No. of Recommendations: 4
Took I am a PC person. Started reading the Apple board to get a little background and also because of the Apple program that will run Windows -- already forgot the name.

Anyway -- I can do some commenting on the Dell machine.

#1 Dell's vaunted reputation for tech support and service is not justified unless you buy the high priced service contracts (not just long, but priority in line) or you buy an XPS machine -- either way add a few hundred to your machine.

#2 The Dell UltraSharp LCD screens are equal or better then anything else by every review I have seen. I use a 17 inch version for Photoshop work. -- I would suggest the 19 inch because both 17 and 19 have the same native resolution. I would recommend against any Dell monitor other then an Ultrasharp.

#3 You want Windows XP Professional -- not XP Home (you don't say and I don't know which version you have ordered) My advise is spend the $10 to get a physical disk to reinstall. In the PC World unless you are very plain Jane and do very essentially zero upgrading, plan on a clear installation of Windows every 2 years.

#4 This is personal on my part, but I would suggest getting two smaller HDDs instead of one as big as 250 GB. The Windows file system is inferior to Apple's. HDD failure is a fact or life. I use the second HDD as a backup. Some people keep a mirror image (use a program named Ghost) on the second HDD.

#5 If you want to listen to much music seriously as opposed to just background, you will want a Sound card. OnBoard sound is OK, but not anything one would confuse with HiFi.

#5 You will need/want Antivirus software, AntiSpyware and probably a firewall (could be a hardware firewall in a router).

#6 The Airport equivalent is a router -- cost about $100.

#7 I have always had the opinion it was easy to add stuff to Mac/Apple systems. Adding things to a Windows machine such as you are considering is not super easy and in some cases not possible. In was not so long ago that a basic PC cost over $1,500 without a monitor. Dell and others have improved the product performance and lowered the prices. One thing that has happened in the process is upgradability has suffered. If you want upgradeability, look at the Alienware brand. (this company was recently purchased by Dell.)

#8 You asked about the video card, it will be fine for basic PC work and some games. If you are a gamer, you need to consider a whole lot ore PC then this one.

#9 My most recent PC purchase was an HP. They use AMD processors and the bottom line is you can get equal performance to an Intel chip for about $100 less when you are spending in the $1,000 range for a PC (no monitor). I have been amazingly surprised with the quality of HP tech support. Be advised HP products do not come with recovery disks. You can/should burn your own. The problem is the PC then will be returned to its as purchased state. That is with dozens and dozens or 30 day trial programs or what I call "Crapware" Took me the better part of a day to decide what I needed/wanted and what I could delete. My two DVDs for restoring the system have a total of over 7 GB or stuff.


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