Dell OptiPlex GX620 MT review
Finally, we have the big brother of the family: the MT (Mini-tower). It has a conventional layout, so the drive bays are positioned horizontally across the width of the chassis; in all the other models, the drives are vertical when a case is standing on its side. It’s practical, but less inspiring to look at.
However, it’s also got the widest and simplest range of expansion possibilities. The larger size creates enough space inside for two 5.25in external bays plus a 3.5in one, in addition to the hardware for mounting two hard disks (there are four SATA ports). There’s also a clear path for air to flow from the massive heatsink and intake fan to the rear grille. However, our MT hummed noticeably, so we’d want it tucked away under a desk.
Like the DT and SF motherboards, the MT has a PCI Express 16x slot for an optional graphics card, but there’s room for a full-height card without having to resort to a riser. It also has two full-height PCI slots and is the only machine in the range with a PCI Express 1x slot.
The other key area where it wins is price: the MT costs at least £50 less than the other chassis, despite having essentially the same specification.
GX620 SERIES OVERVIEW
One size fits all isn’t a mantra an IT department can live by. Different sections within your organisation, even different individuals, have their own requirements when it comes to PCs, yet choosing several different models rapidly increases support costs.
Until now, it hasn’t been possible to satisfy an entire organisation’s needs with one hard-disk image, but thanks to Intel’s 945 chipset that’s all about to change. Dell is the first manufacturer to rise to the challenge, with its OptiPlex GX620 range designed to satisfy diversity by offering different chassis and specifications, but with a common architecture and hard-disk image that will work across all models.
Here we review the entire GX620 series, so you can see how they stack up against each other. We also mention the OptiPlex GX520 range. No samples were available for review, but it forms part of the same family and the two ranges have many similarities.
In fact, the three cases that make up the GX520 range – Small Form Factor (SF), Desktop (DT) and Mini-tower (MT) – are also used in the GX620 range, but the GX620 gets a pint-sized fourth member too called the Ultra Small Form Factor (USFF).
Combining both series gives you four chassis and seven basic models to choose from, with image and BIOS compatibility throughout. The GX620 devices, with their bigger designation number, are the high achievers of the family. The difference, says Dell, is that the GX520s are for deployment as mainstream PCs, with perhaps a three-year lifespan before disposal, whereas the GX620s, with more complex motherboards higher specifications and better upgrade possibilities, are destined for more demanding environments and longer deployment.
Security-conscious businesses should also note that only the GX620 includes a TPM (Trusted Platform Module). This device helps to block hackers by providing hardware network authentication.
The key element that ties all the models together is the Intel 945 Express chipset. Besides performance advantages and new features, its newness makes it a good choice for longevity across a progressive rollout. Dell says it will offer the platforms for about 15 months.
Processor choice is varied, with Celeron D and Pentium 4 options being supplemented by dual-core Pentium D chips in the GX620 range. The GX520 range and the smallest GX620 are limited to 2GB of 533MHz (PC4300) DDR2 SDRAM across two DIMM sockets, but the three larger GX620s have four sockets for up to 4GB.