More on Dell’s Inspiron 530

Earlier this week I mentioned my saga getting accurate information about memory support for the Dell Inspiron 530. After a BIOS update, I was indeed able to get Windows Server 2008 to recognize all 4 GB of installed RAM. But wait, it gets better.

Newegg has 2GB SDRAM DDR2 800 modules available for $37 each, so I picked up a pair. With shipping, the price tag was under $80. They arrived yesterday, and I swapped them for two of the 1GB modules in the Inspiron 530. According to the manual for this machine, the maximum memory supported is 4GB. But this system had no trouble recognizing the new RAM.


This motherboard will reportedly recognize up to 8GB, when used with a 64-bit OS. With three VMs running (Vista Ultimate and Server 2008 with 1GB each and XP SP3 with 512MB), I’m using a total of 3.61GB. With the new memory, I have room for two or three more VMs.

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with this machine. It’s very small and ultra-quiet. It has room for two internal drives, and I could easily add an external SATA drive with an inexpensive eSATA adapter. I added a Gigabit Ethernet card in place of the onboard 10/100 Ethernet adapter, but stuck with the integrated audio and video, which are just fine for a server.

Dell is currently selling this machine, with a 2.4 GHz quad-core CPU (Intel Q6600), 3GB of RAM, and a 500GB drive, for $499 (offer ends April 16). That configuration includes XP Home; it can be upgraded to XP Professional for $20. It’s a pretty amazing bargain at that price.

19 thoughts on “More on Dell’s Inspiron 530

  1. Wow….I thought you missed the 1 in front of $499. Thats quite amazing; and even if you swap in Vista and a dedicated graphics card, its still a great deal

  2. I’ve been sitting on the fence of whether I needed a new test box myself, at this price I have to do it.

  3. Dan, that’s correct. But of course a copy of XP would qualify you for a Vista license at upgrade prices; right now, Home Premium is $99 as upgrade. Or you could use a TechNet or MSDN subscription. I also hear there are some people who prefer XP to Vista. πŸ˜‰ The $20 upgrade to XP Pro is a great deal.

  4. It’s funny – when you posted your original comment and mentioned that a quad core machine was available for $500, I went looking at what was available. It’s definitely a great deal.

  5. Ed, thanks for pointing out this deal. I was looking for a drop-in replacement for an older Dell, and this machine fits the bill perfectly. I ordered it today.

    @Dan: I don’t know if this is new or not since you posted your comment, but I notice Vista is available on the Inspiron 530 now, just not for this price.

  6. I’ve ordered one too – I was hoping to get windows xp 64 bit for it but they won’t do 64bit from Dell – so I’ll probably end up running W2k8 on it. It’s going to be my virtual machine testbed so I wanted something beefy – this is ideal for this price – almost tempted to get two!

  7. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I bought one yesterday and expect it to be here next week πŸ˜€

    If only I could have had Vista Ultimate installed, it would be perfect!

    Also on this deal, you can get Adobe Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements for $99 together… an awesome deal!

    It also says the deal ends in November 2008, not April 16th.

  8. Cory, glad you were able to get this. The description of the deal (here) says it’s a “limited time offer.” No end date, and typically discounts like this last a week or two at the most. My original source for this one said it’s good till April 16th, so we’ll see.

  9. Best deal is under home page -Products-Desktops-SMART VALUES you can configure any of four 530 with XP home or pro.
    Example: no monitor using ed’s link to dell is $779 for what I want.
    22 inch monitor is now $280. Total of $1059

    But using the smart values link I configured the SAME identical features (to the t) with the 22 inch monitor and it was only $999! Therefore monitor is only $200!

    It all depends on what you want in features but look at both before buying. Maybe saves a few bucks.

    Thanks for the tip Ed!

  10. Oops, Dell has now estimates a delay in my shipment until 04/25/2008. Cites “undue demand from Ed Bott”. πŸ™‚

  11. Got the machine early and I like it a lot. I wish I had made the cut for XP SP3, but no matter. The BIOS update was already done, and I spent a few hours applying all the security updates. The only issue I’ve found so far is that the machine bluescreens a few seconds after resuming from StandBy. CNet VersionTracker Pro (non registered) says I need three driver updates: Intel 10/100 network, Intel graphics, and Realtek sound, but I’ve appiled those from the Dell site, and the versions there are the same as what I already had. Ed, do you think I’ll need to do something similar to what you did to force the upgrade from another source, perhaps directly from Intel? I don’t use StandBy much, but I would like to get it resolved.

  12. Stephen, I always use the drivers from Intel’s website rather than the Dell-supplied ones. The bluescreen error should give you a clue about where the error is occurring, but I suspect that replacing the two Intel drivers would be sufficient, even leaving the Realtek driver as is.

    You can find links from my Vista Master Driver List:

  13. Ed – have you been able to get RAID1 working on this with Server 2008? The Intel Matrix drivers make no mention of it.

  14. Justin, I don’t really need RAID1 on this server, so haven’t been motivated to try. I’m unlikely to do so, either, as the system is working well right now and the last thing I need is another science project!

    Have you checked in at the Dell Community forums?

  15. Ed,
    Came across your post after I had already ordered the Inspiron 530 to use as a home server. Like you, I’m running it as a VM host and was able to add 8GB RAM. Got a great deal on a a quad core Q9300 from Dell for $559 and then added 8 GB RAM and gigabit ethernet, without any problems. Now I’ve got a home test server farm for not that much money. Here’s a link to my configuration in case others may want to upgrade:

    Thanks for the helpful info on your site.

  16. I recently purchased a “refurbished” (can’t tell) 530 from the Dell outlet and can confirm that this machine will take a full 8GB of RAM and Vista 64.

    I actually found this post which gave me the confidence to upgrade the RAM from the link provided. Also upgraded the video card to Geforce 8800 GT and power supply to 700w. This machine is SMOKIN’ now. Seriously. Love it.

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