computer/dell dimension 4100.jpgYou can easily purchase a personal computer today for less than $1,000. So why would you want to pay more for a PC? The Dell Dimension 4100 answers that question by providing a complete package featuring a robust computer system with high-end components. This Dell Dimension has excellent performance, durability, full expansion potential, and numerous features. This Dell is sure to give a home enthusiast or small-business user just about everything they could want in a computer.

Dell has obviously addressed the complete user's needs and paid attention to details. The out-of-box experience was delightful. The packaging allowed for easy removal of the system. A revamped setup guide and color-coded cables made setting up a breeze. Only the M780 17-inch monitor was big and bulky to unpack. Yet, it was easy on the eyes and featured easy-to-use on screen adjustments.

The Intel Pentium III processor paired with 128 MB of memory, the 133 MHz bus system, and an excellent graphic board created a system that easily handled all my normal tasks. While this Dell runs the new 815E chip set, it supplants that by adding an nVidia GeForce2 graphics card with 32MB of memory. Even my high-end graphic manipulations and graphic intensive games were easily handled.

Dell's attention to detail is showcased in the mini-tower case. It opens easily with a thumbscrew and two squeeze tabs to reveal three vacant PCI slots and several empty drive bays offering expandability not always found in today's computer systems. The front bezel is removable with the touch of another button, and even the motherboard has a screwless/toolless removal.

Dell has also included a full array of technical support features. Even after several weeks of testing, I found no need for technical support. Yet, it's nice to know that a live technical support person is available at a toll-free number, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Dell also offers online support, which includes a knowledge base of frequently asked questions and technical tips, as well as an online discussion forum. There is also an "Ask Dudley" answer wizard where you can get quick answers to your questions. The discussion group is also a great place to get pre-purchase information from other users as well as from the Dell support staff.

Dell will build a computer to fit your specifications. My test system came with a speedy 48X CD-ROM. If you are considering this system, you may want to consider upgrading that to a CD-RW drive, a popular option for easy backups and burning music CDs ($99 upgrade option). My system included a 3Com 56K modem. DSL and networked office users will want to add the optional Ethernet card for $40.

Dell provides options for extending their warranty. However, the standard three-year warranty with one year of next-business-day onsite support is adequate for most users and better than the current warranties offered by several other computer manufacturers.

This computer will win no beauty contests. Its plain old beige box can't compete with some of the stylish new computers, but Dell chose the components well, paid attention to the detail, and backs the product with a good warranty and support. These qualities make a computer like this Dell worth the cost and a pleasure to own.

Dell Home Systems