Dell OptiPlex 740 review

Price when reviewed

Having been exclusively an Intel supplier for years, Dell’s recent decision to ship AMD CPUs has come at an interesting time. Intel’s Core 2 Duo is virtually unbeatable in both performance and value terms, so we were surprised Dell chose to send us an AMD-based business PC for this Labs.

Dell OptiPlex 740 review

This OptiPlex 740 sports a 2.4GHz Athlon 64 X2 4600+, which proved a similar performer to Acer’s Core 2 Duo E6300. It’s fitted into a BTX desktop chassis, which, if needed, can also be mounted vertically to save space, and if you need more expansion room there’s a larger mini-tower chassis option.

As it is, the desktop chassis has some room for expansion, with two PCI slots and a PCI Express 16x slot all free. Only low-profile cards will fit, though. At the front, a CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive occupies the only 5.25in bay, while underneath is a free 3.5in bay for a floppy drive. Below that is a 160GB hard disk. All drives are quick-release.

Access to the innards is also easy. There’s a lock at the rear and a quick-release top panel. The BTX design means the CPU is at the front, with a single 80mm fan providing all the airflow needed. It isn’t the quietest PC here, measuring 32dBA from the front when idle, but it isn’t distracting in an office.

At the rear, there are no PS/2 ports, but five USB ports give plenty of connection options. More importantly, there’s a TPM 1.2 chip, which is managed using the bundled Embassy software, plus there’s Client Manager Standard for remote management. This allows hardware discovery, configuration control and BIOS patching. Still, it isn’t as flexible as vPro technology seen elsewhere.

But buying direct from Dell has its advantages. One is being able to configure the components to suit. Dell can also provide bespoke imaging, including disk partitions, and also set BIOS options at the factory.

The three-year on-site warranty is expected, but Dell is one of only two companies to offer same-day response, for which you pay an extra £99. But price is critical and the OptiPlex 740 costs £581. Fujitsu Siemens’ E5916 is considerably cheaper, with a similar warranty plus vPro support. Multiply this price difference by even five machines, and the OptiPlex looks overpriced.

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