Dell Optiplex 755
- Easy release side panel, vPro technology, good performance for an office PC
- Not as small as the Lenovo ThinkCentres we've tested, or the Acer Veriton range; no e-SATA or FireWire
We like the trend towards a power saving focus, though there's little we can attribute to this machine that hasn't been used before. Regardless, it's a promising step forward. Performance-wise this machine does well, though the lack of e-SATA and FireWire is a shame.
Price$ 1,882.00 (AUD)
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A competitor for products like the Lenovo ThinkCentre and the Acer Veriton, the Dell Optiplex 755 aims for lower power more than greater performance. It certainly performed well in our tests for a business PC, but it's lacking a few of the perks found in competing brands.
It's no surprise, given the current trends, and the massive overheads associated with running a large computer-powered office, that more emphasis is being placed on the power efficiency and power-per-watt performance of computer technology.
Dell has even gone so far as to place an energy calculator on its Web site, theoretically allowing you to calculate the cost savings and carbon emission reduction of using a newer model over an older Optiplex GX620, which uses an Intel Pentium D with a 17in CRT monitor.
One of the main reasons for these implied energy savings is Dell's choice of processors, in this case the Optiplex 755 uses an Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz CPU with a 1333MHz front side bus and a 4MB L2 cache. Although Intel Core 2 architecture is not the answer to the world's energy problems, they do have a more efficient power-per-watt performance. The machine has been given an Energy star 4.0 rating, which also means it includes an 80 plus power supply, a power supply that will run at a minimum of 80 per cent efficiency. Our review model includes a 22in widescreen monitor. A total 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM is also installed, giving this machine a fair bit of power, especially for a standard workstation PC.
Performance-wise this gives the Optiplex an edge over the Lenovo ThinkCentres we've currently reviewed, and also the Acer Veriton, but it has nothing on them for size. The Optiplex 755 is a small form factor PC, and employs the standard Optiplex design, which allows the user to stand it on its end or flat, but it's still only marginally smaller than a normal mini-tower ATX case.
That said it's small enough to fit on a desk alongside a monitor, which is what it's designed to do. The façade offers a number of easy connectivity options, including two USB 2.0 ports, access to the DVD-RW drive, as well as a set of headphone and microphone ports. On the rear port cluster you'll find another four USB 2.0 ports and a couple of legacy ports including a serial and parallel port, but is missing e-SATA and even FireWire, something we've started to see in business units.
Maintenance is made easier with a single latch release for the side panel. There is little room to upgrade, but the addition of another 2GB of RAM is possible, as well as some extra PCI devices. If you were so inclined, it's possible to utilise Intel's vPro active management technology, a feature of the latest Intel systems that allows remote maintenance and updates. The system is built to run under the operating system and can even be accessed when the computer is off or the operating system isn't functioning. If used, vPro could possibly reduce desk-side maintenance trips and would certainly make important updates faster and easier to implement across a large fleet of machines.
In our benchmarks we saw fairly impressive results for a workstation. In WorldBench 6 the Optiplex scored a solid 105, suggesting it's up to the usual swathe of office applications, including some video or photo editing. Naturally e-mailing and word processing will run smoothly. In our MP3 encoding tests we also saw a good performance from the CPU. Converting 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files took just 62sec in iTunes (which uses both cores of the CPU. Using Cdex (which uses just one core) took 100sec.
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