It’s difficult to position Dell’s Inspiron 530/2583 within our chart. It may have come in fifth place, but there’s a sense in which it hasn’t really been running the same race: it’s the slowest performer for office applications and it’s a non-starter for games, but it also costs £70 less than its rivals.

We don’t all need the ultimate in performance, and the Dell Inspiron 530/2583 comes with by far the most comprehensive software package for getting the novice user up to speed – including getting set up on the internet.

Once you’ve gone through the initial setup, the Dell Inspiron 530/2583 presents you with a desktop festooned with icons and a handy application dock, providing almost Mac-like access to your favourite programs.

The Dell Inspiron 530/2583’s 19in AOC monitor is a tidy-looking but basic display that goes well with the gently curved silver styling of the system case. A useful bank of four USB ports and a pair of audio connectors sit concealed behind a sliding panel on the front of the Inspiron’s case.

However, if you’re more interested in getting the best hardware for your money, you may be a little disappointed with the Dell Inspiron 530/2583.

The 2.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E4700 is a little faster in terms of core speed than the 2.53GHz model found in the Mesh Pulse 8600 GT, yet the Dell Inspiron 530/2583 is considerably slower in our WorldBench 6 tests. This is due partly to it having only 2GB of RAM compared to the Mesh's 4GB and the fact that it’s of the slower DDR2-667 type. The onboard Intel graphics also fall far short of what you’ll need to play even basic 3D games.

The Dell Inspiron 530/2583’s tiny system case is a great space-saving design, but it’s also very cramped inside and not really designed for upgrading. However, there’s a pair of spare memory slots and space to upgrade the graphics card, should you get bitten by the gaming bug later on.

Budget desktop PCs: chart ranking (Nov 08 issue)

  1. Arbico Elite 8595
  2. Chillblast Javelin
  3. CyberPower Gamer Infinity 850
  4. Mesh Pulse 8600 GT
  5. Dell Inspiron 530/2583

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