14% smaller. 100% mightier. Powerful things come in small packages—starting now.
Greg – November 30, -0001:
I ordered this Dell for my daughter’s virtual classroom as an upgrade from the Chromebook she was using. I’m a PC guy myself, and she also wanted to run Minecraft Java Edition, so…Win10 was necessary.CONSTRUCTIONThe enclosure is as advertised – it’s smaller than a typical Mini ATX, and could even fit on a 12″ deep bookshelf if you didn’t mind squishing the cables on the back slightly. The side panel is attached with two captured knurled thumbscrews for tool-free removal.On the inside, you can see how they achieved the space savings. There’s only one full-length PCIe and one short PCIe slot. I’m guessing the second one is for a second SSD, because here’s something kinda quirky: although the back plane appears to have four removable dust screens (you know, for four expansion cards), only the one adjacent to the blue PCIe slot is actually removable. If you look closely at the photos, you can see this.For today’s non-CAD, non-rendering workstations, this is actually a good thing, because it allows for significant manufacturing cost reductions while allowing for the most common upgrades, more storage space and an upgraded graphics card. Likewise, only having two memory slots is perfectly suitable to most configuration scenarios for this box, because of the high capacity of today’s DIMMs (memory modules). Why pay for slots you don’t need?One thing I was a little surprised about, as otherwise this box looks to be configured for office use, is the lack of a physical speaker. There are TRRS ports on the front and back (TRRS, or tip-ring-ring-sleeve, can accept and auto-detect headphone, microphone, or combination headsets in a single jack), and built-in Bluetooth, so I’m guessing that most users are expected to use either wired or wireless external speakers and mic.The built-in Wi-Fi adapter works on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectra, and seems to get similar signal reception to my external-antenna Wi-Fi card on the other PC in the room, so the antenna configuration is good. I do have it on top of a desk, so there’s not a lot of obstruction, but it’s doing fine about 25′ and one floor away from the access point.As for processing power, you’re getting a single CPU with 12 cores, so you’re probably good for most of the tasks you’re going to throw at this thing, unless you’re into bitcoin mining or something else, but if you are, I’m sure you’ve done your research and know what you’re getting into. If not, well, that’s a discussion for a different time.As for video, you are using Intel embedded graphics with a single HDMI or VGA output – why you would want to use VGA nowadays is beyond me. I got an HDMI to DVI converter and have it hooked up to a trusty Acer 24″ LED-LCD running 1920×1280 with no problems at all.One other thing that was striking to me was that the PSU is on the bottom of the case, instead of the typical top. I always thought the PSU went on the top to keep heat from rising into the cards/CPU area above, but this one is enclosed and ventilated straight out the back, so you get a little better balance with the weighty power electronics at the base instead of the top. Nice idea, really, just new to an old guy like me who is used to 800W power supplies on Full ATX cases from the 1990s.OPERATIONBoot-up is via a physical round button on the front. All the exernal LEDs are cool white, adding a modern and distinctive feel. There is no noise on startup – the only fans in the unit are for the CPU and PSU, and neither powers to full on boot. In fact, I haven’t heard them at all yet.Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections went without a hitch. There were a few Windows updates, but nothing out of the ordinary (Feature Update 1909 hadn’t been installed, that was the big one), and they all ran without errors.Finally, there’s some typical bloatware like McAfee, which I personally always delete, and built-in-but-removable Windows stuff like Mail which I eschew for Outlook (work) or Gmail (personal), and the ever-present prompt to subscribe to Office365 – but all in all, not a lot, so thanks to Dell for that.SUMMARYThis is a good little box! It’s more than adequate for all my daughter’s school uses, and would be a fine work-from-home computer for anyone not requiring anything truly high-demand (CAD, rendering, virtual machines). I’d get another one if I needed it. I might have docked 1/2 star for the missing speaker and quirky back plane, but (a) the speaker really wasn’t a big deal once I thought about it and (b) I’m sure the back plane decision was so they could use this chassis for multiple mainboard configurations.
Daniel Tran – November 30, -0001:
Frank Rush – November 30, -0001:
Don’t buy this if you plan to upgrade. The power supply (psu) is custom made and one came with it is 200W and you can only buy their psu to 240W. The motherboard does not work with traditional psu so you cannot add a decent graphic card in there. Also there are only 2 slot of rams. The one I got even have mismatching brands on the 2 sticks. This computer is just wacky and not the way to go. Please save yourself trouble and build a PC yourself or buy one that upgradable.
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