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Dell Just Reinvented the All-in-One PC with a Tiny Modular Computer as Its Heart

(Image credit: Dell)

The Dell OptiPlex line has been a staple of offices everywhere for years, but the line of workaday PCs hasn't always been known for innovation. That's about to change with the Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, which deftly merges the self-contained aesthetic of an all-in-one PC with the compact might of a mini PC.

Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra release date and price

The Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra will be available on Sept. 24. While Dell has not specified exact pricing for the various configurations of the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, a Dell spokesperson has told us that average price for the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra will be $749, though some configurations will cost more or less, depending upon the exact mix of components.

Mini PC meets all-in-one

(Image credit: Dell)

While there have been several OptiPlex models that could be mounted to the backside of a monitor or attached to a shared stand, those units have always been less than elegant. The new Ultra series is a different form factor, with a compact module housing the PC components, but that module can be secreted away in a purpose-built stand, letting you eliminate the added footprint of a small form-factor desktop or other tower.

The result is an all-in-one desktop experience that allows a business to upgrade the display and computing hardware separately, without the need to ditch the entire system when you want to step up to a more powerful processor or higher resolution.

Dell OptiPlex 7070 specs

The new OptiPlex Ultra can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, as much as 64GB of RAM, and the option of one or two storage drives, with capacities of up to 1TB of SSD or 2TB of HDD storage, respectively.

But the hardware specs only scratch the surface, as the OptiPlex Ultra uses a modular design that hides the tiny desktop inside the stand, with simple connectivity to the monitor and plenty of ports, with USB 3.0 and USB Type-C ports (five in all). Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi provide network connectivity and additional M.2 and SATA slots are available for other upgrades.

The small PC module measures a surprisingly small 10.1 x 3.8 x 0.8 inches and weighs just 1.43 pounds. That's not a far cry from more traditional mini PC's we've reviewed, like the HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation or the Apple Mac mini, but the integrated design is a big step up from other "mini-in-one" systems we've seen, like the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny.

Connecting a monitor: The choice is yours

(Image credit: Dell)

The Ultra can be used with one of two monitor stands from Dell, one with height adjustment (easily distinguished by its silvery plastic trim) and the other with fixed height (all in black). Both stands feature a built-in compartment for the 7070 Ultra, with room for cables and a snap-on cover that keeps the tiny PC out of sight. The stand enclosure has open slots for port accessibility and is vented to prevent excessive heat buildup.

Because it uses a single USB-C port for power, display output and other connectivity needs between module and monitor, it also reduces the cable clutter normally associated with strapping a tiny desktop tower to the back of a monitor, making it much more like a traditional all-in-one.

It also means that the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra can be used with other monitors you may already own. With a special VESA offset mount, you can add the brick-shaped PC to pretty much any VESA-capable display, even if it's not a Dell monitor.

While the stylishly integrated design of the stand won't be available on other monitors, Dell has a simple stand that mounts the unit to one side of the display's universal VESA mount. The open air mount will still provide all the necessary access to ports and unhindered airflow needed for cooling.

(Image credit: Dell)

It can also be used to add the tiny PC module to a dual-monitor setup, using a shared two-display stand offered by Dell, or to a monitor that uses Dell's more flexible mounting arm. Alternatively, the standard OptiPlex 7070 stand will pair well with other Dell monitors, with the only external difference being a slightly thicker, vented stand.

Security features

As a Dell business product, the OptiPlex 7070 also gets the full complement of security features common to OptiPlex systems. Dell-branded software and services like Dell Data Guardian, Dell Encryption, and Dell Endpoint Security Services are all included, as is Secureworks SafeGuard and Response and Dell's Next Generation Antivirus.

Hardware security includes SafeBIOS (which provides off-site BIOS authentication), self-encrypting Opal drives, and Intel's Trusted Platform Module (TPM). There's also a built-in chassis lock and an integrated Kensington lock slot, for physically securing the device.