Dell Dimension Desktop Reviewed
I receive questions from readers all the time about
what PC, or components they should get. If the hardware has passed through
the PCstats labs the answer is an easy one, but if not, it's hard for us
to make an objective recommendation. This is why the PCstats
Forums are so handy; there is good chance someone has used whatever it is you are looking for, and can give
you some solid advice on how well, or how poorly, it worked for
many of our readers are involved in deciding what PCs their
businesses should be considering, PCstats has bunkered down with a Dell
Dimension 2400 desktop and run it through a gauntlet
of benchmarks. The results may be surprising for anyone who instinctively equates a brandname with high performance. Though, if you are on a budget, it's hard not to be swayed by a PC this affordable. However, is the Dell Dimension 2400 simply a case of "you get what
you pay for?"
Or, is it the right PC for the right
With Doom3 being
released the first week of August, there has never been a better time to
upgrade from that old 15" monochrome monitor ;-) The 17" 173P LCD
display from Samsung earned high marks from us, so it's a review worth
reading. Also on the agenda, PCstats tests the MSI X48 combo
drive and Transcend's 128MB
Jetflash thumb drive. The tiny little Jetflash packs in storage, and 802.11b
networking in one package. Over in Industry Insights,
the discussion turns to integrated video motherboards, and down in
"A Reader Asks...." the topic du jour is FTP sites and
DSL routers. Last but not least, the Weekly Tech Tip
is a good one!
PCstats recently took some time to take a look at one of Dell's
latest PC offerings, the home/small business targeted Dell Dimension 2400
PC system. As this computer package is one of the cheapest full systems
(including monitor and operating system) available right now, we were
curious to see what kind of value and performance Dell offers its
customers for the Dimension 2400's minimal price. We examined this budget system inside and out, and ran
it through a full spectrum of benchmarks and subjective tests before we
were satisfied. But were we satisfied? Read on for the full details...
compact little 17" screen of the Samsung
Syncmaster 173P boasts a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels, and an
industry standard dot pitch of 0.264mm that makes for a crisper image than
current 19" LCDs can muster. While the 173P does retail a bit higher than
the average 17" LCD, it does offer up a contrast ratio of 700:1 and brightness
value of 270 cd/m2. Its pixel refresh time is pretty
standard at 25ms, but its viewing angles break the barrier at 178 degrees
(horizontal/vertical). I'm not sure what person would expect to work on a
screen from an angle of 2 degrees, but at least you have the option open
to you. Continue
The MSI X48 is capable of burning CD-R media at 48x, CD-RW
media at 24x, reading CD's at 48x, and reading DVD-ROM's at 16x. Users of
smaller/SFF PC's will be happy to hear that the MSI X48 is only 17CM in
length, making for a nice and compact package.
Along with what could already be considered a compelling feature set, the
MSI X48 includes two interchangeable face plates which allow you to match the colour of
the drive with your case. Whether you have a regular white case or
a fancy black one, the MSI X48 drive can suite your style. Continue
A Reader Asks...
Q: I have a small home network set up using a Linksys wireless router to connect my computers to the Cable modem and provide security. I recently created an FTP site (thanks for the excellent guide by the way), but I cannot seem to access it from outside my network. I'd wanted to access files at work, but I cannot. I'm assuming the firewall is causing the problem. How can I set it up so that my FTP site can be accessed? I am still using the default router settings (except for the password) because they worked fine until now.
A: : Most routers use a NAT (Network Address Translation) firewall. A NAT firewall drops all incoming data by default, stopping it from entering the network. When a computer inside the network requests information from the Internet, the firewall records the IP address of the computer and that of the Internet location it is sending data to in a table. When data comes back from the Internet, the IP address of the source is compared to the table and if data had been requested from that address it is allowed into the network and sent to the requesting computer.
Obviously, with this type of firewall, no one is going to be able to get at your FTP site from outside. They can type in your IP address with an FTP client, but as soon as the request hits the firewall it will be dropped. What you need to do is create a virtual server. A virtual server is a set of specific instructions for your firewall, telling it that if x kind of data is received from outside the network on y port, it should be allowed into the network and forwarded to z machine, in your case, the FTP server.
Any home router that contains a firewall should have a screen for setting up virtual servers. Consult the documentation if you have trouble finding it. You will need to set up a virtual server for TCP port 21 pointing to the IP address of your FTP server. This should resolve your problem.
Next week PCstats answers your questions about Integrated audio vs. sound cards. To submit your questions, send PCstats an email.
| -Join us - Beginners Q and A in the PCstats Forums|
Solid state storage devices are putting the
final chapters onto the life of the 1.44MB floppy disk, as they offer
higher storage capacity, better resiliency, and lower cost per GB of
storage. One of the most popular forms of solid state memory for everyday
computer use comes in the form of flash media. In this article, PCstats is testing out an interesting little device from Transcend, the 128MB JetFlash USB 1.1 drive. What makes the
Jetflash drive really stand out is that it also contains a 802.11b
Wireless LAN adapter. Continue
For as much as integrated graphics chipsets are touted as ideal value alternatives to discrete video cards, they sure aren't held to the same standards for performance and stability. This past weekend, I tested three current integrated Pentium 4 platforms; ATI's Radeon 9100 IGP, Intel's 865G, and its new 915G chipset. Despite the significant difference in specifications between the 865G with its single pixel pipeline and the 915G with purported DirectX 9 support and four pixel pipelines, performance remains dismally low.
Consider Far Cry, one of the most popular first person shooters currently available, according to NPD Techworld. The Graphics Media Accelerator 900, a component of Intel's 915G, doesn't render the water using true reflections and refractions per the Pixel Shader 2.0 specification. Instead, it uses a fake reflection, what Cevat Yerli, Crytek's president, told me is characteristic of DirectX 8 hardware. On top of that, even at 800x600 with the lowest quality settings enabled, the GMA 900 peaked at a meager 19 frames per second. Interestingly, it scored similarly as the older Extreme Graphics 2 core.
Unless you're a business customer with no need for 3D rendering, don't even bother with the new 915G chipset. Its DirectX 9 support is lackluster and performance is an afterthought. Instead, spring at the very least for a sub-$100 video card.
. M. Page
A Reader Asks...
. M. Dowler
. C. Sun
. C. Angelini