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In response to Intel unveiling its latest chipset, Dell released a range of business PCs that support the chip manufacturing giant's latest architecture. In the small form factor space, Dell's offering is the Optiplex SX280 -- a PC featuring Intel's 915G Express chipset, a Pentium 4 500 series processor (520, 530, or 540), and a GMA900 video controller. 256 to 2GB of shared DDR2 SDRAM can be installed, alongside a 40-250GB Serial ATA hard disk drive.
Upside: The SX280 features an ultra small form factor chassis that weighs about 4.8kg and takes up a tiny amount of desk space. The chassis can be hidden away behind an LCD, if purchased in conjunction with an optional stand from Dell. The all-in-one stand is adjustable in height and designed to hold a 15- 17-inch monitor as well as the chassis (which is held in place by a removable bolt). Cables protruding from side of the chassis are managed by a clip-on section which routes all cables out through the same hole. There are seven USB ports (two on the front and five on the rear), as well as Ethernet, serial, parallel, and audio ports.
Downside: The motherboard on Dell's Optiplex SX280 only allows DDR2 SDRAM to be installed. Businesses with spare DDR RAM lying around won't be able to use the legacy memory to upgrade SX280 PCs.
Outlook: The Optiplex SX280's design certainly isn't as striking and charming as, for example, Apple's iMac, but at a starting price of AU$1,269 you can't expect too much. But does the SX280 sacrifice performance for small size? We'll have the full details on the SX280 shortly.