The Bottom Line
Aug 21 2012 - For those looking for a solid performing budget desktop that don't require graphics performance, the Dell Inspiron 660 offers a good mix of features. The Intel Core i3 processor may be from the second generation but it still outperforms those based around the AMD processors. While their last desktop lacked USB, they now offer twice as many as the competition making external expansion very easy. With wireless networking and a decent software bundle, the system is easy to setup and functional from the get go. As mentioned though, this is not the system for those that require any sort of graphics performance as the integrated graphics have limited capabilities and there isn't much room for upgrades.
- Wireless Networking
- Four USB 3.0 Ports
- Useful Prebundled Software
- Poor Integrated Graphics Not Suitable For 3D
- Limited Interal
- Intel Core i3-2120 Dual Core Desktop Processor
- 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 16x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- Intel HD Graphics 2000 Integrated Graphics
- Intel HDA 7.1 Audio Support
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 3.0, Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 19-in-1 Card Reader
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, McAfee Security Center, Photoshop/Premiere Elements
Review - Dell Inspiron 660
Aug 21 2012 - Dell's Inspiron 660 is the company's latest Intel based desktop that takes the previous Inspiron 620 and updated it with a few new features.. For their budget minded system priced under $500, they instead pack the system with the Sandy Bridge based Intel Core i3-2120 dual core processor. In terms of performance, there is very little difference as the new processors are mainly about efficiency scaling and new integrated graphics. Combining the processor with 6GB of DDR3 memory provides it with a solid level of performance that is a good deal better than most of the system in this price range based around the AMD processors.
Storage features on the budget version of the Dell Inspiron 660 are pretty typical of most desktops in the $500 price range. It features a one terabyte hard drive that provides a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. The drive spins at the traditional 7200rpm spin rate which gives it solid performance and certainly a step up from those that use green class drives with slower or variable spin rates. If you need to add more space, it features a total of four USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage. This is nice because this is twice the number of the new ports than much of the competition. A dual layer DVD burner is included for playback or recording of CD and DVD media. There is also a card reader for use with the most popular flash media formats.
Graphics is one of the areas where the Dell Inspiron 660 suffers the most. Much of this has to do with the Sandy Bridge Core i3 processor that is bundled with the system that uses the lower end Intel HD Graphics 2000. This is by far the lowest performing of the HD Graphics lineup when it comes to 3D graphics. It can't even be use for 3D gaming at the lowest resolution and detail levels. This puts it at a big disadvantage to the newer HD Graphics 4000 for the Ivy Bridge processors and just about every one of the AMD FPU's with their Radeon HD graphics. The one saving grace is that it does support accelerated video transcoding capabilities with compatible Quick Sync applications. Now, there is a PCI-Express graphics slot available for upgrading the graphics card but this upgrade path is limited to the 300 Watt power supply typical of most budget systems. This means only the most basic of budget video cards can be supported.
Many budget systems tend to come with a fair number of preinstalled software. The majority of these programs tend to be of the trialware variety. One such example is the inclusion of security or anti-virus software that features just a single month of use. Dell has stepped up and actually provided some useful software with the Inspiron 660. This includes a full fifteen month subscription to the McAfee Security Center for security as well as the Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements programs for photo and video editing.