Dell Dimension 8300 (3.2E) test and review

Dell did not wait to equip its machines Prescott processor 3.2 GHz Intel. With such a chip, the Dimension 8300 meets the domestic needs and those of small businesses and the liberal professions. Our comprehensive test system proved ready to face all kinds of software, including the most demanding, which should come out by several months. In addition to a huge 250 GB hard drive, CD and DVD burners, our PC was equipped with a flat screen diagonal of 46 cm (18 inches) and a 5.1 set of speakers THX certified – all providing an excellent configuration for gaming, multimedia, and everything you can imagine else.

The integration of Prescott has virtually nothing changed in the design of the Dimension 8300. Our test system was equipped with a mini-tower case black and gray, 42x18x45 cm, Dell now uses more than two years.

Unless you have read the documentation, it is difficult to imagine that opening the hood without tools means to simultaneously use two release buttons – one located above the computer, the other below. Once opened, the computer looks like a small steamer trunk with the power supply and the motherboard on one side, and the rest of which drives the other. Electrical son and flat cables connect the two parts of a little haphazardly, but access to slots for adapters and berries remains easy. Two combo drives / burners occupy two bays accessible from the front. There remain internal for a possible additional disk. In our test system, two of the four slots of memory modules were used – all that can offer a maximum of 2 GB of RAM. Three of the four connectors for PCI adapters were also available but the graphics card, which has a large heat sink, leaving little room for location immediately adjacent.

On the rear panel, are the traditional ports and LAN slots, FireWire and six USB 2.0. Dell decided not to activate the native Gigabit Ethernet chipset Intel 875, preferring to limit default at 10/100 Mbits. A LAN card gigabit is however available as an option. At the front of the hood, a pivoting flap hides two USB ports and an additional 2.0 headphone jack, but all three are inclined downward, their access is not particularly easy especially when the mini-tower is placed on the ground .

unnecessary processing power for now

Normally we would have extolled the Dimension 8300 and its Prescott processor clocked at 3.2 GHz. Compared to the Pentium 4 design original, this new small processor, with additional SSE instructions, in effect provides underlying technology to become a superstar. But Prescott arrives at one of the few times when the software is not constrained by the hardware. In fact, a Dimension 8300 allows you to have more processing power for most users need, but it is especially ready to last.

Through its components suitable for audio and video applications, the Dimension 8300 is an excellent system for “home cinema”. The flat-screen LCD 1800FP is a safe bet, thanks to its excellent readability even at an angle of 80 °, and its superb image. Its 30ms response time and its coupling to the Radeon 9800 Pro ATI equipped with 128 MB RAM, enable it to fully play its role to its native resolution of 1280×1024. As for the speaker Thurs 05.01 ADA995 Altec Lansing, we would certainly sound it offers more power, but the transmitted signal is clear and rich tones. Moreover, neither the THX certification nor its Audigy 2 Creative Sound Blaster does affect the quality of sound.

The CD-RW and DVD + RW can create CDs and DVDs. It is true that this game of two players / recorders offer some redundancy, since the 8X DVD drive can also burn CDs, but CD-RW drive shortens the duration of the operation, with speed of 52X writing . One drawback however: the DVD writer only writes to DVD + R and + RW media that are more expensive but with the DVD + R format, etching is performed at up to 8X and 4X as not with the DVD -R.

A 250GB hard disk type Serial ATA rotating at 7200 rev / min, should provide plenty of space to store media files. As for the keyboard, it incorporates in its upper right part, a very convenient way to control the sound and picture. Logitech optical mouse connected via USB brings a little touch of roundness to this set rather strict.

software package for all uses

Dot software is not exceptional but covers basic needs. Also Works 2004 Microsoft, Dell includes Sonic RecordNow Deluxe for burning CDs and DVDs, MyDVD for DVD creation unsophisticated and Pinnacle Studio 8.0 for video editing. Other options, both hardware and software are available via the online configurator Dell.

In the Prescott system, the second level L2 memory has doubled in size, we expected to see an improvement in performance directly related to this change. But it proves almost nonexistent. Performance gains should appear When Intel introduce higher clock frequencies and applications that can take advantage of SSE instructions III will be available.

The Dimension 8300 is among the first systems using the new Prescott processor we tested and it turns the slowest. However with a score of 333 in test SysMark 2002, its performance can not be described as mediocre.

To measure its performance with applications, eLaptopComputer laboratories use the tests SysMark 2002 BAPCo, an industry standard. SysMark measure the performance of a desktop computer with standard office software such as Office and Microsoft McAfee VirusScan as well as Internet content creation applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver.

With the Radeon 9800 Pro from ATI, the Dell Dimension 8300 proves again the slowest of Prescott tested systems. The Radeon 9800 Pro that has only 128 MB of RAM, is the older generation of graphics cards. ATI Radeon 9800XT marketed from having 256 MB of RAM and features a faster clock. During our test with Unreal Tournament, we still observed a score of 53.5 frames / second with a 1600×1200 resolution, which is hardly slower than the result obtained with a machine equipped with a 9800XT card. In conclusion, the Dell 8300 should provide more than adequate performance for all the games available to date.

To measure the performance of 3D games, eLaptopComputer uses software Unreal Tournament 2003 from Epic Games. It is used to evaluate the performance of a desktop computer with the DirectX 8.0 interface with 32-bit color and 1024×768 resolutions and 1600×1200. Anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering are disabled during testing at 1024×768 and fixed respectively to 4X and 8X, during testing at 1600×1200. At these levels of color and resolution, Unreal Tournament is a great way to compare the performance of graphics subsystems bottom to top of the range.