The UEFI BIOS makes changing settings a breeze, using the mouse to navigate a graphical display. The fast dual-core CPU combined with new-generation DDR3 RAM make multitasking easy, and the tried-and-true, well-proven chassis design is flawless.
The fan can be loud under load. The unit itself is heavy, and the side panel can be somewhat difficult to put back into place. Not as tool-less as could be accomplished. Expansion is limited by size, and doesn't support twin-bay graphics cards.
This is an extremely well-put-together computer, but lacks a lot of the serviceability of its predecessors. It is evident that dell is focusing less on ease of repair and more on making required repairs not as frequent. Whereas the OptiPlex line from the early to mid 2000's had removable ... Read full review
This is an extremely well-put-together computer, but lacks a lot of the serviceability of its predecessors. It is evident that dell is focusing less on ease of repair and more on making required repairs not as frequent. Whereas the OptiPlex line from the early to mid 2000's had removable power supply and motherboard without the use of tools, that is not possible with the new BTX chassis. Customization is limited, but not much would really be needed because the system incorporates HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA for video, and USB 2.0 and eSATA for external connections, making connectivity not a problem. The chassis also includes a broader range of audio options, with two ports on the front instead of one. The system can now use the external 3.5" drive for more than just a floppy drive, and a popular pick would be a media card reader. CPU options are also much broader, with a selection ranging from the budget-minded single-core Celeron to the powerhouse four-core Intel Core 2 Quad, with Intel still shining as the star industry performer. All drives now utilize the new SATA 3Gb/s connection, meaning CD/DVD read/write speeds are high, as well as hard drive access speeds. The hard drive options are no longer small-capacity like the OptiPlex models of the past, and the computers can be equipped with up to two drives ranging from 160GB to 500GB each. For BIOS configuration, the technical-looking blue-and-white screen navigated by keystrokes is gone, and has been replaced by a sleek UEFI graphical window that appears like a software program. Settings are changed by using the mouse like you would in the operating system, with clickable buttons and drop-down menus. The memory options come in a selection of DDR3 memory options, and unlike systems of the past which were limited to 8GB of 800MHz DDR2, this system can be equipped with up to 16GB of 1066MHz DDR3, making for a seriously fast and efficient multi-tasking environment. Operating system options come in the way of Windows XP and Windows Vista (both of which are non-standard and must be paid extra for) or a new Dell OEM copy of the state-of-the-art Windows 7, either the 32-bit or 64-bit version or Professional Edition. The external appearance of the case is a bold yet pleasing look, with the grid pattern of the PowerEdge series illustrated here in black. The side panels are metal, and are painted a grayish color, which while being somewhat bland, also appears calming. The new USB mouse could use some ergonomics work, but the keyboard is just as comfortable as previous models, however this time now has a bolder, thinner look and a new rolling volume control (as opposed to the twist-action style of years past). The monitor options are great, with both widescrean and fullscrean options available, all in the color scheme of the new mini-tower. Of course, Dell continues to offer both desktop-standing speakers as well as its famous monitor-attached speaker SoundBar option. Audio is better-sounding than ever. Warranty options are longer than any previous OptiPlex model, and that is a promising note. Also present is the option for a Wireless-B/A/G/N PCI-E x1 adapter card with an external antennae, making this a very flexible computer in the way of pre-configuration. The standard Gigabit ethernet port is there, as well. Like previous models, you can have a FireWire card added, too. Although two-bay video cards are not supported, the options available can still pack a punch, but it must be noted that this computer was not designed for graphical and media work, only flexibility, adaptability, stability, and reliability. It accomplishes all of these, and even though has a few rough areas for Dell to work on, it is still a star performer with outstanding specs for its time and price. I would highly recommend this machine.