Dell OptiPlex 9030 review

A sleek, simple and, unfortunately, unsurprising business all-in-one PC

Dell OptiPlex 9030
Dell OptiPlex 9030

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Honestly, sometimes the specs don't paint the full picture. On paper, an Intel Core i5-4590S should have enough oomph to tear through most tasks. Even synthetic tests (like the ones you'll see in a minute) prove that this should be the case.

After using the 9030 for a few days, however, I can tell you that the i5 just wasn't enough for most of my work load. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary, either.

Running a music-streaming service like Spotify while a few tabs were open shouldn't be enough to stall a computer. But, when I did just that, the OptiPlex started to stutter and chug. Open a few more tabs (I had eight to nine open), update an app or go to unzip a file, and the machine suffers from a noticeable delay.

Imagine what would happen with a program like Adobe Photoshop running in the background or Microsoft Excel performing a processor-intensive macro. The system could slog through it, sure, but it wouldn't be pretty. Of course, this could be a different story entirely if you shell out for the i7-equipped system and trade out the touchscreen.

Before we fall too far down the rabbit hole, though, here's the Dell OptiPlex 9030 configuration that was sent to TechRadar:

Spec sheet

  • CPU: 3.00GHz Intel Core i5-4590S (quad-core, 6MB cache)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3L at 1600MHz
  • Screen: 23-inch, 1,920x 1,080 resolution with anti-glare coating touchscreen
  • Storage: 500GB, 5,400 rpm SATA HDD
  • Ports: 6 USB 3.0, 5 USB 2.0, HDMI-in, HDMI-out, DisplayPort 1.2, RJ-45, 1 Universal headphone jack, Line-out jack
  • Connectivity: Ethernet LAN 10/100/1000; supports optional 802.11n/ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 2MP FHD webcam with privacy cover
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (includes Windows 8.1 Pro license)
  • Weight: Minimum 30.89 pounds (14.01kg); stand weight 5.54lbs (2.52kg)
  • Size: 22.34 x 2.31 x 14.99 inches (56.75 x 5.86 x 38.07 cm; W x D x H)

The internals don't shine as much as the 9030's high-resolution screen, but there's enough here for a basic workstation. The 8GB of memory should be more than enough for any one single program and the optional touchscreen makes getting around the OS a blast. Out of the box it's pretty clean, too. You won't find dozens of extraneous programs or fishy bloatware, just the essentials and a few proprietary security tools. (More on those in a minute.)

Dell OptiPlex 9030

However, after a longer look at the system, you'll start to feel that something is amiss. The 500GB, 5,400 rpm hard drive can't hold more than a few hundred media files and the underwhelming on-board GPU feels like a cop-out when systems from rival competitors sport discrete, usually high-end cards for more or less the same price.

Again, it's not bad for the average user, but if you need considerable power and storage options under the hood, the 9030 may not be the best fit.


  • Cinebench Graphics: 26.33 fps; CPU: 455 cb
  • PCMark 8 Creative: 2,845 points; Work: 3,026 points

There are almost no surprises here. Cinebench scores around the 30 fps mark means we've got a solid video-streaming machine, while the CPU pulls a slightly overrated 5.64 points. Where the OptiPlex shines is the PCMark 8 Work test – though, again, this seems to be a misrepresentation of how this machine actually performs in the wild.

Lock, stock and key

I have, however, saved the best features for last. While you may only use the OptiPlex 9030 for your 8-hour workday, it will be sitting in your office for the other 16 hours – presumably, unprotected by your watchful eye.

Dell has gone above and beyond the call of duty with the 9030 to make sure that even when you're not around, your computer is better locked down than a bank safe by providing a slot for locks and, at the software level, with the company's top-tier Dell Data Protection tool.

Dell OptiPlex 9030

Touting its compatibility with Microsoft System Center, Dell KACE and Intel vPro, the Dell OptiPlex 9030 gives your system administrator more than enough options to ensure your fleet of all-in-ones runs smoothly for a long time to come. And if they run into problems, there's always the pre-installed Dell Backup and Recovery tool to quickly and easily set up safe checkpoints.

Dell is one of the better-known business PC manufacturers. And while they're not usually the most powerful machines on the block, they're at least known for their durability, with long lifecycles and a half-dozen avenues to get help when you need it.

We liked

Hands down, this is one sleek work machine. Time and time again, I found myself overjoyed to whiz around Windows 8.1 by tapping the gorgeous 23-inch screen.

The security and warranty options available through Dell are second to none. And despite its CPU shortcomings, the 9030 at least offers an air-tight, accident-proof PC experience.

We disliked

In the battle of performance vs. price, the 9030 doesn't quite tip the scales in its favor. Long startup times and frequent slowdowns hinder the all-in-one's performance. That said, it just isn't versatile enough for anyone who wants to do more than browse the web or stream video.

And besides its great-looking visage, there's no real "wow" factor here. Dell purposefully crafted a workstation, and the 9030 feels mediocre in the worst way possible.

Final verdict

The Dell OptiPlex 9030 doesn't over-deliver. But, then again, it doesn't promise all that much either. As a basic workstation, its form is greater than its function.

I experienced some serious issues with the internals of the machine. But IT managers can at least appreciate the level of care Dell puts into its security and remote management systems.

This all-in-one is tough to recommend for the majority of businesses. Under a different set of specs, the OptiPlex 9030 could've been king of the all-in-one castle. As it stands now, though, it's a run-of-the-mill release that's better left on the shelf.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.