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Should I buy this Dell Optiplex Computer?

Posted on 2011-03-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I’d like some advice on a Dell Optiplex on sale now.

I buy computers for sale and I’m very tempted by this one.  It’s an Optiplex with a bottom line price of $388 shipping. All the specs are below.  

Some questions.  
1. For another $18 I can get a “Up to 88 Percent Efficient PSU”.  Is this worth another $18?  The description says that it uses less power and also ‘dissipates less heat’.  That doesn’t seem like a very good thing to me.  I thought power supplies were supposed to dissipate heat.  
2. For $3 extra I’m getting a chassis intrusion switch
3. For an extra $9 I'm getting Internal Optiplex Speakers.  

I’ve never gotten any of these upgrades so I have no idea if they’re worth it.  I think about laptops having internal speakers but not desktops.

I suppose the most important question is whether this is such a knock out deal that I can’t pass up on it – since at this point those are the only deals I’m taking.  My customers are no nonsense computer users, mostly home or home office users.  They’re not gamers and most are older if not elderly.  I generally get Dell Vostros for them, since they seem to give the best bang for the buck.  But I am sorely tempted by this offer with the three year warranty, 4GB of Ram (one dimm), and Windows 7 Professional.  And of course it’s an Optiplex, which has a good reputation.  
Any opinions?  

OptiPlex 380 MT      OptiPlex 380 Minitower for Standard PSU
Operating System (s)      FREE Upgrade Genuine Windows® 7 Professional, No Media, 32-bit,
Intel® Pentium® Dual Core Processor E5800 (3.2GHz,2M,800Hz FSB)
Memory      4GB DDR3 Non-ECC SDRAM,1333MHz, (1 DIMM)
Keyboard      Dell USB Entry Keyboard
Monitors      No Monitor
Video Cards      Integrated Video, Intel® GMA 4500, VGA
Boot Hard Drives      320GB 7,200 RPM 3.5" SATA, 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive with NCQ and 16MB Cache
Mouse      Dell MS111 USB Optical Mouse
Removable Media Storage Device      16X DVD+/-RW SATA, Roxio Creator™ CyberlinkPowerDVD™
Thermal      Heat Sink for Intel Celeron Core 2 Duo Processors, Minitower
Speakers      Internal Dell Business Audio Speaker
Power Supply      Standard Power Supply
Regulatory Documentation      Documentation, English, with 125V Power Cord
Productivity Software      Microsoft Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word and Excel with ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
Energy Smart Options      Dell Energy Smart Power Management Settings Enabled
Security Hardware      Chassis intrusion switch option
Resource DVD      No Resource DVD
Services & Warranty      3 Year Basic Limited Warranty and 3 Year NBD On-Site Service
Setup and Features Information Tech Sheet      No Tech Sheet
Shipping Packaging Options      Shipping Material for System, Minitower

TOTAL:   $360.00

Free 3-5 Day Shipping & Handling on select Dell Desktops!            

Total Price


Total Price
Question by:alanlsilverman

Accepted Solution

tearman earned 400 total points
ID: 35112757
88% efficient power supplies are what is known as 80PLUS power supplies (though they may not be certified).  Generally its a good option, if you don't care about being green, it still uses less power overall and can save you money.

The Warranty is excellent, I'd chump off for that, avoid only using 1 DIMM (as DDR2 and DDR3 get their speed in quantities of RAM), and Chassis intrusion detection is essential.

Probably worth getting Windows 7 as well.
LVL 47

Assisted Solution

David earned 400 total points
ID: 35112821
there are always better deals if you shop... bottom line. is this good enough to warrant spending hours continuing .  only you can decide.  

the answer is philosophical, not technical.  what is your time worth?  
LVL 97

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 400 total points
ID: 35112972
You're not actually going to order online are you?  Call dell, setup a business account and get a quote.  While the cheapest of systems won't have much of a discount, I've NEVER paid the price on the web site when I get a quote from a Dell Rep... it's always been cheaper...
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Assisted Solution

ZombieAutopsy earned 400 total points
ID: 35113007
Also look into the i Core processors. Like the i5 atleast. Way better than the dual core. I also agree with leew. Call Dell, they will hook you up much better than the website. Especially if you say you are having problems with the website.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35113029
Also, they do have systems that you can buy with ubuntu, so you can get the same hardware w/o paying the Microsoft tax.   They are buried, but you can find them with some work.
LVL 33

Assisted Solution

PowerEdgeTech earned 400 total points
ID: 35113256
Just some additional thoughts:
1. For another $18 I can get a “Up to 88 Percent Efficient PSU”.  Is this worth another $18?  The description says that it uses less power and also ‘dissipates less heat’.  That doesn’t seem like a very good thing to me.  I thought power supplies were supposed to dissipate heat.  

If the system is not going to be loaded with high-power equipment (graphics, external controllers, multiple drives, etc.), then the "efficient" PS's can save you a marginal amount of pennies on your power bill.  All power supplies generate heat as a byproduct of inefficiency ... the efficient PS's just generate less of it.

2. For $3 extra I’m getting a chassis intrusion switch.

Only important if it is imperative to know, track, or be notified of the system case (chassis) being opened (data security, etc.).

3. For an extra $9 I'm getting Internal Optiplex Speakers.

This will give you a cheap source for sound - it's not Bose, but will let you hear the nice tune Windows plays when it logs in (oh, and other business-related audio :)).

LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 35113525
Hi PowerEdgeTech.  The physics-speak is that 1 watt=used or delivered per hour = 3.4 BTU/hr
in marketing speak, you can save BTUs by just shipping a 200 watt supply instead of a 250 watt supply :)
or, of course, buy having one that is more efficient that produces the same output.

But  the system will use what it needs, and efficiency is a product of load.  It might be 60% efficient at 100 watts and 80% efficient at 200 watts.  This may or may not be in the specs, but at FULL load, it is supposed to be 88% efficient.   So you can't really make any assumptions about true power savings w/o more details on the power curve, or with a standard config.

Even then, we know that a CPU can double power requirements if it is busy, so this 88% efficiency is totally useless because they certainly won't document if the system is at the BIOS or running all cores running BOINC looking for E.T.

In other words, forget the FUD on the power.  You have no idea what the real numbers are unless they document more data.

Author Comment

ID: 35113785
Thank you for all the good information,

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