Delta Tablesaw Question

I'm in the market for a table saw for my home shop, and I have a couple questions about the tools that are available in my price range. (<$500+/-100). I intend to use this tool mainly to make relatively small household pieces (display boxes, cutting boards, small picture frames, etc.), but there are a couple of larger jobs I have in mind as well (some shelving, a workbench, and a vent hood for finishing work). Based on this, I don't expect to be making deep cuts through hardwood any time soon, if ever. I also don't expect to do much more than occasional processing of large pieces of sheet wood. (Most of that I'll have done at the lumber yard).
So, this has led me to believe that a Delta 36-650, -444, or -430 10" contractor's saw might be a good fit. Since I'm a beginner (aside from a couple years of HS wood shop class), I don't really expect that I'd be able to immediately appreciate the true benefits of a cabinet saw, even if it was in the cards to drop a couple grand on a tool. In contrast, a lot of the lower-end tools I've seen at local retailers look quite limiting, even to my eye: Plastic/Aluminum contstruction and universal motors don't exactly inspire a lot of confidence.
So, if anybody has any feedback on the models of Delta saws I mentioned above, I'd appreciate it greatly. As I understand things from my groups.google research, the saws stack up like so:
-650 * Made in Taiwan * Uni-rip fence * 1.5hp at 115/230 -444 * Made in the states * Uni-rip fence * 1.5hp at 115, but 2 hp at 230 (I have 230/20A service) * The base saw of the -4xx series * Better blade than the -650 * 25lb lighter than the -650
-430 (or is it -467) * A -444 modified to fit into one box
From this, I have a couple questions:
* Is it correct to say that the -444 will develop more power than the -650, when wired for 230V? Will this matter for my use cases?
* What's the significance of the 25 pounds of additional weight of the -650? Will this materially stabilize the saw any?
* Is the -444 saw materially more likely to be upgradable with additional parts later on (fences, jigs, etc.)
* Is it possible to fit effective dust management on either of these saws?
* Are there any "hidden" differences in construction that would cause one saw to be prefered over the other? Based on the parts lists' exploded views of the saws, most of the guts of the two saws look the same. (But I haven't seen a -444 in person.)
Thanks for any advice you can offer, If there are any other saws in this price range that are worth considering, I'd appreciate hearing about those, as well.
-Mike
--
http://www.mschaef.com

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Mike
I just got a new Delta saw here in Canada. Its not a true cabinet saw just a "contractor" with a cabinet around but I cant get over the quality of the product for the price...including fence (which I like by the way) was 899 Canadian $....so I think that translates to about 600 to 650 or so in real American bucks. Take a look on the Delta Woodworking site and search for product 36-655...
Hope this gives you a start on your search for a new centerpiece for your shop.
Ken Burlington, Ontario, Canada (eh!!!)

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Yeah, that was my take away from looking at the -650K over at Lowes. The trunion castings looked of high quality, and the blade looked rigidly mounted. The fence, which I think was a Uni-Rip, had a little play in the far end, but it looked completely servicable. I'm willing to measure my rips with a square, and use a block to fix the end of the fence in place, if either of those turn out problematic.

It does, thanks a lot.
-Mike
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Mike I have to agree with Ken. I got the 36-650C contractor saw in Canada for $750.00 in January 02. For an offshore product it performs very well and I have been very pleased with it.(The fence on the 655 looks much better however). One word of advise is to change the v belt to link belt (Lee Valley cat. page 99). You will be amazed how much this reduces vibration and improves the cut quality. Dave, in Nova Scotia.
Ken in Canada wrote:

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Agreed Link belt makes such a difference to vibration...Love this 655 saw glad to hear youre pleased with yours as well
Ken

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