GCN LAB REVIEW: Dell Optiplex 960

Pros: Good performance, excellent security and green features.
Cons: Minimal expansion capability.
Performance: A
Upgradability: B-
Ease of Access: A-
Features: A
Value: A-
Price: $1,384

GCN Lab Reviewers Choice small logoDell's Optiplex 960 is a powerhouse system that is easy to access and comes at a good list price. However, because of the number of features it already has and its configuration, it offers little room for upgrades.

We noticed immediately that the four USB ports that were right upfront. Along with the typical six ports in the back, the Optiplex had the most of all PCs in the review. We also were pleased to find two FireWire ports, a parallel printer port, an eSATA port and a DisplayPort. It even has two 160G hard drives and two optical drives (DVD-ROM and DVD+/-RW).

Unfortunately, all this good stuff means there isn’t much room for more. Inside, we found only one 3.5-inch external drive bay, a PCIe2 x16 slot, a PCIe x1 slot and a single PCI slot available. A 1G module occupies each of the Optiplex’s four memory slots, so any upgrade in that department will require a replacement.

However, when replacement time arrives, the configuration of the Optiplex will make it easier. No tools are required for entry or extraction of the hard drives and optical drives.

The Optiplex was one of the top performers in our benchmark tests, scoring 1,151.2, the second highest in the review. Its performance was facilitated by its 3.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 processor, and its hard drives performed the best in the roundup.

In addition to its other features, the Optiplex had an array of security and green features. Its vPro secure hardware management technologies and a power supply with 88 percent efficiency go a long way toward making the Optiplex an appealing choice. It’s nice to be able to upgrade your performance over your existing single-core systems and likely get more environmentally friendly at the same time.

The Dell Optiplex 960 has a list price of $1,384, which we found to be a good deal, especially considering this system’s performance and features. This would be good for any use, provided that upgrades are a long way down the road. It earns a Reviewer’s Choice designation.

Dell, 800-999-3355, www.dell.com

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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