Why buying small form factor is not a good thing

A few years ago, one of our clients needed to replace their old office workstations. Great we thought and prepared a quote for 5 new Dell workstations with flat screens.

Since their office is quite small - it's in Regent Street (a high rent area in Central London) - we gave them the option of a small form factor Dell Optiplex SX270 to save space in the office.

The SFF SX270 looked the business and the customer was keen due to its small footprint.

This, in hindsight was a mistake as almost 3 years later we are still paying for.

  • The sx270 uses laptop hard drives. So it's slower than comparable standard 3.5 inch drives.
  • It uses a cramped case system that seems to blow air upwards and has a heat sink at the top of the unit. So it runs as hot as the centre of the Sun.
  • And finally to cap all the performance problems, there was a manufacturing problem which causes them to blow up after a few years.

The upshot is, of the orginal 5 purchased - 4 have been replaced with new mainboards and had Dell engineers on site. Thank goodness we always recommend 3 year onsite warranty. (This expires in about 4 months!)

The moral we are taking from this is to buy normal desktop/towers from decent manufacturers and learn from your purchasing mistakes! We now use a combination of Dell and HP business grade units and experience an acceptably (very low) number of failures.

And if you have a SX270, when it fails insist on a warranty fix from the Dell call centre.