Written on: 04/01/2007 by JulioF (1 review written)
The mini-tower version I have has been reliable for several years now. No burnouts, and reasonably snappy response times in most applications. The case is very easy to open and close - just has a button on opposing sides which needs to be depressed, and it opens like a champ! It is also easy to add additional hard drives.
I ordered the video capture package of the day. The software was fine (Videowave), but the capture device (Dazzle) was a total waste, in that it constantly failed to synchronize audio to video. Many users reported similar results. Dell should never have sold that device... bad! The resolution to the problem, for me, was to purchase a Canopus ADVC-100 capture device, which has worked wonderfully from day one. All is in sync now, even when recording two or three hours of video! Also, one of the fans occasionally "goes loud" for a day or two (maybe once every two months), but not a big deal. And the placement of the front USB ports is horrendous, near the bottom of the case, and angled so that you need to insert the device at an awkward angle, from the bottom-up at about a 30 degree angle from vertical. Why those ports weren't designed for horizontal insertion is a mystery.
I am very happy overall with the Dell Dimension 8200 computer itself. Delivery was prompt. The internal layout is fine, with drives being held by easy-to-use clamps rather than screws. The bootup time gradually increased, with boots taking typically 3 - 5 minutes, but this is a WinXP issue. I found that the bootup time became much faster after I deleted ALL the files in the /WINDOWS/PREFETCH/ folder, then modified this registry setting:
Session ManagerMemory ManagementPrefetchParametersEnablePrefetcher
... set to 2 to prefetch boot files only. This speeded up the boot process, probably because WinXP didn't need to load or parse through the scads of files which existed in there prior to being deleted.