Product Notes: Dell OptiPlex 960
November 17, 2008
Multiple vendors have announced systems based on the Intel Q45 chipset over the last few weeks. New systems with this chipset from Dell are branded as the OptiPlex 760 (tower, desktop, small desktop,and ultra-small desktop) and the OptiPlex 960 (tower, desktop, and small desktop). The OptiPlex 760 will eventually replace the OptiPlex 755 line while the OptiPlex 960 is an upward extension for the OptiPlex product line.
The OptiPlex 960 enclosures are modified versions of those used in the OptiPlex 755 and 760. These enclosures are the first OptiPlexes to use post-consumer recycled content.
The OptiPlex 960 is the third generation of OptiPlexes to support Intel's vPro suite of hardware management technologies (the OptiPlex 745c was the first). vPro is an Intel brand that currently includes (and requires) a Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processor, an Intel chipset with support for Active Management Technology (iAMT 5.0), and Intel's Gigabit Ethernet LAN solution. Note that iAMT is available with the OptiPlex 760, but the full vPro suite is not.
All OptiPlex 960 power supplies are 80 Plus certified, which is a strong indicator of improved power supply efficiency at various loads. For the first time, even more efficient 88% power supplies are also available. The OptiPlex 960 has received a Gold rating from EPEAT and is Energy Star 4.0-certified.
Configuration & Ordering Notes
Several notes when ordering an OptiPlex 960:
See ISC's Performance Desktop Purchasing Guide for more configuration hints. As of September 2008, configuring an OptiPlex 960 to the specification can be done for approximately $1,100.
ISC believes that Intel's vPro technology will eventually permeate most enterprise desktops and may see significant use in managed environments at the University. Whether or not these technologies are used, the OptiPlex 960 is still a significant update to Dell's mainstream enterprise desktops, with a improved chipset and more configuration flexibility.
Properly configured, the OptiPlex 960 meets or exceeds ISC's Performance Desktop specification. The cost delta between an OptiPlex 960 and an OptiPlex 755 with the same general configuration is currently about $55.
Overall, ISC believes that the OptiPlex 960 is a good choice going forward. ISC will follow up with a full review of this product as soon as it has completed testing.
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (November 17, 2008)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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