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Buying new desktops - which chassis to choose

By Chrisfc ·
Until recently, I had been looking at buying Dell's rather space saving USFF (ultra small form factor) chassis for new computers. They hinge on the back of the screen, so are easy to move around. We have a few.

Great from a sysadmin point of view, until I started considering what I do when the warranty runs out. These are pretty tight pieces of kit, it's not going to be easy changing out a hard drive or memory if they fail, not compared to a desktop anyway. However i have three years before anything could potentially fail.

What's everyone's opinion on this? Worth worrying about, or is the 3 year warranty sufficient...

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Buy Shuttles or media boxs

by tony In reply to Buying new desktops - whi ...

I dislike most of the kit from the big guys - they often have quirks that are a killer when out of warranty. I have just had to ditch a Fujitsu-Siemens at a small company because it had a non-standard power supply and motherboard. I couldn't even fit a replacement motherboard.

If you like small form factor, take a look at the Shuttle PC - a mate of mine has ended up supplying these more or less exclusively to small businesses and home users. There is a good range, but you do end up with a package of case and motherboard.

Another alternative is to take a look at some of the cases for media PCs - some of these are quite small form factor, and designed to run quietly. Many will take standard motherboards, and with motherboards having pretty well everything you want on board now, and Firewire and USB2 poviding expansion for most things, you do not need a great deal of space for expansion.

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Silverstone Case

by lindsay.leung In reply to Buy Shuttles or media box ...

I had a Shuttle until it died (mobo or PSU I think). It served me well for just over a year, but I wouldn't get one again, namely because:
1) While the design and compactness is great, it suffered from overheating; and
2) Decent parts are hard to come by. For example an 8800GTS video card will not fit, nor will a standard PSU. I also had to buy a special 'Shuttle' wireless module that fitted in the case.

I've since replaced it with a Silverstone case. Still SFF, but not quite as small as the Shuttle. It looks great, and I've managed to fit in all normal sized parts.

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check memory and hdd types, whether they're standard ones.

by ulugor In reply to Buying new desktops - whi ...

if memory and HDD types are wide-spread ones, go for that solution. there also HP's dc7100 SFF or dc5750 to consider. plus add Care pack to entend warranty and on site support to 5 years.

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by johnc In reply to Buying new desktops - whi ...

I have been using HP SFF machines for some years now and they are easy to work on.
I have been taking them with a 3 year warranty, but as we have had so litte trouble with them I have decided with our new purchases of DC7700 to take the 5 year warrenty option, at very little extra cost.

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Dont go Dell

by tlabs In reply to HP SFF

The whole line of Optplex is FUBAR I work for a company who has the support contract for Dell and Gateway. I do mostly replacement MOBOs on the optiplex line the 270-280 **** Caps realy bad and I am seeing the boards I replaced a year ago blowing caps again. Now I see the newer Optplexes 600-700 series starting the same thing, if you need a box machine and are looking @ Dell go to the Dimension Line they have at least reliable Mobos not the crap in the optiplex line.

Now people say Gateway stinks but the hardware is actually really sound, just the customer service sucks, the support gets the EU so flipping mad when I get there I have to tell the EU that I am not working for Gateway I am just a contractor. But if you get a lot of GWs (100+) you may get a bit better service but not nearly the service plans Dell provides Next business day support the next day. GW NBD is usually 2-4 days and you need to have a credit card on file for them to send you a part

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Check out

by R_Snyder In reply to Dont go Dell

They have been around for years. Nice tight package. I have a very old one that is still running 95 to support an application. Never had a prolem with it all these years. New ones look much better.

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USFF Boxes and Dual Video Adapters

by brodden In reply to Dont go Dell

My company purchased two of these machines about 3 years ago and since then we have been standardizing all of our computers to have two monitors so that employees can be more efficient. This has caused a problem with these two machines because I have tried and been unsuccessful and finding a dual video card for them or making a single pci video card and the Onboard work together.

Just my two cents...

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Many of these models will have optional

by w2ktechman In reply to USFF Boxes and Dual Video ...

riser cards to fit full size video cards. Also, most can use half height cards.

though, I do prefer full size desktops over these mini versions.

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Will it fit?

by dicklaw In reply to Buying new desktops - whi ...

Look back at what Compac did for so many years, the only replacement that would fit and/or work was a house item. When that Compac item became unavailable or over priced you were stuck.
Never again for me.
Richard E Law (A dinasaur veteran).

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The Dell USFF

by cbraatz In reply to Buying new desktops - whi ...

Having worked as a contractor doing hardware warranty work on Dell machines,in the past. I've done a few of these machines. Memory was not hard to change, Hard drives are more of a standard laptop hard drive. Both you just remove a cover and there it is. There is another model that you just split the case, and remove memory and hard drives. Standard desktop issue in this case. Easy to do.
Motherboards take some work, until you have done a few and learn a couple tricks.
As for adding a second monitor to one, there are several after-market devices that allow you to do just that.

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