Dell Optiplex 790 review
A well-designed and capable business PC that’s efficient with energy as well as desk space
Review Date: 26 Aug 2011
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £619 (£743 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
We’ve been regularly impressed by the practical designs of Dell’s OptiPlex range, but the new OptiPlex 790 is a novelty – it’s one of the smallest business PCs we’ve seen.
Though it may look like a toy, it’s far from flimsy. Businesslike plastic façade aside, the chassis is built from sturdy sheet metal. Its solid construction and matte finish give reassurance that the OptiPlex will withstand the knocks and scuffs of office life as well as its larger cousins.
It has a decent amount of power too. Our review sample featured a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2400S – the suffix signifying the low-power version of Intel’s 32nm chip. It still has Turbo Boost though, with one core able to reach a maximum of 3.3GHz. In our Real World Benchmarks the system achieved an overall score of 0.7, indicating plenty of power for desktop applications – though it’s some distance behind the 0.9 and above we’d expect from a full-power Core i5-2500 system.
The integrated HD Graphics 2000 chip is also more than ample for office tasks, but it won’t allow for after-hours gaming. It proved a little shaky when running 1080p clips, too, although 720p footage played flawlessly.
Still, the big advantage of this lightweight CPU is very low power consumption. Using an inline power meter we recorded our review system idling at only 15W, rising to a still frugal 51W during stress tests.
Another interesting component is the Seagate Momentus XT hard disk – a hybrid drive offering 500GB of platter-based storage, supplemented with 4GB of solid-state memory as a hard disk cache. It’s a similar idea to Intel’s Smart Response Technology (ISRT), featured in the recently released Z68 chipset. The real-world effectiveness of such caching systems isn’t always fully captured by benchmarks, but in our tests the Momentus XT achieved average large-file write and read speeds of 152.3MB/sec and 136.8MB/sec. That’s perfectly fast enough for business use, but some way behind our A-List favourite, Samsung’s all-mechanical Spinpoint F3 1TB, which managed 208MB/sec and 138MB/sec.
The Optiplex range are generally really reliable well built powerhouses.
With the choice of sizes available you really cant go wrong.
I like the understated design.
By Gindylow on 26 Aug 2011
Is that really a serial port I see above the VGA socket?
By JohnGray7581 on 27 Aug 2011
Certainly looks like one and actually a good move. There are still plenty of specialist equipment that uses them and usb converters quite often do not work.
Optiplex in general also seem to go nm forever. Most of the ones at my office are gx280s so are, what, 6/7 years old now? Full of dust but still gamely carry on each day!
By bit_byte on 27 Aug 2011
How is this better than the previous A lister
The previous A-Lister, the lenovo, has a faster processor and is cheaper than this. Thus, how did this win, even considering it uses slightly less power.
By PC746 on 30 Aug 2011
Does it have esata
Does this have esata?
By PC746 on 30 Aug 2011
- Whitman's HP salary bumped from $1 to $1.5 million
- Microsoft considered 100 candidates for CEO role
- GCHQ should have more oversight of Huawei
- Google might ditch Intel for its own server chips
- Microsoft patches TIFF flaw in next Patch Tuesday
- Microsoft expands encryption over NSA spying "threat"
- UK Cloud Awards 2014: nominations now open
- BlackBerry says "we're still alive" as sales hit new low
- Has HP turned a corner?
- Adobe admits it's struggling to notify hack victims
- Play it again: Berlin's Computer Game Museum
- Switching from iPhone to Android: what I miss, what I don't
- Tech City: Easy to score when you move the goalposts
- How to remove SkyDrive from the Windows 8.1 Explorer
- Switching from iPhone to Android? Switch off iMessage
- Why is Google pumping more money into Firefox?
- Sky Broadband Shield review
- Samsung Galaxy S4: how to double your battery life
- Motorola Moto G review: first look
- IBM Watson meets Willy Wonka
- gTLDs: what your business should know about new domain names
- Can Microsoft survive? A look at servers and tools
- Can Microsoft survive? The future of Office
- A real-world guide to business VoIP
- Sack your PA: how to stay on top of your work life
- Power lies with the internet giants, not the governments
- Software subscriptions return us to a life of servitude
- How to get a job in cloud computing
- Are today's tech start-ups simply get-rich-quick schemes?
- Choosing the right tablet for business
- Jon Honeyball's money's-no-object Christmas gift idea
- The importance of load balancing
- Windows Phone App Studio: an easy way to create your first Windows Phone 8 app
- The end of Windows XP support: what it really means for businesses
- Don't rely on Chrome's password vault
- Using Buffer to manage your social media
- Microsoft needs its own Steve Jobs
- Forget credit cards: hackers want your Facebook account
- Can't get fast enough broadband? Here's what to do
- Leap Motion and the battle against UI stagnation