Soph's Dissertation part 2. The chipsets might be the same but system memory isn’t, just check your memory speeds and you see that you’re using standard C3 memory. I’ve fixed more commercial machines than I can remember and I’ve yet to see one using high quality C2 memory (not all C2 memory are equal either). In other words commercial machines get the tortoise instead of the hare. A moderately thought out homemade PC is going to be better all around. The range of a CPU is equal to its fastest core member. All Northwood’s and Prescott’s have the same core regardless of their clock speed. In other words the only difference between my 2.8 Northwood and a 3.4 Northwood is just the multiplier settings made on the chip in the factory. If I could access those settings then my 2.8 would be a 3.4 GHZ and Intel would be out quite a few bucks. Since those settings are unavailable to me I have to use another method to crank up the clock. This is done by setting the front side bus speed to a higher setting which will then push, up the clock speed but then you’re also overclocking other parts of your system, including the memory. Modern boards have built in the ability to separate your front side bus from speed your PCI bus speed which has eliminated the concerns about over stressing your hard ware such as your hard disk. I can set my front side bus speed, my memory speed, and my PCI bus speed all separately, something your Dells can’t do. In days gone by when Intel manufactured a CPU, they would stress test it and that would determine its speed. After a few months however the manufacturing process became refined and then all of the chips coming off the line could hit top speed, this is called binning, same CPU with a different clock setting. In order to maintain a price point, Intel still lowered the clock speed on some chips but a few of us learned that by adjusting a few jumpers on our board we could raise the clock speed to its maximum and often a little beyond. Intel countered this by locking the clock on the chip. Since today’s processing is so refined the core of the slowest Northwood can if tweaked right, match the fastest Northwood. I’m betting that my overclocked Northwood runs cooler than your (brobear’s) at spec Prescott. The key to successful overclocking is high quality memory and cooling and factory machines don’t come with either. To sum, you can't make a racing horse out of a jackass. If you buy a Dell off the shelf the option for higher quality memory is only made available it the consumer has the forethought to ask.