Dell OptiPlex 780 Offers a Small Footprint, Intel vPro

Dell introduces two new desktops with shrunken chassis but wide-ranging options, including several Intel processors and a choice of operating systems and form factors. Dell calls the OptiPlex 780 the world's smallest fully functional commercial desktop PC.

Dell is revamping its line of OptiPlex commercial desktops, with the Dec. 10 introduction of the OptiPlex 780 USFF and the OptiPlex 380.

The Dell OptiPlex 780 is now the world's smallest fully functional commercial desktop PC with an integrated power supply and Intel vPro technology, which enables an enterprise to manage the system remotely, according to the PC maker.

"My team is really proud of this," Curtis Campbell, Dell's senior product manager for OptiPlex, told eWEEK. "Not only did we manage to make this generation smaller-by 22 percent-but we integrated the power supply, which is that bricklike thing on a notebook, but about three and a half times bigger. Customers really wanted to get rid of that. "

Dell's customers also asked for options flexible enough to meet fluctuating budget requirements.

The OptiPlex 780 is available as a minitower, a desktop, a small form factor and an ultra small form factor. As with the also-option-rich Dell V13 laptop, introduced two days earlier, Dell offers a choice of operating systems, from Ubuntu Linux to multiple incarnations of Microsoft Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Processor options range from the Intel Celeron up to (on all but the ultra small form factor) Intel's Core 2 Quad.

Customers can also choose from various hard drive, memory and connectivity options. The OptiPlex 780 can support two displays, and wireless connectivity is an option, which Campbell says comes thanks to technology leveraged from Dell's notebooks.

"Purpose-built computing on the client side is a big theme for Dell," said Campbell. "We definitely believe that to be successful these days we have to be innovative and enable customers to do more with less. If we make their jobs easier, they make our jobs easier here at Dell."

The OptiPlex 780 desktop can be used with an under-the-desk mount, as well as with a wall mount or an all-in-one stand that a flat-panel display can also be mounted on. Campbell said Dell is concentrating on vertical markets, such as health care and education, and responding to their unique needs. Dell's new design, he said, "flows into what they're already doing."

The OptiPlex 380 is geared toward growing businesses with limited IT environments. Designed to be secure, flexible and energy efficient, it comes in a choice of three form factors: a minitower, desktop or small form factor.

Operating system and processor options again range, with configurations including Intel Core 2 Quad processors, DDR3 (double data rate 3) memory, discrete graphics and Windows 7. There are customizable service and support options through Dell ProSupport, and the option of the Dell Client Manager for remotely monitoring systems or updating multiple desktops at once.

Both the OptiPlex 380 and 780 are Energy Star 5.0 and EPEAT Gold qualified, with the 380 additionally offering a power supply that's 88 percent efficient and the 780 offering 90 percent efficiency. Campbell explained that not every device is efficient enough to use the amount of power coming out of an electrical socket. Further, the less energy wasted, the greater the savings passed along to customers.

"Dell has a tool called an Energy Calculator, and customers can go online and plug in their display type [and other details] and do a comparison of the system they're building in the Calculator and compare it against their current machine," said Campbell. He went on to tell the story of a large school district he'd recently visited, where the IT budgets had been slashed.

"They were able to take the figures from the Calculator," Campbell said, "and show their superintendent the amount of money they could save on just electricity."

Both the OptiPlex 380 and the OptiPlex 780 USFF are now available. Pricing for the 380 begins at $329 for the desktop, $339 for the minitower and $349 for the small form factor. The 780 USFF starts at $629.