The Best PC Deals Under $1000

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Dell Dimension E520

Dell's Dimension E520 (left) and E521 look identical but perform differently.
Dell's Dimension E520 (left) and E521 look identical but perform differently.
The Dimension E520 may look like its cousin the E521 on the outside, but inside it's a very different beast. It has a faster processor, more memory, a bigger hard drive, and a dedicated graphics card that makes it a more desirable proposition for a wider range of activities. But it's also more expensive at $989 versus $489.

The system contains a 1.86-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor and 1GB of RAM, and it rolled to a respectable WorldBench 5 score of 106. Still, the E520 isn't for gamers. Its nVidia GeForce 7300LE graphics board generated hit-or-miss performance on our graphics tests; and the games in our tests, while playable at 1024 by 768 resolution, were just barely so.

CyberPower Gamer Ultra 7500SE

Power on the cheap: the Micro Express MicroFlex 66B (left) and the CyberPower Gamer Ultra 7500SE.
Power on the cheap: the Micro Express MicroFlex 66B (left) and the CyberPower Gamer Ultra 7500SE.
Priced at $999, CyberPower's Gamer Ultra 7500SE parlayed its Athlon 64 X2 3800+ processor and 1GB of RAM into a WorldBench 5 score of 98. The PC's gaming performance was even better. Sparked by an EVGA e-GeForce 7600GS graphics board with 256MB of RAM, it had a frame rate of 76 frames per second on our Doom 3 test, at 1280-by-1024-pixel resolution.

An array of blue LEDs illuminates the case's curved plastic front, but unfortunately the case looks and feels fragile and cheaply made. Other quibbles: The 19-inch ViewSonic Optiquest Q9b LCD monitor that came bundled with our system rendered our images and games in dark and dull colors; and the LCD had a VGA input, generating fuzzier video than a DVI connection (which the system supports) would have.

At a Glance
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