Unless you want to go download new drivers for NICs, display adapters, sound cards, etc., etc., each time you get a new model or brand of computer, then you will need to slipstream drivers into your images. Also you need to think about whether you'll use WDS (Windows Deployment Server), or MDT (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit). WDS is great for smaller companies that can't use full blown SCCM and don't have hundreds or thousands of computers to image each year. MDT is great for experienced users who know how to make detailed Task Sequences that will allow you to add all your drivers and applications and other tweaks based on WMI Queries. You capture info from WMI Queries off of the machines which you want to image, which can then target certain computers and grab certain driver packages based on what those machines are; meaning, you use WMI queries to get certain information off of a computer then put that in your MDT Task Sequence to look for these types of computers when you start the imaging. If these types of computers are detected then a detailed Task Sequence is kicked off that grabs the right drivers for your particular model of computer. That way you don't have to have dozens of images as you've described in your question. My experience with MDT has been pretty good, and using Dell computers in general has also given me good luck.
You don't need a different image for each piece of hardware, just a different set of driver packages per chipset, or per model. Typically a Dell X9000 (just a fake model for this example) will have the same chipset on all X9000 models with some variance based on when they are manufactured and/or purchased. If you buy 20 of them though, you should be alright to capture one image then go to the Dell website and look for the Driver CAB for the X9000 or whatever the real model is and download it and add it to your driver packages on your MDT server then add it in as part of a Task Sequence.
Please see this for an in-depth look at MDT so you can get a better grasp on what you'll need.