Our second newborn from Dell this week, the Dimension 5100, runs a 64-bit processor and uses a Balance Technology extended (BTX) motherboard to make the little critter run quieter. Only Windows XP Professional takes advantage of 64-bit processors, and even then few applications have been tweaked to actually use these chips. Previous versions of Windows can still be run on the 5100 -- you just won't be taking performance to the brink. On the other hand, smug Linux users will be able to take advantage of the 5100's extra power immediately -- a 64-bit version of their operating system has been around for a long time.
The 5100 is slightly stumpier than the 9100, but it shares the same bright white styling on the chassis, save for the front panel, which remains a prosaic, business-like silver and grey. The 2.8GHz Pentium 4 at the heart of this little white treat is a fiery beast for most mid-level tasks. Extreme gamers will find no refuge here though: the 5100 is not a Battlefield 2 machine. While the hardware in this Dell is well suited to basic video editing and graphics work, it has its work cut out to deliver great gaming performance, expecially given its rather meagre ATI Radeon X300 SE graphics card. None the less, the 5100 is shaping up to be a fantastic entry-level machine with more than enough power for most. Expect a full review soon. -CS
Update: this review is now live here.