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back to article Dell intros 'smallest' desktop PC made with desktop parts

Dell has introduced what it claims is the "world's first fully functional" mini PC. The Optiplex 780 USFF - for "ultra-small form-factor" - measures just 24 x 24 x 6.5cm, which is actually bigger than Apple's Mac Mini, for instance. However, unlike the Mini and other mini-PCs, the 870 USFF has is power brick inside the chassis, …

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Anonymous Coward

Yuck

Looks bloody awful.

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Standard parts?

I wonder if Dell is using the same definition of standard as everyone else? i.e. if the power supply goes down can I replace it with a standard ATX power supply or will it have to be one of Dell's with non standard connections?

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Optical drive ?

There's no way that's a desktop optical drive with a motorised tray, surely? Looks like a horrible little laptop "popout" to me.

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Pint

that's one fugly looking beast

better get me beer googles on to see if looks and better ;-)

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FAIL

I don't believe it.

Given that these desktop components have been "customised" by Dell, I don't think it will stack up. Give me a system that takes ATX components I can buy off a shelf, and I'll be happy. Otherwise ... I'll treat it like any other piece of Dell kit - with deep suspicion as to...

a) having to disconnect the power supply for ten minutes in order to recover from the fault when the network card says it is there, but refuses to deal in any data...

b) the processor fan has a personality dissorder, thinks it is an airplane engine and revvs up to maximum speed in an attempt to leave the desk and enter air space.

... or any of the other myriad of repetitious and barmy faults that can happen with Dell kit.

Sorry Dell, I just don't trust your engineered stuff ... and this sounds even more over engineered than usual.

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Looking at the Mac opposite me....

Quoting Little Britain "ooh it's Gorgeous!!!!"

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Business box

This is not for the home user market, it's designed to be sold en masse into corporate offices. Look at the promo pic with the unit mounted on the back of the monitor to save desk space and cut down on cables running everywhere making the place look untidy. A lot of the compact boxes Dell and HP build for the business market already have non-standard PSUs and non-ATX-format motherboards, this is just more of the same but shrunk even further.

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It also uses desktop components....Hmmm

So, most other manufacturers have used laptop components to get the reduced sizing, but Dell haven't.

With the exception of the optional Wi-Fi Card..

Aannd the 2.5" Hard drive.

and did we mention the optical drive was from a laptop as well.... (Well certainly looks that way to me and probably everyone else with eyes.)

Alrighty.......

So Dell have managed to integrate a small standard motherboard into a very small case with a power supply internal to the unit. Most of the other components are either on board, or are laptop parts.

A rather misleading description in the article I feel

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Alert

Meh...

The title sums up my sympathies. Every person I know who bought a Dell desktop as a residential user has always regretted it from the lack of support, bad build quality, and (my issue) machines that despite making it to the repair facility, still get "lost in the mail" with no recourse for the owner.

I'm not an idiot, I purchased insurance on the delivery in case something happened. But mail insurance doesn't apply if the machine made it to the destination in good condition; UPS made no fault in the delivery, Dell lost the machine. So I tried suing them. My lawyer handed me a letter and instructed me that he can't help me in the matter: I need to talk to an arbitrator alone (Dell brought their lawyers, of course).

After three months of arbitration, I ended up paying them an additional $200 more in fees to lose my PC that cost $1,250 in the first place. Even after paying it, it was reported to the credit bureaus and any creditor asks me about it although it's been reported as paid in full and on time. (Still enough to skunk my car loan when I needed one.) After the decision, Dell kindly reminded me in a letter that I am ineligible to receive any further support, sales, warranty or any service of any kind from Dell for a period of 15 years, even if I buy a product from them at a brick and mortar store. So basically, they skipped on paying for their dinner, left me with the check, and of course, stole my wallet on the way out of the restaurant while telling every woman I'm a rapist.

Anyone who is dumb enough to buy Dell products who is not in the private sector can just pay their older sibling $1,400 to sock them in the face and buy something else, in the end it will lead to the same result. But at least this way you'll keep your money in the family.

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Looks like a brick...

It looks like what "desktop" components it was able to use it just crammed in the box with a crowbar.. frankly, I'd rather get ahold of Acer's new nettop.. smaller, better specs, better price. Oh woe.. no optical drive.. New's flash folks, you can get a slim DVD RW drive for the damn same price as an internal one. but frankly, if you're going with something this small, I would doubt it's a full desktop replacement, and more a media center .

amirite?

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FAIL

U-G-L-Y

Wow, that's a dud. I can hear it collapsing on the floor dying even before it's launched.

I'd got for the Acer Revo starting at just £130+vat which is far, far more attractive. Okay, it may only have an Atom CPU but the ION graphic chip should outclass the Dell and it has eSata and loads of USB ports, and you can hang it off the back of your monitor it's so small and light. Did I mention it was attractive?

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WTF?

180W ???

What have they got in there? A night storage heater? (that would explain the appearance) It doesn't matter if their PSU is efficient, 180W is a ridiculously high number for any PC that aspires to claim energy efficiency. A competent configuration can be built at that price using a tenth of that power.

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180w is the PSU....

My Prescott P4 only pulls about 150w for the full system.

My media server, with a 400w PSU and 3 HDs pulls about 50w. so the 180w is indeed the PSU rating, not hos much power it pulls.

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Desktop components?

So that would the the standard desktop motherboard, DVD drive, power supply, hard drive and CPU. No? Last time I opened up a Dell I was shocked, closed it and bought a new PC that I could easily add components to. I couldn't find anywhere to put another hard drive or DVD drive. Even my PS3 has the power supply internally and I'm sure they could make that smaller than this if they fitted it with a "standard" CPU. Then again, going by Dell wording, the cell processor is probably a "standard" desktop component.

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Power Brick NOT inside

Look at the photo! It clearly shows power cord entering a power system external to the 24x24x6.5 chassis when connected to that god awful (and much bulkier and less convenient than an iMac) form factor. Also, a Celeron? please... "full desktop not laptop parts" never includes Celeron when the competition uses Core2Duo (not the mobile version either) on 1066MHz frontside buses in a smaller chassis.

OK, so i go to Dell. Configure one of these with the exact same specs (though the Dell's Duo's start at 2.93 and the Mac is using a 2.66). 4GB 1066RAM, 320GB 7200RMP, DVD RW, Wifi N, etc. No mouse, keyboard or any other options, not even the stand or a monitor, nothing but the base PC. It lacks bluetooth, and lacks 1080P out with it's pathetic intel GMA, but it;s a bit faster than a Mac mini. UNFORTUNATELY, It's $1158 as configured, WITHOUT a monitor, meaning it not only costs $200 more than a comperable mini (which btw has the 9400 GPU and could play WOW, which the Dell could not), but it;s also $8 more than a 22" iMac, which also adds a webcam, speakers, mic, bigger HDD, and steps up to a 3.06GHz processor! (oh, and a 22" LED backlit screen). The iMac, including the screen, also uses less electricity...

Fuck you Dell, no thanks.

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It's too early in the month for MAC-blindness

oh, how many expansion slots does your MAC mini come with ??? Thought so, go back to WOW and don't bother writing profane reviews for something you can only speculate about. I already have one of these Dell's with a low-profile PCI-express GeForce 9600 running a pair of 22" monitors and a core 2 duo 3.0Ghz processor w/ 8GB of memory working flawlessly. (getting the low-profile video card to work was a bit of a challenge, but, it works well)

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It matters

Context of this post is size only. IBM did this in 2003/4. What made it cool back then was we could say with integrity that it was the size of the phone book. Yes, we used notebook/slimline optical drives and other non desktop HW but WGAF? I should know I was the Tech Proj Manager for the team that delivered the 945G version of this to the market place. I have one nine feet behind me that my son still uses.

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specs revealed

My company bought one of these last week. The DVD burner IS a popout, the power supply is small but ls inside the box in a standard mini power supply factor (with NO extra Power connectors available), the HDD is a 3.5" SATA, the express PCI slot was not big enough to support a low profile Zotac GeForce 9600GT (I did install one, but had to remove the power connector on the Zotac and install a connector on a cable from the back side to make it fit, and then had to splice a 4 pin power cable to the SATA power cable on the HDD for the Zotac external supply connector. All this only to find out that the on-board GMA4500 simply could not work in conjunction with the Dual Heads of the Zotac board ;( (So I was not able to make 3 displays work with any internal configuration to the dell, I was, However, able to get 2 displays working with the Zotac card, and can install an external HDMI 1-2 Multiplier box to get one of the display outputs (with double width) to drive 2 displays, and give me a total of 3) I would have liked to be able to use the GMA4500 to drive the third display though (DOH).

Overall, not a bad little unit, but a challenge to upgrade.

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Perspective

Look on the bright side. If they sell a bunch of these, some years later there will be small efficient psu's to be scavenged for an ITX build. I you want a bigger tower with bog standard parts, there's no shortage of them to buy or build.

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Jobs Halo

@ Scogar: Expansion slots?

Who uses expansion slots these days? Even big business which buy desktops and mini-desktops by the truckload never use them. They don't even upgrade the memory - they simply buy a new computer.

Also, the Mac Mini supports up to 8GB of memory and two displays up to 2560 by 1600 pixels using a GeForce 9400M. I'm sure if it was as big as that Dell beast, it could hold a more powerful graphics card. So what's your point exactly?

I don't even understand why you would want expansion slots in a modern computer which (should) come with everything anyway. Unless of course you have a specific piece of obscure or legacy hardware you need to plug in which isn't available in a USB or Firewire version, eschewing the need to dig around the guts of a machine.

Who uses SCSI these days? Anyone??

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Re: @ Scogar: Expansion slots?

Fine, add USB devices all you like; but, sooner or later, you'll need an external hub, and a powered one at that. There goes another power socket and (probably) some desk space.

If the device is going to be permanently attached anyway, then using a PCI or PCIe version (if available) is very likely to be more practical. (I do this for DVB-T reception: two tuners connected via PCI, and one spare tuner in a USB stick.)

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Bronze badge

"world's first fully functional"

First? I guess they aren't counting the "book size" pc's like the 386sx I've got in the back of a cupboard somewhere

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