget model a DVD-ROM is installed, though this can be upgraded during the purchase for a small additional cost. Two USB ports as well as both audio and microphone ports are easily accessible at the front. One of the nicest additions though is the inclusion of a 13-in-1 media card reader for transferring your photos to the PC.
We ran World Bench 5 to see how the system performed. The PC completed all but the MusicMatch WAV to MP3 conversion test due to an error with the benchmark software. For this reason, an overall World Bench 5 score was not obtained. However, individual results show that that it was above average in performance across most of the essential software tasks, such as using Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Media encoding tasks and the multi-tasking test showed less impressive results. However, the installed AMD Athlon 64 3500+ CPU is a good piece of hardware and upgrading the base systems 512MB of RAM to at least 1GB would likely bring a welcome performance boost in these areas. We also encoded 53 minutes of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files using Cdex, which the Dimension C521 completed in one minute 59 seconds. This time indicates that the C521's encoding capabilities should be fine for most peoples music encoding needs.
The system includes a GeForce 6160LE integrated graphics chip, a simple graphics solution not aimed at gamers or high end rendering, but a score of 4622 in 3DMark 2001 SE shows it can handle some older games at least.
There's only one PCI Express and one standard PCI expansion slot for upgrades, but the clip-in system on the rear panel makes this an easy task for quick changes even if you're doing an upgrade for the first time. Due to the size of the case only one hard drive slot is available. Increasing your storage space will require an external storage option or a replacement hard drive. Dell has used an AMD BTX motherboard. Although only a DVD-ROM is installed in the system, it is a SATA DVD-ROM, the first system we've seen with one of these. A passive heatsink on the CPU is cooled by one single case fan. This fan also pushes air across the chipset and out of the case. This configuration results in a fairly quiet operation.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- How to fix a limited connectivity problem on a Windows 7 PC
- Microsoft Surface Studio teardown reveals Intel and ARM chips inside
- You wear Zotac's new gaming PC on your back
- This may be the most expensive 'free' computer you've ever seen
- This jaw-dropping all-AMD custom gaming PC looks like an M134 minigun
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPSenior Test Analyst - Data ReconciliationQLD
- CCPMO Lead/ ManagerACT
- FTCommercial, Contract, Vendor ManagementVIC
- TPSenior PMO AnalystNSW
- TPSenior System Engineer - WintelVIC
- CCActive Directory Engineer l Design & SupportNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - Health Industry - Melbourne CBDVIC
- CCIteration Manager / Scrum MasterNSW
- FTIT Client Support AnalystNSW
- FTSolutions Architect - Data Centre/ NetworkNSW
- CCJava API DeveloperTAS
- FTPMO Lead/ ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Automation TesterSA
- FTICT Manager - DefenceACT
- TPSAP FICO Functional AnalystQLD
- CCTeam Lead / Senior Software Engineer - C/C++ / Web ServicesNSW
- CCDevelopment Lead - JavaNSW
- FTFront End Developer - Team LeadNSW
- CCService Desk Consultant - SYDNEY ROLE (baseline clearance)ACT
- CCApplication Blueprinting Engineer ( Developer).VIC
- CCAPI DeveloperNSW
- CCAgile Iteration ManagerNSW
- TPSharePoint Designer / DeveloperQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - RoboticsNSW
- CCWeb Analytics Specialist | 6 month contractNSW