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Small Form Factor PCs

Posted on 2006-05-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
We need to buy 10 workstations, and I am considering buying small form factor PCs available from Dell. It is possible to mount these right on the back of a 17" LCD monitor. It looks like a great space saving setup.

I have no experience with a setup like this, and before I order 10 of them I would like to get some feedback from someone who has installed and used this type of workstation setup.

Question by:westone

Expert Comment

ID: 16718960
I don't know that you can mount the PCs on the back of the monitors like you could a thin client but, if nothing else, you can sit the LCDs on top of the small form factor PCs to save some space.

Author Comment

ID: 16719293
An option on the Optiplex SFF is a mount to put the box on the back of the LCD.

Accepted Solution

mandude0 earned 2000 total points
ID: 16719368
I see. If mounting the PC on the LCDs won't be a problem I would imagine that you are wondering about working with small for factors in general. I may be miss reading what you are looking for. As far as small form factors (SFF) are concerned, I have dealt with them before.

There are pros and cons to SFF. If you know there will be no need to expand later (Adding drives or expansion cards that are standard ATX) then you should have no problem. Most SFF will not have open bays for additional external drives (CD-ROMs, tape backup, etc...). Some will give, maybe, one open internal drive bay to add an extra HDD.

On the most part, as a basic office computer, SFF should do you well. They take up less space and they work just like a large tower as long as you don't need to add to much to them later, as mentioned above.

That's my take on them. I hope I am reading what you are looking for correctly.
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Author Comment

ID: 16719658
Yeah that's helpful. I've never worked with one and, before ordering 10 for a client I wanted some feedback. These units will not have CD drives or floppy drives, as the users don't need them. Everything is on the server.

I've just read elsewhere that the unit we are planning to order does not have any empty PCI slots. I don't see that as an issue. All we really need is a screen, a drive and a network connection.

Thanks for the experience.

Expert Comment

ID: 16719701
No problem. I'm sure they make these things even smaller than they use to be when I worked with them. Back then, they were still too big to mount on a monitor, heh.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 16723341
should it be considered that a monitor's magnetic field may influence the data/media on drives, also what about the heat buildup between them?

Expert Comment

ID: 16723352
Friar Tuck, this would not be an issue because they are not CRTs.
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 16723469
Depending on what the PC's will be used for, have you considered a thin client? Do they have to run an overkill OS like XP, or something lean like linux, are they mainly connecting to a Terminal Server? Check out thin clients, below are HP examples, but there are others, cheaper ones around too.

LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 16744871
This is the old 'dumb terminal' redone.  Could be a huge cost and space savings,


Basically two products,  the X300 which is a PCI card that allows you to share a single PC with up to 7 stations at a cost of about $200 per 3 stations.  They also have a TCP/IP version and a 17" LCD monitor version that has the hardware built in.  These are obviously a bit more expensive than the X300.

For general office use it looks like a very workable solution and would be a lot easier to maintain than a bunch of seperate systems.

Just though this might be of interest.

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