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Personally, i wouldn't recommend this tower for home use. Coupled with the specs and price this computer would be best used as an office or school computer. Which means these would be the computers in the computer labs or the ones that students or employees would be using mainly, nothing special about them really. A really small HDD means that if you did buy this for home use an upgrade would probably be required, but it is good for office and or school network use because students and employees wouldn't be saving the heavy stuff to the HDD such as games and programs. From the aspect of the internal parts i like this computer because it is very easy to navigate after you open it up. If there is a problem with something inside it is very easy to open and examine unlike other computers. Also, even though it has a very small HDD i did appreciate the 4 GB RAM when i used this computer. Secondly, upgrades come fairly cheap for this computer.
I recently purchased one of these desktops for my home and I was very happy with the performance. I have been using dell computers for years, and this is one of my favorite ones so far.
I mainly bought this computer because it was a mini-tower. I wanted something small for my room, and this replaced a bulky case that was previously in my desk. Even though the computer is small, it still has 6 usb ports (4 in the back, 2 in the front), so I was able to hook up my mouse and keyboard, as well as leaving in my cable for my digital camera and my iPod.
My computer came with Windows 7, and everything works very fast. I'm not seeing any lag time when I open any programs, and I can run multiple programs due to the high amount of RAM that it has (4gb).
I have plenty of space on my hard drive, even after I transferred all of my files from my previous computer over to the new one. I'm not sure if I will be able to fill it all, but at least it is there in case I want to!
Overall, this is a great computer for the price. This is really good for any college student in a small space that needs a powerful PC.
Working in the IT Refurbishment sector means that I come across many weird and wonderful PC's. Dell seems to be the choice of many corporate organisations at the moment. I myself have always found dell to be the strongest and most reliable brand when it comes to Desktop PC's.
As with pretty much all of Dell PC's nowadays they try to make servicing them as easy as possible with the majority of components being installed via caddys so the need for removing screws is minimal.
The PC's themselves are usually Socket 775 P4 2.8GHz with at least 512MB DDR II RAM, 160GB Sata HDD and a slimline optical drive which is usually a COMBO cd-rw/dvd-rom drive. The operating system the majority come shipped with is Windows XP Pro.
The Motherboard: As with all of dell's motherboards they are based around a modified intel chipset which provides the user with a reliable and robust machine with alot of processing power. The chipset dell has opted for in this model is Intel 945G Chipset which offers support for 2GB of RAM via the two DDR slots on the motherboard. If you opt for the next model up however (GX620) then you can install 4GB of ram via the 4 slots on the motherboard. The motherboard also has the integrated graphics (intel 950) controller, on-board audio controller, and gigabit lan which is a good feaature to have considering the increasing data speeds.
Cosmetics: This model comes in three different chassis. 'The one shown on this review is the small form, you can also get the desktop and mini-tower. As with most dell products you take one look at it and you know it's a dell just by the styling of the case. Also the fact that it's got dell embossed into the side panel is a give-away as well :) It looks professional, neat and tidy.
Reliability and Performance: Has to be one of the best I have come across. The speed of this machine is noticable compared to it's predecessor Dell GX280 which used the intel 915 chipset, everything just runs that little bit quicker and smoother. Reliability is also strong although I have had a couple of power supplies die on me (as with every other model I've refurbished).
The ideal choice for business or home user's, not for gamer's unless you stick a decent graphics card into the machine please note that it only has 1 or 2 pci slots which are low profile in the small form cases and there is no AGP slot or PCI Express. Try and go for it's older brother GX620 a couple of more features.
As a company, we probably have about 2000 Dell PCs situated across all sites. I have had the Optiplex GX520 for almost a year now without any problem of any description. Mine is primarily used for writing software with Visual Studio and writing database code in MS SQL Server which affects millions of rows of data. These applications would really test the machine to the limits but how would it perform? As this machine was bought as part of a batch, the price paid would not be the same as you would pay for a single unit. I would expect to pay around the £500 mark if buying from the Dell website.
-- Looks --
The Optiplex comes in Dells standard black coloured case. On the front there is a DVD Rom / CDRW drive and a floppy disk drive (which is a rarity these days, mine has never been used). Add to this 2 USB2 ports, a headphone socket and a microphone socket and it soon becomes apparent that you can perform most functions you will need to without even getting to the back of the PC.
On the back of the PC, there are a further 6 USB2 slots, an ethernet port for connecting to a local area network, 1 serial ports, 1 parallel printer port, mains power, onboard graphics and 2 PCI expansion slots for adding further devices such as dedicated graphics or sound cards.
The case is very compact. measuring 15 inches by 13 inches.
My system came with the Dell 1907FPt monitor which is not standard for this system. I have written a seperate review of this product so wont mention it here.
-- Under the bonnet --
My system shipped with a 3Ghz Pentium 4 Processor which is capable of hyperthreading (the processor can perform more than one task at a time by allocating portions of its processing time to each task).
There is 1Gb of DDR Ram installed which ensures the system runs very smoothly when handling the large amounts of data I mentioned earlier. If you are planning to run Vista with this system, I'd recomment paying a little bit more and upgrading to 2Gb.
I went for a serial ATA 300Gb disk which was not part of the standard system specification. This disk would be adequate for most business users, even ones who handle large volumes of data.
The Intel onboard graphics are adequate for business use but if you are buying this machine with the intention of playing games then you are going to struggle to get high resolution. For this purpose I would recommend buying a dedicated graphics card.
Onboard sounds will be fine for most people. Dedicated gamers however would probably want to upgrade to a dedicated sound card for the ultimate gaming experience.
Boot time is extremely fast with Windows XP Professional, even with all my application software loaded. From turn on time to the login screen is probably just over a minute. The fan on these machines is also very quiet. There are 6 of these machines in my office and the noise output is very low, even when all 6 are running at the same time.
--The Verdict --
Dell are a worldwide brand which means that you will get all the support you will ever need should you encounter any problems with this system. I certainly think this would be a definate purchase for a business user but I'd probably point the games users and media hungry users in another direction as the graphics and sound cards will not be up to speed with the latest technology.
I have no problem using state of the art applications like Visual Studio and MS SQL server when processing millions of rows. This machine would be suitable for the IT professional or the general admin user.