The latest version of Dell's budget business OptiPlex GX100 offers easy access to its components plus management software for a corporate environment. With three open PCI slots and three open bays (two of them externally accessible), expansion room is greater than average inside this bulky, beige midsize tower. You can add drives without using tools, by inserting them through the front of the system after removing the front cover. The riser board holding the expansion slots slides out like a drawer for easier access. A sturdy case lock, chassis intrusion detection, and a network interface complete the package. Dell's business systems were rated Outstanding for reliability and Good for service in our latest reader survey.
However, the 10GB hard drive -- small by today's standards -- might fill too quickly if you install numerous applications and store multimedia files, but it shouldn't be a problem for corporate users who can back up files to a network. The basic CD-ROM drive doesn't fit snugly in the case, leaving noticeable gaps where dust can slip in. The GX100 700's manual contains only basic setup instructions, though lots of system information is available from Dell's Web site.
Equipped with a Celeron-700 processor, the GX100 C700 posted a score of 122 on our PC WorldBench 2000 tests. While not a barnburner, this Windows 98 SE machine scored a few points higher than the two similarly configured systems we have tested. The older-model TNT2-based PCI graphics board boosts the system's display capabilities beyond what the integrated Intel 810 graphics chip could manage. The 17-inch Dell E770p monitor delivered rich colours and legible text at 1024 by 768 pixels, though the text grew noticeably fuzzy at the maximum resolution of 1280 by 1024. The case's slightly flimsy side pops off easily and without tools after you press a button on the front; snapping it back on takes a fair dollop of elbow grease, however.
This basic business system provides an inexpensive building block for corporate IT departments.
Prices start at $1779 for a system with 64MB RAM, 10GB hard drive, 24X CD-ROM and 15" monitor in a small form factor chassis.
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