The Dell OptiPlex 7460 All-in-One business desktop (starts at $ 1,089, $ 1,742 as tested) introduces 8th Generation Intel Core processors and a new all-in-one design that’s trimmer and sleeker than its OptiPlex 7450 predecessor. But the resolution on the 23.8-inch display drops precipitously in the process: The OptiPlex 7450 featured a 4K panel, while the OptiPlex 7460’s is only 1080p. Our tester features storage and graphics upgrades that drive up the price and boost performance, but it might be a case of packing too much power too tight: Often, a cooling fan roared. A lower-end configuration with integrated graphics might keep the thermals in check and hush matters, but that leaves creative departments cold. (And, in that same vein, many creative pros will want a higher-res display.) Aim this machine at workaday office tasks, and it will serve just fine.
Still a Trim, Thin AIO
The OptiPlex 7460 All-in-One sits on a square base, connected by a wide, articulating arm. The arm provides a bit of height adjustment, but not as much as you might think: only 3 inches. And it does not allow you to swivel or pivot the screen.
What it does let you do is adjust the display so it lies wholly horizontal—or, you can pick any angle between lying flat or 90 degrees vertical. (Actually, it can tilt past vertical to a slight 5 degrees forward.)
Having such a wide degree of angle positioning is helpful for using the touch-enabled screen, which our test model features. It’s not nearly as useful, however, for the non-touch models in the OptiPlex 7460 line.
The display’s thin bezels help the OptiPlex 7460 cut a thin profile. The side and top bezels are only 0.25 inch wide, and the speaker bar that runs along the bottom of the display spans 1.5 inches high. The system measures 13.5 by 21.8 by 2.1 inches (HWD), and the base is a 10-inch square.
Low-Res Display, Hi-Fi Speakers
As I mentioned, unlike the 4K screen in last year’s model, the OptiPlex 7460’s 23.8-inch display offers only a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel (1080p) native resolution. That makes for a crisp enough picture for general office use, but creative pros will find the pixel count lacking at this screen size for detail-minded media-editing tasks.
That said, if a 1080p panel will suffice for your office needs, then you’ll find lots to like about the display. For one, it’s an in-plane switching (IPS) panel that delivers accurate colors and wide viewing angles. For another, it boasts a finish that keeps glare and reflections at bay.
Many touch panels rely on glossy screen coatings that make you squint and scowl when faced with bright office lights and sunny windows. So, getting a display that delivers responsive multi-touch support without the glare is something I welcome with both arms open. Also, matte finishes can wash out the perceived colors on a display, but that’s not the case here. The OptiPlex 7460’s colors pop, bright and vibrant.
The system’s integrated speakers are impressive, too. They lack much punch to the bass, but they handle middle and high frequencies with great ease. Indeed, crank them up, and they get so loud that you will want to dial them down to spare your ears (and appease your neighbors). Even if you do push them to 10, they stay free from distortion at their top volume level.
Paired with Dell’s pop-up, full HD webcam, the speakers make the OptiPlex 7460 into a video conferencing powerhouse. Our test system also included Dell’s optional IR webcam. It lets you use facial recognition via Windows Hello to log in to Windows 10 without the need for a password.
A Tough Case to Crack
The OptiPlex 7460 ditches the DVD burner of last year’s model, so if your job requires the occasional disc reading or burning, you’ll need to keep an external drive handy.
You have plenty of connection options for such an arrangement. On the left edge, you’ll find two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-A, one Type C), an SD card slot, and a dual-mode headphone/headset jack.
Around back are four more USB 3.1 ports (all Type-A), a pair of HDMI ports (one an input, one an output), a DisplayPort connection, an Ethernet port, and an audio line-out jack. Unlike on last year’s model, these ports face outward and not downward, making them much easier to access.
The baseline hard drive option is a ho-hum 500GB Serial ATA drive, but our test system features a speedy M.2 PCI Express NVMe solid-state drive, 256GB in capacity. If you go with M.2 for the boot drive, like on our test model, there will be a free 2.5-inch drive bay inside for you to fill, if you want to add a second drive. But prying off the back panel to get to the bay is—literally—a pain. Technically, it’s a “tool-free” design, but it requires Hulk-level grip strength to remove it. Getting it off hurt my fingers and my self-esteem.
One thing that doesn’t pinch is the warranty coverage. Dell blankets the system with a standard three-year plan that includes onsite service if a remote diagnosis can’t fix your problem. That’s a big perk for small businesses relying on machines like this OptiPlex; onsite service, if it kicks in, can mean much less downtime than shipping a problem PC.
I Am OptiPlex, Hear Me Roar
As I noted up top, the OptiPlex 7460 features 8th Generation Intel Core chips. Here, it’s the Core i5-8600 processor, backed up by discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics. (That configuration is upgraded from a base Core i5-8500 with integrated graphics.) The Core i5-8600 is a lusty six-core “Coffee Lake” CPU that runs at a base clock of 3.1GHz and can boost to up to 4.3GHz. (It doesn’t support Hyper-Threading, so six processing threads is the limit.)
This combination tore through our benchmark tests. It nearly made a clean sweep of our application benchmarks, finishing first on our PCMark 8, Handbrake, and Cinebench trials among a group of other business-oriented all-in-ones. It was even just 9 seconds off the pace of a Xeon-based AIO workstation, the Dell Precision 5720 All-in-One, on our Photoshop test, posting an impressive time of less than 3 minutes.
The OptiPlex 7460’s dedicated GeForce GTX graphics won’t wow gamers, but it is has major muscle for workaday tasks and others that use GPU acceleration. (It also likely helped in our Photoshop trial.) The OptiPlex posted respectable 3DMark scores and even playable frame rates on our medium-quality Heaven test at 1,366 by 768 resolution. Last year’s OptiPlex 7450 and its midrange AMD Radeon R7 M465X graphics were a step better, however, on each of our 3D graphics and gaming tests.
More problematic for the OptiPlex 7460, aside from the step back in graphics power, is the cooling it requires. As soon as I started using Photoshop, began playing a game, or fired up a graphics benchmark test, the cooling fan engaged and sounded incredibly loud and extremely close. Even when idle, the chassis emits an audible hum that’s hard to ignore.
In the tester model PCMag received, the OptiPlex 7460 can’t quite duplicate the success of last year’s Editors’ Choice-award-winning OptiPlex 7450. It dials down the 4K display to 1080p and takes a step back with its move from one graphics chip to another, but the biggest drawback is the loud cooling fan that kicks in big and bold, loud and proud, at the slightest hint of a graphics chore. You can find similarly sized and priced all-in-ones that serve up more pixels at fewer decibels.
That said, many business users won’t miss the option for 4K; a 23.6-inch screen is not quite big enough to really leverage 4K resolution for long hours of detail work. Set your expectations appropriately with this machine, and it will satisfy. Graphics hounds and performance-minded users, though, will want to look at competing machines from Apple, HP…and even Dell itself.