PCs

Review: Dell OptiPlex 740 desktop PC

With standard three-year limited hardware warranties, energy efficient builds and standards-based remote management technologies, OptiPlex 740 models offer businesses the power, cost and flexibility required in dependable desktops.

Dell's AMD-powered line of OptiPlex desktop PCs are capable of meeting a wide range of computing needs. At less cost than Intel (OptiPlex 755) counterparts, IT managers and small business owners can customize OptPplex 740 machines to perform everything from routine data entry tasks to intensive engineering projects. With standard three-year limited hardware warranties, energy efficient builds and standards-based remote management technologies, OptiPlex 740 models offer businesses the power, cost and flexibility required in dependable desktops.

Specifications

  • Processor: AMD Phenom and AMD Athlon CPUs up to 2.2GHz quad core
  • RAM: Up to 8GB DDR2 RAM
  • Storage: Up to 10,000RPM 160GB hard disks w/RAID 1 configurations available; total capacity 250GB
  • Optical Drives: DVD-ROM, CDRW/DVD-ROM, CDRW/DVD-ROM w/CD, DVD-RW, DVD-RW/CD-ROM, DVD-RW/DVD-ROM
  • Dimensions: Desktop - 15.65" x 4.59" x 14.25" (also available in mini-tower and small form factors)
  • OS: Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Business with Downgrade Rights Service to Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Price: Start at $353 direct
  • More Info: Dell OptiPlex 740 information page

Who's it for?

Dell targets its OptiPlex 740 line of desktop PCs at businesses needing to leverage reliable disk image deployment and performance. Systems are ASF 2.0 and TPM 1.2 compliant, meaning enterprise organizations will find it easier to remotely manage and administer these PCs. The systems also help lower costs due to well-developed power conservation features and less-expensive AMD components.

What problem does it solve?

Dell OptiPlex 740 systems are high-performance desktops capable of simplified remote administration. Whether IT departments use remote support features to lower costs, deploy disk images to new systems or recover problematic installs, conduct hardware inventories or update configurations, these systems deliver the enterprise functionality large organizations require, while providing highly customizable performance.

Standout features

  • Highly customizable performance - Regardless of an organization's needs, Dell OptiPlex 740 systems can be built to meet most project needs. From RAID 1 arrays to fast quad-core Phenom processors to support for 8GB of RAM, these PCs can be specified as businesses wish.
  • Numerous graphics options - Several graphics cards are available, including 128MB and 256MB ATI Radeon cards and even a 512MB NVIDIA option. A dual-display video card is also an option.
  • Three chassis choices - Whether enterprises need small form factor PCs, a desktop profile unit or traditional minitowers, the 740 series is available in all three cases.
  • Legacy port support - Businesses still dependent upon serial and parallel ports will find the OptiPlex 740s series includes both legacy connections.
  • Strong default warranty - Dell OptiPlex 740 systems ship with a standard three-year limited hardware warranty with next business day on-site service. Purchasing managers can opt to extend the coverage another year or even upgrade to pro support (which further improves service turnaround times).

What's wrong?

  • Storage space - Hard disk space is limited. OptiPlex 740 systems max out at 250GB of storage space, albeit it using fast 10,000RPM disks. That said most enterprise organizations will seek to store important and proprietary data on centralized servers anyway.
  • Limited expansion - Depending upon case size, expansion slots can prove limited. For example, the small form factor build supports only one low-profile PCI card and one PCIe x16 graphics slot. While the mini-tower model supports two 3.5" internal, one 3.5" external and two 5.25" external bays, the desktop and small form factor models support only one 3.5" internal, one 3.5" external and one 5.25" external bay.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

The Dell OptiPlex 740 desktop line provides large businesses with highly customizable systems that can be tailored to specific needs. With attractive standard warranties, support for common centralized administration features and several energy conservation features (from special energy conserving power supplies to power-conserving default settings), the OptiPlex machines can help organizations with large numbers of systems achieve noticeable cost reductions without sacrificing performance, thanks in part to the use of less expensive AMD components.

User rating

Have you encountered or deployed a Dell OptiPlex 740? What do you think? Rate the unit and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of the Latitude OptiPlex 740 in TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review. Do you have a comparable product that you feel is better?

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...

10 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've got 60 three-year-old Dell Optiplex GX620s. Starting around the their second birthday, they started blowing power supplies. It didn't matter if they were on surge protectors or UPS. In the last nine months I've replaced 15 power supplies. These are the first Dells we purchased, replacing HP / Compaq as our primary vendor. We have since purchase at least two other models of Dell desktops (745, 755) but since they are less than two years old I don't yet know if they will have the same problems. Also, we are purchasing the 'small form factor' models and not the mini-towers as we did with the 620. It may be the problem is confined to the mini-tower power supplies. It may be that it's been fixed entirely since we purchased the troublesome units, but... Dell has been very cooperative about replacing the defective components under warranty, and I strongly recommend you purchase the three year extension.

jmuncy
jmuncy

Your lead is very enticing! Starting Prices at $353 direct. But your link takes you to a 3 machines and the lowest starting price is $703. That seems a bit of a stretch to me. Why not give us the real prices? Jim

ssss19
ssss19

I really do like the box, but seem to have issues with video card for dual monitors. The drivers are always giving users problems and mostly with vista. So this could fall in the "vista driver" category of issues.

Graham@TheWhiteDragon.co.uk
Graham@TheWhiteDragon.co.uk

one important thing, check the Bios - if its anything BELOW 2.1.8 you will want to upgrade it ASAP, as 2.1.6 is mega bugged.. we have over 300 of these and had to kickout a Bios upgrade to them all after 90% of users reported issues with speed and reliability.

macieku
macieku

I think you need to make up your mind: either Latitude or Optiplex. (Hint: The name "Latitude" Dell usualy gives to laptops)

sidekick
sidekick

I love Dells. Good, reliable machines. For everyday office use, I have been getting the Vostro 200s. I find them they are good for the average user. I can get decent processing and RAM on them. Like the article says, files are usually kept on a file server of some sort, so disk space isn't an issue. If I need one for an engineer using AutoCAD or something like that, then I'll go higher end.

ron.dondelinger
ron.dondelinger

I'm going on the 60th replacement of Optiplex GX520 SFF power supplies for my department, and as Palmetto alluded, the bulk of these supplies began overheating and shutting down unexpectedly as they approached their third year of operation. Fortunately I have the 3-year warranty coverage. These are the 220W models for the GX5290/620 small form-factor PCs. Incidently, the Optiplex 755 power supply can be used as a compatible replacement: it will have a couple extra unused power leads (for the SATA optical and floppy drives). I'm tracking down part numbers for the eventual OOW repair. YD358 looks to be the OEM, and R8038 appears to be the refurbished/revised version of the YD358. R8038 retail pricing at web vendors like Centrix International Corp ($39) and UpgradeBay.com ($45) makes the self-help repair route the most economical argument at the moment. Good luck!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

There are two complications going on here: 1. Dell changes prices often on systems as configurations change and the price of components fluctuate. 2. The $353 is for the bare minimum system. Dell is starting you out in the middle of the potential spectrum.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

A stray Latitude in the title. Sorry about that.

sidekick
sidekick

Reminds me of the time someone told me their computer was running "Windows 2000 Millenium".

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