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Dell Inspirion i660 Desktop

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FAQ

Does it make sense

Yes for $450 that dell changes for model with is i5

you can't assemble the same computer from parts.

Where are manuals?

What are option for an upgrade of video card

Currently, the only video cards that have been tested and supported by Dell are the

NVIDIA Geforce GT 620

AMD Radeon HD 7570.

I cannot verify if any other discrete cards will be compatible.

Can it run Windows XP?

The simple answer to your question is, I do not know. The Inspiron 660 was never tested with Windows XP. We also do not provide XP drivers for the hardware. It may install but, I doubt you will be happy with the performance. I would recommend purchasing with Windows 7 and upgrading it to Windows 7 Ultimate (with XP Mode). I am assuming you want XP for older software compatibility and this would be the best path for you.

Can I downgrade from windows 8 to Windows 7

Yes. Dell will continue to update and support the drivers for Windows 7. This won't continue for an unlimited amount of time, but will be updated for now.

Which processor is better to get, the core i3 or i5?

If you run CPU intensiva applications like Nuance Dragon i5 is much better. For most users i3 is adequate.

Easy Get the i5 as it has 4 cores runs at 3.2 GHz. and it runs cooler.

... The i5 is a faster multi tasking processor than the i3 offered. 

Is the memory expandable above 8GB

The memory specifications for the Inspiron 660 are as follows:-

Memory module connectors: Two SODIMM connectors
Memory module capacities: 2GB, 4GB,
Memory type: 1333 MHz and 1600 Mhz SoDIMM DDR3
Minimum memory: 2 GB
Maximum memory: 8 GB

Amazon Review

Nice. Usage of Windows 8 is OK for entry level users but problematic for enthusiasts

Prices on Amazon fluctuate so you need to compare with Dell direct price before buying. Shipping is quicker for Amazon.

This is a typical consumer minitower with Windows 8 installed (a regular version, not a pro version but you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $70). IMHO Windows 8 is OK for regular users, but can be problematic for power users and enthusiasts. So try any Windows 8 PC without touch screen in store, before you buy this model. A similar model can be bought with Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 (see model Dell Inspiron i660-6029BK). For long time Windows users Windows 7 is a safer bet. My feeling is that Windows 8 does not provide return on investment in learning a new interface for those who do not have a touch screen.

This model uses built-in Intel video. There is also a similar model with NVIDIA GT 620 (i660-4032BK). The latter is better for gamers. Does not matter for anybody else.

The tower has one free bay for an additional harddrive, but just two memory slots on the motherboard (both used by 4 GB RAM sticks). It has two USB 3.0 ports which is very important for photo-enthusiasts and for backups of your data. Large drive guarantee that you will not run out of space for a long time (although photo-enthusiasts would be better off by buying additional mirrored USB 3.0 drive or installing the second drive into computer).

Like other consumer oriented Dell machines it is very well built and piano-black looks very attractive on the table (I would say not worse then more expensive OptiPlex 9010 which would be competing Dell offering).

It has regular analog VGA port and HDMI port. So it can support two monitors configuration (you need a cable to convert HDMI to DVI for older monitors to connect the second monitor).

The PC also has a slot for SD cards, for which you often pay extra on other Dell models.

Due to Windows 8 installed booting is very fast (actually instead of full boot Windows 8 simply wakes up from hybernation to cut time). Please note that it has secure boot enabled so to create dual boot environment (I did not tried this myself) you need to disable it first. You might need the second harddrive too. Speed of browsing is limited by speed of your Internet connection. As it has i5 CPU it can perform multiple tasks simultaneously without sweating.

Windows 8 installation makes it more like consumer-oriented appliance that a traditional multi-purpose Windows machine to which line of Microsoft OSes from Windows 3.1 to Windows 7 used to belong. Now there is distinct flavor of Apple-style closed ecosystem. Which many entry-level users might like and enjoy, but which annoy power users and Pc enthusiasts. Tiles that are automatically updated on a new "full-screen" start up screen are actually pretty cute and default installation is populated with Amazon, Ebay, Weather, Finance and other tiles.

If you are a computer science student or just a hobbyist which like to tinker with OS and hardware you might be better served by a similar model with Windows 7(i660-4032BK) which actually is priced lower, or by OptiPlex 9010 which also can be bought with Windows 7 and recovery disks. The latter (OptiPlex 9010) allows hardware mirrowing of hard drives.

But for a regular consumer this is a perfect desktop which will serve 3-5 years without problems. Please note the Windows 8 provide good built-in free virus protection (Windows Defender). I would delete McAfee trial that Dell preinstall as IMHO it's useless and represents Windows insecurity tax which security companies try to force you to pay, but your mileage may vary. In any case do not pay for extension when the trial expire, as built-in protection (Windows Defender) is adequate for most consumers and for those it is inadequate Mcafee will be inadequate too. In view of complexity of modern malware you are better off using a second PC dedicated to financial and other important trasactions instead of paying AV companies for illusionary protection.

