Dell Vostro 3900 Mini Tower : Hands-On Review
Design80%
Performance75%
Compatibility70%
Price90%
Upgradability75%
Hardware60%
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Fast for price
  • Silent-running
Cons
  • No built-in Wi-Fi
  • Unimpressive design
  • Included mouse ergonomics are appauling
75%Overall Score

Do people still use desktop computers? Well, you’d be surprised and Dell’s Vostro line is here to help save the desktop PC.


The Dell Vostro 3900 is a powerful business-centric PC boasting a swift, yet efficient 4th Generation Haswell Intel Quad-Core i5-4460 CPU; running at 3.2GHz.

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It’s a black box, what more can I say? It’s not too big and not too boisterous either – which makes it perfect for the target audience. It’s a combination of metal and plastic with chrome-look plastic buttons as accents. It definitely compliments almost anything it sits upon. Around the back, the system is silver where the components meet the outside but that should be hidden anyway – the sides are black too, where the left-hand side panel features an air-vent for optimal air flow in the computer.

Performance

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The 4th Generation Haswell Intel Quad-Core i5-4460 CPU; running at 3.2GHz is a CPU that is not overclockable, however due to the target audience of the product, which is people who have less knowledge on computers, or offices, this isn’t a huge drawback as these people won’t want to be overclocking this machine.

This choice helps keep the costs of the machine down by not wasting it on overkill parts. After using this PC for a while we can deduct that the processor is definitely fast enough for the tasks family-members or office-goers will be throwing at this PC; naming tasks along the lines of word processing, basic browser use and general productivity tasks.

While having several office-based programs open (such as Microsoft Office and Chrome with several tabs open) the Vostro had little-to-no trouble processing all information which makes it an obvious contender for its target categories.

In terms of price, it’s definitely one of the best computers you’ll get for the money, performance-wise. It really is no slouch, but note the slight time it does suck up to get booted, as it lacks a fast disk drive.

Components

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This PC doesn’t have a dedicated Graphics card, but instead it uses the onboard, integrated graphics from the CPU. Again this lowers the cost making it more affordable for the target market who probably wouldn’t utilise the a dedicated card anyway. This means that those office-goers on a break, or skipping off some work can have a bash at some basic games on the system without too much hassle.

Inside the PC from stock is a stick of 4GB DDR3 memory boasting a 1600MHz speed, complete with the Intel HD Graphics 4600, you can really push the system to the limit by streaming 1080p footage and even having several programs open at once – it’s the obvious contender in an office environment for sure.

Along with this the motherboard does have 4xPCI lanes in total; one of which supports a dedicated graphics card which leaves room for upgrades in the future; maybe along with a dual-channel RAM array.

This PC ships with a pre-installed, fully activated copy of Windows 7 Professional, though Windows 8.1 is an option when ordering on Dell’s website. This allows for an optional upgrade to Windows 10 if the user would like. You also get a free 30-day trial of Microsoft Office slapped on the system so you can trial it before you make a definite purchase.

This is all stored on an relatively mediocre 500GB mechanical hard drive. No, unfortunately no SSD on this PC, but again it is all to keep costs down to make it affordable to people. However I must say I would have liked to see at least a 1TB  drive in the Vostro as this seems to be the standard industry size for modern computers now and 500GB may not last that long in a family environment. This makes the boot up time a wary few minutes to fully get going and to get into programs at full speed.

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As a general note, the Vostro is completely silent, while boasting 2 fans in the system, and even at extreme stress-tests, the computer remained absolutely silent so it is definitely ideal for the home/office buyer.

Accessories and I/O

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It was nice of Dell to include a keyboard and mouse with the PC, but I did replace the mouse for a relatively cheap one; mainly because the included mouse is not good at all, the ergonomics are a bit awkward and there are no quick back and forward buttons; simple features that I really see as essential in a mouse these days. The keyboard, on the other hand, is quite exceptional. It is soft touch and is seriously nice to type on because it’s not loud and its design isn’t overly boisterous.

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Its I/O around the back of the system is quite minimal, but for the cost, you really can’t complain. You get your standard set of visual ports; HDMI and VGA and you also get a PS2 input which is a nice addition too. USB2.0 and USB3.0 are also features on this system which is a very handy addition which makes things all a little quicker in terms of transferring files. Ethernet is also included but the machine does lack built-in Wi-Fi which may be a crucial deciding-point for potential buyers especially in a family environment where an ethernet output may not be close-by.

As a general note however, when I tried to install my own Wi-Fi card from TP-LINK, which I know works, I couldn’t actually get any signal. However, offices and businesses will use ethernet anyway, which lowers the costs again, making it more appealing to buy.

The Vostro also comes with a stock SATA disk drive which supports DVDRW.

Verdict

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Overall this PC is a great option for a budget PC and exceeds most of my expectations. For a person with less PC knowledge, it is hard to look past the Dell Vostro 3900. However, I must admit that after using the PC for about a week, I am sick of MacAfee asking for memberships to be renewed and pop ups from Dell about backing up my PC, it is genuinely off putting and would really frustrate someone who is new to computers. There are slight flaws which are mentioned in the ‘Cons’ box up at the top, but other than that, the PC is great and at £309(Ex VAT + P&P), there is almost nothing similar that can rival it.

You can purchase your own Dell Vostro 3900 here.

About The Author

Senior Editor

Covering everything from gaming to technology, with small editorials in between. Alex Tempest covers the intersect between now and the future in technology and how we will progress scientifically into the future.

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