Dell Optiplex 9010 review

Dell tries to provide enterprise users with an all-in-one business machine in the form of the Optiplex. Can the 23in device de-throne the popular iMac range?

Performance

Dell offers no easy way to upgrade this machine by yourself so, when it comes to the specification, you're going to have to think of the long term. The Core i5-3550S chipset on offer is more than up to the task of performing. It's the second-best of Intel's low-power desktop chips, and its four cores are given a helping hand by Intel's Turbo Boost technology - and its 3GHz stock speed is nothing to argue about, either. Its overall benchmark result of 0.89 is excellent, and puts it in the upper echelon of all-in-one performance.

Other components are high-end too. There's 4GB of RAM, a 1TB, 7,200rpm Seagate Barracuda hard disk and a Blu-ray reader drive. Connectivity comes from a dual-band 802.11n wireless chip, and there's Gigabit Ethernet.

It's not possible to open and upgrade the Optiplex like you'd be able to even with a laptop/

The only real disappointment comes from Intel's HD Graphics 2500 core. It's a step up from the HD Graphics 2000 chip used in Sandy Bridge-based Core i5s, but it still won't make more demanding graphical applications run smoothly. In our Low-quality Crysis test run at 1,366 x 768, for instance, it ran at 43fps, with this score dropping to 25fps when the test was run at native resolution. Dell has informed us that a lower cost Core i5 chip with HD Graphics 4000 will become available soon.

Little surprises about power consumption or heat, either: the processor's peak temperature of 67 degrees is nothing to worry about, and the top power draw of 97W is impressively modest.

Upgrades and options

Although the OptiPlex 9010 AIO is not as serviceable as OptiPlex desktops, it is possible to access and upgrade the hard drive, memory and optical drive. Unlike Apple iMacs, you won't void your warranty if you open up the OptiPlex and Dell does provide documentation to assist users when it comes to servicing and upgrading components.

Dell also provides comprehensive options when it comes to choosing specifications.

Two low-power processors are available, with the Core i7-3770S available for an extra 70 - and, impressively, Dell is offering the Core i5-3570S for absolutely nothing. Doubling the memory to 8GB costs 87, and installing the maximum available amount, 16GB, adds 259 to the price and lends the Optiplex more memory than we're used to seeing in all but the most powerful workstations.

The storage options on offer are extensive. The 1TB hard disk can be doubled for an extra 53, and it's also possible to upgrade to either solid-state or hybrid drives. It costs 60 for a 128GB SSD or you can opt for a 500GB hard drive alongside an SSD cache for faster access, for 20 extra.

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