Another important thing for consumer is that recovery from virus infections can be much easier due to built in ability of Windows 8 to restore the default configuration. This is a feature of all PCs with Windows 8 installed not only this one.

Note: Keyboard supplied with the machine looks very nice and is adequate for occasional typing. If you spend long hours typing you better change it to more professional keyboard like Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. The same is true about the mouse provided with the tower.

Upgrades

PNY NVIDIA GeForce GT 620 1 GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 Graphics Card Desktop Accessories Dell

Bring your multimedia performance to life with the NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 620 Graphics Card from PNY® Technologies. This graphics card features the NVIDIA PureVideo® HD Technology which delivers stunning picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color and precise image scaling for movies and videos. Also, the NVIDIA PhysX® Technology enables a new class of physical gaming interaction for a more dynamic and realistic experience with GeForce. Plus its CUDA Technology unlocks the power of the GPU’s processor cores to accelerate the demanding tasks such as video transcoding, physics simulation, ray tracing, and more. The GeForce GT 620 is designed for the PCI Express 2.0 bus architecture offering fast data transfer speeds, while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing PCI Express motherboards for the broadest support. Additionally it allows you connect your PC to any 3D enabled TV over HDMI and enjoy a cinematic 3D experience in your home with seamless support for 1080p Blu-ray 3D discs. Furthermore, the full support for TrueHD and DTS-HD advanced lossless multi-channel HD audio codecs brings the rich sound of the master recording to your living room. So, add the GeForce GT 620 Graphic Card to your system and experience the full power of today's next-generation games and applications!

Manufacturer Part# : VCGGT620XPB
Dell Part# : A6116821

Using bluetooth

It's king of strange to have bluetooth in Desktop but it is pretty useful for Skipe phone calls and listerning music.

Here is a couple of options of getting inexpensive Bluetooth Stereo Headphones


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Dell Inspiron i620-1298BK Desktop

Charlie Limited upgradeability, but runs ice cold and silent

Dell Inspiron 620 Mini-Tower

I ordered my Dell Inspiron 620 via Dell using a discount code, which ended up shipping out a pre-built unit. My particular 620 came equipped with the following:

Intel Core i3-2120 (Dual-core 3.3 GHz, Hyperthreaded) Sandybridge
4GB of DDR3/1333 RAM (Kingston 2GB x2)
Onboard integrated Intel HD2000 graphics (part of the Core i3-2120 processor)
1TB Seagate 7200 RPM HD (has NCQ)
Samsung DVD burner
Dell 1520 Wi-Fi PCIe network card
Onboard 5.1 audio

The entire Inspiron 620 is built using standardized components. The motherboard and power supply units are ATX form-factor, which is a really good thing compared to Dell's older models that used proprietary power supplies. The PSU is only capable of 300W, so you are limited to an AMD Radeon HD 6670 graphics card if you choose to upgrade. There's one 16 lane PCIe 2.0 slot, so Crossfire or SLI is out of the question unless you upgrade the motherboard.

Speaking of upgrading, if you plan to do something serious, I recommend SKIPPING the 620. Upgrading the power supply and motherboard can get expensive unless you want to keep using the 620 in the future to avoid buying new components. If you just purchased the 620, the only things you should consider upgrading might be the graphics card and more RAM. Since there are only 2 memory slots, you can only upgrade to 8GB of DDR3. A Core i5-2500K should also fit, which gives you quad-core capability and an Intel HD3000 graphics card.

Now if you want a HD 6870 GPU and more than 8GB of RAM, the 620 is not for you. Might as well build a new gaming rig for a few hundred dollars more. For non-gaming, the 620 is a really good deal. I tried spec'ing out a HTPC build and could not beat Dell's special pricing for its 620.

Unfortunately, the Intel graphics are horrible. Most LCD TVs will overscan, and lots of 720P videos start to produce nasty artifacts. There's also an issue with Intel graphics playing movies at 23.97 fps for some reason. I had issues watching MotoGP videos on their website in 720P HD. I solved the problem by purchasing an AMD Radeon HD 6450 GPU. It also solved the overscan problem.

The new 2nd generation Core i3 is really good, Windows 7 64-bit blazes through the boot up process and all of my apps are loading up quick. The front-mounted SD card slot and 2 USB ports make it convenient to share photographs. The DVD is standard Samsung fare, which is very good for the price. The sound quality is acceptable, but I use my HDMI port for lossless audio and video to the LCD TV, so the audio actually comes from the GPU and not the Conexant onboard.

The PCIe card latch mechanism is the weakest part of the Inspiron 620 design. Although convenient, there's an incredible amount of flex needed to unlatch the retention mechanism. I'd imagine that it would break in the future. This is the big latch that holds all of the PCIe cards to the chassis in lieu of individual screws.

The overall construction (aside from the card retention latch) is very solid but plain. Dell even uses adhesive rubber dampers for the hard drive mount to cut down on vibration.

