Product Notes: Dell OptiPlex 980
March 8, 2010
In early March, Dell announced new tower, desktop, and small desktop systems branded as the OptiPlex 980. The OptiPlex 980 will supplant the OptiPlex 960 line introduced in November 2008 and is the first OptiPlex to offer Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors.
Design and Changes
The OptiPlex 980 has the same general enclosures as the previous generation OptiPlex 960. As in the 960, there is significant variance in size, from 1.16 cubic feet for the tower, 0.54 cubic feet for the medium desktop, and 0.30 cubic feet for the small desktop. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) believes that the most users will be well served by the small desktop.
The OptiPlex 980 adds the option of more advanced Intel management technology (vPro/iAMT 6.0 Professional). It also moves the OptiPlex 9x0 series from 800 MHz DDR2 to 1333 MHz DDR3 memory.
Ninety percent efficient power supplies are available with all OptiPlex 980 form factors. When correctly configured, the OptiPlex 980 is EPEAT Gold-compliant and Energy Star 5.0-certified.
Several considerations when ordering an OptiPlex 980:
See ISC's Performance Desktop Purchasing Guide for more configuration hints. As of March 2010, configuring an OptiPlex 980 to the performance desktop specification can be done for approximately $1,300 to $1,350. The cost delta between an OptiPlex 980 and an OptiPlex 780 with the same general configuration (can not be precisely duplicated because of basic system differences) is currently about $75.
The University's Computer Connection will have at least one OptiPlex 980 configuration available to order as soon as possible.
The OptiPlex 980 is a significant update to Dell's high-end enterprise desktops, with an improved chipset, the option of more management capability, and greater configuration flexibility. Users previously considering an OptiPlex 960 almost certainly should move toward the OptiPlex 980, while potential purchasers of high-end OptiPlex 780s should also consider the 980.
ISC will follow up with a full review of the OptiPlex 980 as soon as testing has been completed. The 980 likely will be a significant component of the 2010-2011 Desktop Recommendations.
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (March 8, 2010)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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