The first feature I noticed about the Dell OptiPlex 745 PC was its all-in-one concept similar to that of the Gateway Profile. All-in-one units have caught on like wildfire in state and local government in recent years. IT staff gravitate toward their small footprints on desks and the potential for quick, easy deployments due to the few parts needed to assemble them.

Evidently Dell wanted a piece of the action after witnessing the potential of this niche market. And kudos to Dell -- the OptiPlex 745 is more aesthetically pleasing than Gateway's Profile, which as I commented in a past review, reminds me of a microfiche machine.

When I used the Gateway Profile from May to October 2006, my editor and I joked that we could build our own simply by strapping a flat panel screen to the side of any ol' central processing unit (CPU). Apparently engineers at Dell made the same observation.

The OptiPlex 745 is literally a separate CPU connected to a screen by the thin plastic pedestal holding both components upright. You could actually disconnect the CPU and place it anywhere if you wanted. By contrast, the Profile's design attempts to make the two components appear melded into one harmonious machine.

The Profile's CPU juts out under the screen, providing an easily accessible entrance point for software and CDs. One downside of the OptiPlex 745 design is that it forced me to awkwardly reach and fiddle with buttons on the right side of the CPU to operate necessary functions.

The OptiPlex 745 did, however, withstand my attempts at crashing it by running numerous applications simultaneously. I shut it down only once during the three months I've used it, which didn't result in any problems. Dell attributes that performance to the system's Intel Core 2 Duo processors.

Dell also adopted energy efficiency as part of its product focus, which is beneficial to a user's electric bill, as well as to the world around him or her. The company says the OptiPlex 745 offers power savings of up to 40 percent compared to past, comparable models.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Specifications:

  • OptiPlex 745 ultra-small form factor

  • Dell 17-inch UltraSharp 1707FP all-in-one stand for USFF chassis

  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor E6300

  • Windows XP Professional, SP2, x32, with media

  • 1.0 GB DDR2 nonECC SDRAM, 667MHz

  • 80 GB SATA, 10,000 rpm hard drive with data burst cache

  • 8X slimline DVD+/-RW

  • Integrated video, Intel GMA3000

  • Dell energysmart enabled

  • NTFS file system for all operating systems

  • RoHS compliant lead free chassis and motherboard

  • Biometric fingerprint reader
    Andy Opsahl  |  Staff Writer