There's no AHCI support, and for some reason the H61 chipset (Intel 6-series) does not recognize any of Intel's AHCI drivers. I also read that the H61 does not support RAID, so again, if you want to do something serious, skip on the 620 and consider building your own rig.

There's also no heatsink for the Southbridge. Computer nerds like myself will notice this first, because the naked die is exposed. Doing a Google search shows people have complained about this since July 2011, so it is safe to reason that the lack of a heatsink is intended probably for cost savings. I did not try and touch the Southbridge to see if it runs hot, but all of the aftermarket motherboards for LGA1154/1155 have a Southbridge heatsink.

So as it stands, the only upgrade I have performed is the installation of a Radeon HD 6450. I chose this card due to its price, and because I just needed it for watching HD movies. The onboard Intel HD2000 was a 95% solution, and unfortunately the 5% is what I needed it to do. Watching MotoGP in HD with the HD2000 was not suitable, and even the HD3000 suffers the same problem. The HD 6450 also uses a heatsink without a fan, so the silence is golden.

By the way, the Inspiron 620 runs ICE COLD and SILENT. I can barely hear it running, and even in a stuffy cabinet under the TV, it barely produces any heat. At idle, it consumes a paltry 50W, and under full load, it consumes a maximum of 105-120W of power. I did a fresh clean install of Windows 7 64-bit, and that is about it. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium, which is perfectly fine for the 620's limited capabilities. Go with the 64-bit Pro if you intend to use more than 16GB of RAM.

Overall: 4/5 stars. Very limited upgradeability - 300W PSU, 2 DDR3 RAM slots, no AHCI support with the H61 chipset, possibly no RAID support. Want faster graphics? Get a bigger PSU first. Runs cold and silent, perfect HTPC rig or entry-level PC for beginners to intermediate users.

I bought the 620 to be used solely as a HTPC (Home Theater PC), and it does the job extremely well. I also evaluated it as a general purpose computer, and it does the job with flying colors. I'd estimate the service life to be at least 5 years, so if you want a general purpose computer that won't go obsolete in 5 years, the 620 is good to go. PCIe is going to be around for a few more years, SATA drives are the de facto standard, and 4GB of RAM has been more than enough for the past 10 years.

A. Finley "Finley" (See all my reviews) more than adequate replacement for aging desktop, April 6, 2012

This review is from: Dell Inspiron i620-1298BK Desktop (Personal Computers)

I did a lot of research before buying this PC, as I wanted to get as much for my money as possible. After lots and lots of looking I concluded that it simply isn't feasible to build a lower-end computer for less than $500 if you intend to follow the path of least resistance and load Windows 7, and searching online magazine reviews of this line (Dell 620) resulted in lots of favorable opinions.

What this PC has that other don't:

very well reviewed i3-2120, which is significantly faster than it's i3 brethren, particularly the 1st gen versions. Does very well in benchmark tests, beating the i5 in some processes (ie: audio rendering...like mixing down a file or burning a disc), and making the AMD chips at this level seem worth avoiding. This is a stand-out chip in it's price range.

6Gb RAM, though only upgradable to 8. I was hesitant, but I think if you're looking at entry-level PCs to begin with, you probably won't ever want more than 6, anyway, let alone 8.

WiFi: I didn't care about this fact, but it's there.

500Gb Hard Drive: this was important to me, as I didn't want to pay extra for a Terabyte, having an external hard drive already. What are people filling their drives with, anyway?

HDMI: you can connect your newer HDTV.

VERY quiet. This surprised me. You can hear the hard drive being read, but not the fans. Nearly silent operation.

A few cons:

no DVI per the picture. Of course, the product description does not list DVI.

The on board graphics lowers the "windows experience" number substantially. Processor and RAM bring it way up, to a 7.1 and 7.2, but the Intel graphics make it 4.3, not much higher than a netbook. Remedied by a $30-50 discrete card, if you need it.

It's big. No space saved by this one.

And that's it. Faster than most at this price, plenty of USB ports, and running very smoothly after a relatively quick bloatware-deleting session. I am happy with this machine. Further, I don't believe that the low reviews of this product adequately address the product itself, rather, the buyer's expectations. It's a good buy, and a solid PC.

*UPDATE*

Over a month in and I have absolutely no complaints about this desktop. For my purposes - watching video, surfing the web, editing documents, and mixing audio, I don't think I'd need much more. I've been particularly pleased with the smoothness of startup, which takes 30-40 seconds, and how quickly I can burn a CD - also takes about a minute. Sometimes online video streaming becomes low-def for a moment - I assume it's the buffer catching up, but I'm no videophile and this isn't an issue to me, though is worth considering if this is going to be a Media hub for you, in which case a cheap discrete graphics card might be in order. I use Google Drive for most of my document work, and it's been a perfectly functional tool for working in "the cloud". I have yet to attempt multi-track audio mixing, but since my old PC (a Celeron) could handle it, I'm not concerned about this one. Happy with my purchase, 1 month later.

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