Dell - Studio MT Desktop with Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q8200
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- Processor BrandIntel®
- Type of Memory (RAM)DDR2 SDRAM
- Audio7.1-channel support
- SpeakersDell AX210 Rolling Stone external desktop speakers
- Wireless NetworkingNone
- Direct-Disc LabelingNo
- Digital Media Reader or SlotsYes, digital media card reader
- Available Expansion Bays3
- Other Control Devices (mouse, etc.)USB optical mouse
- Software IncludedMicrosoft Works 9.0, Adobe Reader 8.1. Roxio Creator 10
Rating 3.8 out of 5 stars with 33 reviews(33 Reviews)
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
An Excellent Machine once updates are completedPosted .I would recommend this to a friend
I'm amazed another mediocre review crept in with the ye olde "Sleep Mode" horror story, especially since it's easily rectified in less than five minutes of updates, all available directly from DELL SUPPORT online. The Studio 540 (its actual name) is PERFECTLY FINE with the normal prerequisite trip to get the latest software/drivers for video, bios, Matrix HD controller, and VISTA 64 updates. This is actually an excellent machine with a pretty clean wiring job, surely cleaner than the alternatives from HP. There IS misinformation in the specs, as well as within these reviews. First, you are getting TWO 640GB hard drives for a total of 1.2TB, all run via a RAID 0 Controller; this is stated in the specs but many assume it's a single HD. The two drives do show up as ONE in Vista 64, which might lead to the confusion (this is how RAID 0 works). Second, there are only SIX, not 10, USB slots, two in front and four in back. Third, it actually comes with a FAX/MODEM, not even listed in the specs, and essentially free, but taking up a slot. However, there are two slots left for cards, although one slot is very close to the video card which extends that direction, perhaps narrowing the card options a bit. As for the numerous sleep mode complaints, the fix is outlined in a previous review. Simply go to Dell Support, enter your Service Tag # (on top at rear of case), and watch the updates appear. Evidently, the AMD ATI driver updates takes care of it although I dont know for sure as I installed them all, including the Chipset update. There are a total of 11 downloads as of 1-8-09. Just make sure you change the operating system option to Vista 64bit. The proper driver for your video card is ver 8.513.1.1000; you can check via Device Manager or Display Settings (advanced settings). Once all your Dell updates are installed, make sure you acquire the latest updates for Vista 64. Post updates, your system should work with no issues at all. The Dell Studio 540 is FAST system. I am running the 24" HP w2408h monitor via the HDMI output on the ATI 3450 video card. Make sure you use the video card HDMI output, too. One issue here is the need to bend back the little metal lip on the Dell case as it restricts the full insertion of the HDMI plug. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the lip back a bit and it's fine. A minor nuisance for sure. I will say that if you're a big time gamer, this card is only fair to middling. I don't play games so it's of no issue and the graphic quality via 1920x1200 on my monitor is stunning once tweaked. With Vista 64bit, TWEAKED is the optimum word here as it rewards customization. So far, it's run ALL my of my programs though most are in x86 mode. And I'm not using a slew of ancient peripherals that have driver issues. Since this system is loaded with 8GB of 800mhz RAM, Vista is not an issue, even though it's a memory hog. I've had numerous programs open, including Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Ani, PSP 7, media players, along with FireFox and IE, with up to 20+ tabs and have not used over 3.7GB of RAM. You'll notice two versions of IE up front, one 64bit, the other 32. The 64bit is really fast but does NOT run FLASH as Adobe has not issued a 64bit version yet. So you'll find yourself running the 32bit version. As usual, the Geeks that jump on the "I hate MS and Vista" usually have not spent any real time on it. Granted, it's a huge resource hog but since RAM is relatively cheap, it's not as much an issue. Drivers have caught up for the most part. I'm finding that Vista takes the most time to tweak of ALL the windows systems, however. But once you have it down, it's fast, can appear elegant and clean, and is functionally great. So, what are the downsides of the Dell Studio 540? Well, the new Intel i7 processor is now out which is why the prices dropped like a stone for this machine. You have to decide if you want to spend a few hundred more for the better processor with less ram, less HD space, etc. On the other hand, the i7 has many advantages and the max RAM is