Dell Optiplex 380 vs Others

For small-form factor PCs and the (extremely small) people who love them.

Moderators: mac_h8r1, Nelliesboo

Dell Optiplex 380 vs Others

Postposted on Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:29 pm

The recent 'podcast' on TR had information about the Zotac barebones system, which seemed interesting enough, and the price is nice and below 300.00 (considering no HDD/OS/Ram). I just put together a little 380 on dell's site and came out with 470.00 total (133.00 "Instant Saving" ohhh ahhhh".. right.

Considering that neither of these come with a monitor, and we wouldn't need one.... I'm trying to figure out what would work best for my client. In my opinion, I have to repair Dell's far to much to recommend them. However, this particular guy has used dells forever and really thinks the sun shines out their ass. I've had tons of luck with their servers, rock solid.. but their desktops are a different story.

I assumed that with a barebones system they would be paying around $250.00 for the system (high estimate), $50.00 for a HDD, 60.00 for a 2gig stick of ram and the rest they already have. Thats not counting shipping which is likely to ring in at 60.00-70.00 to Alaska.

Anyone had luck (reliability and performance) with a particular barebones system? These ones here would be used for very basic things like email, websites, ect.

I've got a little MSI Wind 100 Nettop at the house that is a bit underpowered with its Atom 330, and I was really ticked to see the Southbridge cooler literally shaking and rattling, something I had to fix before using it.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

i5-2500K|Asus P67 Sabertooth|16GB Corsair 1600|MSI 7850 2GB|250gb Evo 840|Corsair 400R|ET750w PSU|Logitech G5|Dell 2420L|Corsair Vengeance 1300
Welch
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 2675
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 5:45 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

Re: Dell Optiplex 380 vs Others

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:48 am

In my opinion, Optiplex are pretty great machines. I've maintained 30 or so from successive "model years" - 2006, 2007, and 2008 - and have had little trouble. Pretty much every one of them is still in operation. The 2006 models have started having the DVD-RW drives go bad, one had the power supply fan go noisy, a few RAM sticks have gone bad. But no actual system failures - and I consider that remarkable since the 2006 boxes have Pentium Ds in them that ridiculously hot.

So I would not shy away from recommending a Dell Optiplex. I think they are great boxes and I have lots of personal confidence in them. I'd far prefer recommending a Dell box to someone rather than building them something.

I definitely recommend the Optiplex SFF unless there is some reason you need a larger form factor. But with all the external drive options these days, the only reason a larger form factor is needed is for full-height graphics cards if those are needed.
flip-mode
Gerbil Khan
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 9101
Joined: Thu May 08, 2003 12:42 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Dell Optiplex 380 vs Others

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:06 am

The Optiplex 3xx series has been pretty good as basic business machines. We've used a bunch of them, and they seem to have been pretty reliable, if thoroughly unexciting.

I wouldn't necessarily go with a SFF box. The size is nice, but it seems like the heat management on Dell's SFF boxes isn't wonderful. OTOH we're not all using Preshott CPUs anymore, so it may not be as much of a problem. Also, as flip mentioned, it can be a pain to find low-profile video cards if they're needing an upgrade, at least if they want dual monitors.
Think for yourself, schmuck!
i5-2500K@4.3|Asus P8P67-LE|8GB DDR3-1600|Powercolor R7850 2G|1.5TB 7200.11|1988 Model M|Saitek X-45 & P880|Logitech MX 518|Dell 2209WA|Sennheiser PC151|Asus Xonar DX
bthylafh
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3232
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 11:55 pm
Location: Southwest Missouri, USA

Re: Dell Optiplex 380 vs Others

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:21 pm

bthylafh wrote:The size is nice, but it seems like the heat management on Dell's SFF boxes isn't wonderful. OTOH we're not all using Preshott CPUs anymore, so it may not be as much of a problem.

With any current CPU, heat is not a problem. Our Pentium D machines get damn hot, damn hot, but Pentium D isn't an option you can choose any more. Any current option will run fine and probably without ever needing to spin the fan up. As for the video card issue, I think this is only an issue if the box will be used for gaming. You can get several different models of half-height cards from Newegg or anywhere else, but I would not recommend any of those for gaming. The SFF is awesome if it fits the users usage model, but if it doesn't (gamer, multi-boot, RAID) then it is a poor choice.

The biggest knock against a Dell machine is the upgrade path. Dell intentionally limits upgradeability. Our Pentium D machines use the same chip set as our Conroe machines but Dell does not upgrade the BIOS to allow that upgrade. If you think your client will want to upgrade his CPU at some point down the line then the custom build is really the only route.
flip-mode
Gerbil Khan
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 9101
Joined: Thu May 08, 2003 12:42 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Dell Optiplex 380 vs Others

Postposted on Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:51 pm

Sound advice... I recently got one of the new 380's in for another client and it seems built much better than the prior SFF Optiplex. Yes, I'd be getting them a SFF version. They are only going to be used to run very basic things like the web, ect. They will be front counter machines and likely to be used as a half-baked POS for accepting cash/checks and managing customer tabs. Very simple stuff that could easily be done by a low powered system.

He is currently using 2 laptops, Dells from back as far as 2002-2004ish. They've been hacked up as one had a broken screen, so he used the vga out and hooked up a monitor and just took the top portion of the laptop off all together. Each of them is maxed out at 256mb of ram and running windows XP! So yeah, he would be ecstatic to get into a system with 2gigs of ram :)
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

i5-2500K|Asus P67 Sabertooth|16GB Corsair 1600|MSI 7850 2GB|250gb Evo 840|Corsair 400R|ET750w PSU|Logitech G5|Dell 2420L|Corsair Vengeance 1300
Welch
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 2675
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 5:45 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska


Return to SFF Station

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests