Product Notes: Dell OptiPlex (Ivy Bridge)

June 6, 2012

In late May 2012, Dell announced its next generation OptiPlex enterprise class desktops, which are based on Intel's Ivy Bridge platform and use the Q77 Express chipset. These new models, designated 9010 and 7010, became available on Dell's Premier Page for the University in early June 2012. The lower-end 3010 will be available through the Premier Page in July.

Design and Changes

Dell OptiPlex 9010 All-In-OneIn addition to the expected ultra small form factor, small form factor, desktop and mini tower configurations, Dell has introduced an all-in-one version of the OptiPlex 9010 (pictured). This system includes a 23-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display with an anti-glare coating and supports VESA compatible arms and stands. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) expects a touch screen version of this system to be available later in 2012.

The OptiPlex 9010 All-in-One can be purchased with a combination WiFi/Bluetooth mini PCIe card, which enables functionality of a wireless keyboard and mouse. Other than the new all-in-one, the form factors remain the same as the previous generation, but all systems are slightly heavier.

The biggest single internal change for the new OptiPlexes is the move to Intel's Ivy Bridge platform, which includes the option of improved HD 4000 integrated graphics. With and only with HD 3000 graphics or above, ISC has removed the requirement for a discrete video card from the FY2013 desktop recommendations. For the new OptiPlexes, this means that the ultra small form factor can now be built to a four year configuration.

In a significant change from the OptiPlex 990, the OptiPlex 9010 returns the option of an NVIDIA discrete video card, but only for the mini tower; only AMD discrete video cards are available for the small form factor and desktop. All systems now have two DisplayPort outputs.

Windows Vista and FreeDOS are no longer available as operating system options for the new OptiPlexes.

All of the new OptiPlexes include at least four USB 3.0 ports. Both the 9010 and 7010 series offer the latest version of Intel's vPro (which includes iAMT 8.0).

When appropriately configured, these new OptiPlexes are EPEAT Gold-compliant and Energy Star 5.2-certified. 90%-efficient 80 PLUS Gold power supplies are available in all configurations.

Ordering Notes

Several notes when ordering an OptiPlex through Dell's Premier Page for the University:

  1. If an NVIDIA discrete video card is not needed, ISC believes that most users will be best served by the small form factor configuration.
  2. For the next few months, ISC strongly suggests configuring Ivy Bridge-based OptiPlexes with Core i7 processors instead of Core i5 or Core i3 processors. If a Core i5 processor is desired at this time, ISC suggests remaining with the previous-generation OptiPlex 790. In addition, if no discrete video card is purchased, ensure that a processor with HD 4000 graphics is selected.
  3. ISC suggests purchasing 90% efficient power supplies, which have proven to be more reliable than standard power supplies.
  4. Having 4.0 GB to 8.0 GB of RAM is essential for the optimal functionality of any modern performance desktop, including the new OptiPlexes.
  5. Though solid state drives are available in the new OptiPlexes, ISC does not believe that they are currently an appropriate choice for many performance desktop users because the cost trade-offs are still too great. ISC is currently evaluating the solid state hybrid drives available in the OptiPlex 9010.
  6. ISC strongly recommends purchasing LCDs toward the higher end of the market, especially since it is common practice at the University to keep the same display for two system life cycles. In particular, displays with an LED backlight are highly recommended, as LED backlights keep usable brightness for a longer period and typically consume less electrical power while in use and in standby mode. ISC has had good experiences with Dell's UltraSharp and Professional displays.
  7. ISC suggests choosing the Energy Star 5.2 efficiency options. These require selecting the 90% efficient power supply and do not prevent otherwise appropriate system configuration.
  8. ISC believes that most providers will prefer that Dell not include any security software (such as Trend Micro) in the factory image.
  9. If a system is going to be in use for the full four year life cycle, a four year warranty (which adds about $65 to the overall cost of a three year warranty) is often appropriate.
  10. Many Schools and Centers at the University may wish to choose the "Keep Your Hard Drive" option, which allows the School or Center to retain a defective hard drive when receiving a replacement hard drive under warranty.

See ISC's Performance Desktop Purchasing Guide for more configuration suggestions. As of June 2012, building an OptiPlex 9010 to the Performance Desktop specification is approximately $1,300 to $1,600, including display. The University's Computer Connection will have 9010 configurations available for order shortly.

Analysis

ISC sees these new OptiPlexes as solid upgrades, but is particularly interested in the new all-in-one 9010. Support providers who have been deploying OptiPlex 990 configurations should be able to comfortably move on to the 9010 if they elect to stay with traditional desktops. The cost delta to move to the 9010 from the 990 is very small: pricing various Performance Desktop configurations yielded a difference of $5 to $10.

OptiPlex 9010 all-in-one graphic courtesy of Dell

--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services

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Date Posted: June 6, 2012 Tags: Product Notes, Dell, Optiplex

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