RealTime IT News

Dell Wants to Free Up Your Cubicle

Dell launched its answer to the workstation PC of the future with the OptiPlex SX260, a book-sized machine that sacrifices some of the flexibility of standalone machines for more room at the cubicle.

Weighing in at eight pounds, the SX260 is Dell's answer to the slew of mini-PCs hitting the market today. Aimed at the business customer rather than consumers, it features many of the space-saving benefits found in the latest Gateway and Apple products, but isn't an all-in-one package like the Profile or iMac.

"The OptiPlex SX260 is the result of direct customer feedback," said Michael Dell, Dell chairman and CEO. "(It's) ideally suited for space-conscious customers."

Priced at $599, the SX260 sports a Pentium 4 2.0 GHz processor, 256 MB of DDR-flavored RAM, a 20 GB hard drive, network port, and a removable CD-ROM hard drive. It also comes pre-installed with Windows XP Professional. Customers are still expected to buy their own monitor, mouse and keyboard; with a flat-screen 15" monitor and peripherals, Dell's Web site shows a fully loaded system jumps to nearly $2,000.

To cram all the features of a "normal" PC into a dictionary-sized package resulted in the loss of some flexibility. For instance, the SX260 doesn't feature any PCI or AGP slots for upgradeable video, sound or communication ports. Offsetting that are the six USB ports, so users can add external devices, like scanners, zip drives and the like.

The mini-PC meets a growing demand in the business place for products that save on space, without sacrificing processing power to run multimedia applications like videoconferencing or Windows Office applications.

Thomas Ashcraft, an IS manager and design engineer for manufacturer Production Equipment Design Company (PEDCO), said Dell's Opti systems have always performed well in a business setting and expects the mini-PC to do well.

"Desktop space is a must," he said. "With the economy down, businesses are not willing to buy furniture, we scrap for stuff (around) here. As far as processing power, I had one of the (Dell OptiPlex) GX-1's here about two years ago and it outperformed my custom system; I expect the SX260 runs just as well."