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Dell Optiplex 390 review

Dell Optiplex 390

Verdict

It might not be the most exciting mini desktop PC, but it's one of the most cost-effective and practical

Review Date: 5 Mar 2012

Reviewed By: George Cole

Price when reviewed: £369 (£443 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The Optiplex 390 can be purchased in several form factors: as a mini tower, desktop, or as in this case, a mini desktop PC. In the last form, the Optiplex 390 is compact and feels solid and rugged enough for any classroom, which you’d expect when it weighs almost 6Kg.

The PC can be used in a tower or desktop configuration, but whichever way you use it, it doesn’t take up a great deal of desk space, so there’s a fair bit of flexibility when it comes to deploying it in the classroom.

The Optiplex 390 comes with a full-size keyboard and mouse and both feel reassuringly solid. Depending on your tastes, the PC’s front panel is clean and uncluttered, or rather austere: there are just two USB 2 ports, headphone and microphone jacks and a DVD rewriter. We like the lack of clutter, but it’s a pity that a multi-reader card slot wasn’t included – there’s certainly space for one, but it’s only available for the desktop and tower versions of the Optiplex 390.

Dell Optiplex 390

Around the back are eight more USB ports – six of which are USB 2 and two USB 3 – plus VGA, HDMI and Ethernet ports. The inclusion of USB 3 ports provides some form of future-proofing, which is increasingly important for schools, as budget considerations mean that many institutions are replacing their IT equipment over a longer cycle. It’s also good to see Dell offering a next-business-day, on-site warranty with this PC.

The Optiplex 390 has a 2.1GHz Intel Core i3 2100 processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory and Intel HD graphics, so there’s no shortage of processing power on offer. The PC Pro benchmark score of 0.67 is perfectly credible. The lack of a dedicated graphics chipset might be disappointing for any students looking to play games, but the Dell won’t have any issues running basic 3D programs or HD video. Sound quality was impressive too, and while we’re on the subject of audio, the Optiplex 390 runs very quietly indeed.

The Optiplex 390 may lack the stylish pizzazz of Apple’s Mini mac, but then again, it’s much cheaper and gives you more flexibility when it comes to configuration. If you want a robust, no-nonsense mini desktop PC that can handle classroom IT tasks with ease, then the Dell is well worth considering.

Author: George Cole

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User comments

Classroom ?

It seems that every day there is a review that talks about how the item would fair in a classroom.

It was mildly interesting to start with, but now is just annoying.

Can we stop this, or has pc pro somehow become the title of choice for school procurement decisions ?

By fussy_joe on 6 Mar 2012

Classroom ?

It seems that every day there is a review that talks about how the item would fair in a classroom.

It was mildly interesting to start with, but now is just annoying.

Can we stop this, or has pc pro somehow become the title of choice for school procurement decisions ?

By fussy_joe on 6 Mar 2012

@ fussy_joe missing the point (3rd time round)

From my reply to another comment of yours, where you say

"Please see my earlier post...please stop this school stuff...

Look at the verdit...who does this reviewer think the readers of pc pro are ?

we dont buy equipment for schools."

These reviews, which all came out at around the same time, are obviously from a review round-up from the print mag, on mini PCs for a school environment.

Look, here's even a link to the article the reviews come from:

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/373315/buyers-guid
e-to-mini-desktop-pcs

And I used to work in a school for 6 years - we and many of my colleagues in surrounding schools used PC Pro as a valuable research resource.

But thank you for dismissing us as unworthy of reading PC Pro - I mean, we're (were) only IT Professionals in the public sector. It's not like we had proper degrees, or experience, or needs or anything...

By bioreit on 24 Mar 2012

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