The Bottom Line
- Good Performance
- Lots Of Upgrade Potential
- Smaller Hard Drive
- Relatively Small Power Supply
- Intel Pentium G6950 Dual Core Desktop Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 16x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- Intel GMA X4500HD Integrated Graphics
- Intel HDA 7.1 Audio
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Six USB 2.0, HDMI, 19-in-1 Card Reader
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Dell Inspiron 580 Budget Desktop PC
Apr 21 2010 - Most budget oriented Intel based desktop systems are based on older technology in order to keep the costs down. This has a major disadvantage for some users as it prevents many technology upgrades to their system that they may want to do to extend the life of their desktop. Dell has decided to use the latest technologies in their base Inspiron 580. While it doesn't use the Core i3 processor, the Pentium G6950 does use the socket 1156 processor socket that allows users to potentially upgrade the processor at a later time.
In terms of performance, the Pentium G6950 is more powerful than most of the processors offered in the sub-$500 price range but it isn't overwhelming. In fact, most people probably won't notice a huge difference between this and many AMD based systems running similar clock speeds. The 4GB of DDR3 memory is at least a bonus over many previous Dell budget systems that would provide only 2GB of memory and have more issue with multitasking as a result.
The area where Dell tends to cut corners to make their systems affordable is the hard drive. This is no different with the Inspiron 580 that comes with a small 320GB hard drive while most companies are shipping with 500GB or larger drives. Dell does offer a $50 upgrade offer to double the size of the drive but still keep it under $500 that would benefit many people. A standard dual layer DVD burner handles all of the playback and recording of CD and DVD media.
As with most budget desktops, the Inspiron 580 relies on an integrated processor for graphics. In this case, it is uses the Intel GMA X4500HD that provides enough performance for handling high definition video streams but still lacks the potential for being used even for casual 3D gaming. There is a PCI-Express graphics card slot available for adding in a dedicated card. The cards will be restricted to more modest performance models though due to the relatively small 300 watt power supply. At least the system does feature a HDMI video connector that many budget systems tend to leave out.
The Inspiron 580 uses a standard sized desktop PC case that also gives it a slight advantage over many budget class systems that focus on using small tower designs. The internal space within the case provides plenty of space for drive and card upgrades. This gives the system a much greater level of flexibility for those that may not have the money to buy the full desktop they want now but can add to over time.
Overall, it is hard to really top what Dell has to offer in the new Inspiron 580. While it is easy to upgrade the system well beyond the base price, the system just has a lot more to offer to consumers than many cut rate budget desktops that use dated technologies to keep prices down.