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Dell Dimension 4700
The Dimension 4700 replaces the Dimension 4600 (a former PC World Best Buy) in Dell's lineup of value systems. With the 4700, Dell takes advantage of Intel's new 915G chip set to add such new features as 5.1-channel sound and HDTV, wide-screen, and dual-display support. The chip set's built-in Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 900 graphics controller uses a chunk of main memory, and the 4700 earned modest scores in our graphics tests. Though frame rates and image quality were good, both were lower than what we've seen from similarly priced value systems that use a dedicated graphics card. On the other hand, the new chip set also supports the new PCI express slot, where you can install a faster graphics card if you like; Dell offers an ATI Radeon X300 SE for an additional $51.
Besides having a PCI Express X16 graphics card slot, the Dimension 4700 offers an X1 PCI Express slot and two PCI slots for add-ins such as a modem and network cards; our review system came with a V.92 modem in the X1 slot. The limited number of PCI Express slots restricts your options for expanding this PC. The new 915G chip set also supports DDR2 memory, and our test system came with 512MB of DDR2-400 SDRAM. Using a 3-GHz Pentium 4 CPU, the Dimension 4700 achieved a WorldBench 5 score of 83, roughly matching the marks earned by similarly configured systems.
Our system came with a single 160GB SATA hard drive. A second SATA connector on the motherboard lets you add another hard drive. But we had trouble accessing the one free internal drive bay: We had to remove several screws to get to it, and the documentation did a poor job of explaining the correct procedure. The case has the familiar dark gray Dell design, and the side panel slides away easily when you press a large, L-shaped lever at the back. The two externally accessible media bays are occupied by a 48X/24X/48X CD-RW drive and a 16X DVD-ROM drive.
The 4700 comes with a plethora of USB 2.0 ports--six at the back and two low on the front panel. There are no FireWire ports, however; so if you want to connect your digital camcorder, you'll have to add a separate adapter (for around $45) or upgrade to a sound card that provides FireWire ports (Dell offers the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 for $68 more).
The accompanying 17-inch Dell E172FPb LCD monitor rendered small fonts precisely and reproduced graphics with good detail. Dell's A425 2.1-channel speaker set, which matches the design of the PC, delivers reasonable volume levels and clear sound.
Dell offers this modestly configured system at a reasonable $1360, but you have to use the Dell E-Value Code of 6V411-470REV to get the configuration we tested from Dell's home and home-office Web site.
With a good selection of features and an attractive price tag, the Dell Dimension 4700 is another winner.
Dell Dimension 4700
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