Questions about Windows Experience Index (WEI), how important is it in determining a "good" PC

I've been aware of WEI before, but never have had anyone seriously use it as a gauge to say "I'm not buying this PC because the WEI is lower than my old machine".

Is it fair to look at (for example) a WEI for a Dell inspiron 6510 from 4 years ago and compare it to Lenovo ThinkPad T550 being sold today, (both with Windows 7 64 Bit, both with mid-level i5 CPU for what's offered, both with 8GB RAM, both with a 500GB 7.2k RPM HDD, etc) and say that the Dell is the better machine because the Windows Experience Index is higher on the Dell?

It's fine if it is, I just need to know for sure. If it's not, beyond the benchmark tests for each processor, how do your prove (or argue) otherwise?

- Thanks in advance
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
AS you'll see from my comments in this thread I'm not really convinced it does much for end users than provide bragging rights over people with lower scores :)

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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
WEI is simply a benchmark within those results are cpu/disk/2d/3d rendering/network.
The index is usually the determined by LOWEST rating in these categories. The newer pc may have a higher cpu score / same memory score/ same 2d score/ but a lower 3d score because it is using integrated graphics and the older machine has a good discrete video card in it.  you have to interpret the results and think about your usage and current bottlenecks.
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