about doubled or more on some systems, not to mention that fact that it employs the latest DDR3 RAM, a faster alternative. It deletes the Frontside Bus quagmire, too. It might be smart to go that route so check pricing. Specific to the Studio 540, you wont like the keyboard and mouse as they are mediocre and cheap. I found the keyboard to be a total bust, with its keys mimicking a laptop. The mouse is no better. Upgrade to your preferred option, worth the cost. Another issue is the fact that the case fan, located at the inside rear, is slightly noisy. It's not that bad, and in most cases, people wont notice it. I just like a totally silent system, and this one IS without that fan plugged in. My wife doesn't hear it but it bothers me a bit. An even better fan can be found online for @$18. A more pressing issue for those that want to upgrade is the middling 350w power supply. This is simply TOO SMALL for any decent video card that most gamers would require. So if going for a better vid card, expect to add 450 and up PS. Thankfully, that's not that big an issue and can be added with ease. The 8200 processor is "ok" for now but you might want to look into getting the higher end Q9550 series down the line, with more on-board cache. Bottom line is this is BIG deal for the price when you factor in the huge storage and 8GB of 800mhz RAM. If you go online, you wont be able to match the price at DELL. Sadly, this system might be phased out at BB. So many people failed to grasp the need for the basic updates needed for something as simple as sleep mode (you can bypass this as well), that the system seemingly got a bum rap right out of the bag. Too bad. It's actually a fine machine. - kh
Rated 3 out of 5 stars
Problems with Dell Studio MT sleep modePosted .No, I would not recommend this to a friend
I had the same problem as many of the other reviewers - although the computer works great for the most part, when you try to bring it out of sleep mode, the monitor locks up and displays nothing but vertical lines. I could find very little on the internet to help solve this problem, but Mime125's review was the key. The problem is caused by the driver for the graphics card. You will need to download the updated driver from Dell. Go to Dell's website, click on "Support," then click on "Drivers and Downloads." Type your service tag number into the appropriate box. A list of 11 driver updates should appear. At the top of the screen, change the operating system to "Windows Vista 64-bit." The update you need to fix the sleep problem is under the Video updates. Click on "AMD Driver," then open the heading "Installation Instructions." Follow the instructions to install the driver. After you've installed the driver update, go to "Control Panel/System and Maintenance/Update Device Drivers/Display Adapters" and double-click on "ATI Radeon HD 3450." Click the driver tab, and the driver version should read "8.513.1.1000." If the driver doesn't install correctly, try uninstalling the ATI graphics card software and starting from scratch. For some reason, I had a number of problems installing the driver. It took me several hours and a big headache to get it right. I was about to take the computer back to the store, eat the 15% restocking fee, and buy an iMac when I decided to try it one more time, and it finally worked. It seems to be a great computer at a great price, but what a hassle fixing something so simple. I wasted a whole Sunday afternoon on something that either Dell or Best Buy could have warned me about. Good luck.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Great deal for $$$Posted .I would recommend this to a friend
This is truly a great deal for the cost. I am very happy with our purchase, but one problem is that we are unable to restore back from sleep mode. There are lines that run across the screen. Our sales clerk thought it was only a situation with our model, but was able to recreate the problem on the floor model as well. It could be a Windows Vista problem...thought we could take it in to the Geeks, but did not know what to do. Wonder if anyone else is having this problem or was given a solution to fix.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Great price for this systemPosted .I would recommend this to a friend
