New OptiPlex PCs Offer Choice of Intel or AMD Processors

Dell recently announced that it’s rounding out its line of OptiPlex business desktops with two new models. The company says the new desktop lines will provide a choice of AMD or Intel processors, increased life-cycle, energy efficiency and improved, built-in security.

The OptiPlex 320 is an entry-level line that features Intel dual-core processors and graphics options that include dual-monitor support. Available in a range of configurations, the base price starts at $585.

According to Dell, OptiPlex 740 is the company’s first business desktop to offer AMD processors. It also comes with an 18-month life-cycle guarantee, which, says Rick Perez, Dell’s senior product manager, means the model will be available for a full 18 months.

“This helps business owners know that they can buy systems now, and should their business grow, they can buy the same model in the same configuration up to 18 months later. Consistent PC configurations across a company makes managing the hardware easier and less expensive,” says Perez.

The base price for a 740 with an AMD dual-core processor starts at $725.

Both the 320 and 740 offer features that go beyond the typical hardware configurations (which you can look at here) and pricing, says Perez. These include energy efficiency, security and remote management. Dell also rates both models as Microsoft Vista Premium-Ready.

Energy Efficiency
A combination of factors gives the Energy Star-compliant OptiPlex 740 its power-saving qualities, says Perez. It starts with what Dell calls its Energy Smart offering — a default factory setting that includes both power management settings and AMD’s “Cool’n’Quiet” processor technology, which, according to Dell (and AMD) improves the performance per watt (PPW) by approximately 35 to 40 percent.

After a period of inactivity, the 740 goes into a state of low power consumption. “The energy Star standard for inactivity is 30 minutes, but we go a step further,” says Perez. “The 740 throttles down the processor after 15 minutes of inactivity and comes back up as demand increases.” He adds that less power consumption is good for both the business owner’s bottom line in terms of lower electric bills and for the environment in terms of the Earth’s resources.

The Energy Smart feature is available in the 320, but you’ll have to configure the system with a “series 9” processor.

Dell’s added a number of security features to the OptiPlex 740. Curtis Campbell, a Dell senior product manager, notes that the company addresses physical security by offering options such as cable locks, chassis intrusion alerts (where an e-mail alert is sent to a designated person should some one open a desktop chassis or make any configuration changes.) “We can also offer custom asset tagging at the factory where we label each system with a company’s name or logo,” he said.

For identity and data security, Campbell says the system comes with the Wave Assembly Trust Suite, which offers a high level of encryption, TPM 1.2 security, advanced passwords and the capability to disable ports so that data can’t be downloaded to a USB thumb drive or iPod and removed from the premises.

Threat defense security measures include anti-virus and anti-spyware software, a software firewall for the desktop.

Remote Management
Dell’s remote management services roll the Dell Client Manager (DCM) and a series of individual tools into one package, according to Perez. Available in three graduated options, these tools are designed to help manage desktops on a network from one central location.

The Standard option is free and includes tools that let you track hardware and software inventory, add PCs to the network, configure BIOs settings and monitor the health of individual PCs.

DCM Plus includes the capabilities in the Standard option and adds system migration, OS imaging, software distribution and patch distribution. Pricing is fee-based, but was not available at press time.

The Altiris Client Management Suite gets you all the features listed above plus license tracking, system and software usage policy management and network remote control of individual desktops and notebooks. Pricing was not available at press time.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of

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