PC technology has increased at an exponential pace for years, to the point where we have multi-core gigahertz-level processors and gigabytes of memory as standard. As such, all of today?s PCs have more than enough horsepower to handle just about any regular office or creative application without batting an eyelid. However, the same is not true for 3D games.
Games, such as the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, continue to push even top-end PCs to their limits, stressing the CPU, memory, hard disk and especially the graphics card. This means buying a capable gaming PC on a budget is a significant challenge.
Dell has a wide range of basic PC models on offer, including the Dimension 9150, which is coined as a ?multimedia powerhouse? and is targeted at gamers. We?ve taken a look at the 9150 and its broad range of configuration options to try and assemble a decent gaming PC for around $2000.
Dell has a history of engineering robust and cleverly designed cases, such the solid chassis of the 9150. It?s also whisper quiet, which is a good thing for when you?re sneaking down a dark dungeon corridor.
There are plenty of configuration options on the Dell website when it comes to specification. Most of the recommended options are a good place to start, and if you?re willing to invest a little bit more, you can always opt for a larger hard drive or add extra features such as a printer or wireless keyboard.
The base configuration includes a decent 160GB SATA (Serial ATA) hard drive and a dual layer DVD+/-RW burner. You don?t get a floppy drive by default, which is not a problem unless you know you?ll need one, in which case it?s a $22 upgrade, or $51.70 with a media card as well. You also get a 48 cm (19 inch) TFT display as standard, which is a good choice for gaming.
Unfortunately you don?t have many options when it comes to sound and speakers. The integrated 7.1 audio does a reasonable job, but audiophiles may want to upgrade to the Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic for a bit under $100. Sadly, you?re limited to the basic stereo speakers and subwoofer, so if you want a more wholesome audio experience you may have to invest in a third-party 5.1 surround speaker system.