Static electricity using a flash drive caused my old Dell 8300 to die. Started looking around and saw this computer. Wow! 8 gig of ram, a quad processor and 1.2TB of hard drive space! I put the same system together (as close as possible ) on the manufacturers web site and it came to $1189.00! So I went to Best Buy and grabbed it. It is true, its not exactly as advertised. There are only 6 USB ports ( 4 in back, 2 in front and 0 inside ) It has a modem which was not listed on Best buy.com (will probably take it out to put in my sound card), so it only has 2 expansion slots open (both PCI 1X). Don't much care for Vista and the 64 bit version can be a bigger pain. Had to find a hacked driver online for my old scanner , but got it working. Also don't care for the raid set up on the hard drives, would prefer the 2 separate drives appear as 2 drives not 1 in the operating system, but can change that in the future when I feel like doing a clean install of Windows ( maybe when WIN 7 comes out ). Overall it works great and for the price, I don't think you can go wrong.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Nice computer, but has boot / sleep issuePosted .I would recommend this to a friend
I have liked this computer since I installed it. running dual monitors from the ATI 3450 card with a DVI to VGA conveter on the DVI plug. (Adapter has two monitor outputs one VGA, one DVI and both my monitors are VGA) Running the Catalyst softwar allowed me to run an extended desktop easily across both of my 19" monitors. Vista so far is better than my friends let me to believe. All programs are running in 32bit mode but work. not much for 64 yet. The only issue I am having is the the dad gum thing not booting after it goes to sleep like many others have mentioned. I figured I could find and load the right drivers to fix the problem, but not luck yet. I think I downloaded every driver they had and then some and still it locks up after sleep mode and I have to do a cold boot then it asks if I want to start in safe mode because of a failure to shutdown properly. This is getting rediculous every morning to cold boot. Even when I power down it seems to go into sleep mode then same issue, wont power off without a holding the power button for 4 seconds. I will have to call Dell support as It has baffled me and no one else seems to have posted the actual driver that fixes this problem.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Great computer...Posted .I would recommend this to a friend
I bought this computer a couple of weeks ago. Wanted to edit video and photos. Haven't been ready to make the Mac jump yet. This computer is priced decently. Speedy with lots of RAM (8GB) and a 1.2 TB drive. It is also a fast processor. I updated all drivers from Dell's site. That improved things with the sleep problem etc. One was actually a chipset update. Make sure that you do that if you buy this one. Only two complaints really --- Video card not good. ATI seems to have driver issues with Vista x64. Card is also slow. I replaced the card with a Nvidia 9600 GT. Had to upgrade the PS to a 550 watt. Fortunately this is one of the few Dell computers that does not use a propriery PS. I don't know why Dell puts in a 350 Watt PS. No good video cards will work with it. Most require 400/450 watt. No problems with the Nvidia drivers and new card. It is also much faster with 1024 of video RAM. I also pulled my Soundblaster Platinum card from my old system and put it in the new one. Now I have an awesome system.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Great Bargain. But Dell needs to address problemPosted .I would recommend this to a friend
I know this is not a tech support site, but a review site. Still, I'm hoping someone can either help or we can all get Dell to respond. This is a great computer and the bundle with monitor and printer is an incredible bargain. The only thing that prevents me from giving it five stars overall is the crazy problem with the monitor and video card freezing up when it goes into sleep mode. To make it worse, Dell is taking forever to add the warranty to their website customer information, so I can't even e-mail them for a fix. Basically, I've resorted to turning off the sleep mode and just shutting the computer down when I'm done at night. Other than that problem -- which is pretty serious really. This is a fantastic machine and it really flies. I do a lot of photoshop and other Creative Suite applications and I no longer have the speed problems I used to have on other systems. So, yes, I recommend this product. But please -- somebody tell us how to fix the video driver issue.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
overall very pleasedPosted .I would recommend this to a friend
I could only get the DVI output to work - monitor came with VGA attached to it. I called Dell - they said I'd have to take it back to Best Buy to have it configured properly. Since the DVI works, I probably won't bother. Also couldn't get any sound out of the speakers that came with it. I tried some others that I already own (cambridge Sound works) came with a subwoofer and their own power supply - work fine. Again I'll probably not bother to take it back to Best Buy, since these work, but check into these problems first if you don't have a monitor with DVI or your own speakers.