It doesn’t take long for last month’s latest and greatest technology to become next month’s mid-range and nothing illustrates this better than Dell’s latest Dimension.
Aimed at the middle tier, the Dimension 5100 sports an Intel 945G Express chipset meaning support for all Pentium D dual core processors, as well as single core 6xx and 5xx CPUs. The hugely scaleable machine can take up to 4GB of DDR2 memory and Dell supplies an ATI Radeon X300 SE 128MB graphics card as standard, but offers upgrades all the way to a 256MB nVidia GeForce 6800.
There’s integrated 7.1 channel audio, SATA II HDD support, 10/100 Ethernet and expandability with one PCIe, one 16x PCIe and three PCI expansion slots. USB2.0 and FireWire ports comes as standard, though a 9-in-1 card reader is an optional extra.
In addition, the outside of the case is as reworked as the inside. A new colour scheme of “Arctic” silver and “Alpine” white (I presume the execs were on a skiing holiday at the time) is a marked improvement on the dull black boxes of the past, while noise emissions should be reduced by “Balanced Technology Extended (BTX)” design specifications and “Dell Quietcase” technology. No decibel rating is supplied, so levels of scepticism will vary from person to person.
Being Dell, pricing starts at an almost ridiculously low £419 (including VAT and delivery), but naturally does not include the plush £860 2405FPW 24in widescreen TFT the company likes to shove into its case photography. Also being Dell, the Dimension 5100 is available immediately. Future proof? Well, undeniably it's got a good shelf life, but you can never say "future proof" with technology.