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First Look: Dell’s Tiny OptiPlex 7070 Ultra Fits Entirely Into a Monitor Stand

The new OptiPlex 7070 Ultra is no ordinary business computer, nor is it like any mini PC we’ve seen before. It could be the future of all-in-one PCs.
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First Look: Dell's Tiny OptiPlex 7070 Ultra Fits Entirely Into a Monitor Stand

Businesses that tend to upgrade their PCs on two-, three-, or four-year cycles have a bit of a conundrum when it comes to replacing their all-in-one desktops: The screen portion is likely perfectly fine when it comes time to replace the PC bits a few years after they bought it. With the new OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, unveiled this week, Dell aims to let them replace just the PC and keep the screen.

This tiny PC completely disappears into a slot in Dell’s custom monitor stand, unlike existing OptiPlex mini PCs, which clip on to the back of a monitor using a VESA mount. The OptiPlex 7070 Ultra pops in and out easily, and it includes a surprisingly robust amount of ports for such a tiny PC.

It’s hardly the first such solution to let businesses enjoy all-in-one style without the waste of replacing an entirely usable screen when it’s time to upgrade. HP introduced its modular EliteOne concept a few years ago, which lets IT departments separate the screen from the PC components in the base using tools. The OptiPlex 7070 Ultra solves the same general problem, but it has the potential to be even more flexible. Besides the fact that it’s easily concealed in the monitor stand, you can also pop off the cover in a few seconds to upgrade and service select components.

OptiPlex 7070 configurations will be available on Sept. 24 with a starting price of $ 749. Let’s take a visual tour of the concept.

  • A Tiny PC

    It’s not as small as a stick-style PC like the Intel Compute Stick, but you can easily handle the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra with one hand. It’s a simple black rectangle, measuring 0.78 by 3.8 by 10.1 inches (HWD), and unadorned with much styling. That’s fine, since if you install it inside a monitor stand the way Dell intends, you won’t see it at all.
  • Installed in the Stand

    Indeed, the 7070 Ultra completely disappears inside the monitor stand, with only its ports sticking out. If you decide not to use it with Dell’s monitor stand, you could instead simply rest it on a desk.
  • Cord Management

    One of the main benefits of the Dell monitor stand is that you can achieve a seamless look with multiple monitors. Other than a few more cables, you’d be hard-pressed to tell that the monitor on the right is actually functioning as an AIO PC, thanks to the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra in its stand.
  • Bringing Everything Together

    A visualization from Dell helps explain how the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra integrates into the monitor stand. The stand’s rear cover pops off, and you insert the PC into the slot. If you can get by with just a USB-C cable—perhaps you’ll connect via Wi-Fi and use Bluetooth peripherals—that’s all that needs to be plugged in, since the monitor can deliver the required 65 watts over the USB-C connection. Next-generation Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 will be available, Dell says.
  • Side View

    One side of the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra includes a USB Type-C port, a USB Type-A port, a headphone jack, and a cooling grille.
  • Extra Cooling Vents

    More cooling grilles line the top of the tiny PC, next to the power button. Cooling all of the components packed so tightly together in this diminutive enclosure is a challenge. The OptiPlex 7070 Ultra will use low-power CPUs designed primarily for laptops, in order to generate less heat. Choices range from a dual-core Intel Core i3 to a quad-Core Intel Core i7 with vPro support.

    This setup is fine for most business scenarios, such as installation at a reception desk, but it will almost certainly struggle to handle more complex computing tasks that high-end AIOs like the Microsoft Surface Studio can easily perform. These chips are meant for mainstream computing tasks, not heavy content creation or intense multitasking.

  • Bottom View

    At the bottom, you’ll find another USB-C port, two more USB Type-A ports, and even a full-size Ethernet jack.
  • A Peek Inside

    Cracking open the case reveals Dell’s engineering contortions, which result in a very different PC setup far removed from OptiPlex desktops of old. Everything is tiny, even the M.2 slots used to connect SSDs and Wi-Fi cards to the motherboard, which are 30mm long instead of the more conventional 80mm used in the case of SSDs. As further evidence of the importance of cooling, you can clearly see that the main fan covers approximately a third of the interior area. The laptop-style SO-DIMM slots take up the center third.
  • All Put Together

    When you pair an OptiPlex 7070 Ultra with a few Dell P-series USB-C monitors, you get a “clean, future-ready workspace,” as the company puts it. After seeing a sample setup with three monitors side-by-side and no ugly PC tower in sight, we tend to agree.

    From the end-user perspective, this isn’t necessarily cleaner or more futuristic than what the several business AIOs already on the market offer. From the IT department’s perspective, however, the OptiPlex 7070 Ultra’s modular design could end up being a time-, space-, and money-saver that no AIO has ever matched. Stay tuned for a full review.

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