Dimension 9150 vs. Dimension E510

I'd like someone very knowledgeable about Dell desktops to help me compare these two deals in light of the facts explained below (kindly read the entire post in detail before responding):

Dimension E510 with 19 inch E196FP Analog Flat Panel: $1269 - $490 = $779 + Free Shipping: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&oc=DE51RF1&s=dhs

Dimension 9150 with 20 inch UltraSharp™ 2005FPW Widescreen Digital Flat Panel: $1209 - $340 = $869.00 + Free Shipping: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=1d91w2&cs=04&dgvcode=ss&c=US&l=EN

Now, once I configure both of these deals to what I want, i.e:

1. Upgrade to 1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 2DIMMs (included in E510, add $60 to 9150)
2. Upgrade to 250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™ (add $60 to E510, add $70 to 9150)
3. Upgrade to Dual Drives: 16x DVD-ROM Drive + 16x DVD+/-RW w/dbl layer write capability (included in E510, add $50 to 9150)
4. Upgrade to 20 inch UltraSharp™ 2005FPW Widescreen Digital Flat Panel (add $240 to E510, included in 9150)

Dimension E510 comes out to $1,079, while Dimension 9150 comes out to $1,049

The only remaining differences would then be:

1. E510 comes with XP Media Center 2005 Edition while 9150 comes with XP Home Edition (Note: I don't have any particular special media needs)

2. E510 comes with Integrated Audio with Dolby Digital 7.1 capability while 9150 comes with Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio (not sure what the difference is)
 
3. E510 comes with 1Yr Ltd Warranty, 1Yr At-Home Service, and 1Yr HW Warranty Support , while 9150 comes with 1 Year On-site Economy Plan ( I am wondering how this plan would apply to the non-business users, is it the same as the former in that case?)

So, is there any advantage to E510 over 9150 in this case?  I mean, is one supposed to be a better machine even if they are configured the same?

Thank you so much in advance for sharing your expertise.
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aturetskyAsked:
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tfjeffCommented:
even if the systems are configured with the same parts, there are still fundamental differences between the two.
as dell doesn't have a whole lot about the 9150 on their site, I'm goinig to compare the e510 to the 9100, which is probably almost identical to the 9150.
the e510 has 4 expansion slots (2 pci, 1 pci-e x1, 1 pci-e x16), it has 2 onboard sata ports.
the 9100 has 3 pci slots, 1 pci-e x1 slot, 1 pci-e x4 slot, and 1 pci-e x16 slot and 4 onboard sata ports.
the memory bus on the 9100 is faster than the e510
the e510 runs the intel 945 g express chipset, whereas the 9100 runs the intel 945 p chipset...because of this, the e510 has onboard graphics, where as the 9100 does not.
The power supply in the 9100 is 375 watts, compared to the e510's 305 watts.
The 9150 offers processors that have dual core technology, the e510 does not.
Basically, the difference here seems to be upgradability.  The 9100 gives more room for adding hard drives and expansion cards (and the power supply to run more hard drives) as well as having a slightly faster memory bus.  Since I like having more than 2 hard drives in my machine and like to run a power supply larger than 305 watts, I, myself, would choose the 9100 over the e510.

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aturetskyAuthor Commented:
1) Thank you so much, tfjeff, for prompt, detailed response.  Just what I was looking for.
2) Please see if you are also able to answer the three questions in the parentheses in my 3 questions above (about the OS, audio and warranty differences).
3) I saw on your profile that you are open to opportunities.  Would you consider moving to STL, MO?  I can find out if the company I work for can benefit from someone with your unquestionable expertise.
tfjeffCommented:
1) If you are planning on joining it to a domain, you are going to need xp pro.  Neither xp home nor MCE support joining a domain
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/887212/EN-US/
2) The difference is tough to tell, my guess is that they are the same exact audio hardware.
http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/945p/index.htm
http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/945g/index.htm
If you want nice audio, an expansion card is a must anyway.  
3) Based on what I'm reading on dell's website, I'd say the warranties are the same thing (click the "help me choose" link)
for the last question, please send me an email ;)

jeff
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aturetskyAuthor Commented:
thanks so much again, some additional follow up questions, if you don't mind:

1) what's the advantage of the onboard graphics, afforded by the intel 945 g express chipset?
2) Let's say I don't care to join a domain, is there advantage to MCE vs. Home, or does it just have a lot of bulky features, which will trash up my system?
3) for the audio, I was also planning to get Dell A525 30 Watt 2.1 Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer.  I shouldn't need an expansion card for that, should I?  Do you know you want to share about this option?
4) warranty: so, if it says on-site, you think that would come to my house just like the would to my business?  The help me choose link doesn't compare these two particular ones.
5) what type of things are sata ports good for?  If I have a camcorder with a 4 pin IEEE, do I need to make sure to also get an option IEEE port with my Dell, or is there such thing as a cord that can connect IEEE to SATA?

