Build Quality and Heat

Dell's design for the OptiPlex 9010 All-in-One shares a lot in common with the fancier XPS One 2710, but while the 2710's cooling system had a hard time coping with both the Intel i7-3770S and dedicated graphics hardware, the similar system in the 9010 AiO is far less overworked. The result is an aesthetic and cooling design that's inappropriate for one system but elegant for another, and it's really quite elegant for the 9010 AiO. In fact I'd argue it's actually more attractive than the glossy XPS One 2710; matte plastics don't pick up fingerprints quite the way glossy ones do, and they're less distracting. The shell of the 9010 AiO doesn't look or feel cheap, but it's not stodgy either.

During a meeting with Dell in San Francisco recently (the impending Windows 8 launch means the major vendors are coming out of the woodwork in a big way), they stressed the essential modularity of the 9010 AiO's design. The system doesn't use an external power brick, and the mounting system is completely VESA compatible; it really is designed to go just about anywhere and be as self-sufficient as possible. I'd be more bullish on that if it weren't for the display.

As I mentioned, though, thermals are much, much better and noise is better as a result. In fact, while the 2710 sounded like a jet engine under load, you have to put your ear up to the 9010 AiO even while it's being crunched to really hear the fan. Idle and load noise are both under the 30dB floor of the noise meter I use.

Power Consumption

Given the modest power requirements of Ivy Bridge and the chintzy TN panel, it's reasonable to expect the Dell OptiPlex 9010 All-in-One (I do wish they'd crunch these names a bit better) to be pretty frugal when pulling power from the wall. It turns out that's an entirely reasonable expectation.

Idle Power Consumption

Load Power Consumption

That turns out to be the case; the 9010 AiO draws less power under stress than an incandescent light bulb. In fact it's even slightly more efficient at idle than Toshiba's DX735, an all-in-one powered by a mobile processor instead of a low-voltage desktop model. There's a lot to be said for this kind of efficiency, and it makes a strong argument for mass deployment in an environment where cumulative power consumption can start to become a very big deal.

Screen Quality Conclusion: Curtailed by the Display
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  • NickB. - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    I always heard those poor viewing angles were a "security feature" - how else to explain the consistent use of such panels on business grade laptops?

  • Souka - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    we have a number of kiosks at my work for public use.

    we recently replaced the old 17-19" LCD crap-panels with 22" panels.

    Quickly we had requests for privacy screens because the new 22" panels have good viewing angles.

    so viewing angle can make a difference.

    funny.... but reality....
  • frozentundra123456 - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    This type of machine is one of the few places in the desktop that I see a good fit for trinity. It would have better gpu performance and "good enough" cpu performance. I am not really a fan of AIO systems in general though. Just seems like too much compromise in performance, upgradability, and repairability for the benefit of saving a bit of space on the desktop.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 20, 2012 - link

    And exactly what are you going to do on a kiosk that would benefit from having twice the GPU performance and half the CPU performance? Honestly, I find HD 4000 to be a perfectly adequate solution for everything outside of gaming. A better CPU choice for this system would be the i3-3225 I think -- only two CPU cores, but you don't really need more than that, and at 3.3GHz they're still plenty fast. I've got a system with just such a CPU and with a Samsung 128GB SSD it boots to Windows in about 10 seconds (plus the eight second POST -- I wish motherboard vendors would do more to decrease/eliminate POST times!)
  • Conficio - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    Really what is Dell thinking? Just reading the spec sheet and I see (at least a 1920 x 1080) display, but a TN panel with its bad viewing angles? And the target market of this is kiosk apps, where multiple people might look at a screen and the person's head is likely not aligned with the height of the screen (standing but device on a desk, standing height but people have different height).

    Try again Dell!
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    I'm OK with that, but to be honest they need to offer the perfect device for education, which would be a 19" 1440x900 AIO with a Core i3, 64GB SSD, 4GB RAM, perfectly fine if its TN, better, infact, to cut costs.

    There's a mass market for these kinds of devices, but it's always cheaper to do it from a small manufacturer..
  • StormyParis - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    Why can't they just make a Thin-ITX monitor stand with a VESA mount and the PC in the base, and let us choose our screen ?
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    You've always been able to buy mini-ITX and mount them to a VESA screen. It's just a matter of options.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    Also, Dell has offered AIO stands that allow you to bolt an SFF desktop to the back of a screen for a long time, and they're damn convenient, one carry handle, the whole thing.
  • TheSlamma - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - link

    Up till now most of the all-in-one business offerings have been limited. 3gb RAM max, 5400 rpm HD's, Pentium D processors, etc.

    Now we get Intel vPro (which is much needed for places trying to eliminate desktop visits.) and it addresses the previous limitations I mentioned. It also has high quality NIC and a good wifi card and runs very cool compared to an iMac.

    While the display isn't top notch, I don't see a problem with it, the 1080 screen is as good as the standard panels that most companies order with optiplex machines.

    While many people don't get the all-in-one, as mentioned int he article one target is public sector, schools, libraries and other local gov do want a smaller footprint. They are trying to do more with the same amount of space when they had Apple ]['s and XT's but with more kids and mobile furniture.

    Did I mention how awesome it is to have Intel AMT on these? vPro + RealVNC viewer plus = WIN!!

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