Dell Vostro 460 Is For Work, Not Play: Review

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The Dell Vostro 460 is ideal for productivity. But for more resource-intensive needs, there are better options out there.

When it comes to enterprise computing, companies are looking for very different things in their machines compared to the average consumer. The enterprise doesn’t want all the flashy components folks might find in an Apple Mac Pro. Instead, they’re looking for a workhorse that can get the job done and reduces the risk of losing productivity because of employees engaging in time-wasting personal entertainment.

It would seem that Dell fully understands that fact in its recently launched Dell Vostro 460. The desktop I tested came with a powerful Intel Core i7 3.4GHz “Sandy Bridge” processor, a 500GB hard drive, of which about 464GB were available, and the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional. The computer I tested also came with a 21.5-inch monitor that would be suitable for any organisation.

The Dell Vostro was in no way groundbreaking. But it has focus. It understands the needs of today’s corporate customers, and it does so without all the bells and whistles that go along with some of its competition. It’s the prototypical corporate computer that will stick around in offices for years.

Design

One of the first things enterprise users will find when they break the Vostro 460 out of the box is how, well, boring it is. The tower features a simple black finish with a single Dell logo on the front. It lacks the aesthetic appeal of other towers, like the Mac Pro, but as mentioned, the Vostro 460 is meant to impress IT staff, not design enthusiasts.

One of the nicest things about the Vostro 460 is that it’s small. Dell calls it the “Mini Tower.” Marketing speak aside, employees shouldn’t have any trouble sticking the tower under the desk and still have ample room for all their other gadgets, files or even their legs.

The Vostro 460 comes with a wired mouse and keyboard. As one might expect, those accessories are the typical standard fare. Their colouring closely matches the Vostro tower and most employees who are accustomed to using standard mice and keyboards will feel right at home with the accessories. It would have been nice to see wireless versions of these devices, but considering so many companies are using wired accessories anyway, it shouldn’t prove to be a big issue.

Features

The Dell Vostro 460 I tested comes with the 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge processor. It boasts 4G of RAM and runs Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. On the graphics side, it comes with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 2000, though Dell offers graphics-card options for those who want the extra power this device doesn’t come with.

The front of the computer offers four USB ports and one USB 3.0 port, as well as a DVD drive. On the back, users will find another four USB ports and another USB 3.0 port. The computer comes with Gigabit Ethernet, an eSATA port, and an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) connector, among other options.

Although many of those features are run-of-the-mill among business-focused computers, it was an absolute treat to find so many USB ports on the device. As companies know all too well, there are simply too many devices to connect to a computer; the more USB ports available, the better. Dell proves that it understands the plight of today’s corporate customers by including all those ports.

However, it should be kept in mind that two of those ports will be taken by the wired keyboard and mouse that comes with the Vostro 460. It’s another good reason Dell should consider offering wireless options in the future.

Performance

When it comes to actual performance, the Vostro 460 is a bit of a mixed bag.

When compared with high-powered alternatives, like some of Dell’s or HP’s higher-end models as well as the Mac Pro, the Vostro 460 comes up short. Trying to play more sophisticated video games on the platform was somewhat difficult due to the integrated graphics chip. In addition, the relatively meager 4GB of RAM wasn’t enough to handle all the tabs running on Firefox 4 in addition to Word, music playback and other tasks I tried to perform at the same time. As those processes were running, there was a noticeable slowdown in performance as time went on.

However, when running a few applications at the same time, the Vostro 460 held its own quite well. Only after video editing or other resource-intensive programs came into play did the performance start to degrade.

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