aturetskyAuthor Commented:
also, would you recommend buying through the Dell website, or would you recommend getting this elsewhere?
it seemed like a pretty decent deal, no?
tfjeffCommented:
1) An expansion card is generally preferred over onboard video, sometimes onboard video uses up 64MB or more of your system memory for video memory,  onboard video is low end
2) I haven't used mce a whole lot, but it doesn't seem that different to me, I've got lots of friends that use it and love it.  One of the main differences that sticks out is mce supports a remote control and a tv tuner.
If you really want the dirt, go here:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/evaluation/compare.mspx
3) I've not used the a525's, but I got an 8300 with onboard 5.1 audio and a set of dell 5.1 speakers a while back.  I thought there was something wrong with them, particularly the subwoofer...I was very disappointed....until I put in a creative soundblaster audigy 2 zs.
4)yes, but they only go out to replace hardware, and only after you have proven to the technician on the phone that it is bad...after that, they go to whatever address you give them.  
5) Sata ports are specifically for connecting sata hard drives (although there are sata optical drives starting to surface, I've never personally used one).  The sata connections are inside the computer, so there isn't a way to plug your camera into them, plus I can't imagine that such an adapter exists.  YES! Get the IEEE 1394 (firewire) port on the front of your dell if you have any firewire devices.....adding a firewire card isn't difficult, but getting behind your system to plug it in everytime is a pain =).
tfjeffCommented:
the hard drive, processor, memory, and flatpanel are worth over 900 dollars ;)
Get it through dell, if you don't, it's easy to have a hard time getting warranty service/parts.
aturetskyAuthor Commented:
>> An expansion card is generally preferred over onboard video, sometimes onboard video uses up 64MB or more of your system memory for video memory,  onboard video is low end.  

So, if anything, you're saying this is an advantage of 9100 which runs the intel 945 p chipset?  Am I understanding you correctly?

But then wouldn't I have to get an expansion card separately?  Can you elaborate on all this.  I don't know much at all about the video aspect at all.
tfjeffCommented:
yes, the e510 is at a disadvantage for having onboard video...here's what dell says about the onboard video:

"Between 128 and 224 MB of system memory may be allocated to support graphics, depending on system memory size and other factors"

if you have a video card, the card itself takes care of this.  Strangely, both systems come with a video card in the links you posted in the original question.  I noticed another difference: the 9150 has a gigabit ethernet adapter, the e510 has only 10/100.
tfjeffCommented:
in case this was misleading, since there is the same video card in each system, neither one is at a disadvantage in this aspect, as the onboard video is disabled and not using resources.
aturetskyAuthor Commented:
and the reason 9150 is cheaper to begin with is because it's basically a better model of a previous generation while E510 is a weaker model but of the latest generation, right?
aturetskyAuthor Commented:
also, which of the following 3 would you recommend for 9150:

Pentium® D Processor 830 with Dual Core Technology (3GHz, 800FSB) [add $120 or $3/month2]
      
            
Pentium® D Processor 820 with Dual Core Technology (2.80GHz, 800FSB) [add $20 or $1/month2]
      
            
Pentium® 4 Processor 630 with HT Technology (3GHz, 800FSB) [Included in Price]
aturetskyAuthor Commented:
thanks for your patience in answering all these questions, btw.  Based on your answers, thus far, I decided to go with 9150,
here's another question:

I am asked to choose between the following options:

PC Restore recovery system by Symantec [Included in Price]
      
            
Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition backup CD [add $10]
      
            
Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional backup CD [add $10]

Now, if I get XP Pro backup, that won't give the license key, right, just the disk, whereas the license key would be for the Home edition which I chose as my OS, right?  So it wouldn't make sense to get it then, right?
tfjeffCommented:
if you aren't doing anything too intensive on the computer, any of those processors will suit you fine, obviously the more you pay, the higher end cpu you get.
aturetskyAuthor Commented:
>> if you aren't doing anything too intensive on the computer, any of those processors will suit you fine, obviously the more you pay, the higher end cpu you get.

I guess what I am asking on this one is:  is it worthwhile to pay $20 to go down to 2.80GHz, but up to dual core tech?
tfjeffCommented:
get the CD, but yeah, make sure you get it for the OS you chose originally or you might get a mismatched disk and key like you mentioned.  Dell has started to put a hidden partition that has a restoration image on it on the systems, since they have done this, you don't get the disk for your OS unless you specifically order it, I think it's silly, but it probably saves them money.
aturetskyAuthor Commented:
thanks fielding all my questions

some more hand holding:

my RAM options are
512MB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz - 2DIMMs [Included in Price]
      
            
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 2DIMMs [add $60 or $2/month2]
      
            
2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 4DIMMs [add $220 or $6/month2]
      Great Performance

I would like to have between 1.5 - 2 GB RAM for my needs.  Should I just go with 512MB and get more RAM from elsewhere or does paying 220 to go to 2GB make any sense?
tfjeffCommented:
I honestly doubt you would notice much difference between the two...if anything, I'd guess the 2.8 dual core would be a bit faster, but I stopped working at dell right when the dual core procs were coming out and I don't own one, so I don't have a lot of experience with them specifically.  

However, I took the liberty of looking up the prices of the two procs on www.newegg.com

820 = 278 dollars
630 = 182 dollars

seems that an upgrade from the 630 to the 820 is worth about 100 dollars on newegg...why not get it from dell for 20 =)
tfjeffCommented:
if you get the ram from dell, it's supported by dell, otherwise they won't have anything to do with the ram.
You can get ram from places like www.kingston.com and www.crucial.com
strange that they only offer it with 533mhz when it will support 667 mhz...
two 256 mb modules (first memory option listed) are around 100 on kingston
two 512 modules (second memory option listed) are around 200 on kingston
shop around and decide if you think it's worth buying the modules from dell...just remember, if you want it to be covered by your dell warranty and you want dell techs to help you with it, it has to be ordered from dell.
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