• Price When Reviewed: 2390

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10We rate this 9 out of 10 Best Buy We rate this 9 out of 10

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The Dimension 8300 PC is one of the first in this line from Dell to pair Intel’s top-end 3.2GHz Pentium 4 CPU with 1GB of DDR400 SDRAM. Our review unit was negligibly faster than its 8300 sibling with a 3.06GHz Pentium 4. The 8300 has a first-rate list of other components. First up is the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro graphics board with 128MB of memory. It’s aimed at hardcore gamers, but is just as good for 3D-types who don’t require workstation certification. The board achieved high frame rates and produced great-looking images when tested at 1,280-x-1,024-pixel resolution at 32-bit colour. This is the native resolution of the bundled 18-inch Dell 1800FP LCD monitor. We’ve seen the 1800FP monitor with other high-end Dimensions, and it doesn’t disappoint, delivering vibrant colours and crisp text. The Altec Lansing ADA995 5.1 THX-certified speaker system and Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 sound card sent out thrilling sound quality. We heard satisfying bass roars and rumbles, and clean, crisp trebles. Video editing isn’t overlooked either, as the Audigy 2 card provides a FireWire port – though this isn’t compatible with all systems – a 200GB hard drive that should provide ample storage for large video files, and a DVD+RW drive you can use to burn the finished product. Eight USB 2.0 ports (six on the back of the case, and two on the front) provide plenty of ways to hook up USB devices that you want to leave connected, and those you want to attach often. The 8300 has a case that swings open like a book after you depress latches at the top and bottom of the case. Because the drive bays are installed in the swing-out section of the case, you have easy access to the drive cages. And you can add and remove cards and drives without tools. The system has one memory socket and two PCI slots available. All these high-end goodies come at a high price – but it’s correct for the value you get.