Dells First AMD System: Good Performance at a Good Price

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

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, companys 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.

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Housed in a compact BTX case thats 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.

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