Dell's First AMD System: Good Performance at a Good Price

By Joel Santo Domingo  |  Print this article Print


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Review: The Dell Dimension C521 offers a good mix of value, features, and performance. (PCMag.com)

Apple made news earlier this year by switching entirely to an Intel-based platform.

Now Dell is making news by (finally) adding AMD processors to its stable of multimedia-oriented PCs.

The Round Rock, Texas, company's first AMD effort, the Dell Dimension C521 ($1,024 direct; $1,214 with a 17-inch LCD monitor), carries an AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor and follows the classic bang-for-the-buck formula by offering good performance at a good price.

The C521 is not only powerful enough for media hounds, it also has the drive space and internal expandability to grow with users' needs.

Click here to read more about Dell's first AMD desktops.

Housed in a compact BTX case that's just a smidge larger than that of the XPS 200, the Dimension C521 is a relatively small desktop.

The slight increase in size is a result of its greater functionality; it has space for three half-height expansion cards (one PCIe x16, one PCIe x1, and one regular PCI) and uses a desktop-size optical bay, while the XPS 200 has only two slots (one PCIe X16 and one PCIe X1) and uses a notebook-class optical drive.

This means the C521 is more expandable, giving you more choices in case you want to upgrade the dual-layer DVD writer drive.

The free optical drive bay in the C251 is also a boon for those thinking about upgrading to a third-party Blu-ray or HD-DVD drive in the future.

The C521 is built around a Dell-sourced motherboard with an Nvidia nForce 430 motherboard chip set, which allows Dell to offer various AMD Athlon, Sempron and Athlon 64 X2 processors with the system.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: Dell Dimension C521

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Joel Santo Domingo is the Lead Analyst for the Desktops team at PC Magazine Labs. He joined PC Magazine in 2000, after 7 years of IT work for companies large and small. His background includes managing mobile, desktop and network infrastructure on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms. He is responsible for overseeing PC Labs testing, as well as formulating new test methodologies for the Desktops team.

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