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Imagine you're deploying new PCs around your small office. Most are standard midtower desktop systems, but your top executives want something sleeker, and a few front-of-house personnel need space-saving systems to preserve precious desk real estate. Wouldn't it be great if all these computers shared the same configuration? That's precisely the idea behind Dell's OptiPlex GX620 business system. While our $1,723 review unit included a 17-inch flat panel and came housed in a small-form-factor case, the same configuration is available as a desktop, a midtower, or an ultra-small-form-factor PC, the last of which comes in a slim, upright case that reminds us of the tiny Dimension 5100C's. With a few exceptions, you can configure each type of system with identical features.
Our OptiPlex GX620 test system came equipped with a 64-bit-capable 3.6GHz Pentium 4 660 CPU, 512MB of RAM, and an 80GB hard drive--standard fare for a business computer. Power users can choose up to a dual-core 3.2GHz Pentium D 840, 4GB of RAM, and up to a 250GB hard drive. Going the other way, the more budget-conscious can opt for an Intel Celeron processor; thankfully, Dell won't let you configure an OptiPlex GX620 with anything less than 512MB of memory. Due to heat issues, the highest-level processors are not available in the ultra-small-form-factor case. In the desktop and midtower cases, a BTX motherboard design keeps things cool without excessive fan noise. As with most Dell home or business machines, the configuration options cover almost everything you could think of, allowing for systems that go from the entry level to the high end.
As you might expect, our small-form-factor case didn't have much room inside for expansion. The single PCI slot, the single PCI Express graphics-card slot, and the three drive bays were all filled, although two of the four memory slots remained available and easy to access. You can get inside the slim case with a simple push-button release that opens the side panel. Outside, you'll find standard connectivity options, including eight USB 2.0 ports, two of them on the front.
All four OptiPlex GX620 case designs share the same dull black-and-gray design and blunt, squared-off front panel. But at least you can tuck the small-form-factor and ultra-small-form-factor cases out of view if you use Dell's nifty optional telescoping LCD-monitor stand, which we received as part of our review system.
Our test system, running Windows XP Pro, included a USB keyboard and optical mouse plus a 17-inch LCD monitor, the Dell UltraSharp 1704FPT. It also included a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive and a floppy drive. You can opt for a double-layer DVD burner or a basic CD-ROM drive, but Dell does not offer an optional flash-card reader.
Our system also came with ATI's midrange 128MB Radeon X600 SE graphics card, which provides plenty of firepower for business applications; however, we wish Dell had made a few higher-end graphics cards available, at least for those who choose the midtower case. You can upgrade to the full (non-SE) X600 card, which has double the video memory. Still, for any business besides a design shop or some other creative company that does intensive graphics work, the X600 SE provides more than enough graphics muscle. If your budget precludes a graphics card, you'll rely on Intel's integrated GMA950 graphics, which will suffice for standard office apps.
In terms of performance, the Dell OptiPlex GX620 is certainly fast enough for running productivity software and creating presentations, but our system fell short of other PCs we've tested with the same processor. The Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 9900 Pro, despite being marketed as a gaming system, uses the same Pentium 4 660 but turned in scores 11 percent faster than the OptiPlex GX620 in CNET's BAPCo SysMark 2004 application benchmarks. A more business-oriented system, the MPC ClientPro 565, performed 5 percent faster, even with the less powerful Pentium 4 560 CPU. Both the Cyberpower and the MPC benefited from having 1GB RAM as opposed to the 512MB in our OptiPlex. You could also configure a Dell Dimension 9100, a high-end consumer model, for around the same price. Our slightly more expensive 9100 used a 3.2GHz Pentium D 840 processor and showed a 7 percent speed advantage. By choosing one of the many available 64-bit CPUs, you can ensure that your company's PCs won't get left behind with the release of Windows Vista and other 64-bit software.
Unlike with Dell's consumer models, you cannot opt for anything more or less than a three-year onsite warranty, although you can upgrade to the Business Standard Plan, which adds priority service for $69, or to the Business Essential Plan, which adds same-day onsite service for $268. All service plans include access to online support and 24/7 phone support. Even the most basic option is a far cry from those available on Dell's home systems, where the standard warranty is down to a mere 90 days.
|BAPCo's SysMark 2004 rating||SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
|Half-Life 2 1,024x768 4XAA 8XAF|
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Cyberpower Gamer Infinity 9900 Pro
Windows XP Home SP2; 3.6GHz Intel P4 660; Intel 925X chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra (PCIe); two WDC WD740GD-00FLX0 74GB 10,000rpm Serial ATA; integrated Silicon SiI 3114 SoftRAID 5 controller (RAID 0)
Dell Dimension 9100
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 3.2GHz Intel Pentium D 840; Intel 945GP chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 (PCIe); two WDC WD160JD-75HBB0 160GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801GR/GH Serial ATA RAID Controller (RAID 0)
Dell OptiPlex GX620
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.6GHz Intel P4 660; Intel 945G chipset; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 128MB ATI Radeon X600 SE (PCIe); Seagate ST380013AS 80GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
Windows XP Home SP2; 3.4GHz Intel P4 550; Intel 915G chipset; 1,024MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; 128MB Nvidia GeForce 6600 (PCIe); WDC WD2000JD-22HBB0 200GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA
MPC ClientPro 565
Windows XP Professional SP2; 3.6GHz Intel P4 560; Intel 925XCV chipset; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 5750 Ultra (PCIe); two Seagate ST3200822AS 200GB 7,200rpm Serial ATA; integrated Intel 82801FR Serial ATA RAID controller