Dell Dimension C521
- Slim design, media card reader, quiet operation
- Single hard drive bay, limited expansion options
The Dell C521 is a reasonable performer for the price. On top of the 17in LCD, keyboard and mouse, the inclusion of a media card reader accommodates the growing use of digital cameras with home computers. Test results indicate it will work well for most office or home tasks and any performance shortcomings could at least be improved by a RAM upgrade down the track.
Price$ 898.00 (AUD)
For under $1000 the Dell C521 comes with a 17in LCD screen, keyboard and a mouse, making it a complete package that's ready to go from the moment it's delivered. As a budget option we were reasonably happy with the performance of this AMD-based machine, and as Dell units are built to order this system can easily be expanded to better fit your needs.
The compact design makes it ideal for cramped working conditions and the case can be positioned upright on its side or laid flat like a DVD player. The clean white chassis has a silver fascia, which houses a few helpful devices for a diversity of uses. In our budget model a DVD-ROM is installed, though this can be upgraded during the purchase for a small additional cost. Two USB ports as well as both audio and microphone ports are easily accessible at the front. One of the nicest additions though is the inclusion of a 13-in-1 media card reader for transferring your photos to the PC.
We ran World Bench 5 to see how the system performed. The PC completed all but the MusicMatch WAV to MP3 conversion test due to an error with the benchmark software. For this reason, an overall World Bench 5 score was not obtained. However, individual results show that that it was above average in performance across most of the essential software tasks, such as using Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Media encoding tasks and the multi-tasking test showed less impressive results. However, the installed AMD Athlon 64 3500+ CPU is a good piece of hardware and upgrading the base systems 512MB of RAM to at least 1GB would likely bring a welcome performance boost in these areas. We also encoded 53 minutes of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files using Cdex, which the Dimension C521 completed in one minute 59 seconds. This time indicates that the C521's encoding capabilities should be fine for most peoples music encoding needs.
The system includes a GeForce 6160LE integrated graphics chip, a simple graphics solution not aimed at gamers or high end rendering, but a score of 4622 in 3DMark 2001 SE shows it can handle some older games at least.
There's only one PCI Express and one standard PCI expansion slot for upgrades, but the clip-in system on the rear panel makes this an easy task for quick changes even if you're doing an upgrade for the first time. Due to the size of the case only one hard drive slot is available. Increasing your storage space will require an external storage option or a replacement hard drive. Dell has used an AMD BTX motherboard. Although only a DVD-ROM is installed in the system, it is a SATA DVD-ROM, the first system we've seen with one of these. A passive heatsink on the CPU is cooled by one single case fan. This fan also pushes air across the chipset and out of the case. This configuration results in a fairly quiet operation.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Intel ships latest Itanium chip called Kittson, but grim future looms
- Samsung Galaxy S7 hardware will come to the DragonBoard 820c computer
- Now you can try Microsoft's supersized Surface Hub before buying
- Samsung scraps a Raspberry Pi 3 competitor, shrinks Artik line
- Google wants to add AI to gadgets made using Raspberry Pi
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTProject ManagerACT
- FTPMO Project Analytics and Tools ManagerNSW
- CCSharePoint Developer - Multiple Roles - 3-6 Mth Contract Initially - SydneyNSW
- FTSenior Change Readiness ManagerNSW
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- TPIT Service Desk AnalystVIC
- FT.Net Solutions DeveloperSA
- FT.Net Developer (x2)NSW
- FTService Desk Operations AnalystNSW
- CCIT Project Scheduler- Port MacquarieNSW
- FTNetwork Infrastructure Development EngineerNSW
- FT.Net Developer - Mid-levelNSW
- CCDigital Business ArchitectACT
- CCSenior Full Stack Web Developer - Port MacquarieNSW
- FTFront End .Net Developer. Permanent jobACT
- CCTest Manager with PV Security ClearanceACT
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorVIC
- FTSenior Java Developers (Several positions available)QLD
- CCTSM SpecialistNSW
- CCApplication PackagerNSW
- CCCloud Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- FTJunior Applications SupportNSW
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistQLD