Windows

Dell Vostro 220 Mini Tower

As with other models in the Vostro line of small business computers, Dell's Vostro 220 Mini-Tower series delivers reliable Intel-powered performance in stylish, reasonably priced boxes backed by Dell's limited hardware warranty.

Aimed at small businesses requiring value-priced minitower PCs, the newly redesigned Vostro 220 offers a variety of operating systems and sufficient customization options sure to meet most organizations' needs. As with other models in the Vostro line of small business computers, Dell's Vostro 220 Mini-Tower series delivers reliable Intel-powered performance in stylish, reasonably priced boxes backed by Dell's limited hardware warranty.

Specifications

  • Processor: Choice of Intel Celeron to Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs
  • RAM: Up to 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • Screen: Can be purchased with or without Dell monitors
  • Storage: Up to two hard drives (maximum 2TB with two 1TB 7200RPM drives)
  • Optical Drives: 16X DVD-ROM, 48X CDRW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive, 16X CD/DVD +/-R, 6x Blue-ray Disc Combo, 6x Blue-ray Disc Writer
  • Dimensions: 13.95" x 6.67" x 16.8", 22 lbs
  • OS: Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Ultimate or Windows Vista Ultimate with Windows XP Professional Downgrade Rights Service or FreeDOS
  • Price: Start at $279 retail
  • Dell Vostro desktops information page
  • For a closer look check out the Dell Vostro 220MT Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

The Dell Vostro 220 Mini Tower is aimed at small businesses requiring a dependable PC. With available CPUs ranging from simple Intel Celerons to respected Intel Core 2 Duo chips and a variety of operating system choices, the 220 is a value-priced offering capable of meeting most common office tasks. Upgrade options are restricted, however. While the 220 isn't relegated to simple entry-level status, the series' performance capabilities are limited to two internal hard disks and a handful of expansion slots. The model will work best fulfilling office productivity, data entry, bookkeeping, Internet and similar functions.

What problem does it solve?

The Vostro 220 line delivers value-priced, reliable Intel-powered performance backed by Dell's limited hardware warranty. As with other Vostro models, users wishing to remain standardized on the Windows XP platform can configure the 220 minitower to ship with Windows XP Professional.

The Vostro 220 offers can be customized to meet a range of small business needs, but the systems don't boast the expansion breadth or performance options available in larger, pricier 410 tower models. Purchasing managers can elect to include up to two 7200RPM hard disks (2TB maximum), and the units feature one PCIe x16, one PCIe x1 and 2 PCI slots. The 220 line also possesses eight USB 2.0 ports and a single Firewire (IEEE1394) port.

Standout features

  • Reasonable customization - Dell Vostro 220 models feature several configuration choices that enable building everything from a basic Windows system to a box capable of performing even more demanding tasks. Purchasing managers can customize the 220 minitowers to include two hard disks, a memory card reader and a variety of CPU speeds, several different operating systems (including Windows XP Professional or Windows Vista Business), a 256MB ATI Radeon HD video card and even integrated wireless.
  • Decent performance capacity -With integrated gigabit Ethernet standard, the choice of a Core 2 Duo processor running at 3.33GHz with 6MB L2 cache and FSB speed of 1,333MHz, support for up to 4GB of dual channel DDR2 SDRAM running at 800MHz, not to mention the option of adding a 256MB ATI Radeon video card, Vostro 220 models can deliver considerable performance.
  • Above average warranty available - Purchasing managers can add Dell's limited hardware warranty to Vostro 220 orders, thereby extending next-business-day warranty replacement service several more years, if so required.
  • Value priced - The Vostro 220 line starts at less than $300. Even the most savvy support desk professionals will find it difficult to build a similar box from scratch (with a Windows license) for less.
  • Reliability and repair- Quality Intel components help power Dell's small business line of Vostro systems. Add in Dell's limited hardware warranty, which can cover warranted hardware repairs for up to five years with next-business-day on-site service, and you have a solid reliability and repair combination.
  • Attractive design - Like the Vostro 410 tower, the 220 minitower possesses a simple bold design that looks good even in higher-end offices.
  • Minimal bloatware - Unlike many business systems that ship with several unwanted trialware and sample applications, Dell limits the Vostro 220s' add-ons. The few you do find (such as Adobe Reader and Google Toolbar) are common programs many users install, anyway.

What's wrong?

  • Limited performance capability - You cannot configure Dell Vostro 220 minitowers to include quad core processors or more than two internal SATA hard drives. Nor can you specify video cards with more than 256MB of RAM when ordering.
  • Limited expansion capability - While Dell Vostro 220 systems possess expansion capabilities, the options are limited. The 220 minitower includes 2 PCI slots, one PCIe x1 slot, one PCIe x16 slot, three 3.5" bays and two 5.25" bays.
  • Weak standard business warranty - Unlike Dell's OptiPlex line of business desktops, the Vostros (by default) include a single year of Dell's next-business day on-site limited hardware warranty coverage. Consider the 220's value pricing, however, and it's understandable why the three-year warranty (found with the Optiplex line) isn't standard on Vostro 220 models.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

Dell's Vostro line targets value-conscious small businesses and the 220 minitower delivers the goods on that front. Aimed at small businesses needing capable, reliable systems to perform common office and productivity tasks, the Vostro 220 is a solid entry sure to grace cubicles everywhere.

The newly redesigned line boasts refreshed styling, numerous customizable build options and support for a wide variety of operating systems (the 220 can even be ordered without an OS). Performance and capacity are limited. However, that should come as no surprise considering the system's value price point.

Proven components, upgrade options and Dell's limited hardware warranty (extendable to five years) are all attractive options to small businesses more concerned about focusing on operations rather than IT infrastructure. The Dell Vostro is a solid performer that can essentially be deployed for five years without fear of additional expenses for hardware repair, which in small business computing is as good as it gets for many operators.

User rating

Have you encountered a Dell Vostro 220? If so, what do you think? Rate the unit below and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of the Vostro 220 in the TechRepublic Community Forum or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

9 comments
natdalton7
natdalton7

Ginny I don't think it is very hard to upgrade Windows Vista. It is just simple software installation. Does anyone know if you can hook this up to a computer, projector and home theater surround sound systems? (http://lfleurs.com/SoundSystem)

ElectroniConnection
ElectroniConnection

Thank you for writing such a great and informative blog post. The Dell Vostro 220 MIni Tower is a great minitower PC and is great for people in the business world. On the other hand, the price can be a turn off being at nearly $300 for just the tower when a laptop computer will now cost just as much and comes with a screen, keyboard, etc. http://www.electroniconnection.com

ginnycrandall
ginnycrandall

I need to get a new computer, so I've been looking at different discount electronics websites ( http://dmcdiscounts.com ). While this vostro looks good, I hate windows vista. How hard would that be to upgrade?

GramJ
GramJ

Thanks for the comprehensive information regarding these computer parts and accessories, the details included are very helpful. http://techsonhandstore.com

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Off Dell's Outlet web site. After upgrading the warranty to two years, and including the S&H, it was right at $300. Add $12 for a USB-to-parallel cable for my existing printer, and $18 for adapters to install my old IDE hard drive; while there is an open drive bay, all HD and power connections are SATA only. I'm happy.

Wincray
Wincray

I have had 4 Vostro 220 systems, all create problems and unable to get sound in all four. Works perfectly with wired connection with Internet but NOT WIRELESS, here it fails. When it switches off one has to revert to Wired connection, Wireless is lost. BT state that Operating System must be installed again and contact Dell. I now note that Dell are limiting users to a mzximum of 5 Vostro due to errors etc. Why 25/5/2009. wrac777@btinternet.com

m.stoker
m.stoker

We've just purchased 5 of these. The first 2 had network card problems. Had to get the mother board replaced. The 3rd had a network adaptor problem, they replaced the MB and this failed as well with a faulty memory slot. Dell replaced the whole machine (on my insistance!) - We've bought optiplex in the past and thought these would be a good change ! On Dell defence I must say the tech support we recieved was outstanding - in most cases the engineer turned up next day.

Kevin@Quealy.net
Kevin@Quealy.net

I've bought a dozen of them so far this year with 5 more coming next week. They've all been rock solid for me. Originally I was planning to buy the Optiplex machines but these were in a great deal with a 22" monitor. It allowed me to retire all the old CRT monitors a year earlier than I was expecting to.

rudolf.bothma
rudolf.bothma

These machines are really well spec'd for their price, so we decided on a small trial purchase. I would wonder whether you had an especially bad streak of luck or whether we had an especially good streak of luck. I'm hoping for the first, because I can really recommend these machines for smaller businiesses that need affordable, good performance

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