• Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700
  • Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro K620
  • Memory: 32GB DDR4
  • Storage: 2TB HDD
  • Input/Output: 1x PS/2 Keyboard, 1x PS/2 Mouse, 1x Optical drive, 1x Gigabit LAN, 3x DisplayPort, 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, 1x audio jack, 6x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 92.7mm x 292.1mm x 290mm
  • Weight: 5.3kg
  • Pros:
  • Compact
  • Upgradable
  • Cons:
  • GPU upgrade options limited
  • Poor keyboard and mouse set
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark Home: 3,960 points
  • PCMark Creative: 3,848 points
  • PCMark Work: 3,466 points

Upgrading Made Easy

Due to all the premium laptops to high-end gaming desktops, often times we forget that there’s a lot of people who want a simpler PC or workstation. Dell has always been one of those that does this category justice and one of its latest is the Precision Tower 3420.

The Dell Precision Tower 3420 is a workstation in a Small Form Factor (SFF). It’s slim enough to be kept at a corner of the desk without occupying too much space, or laid flat and placed under a monitor if preferred.

As a well-equipped machine, the Tower 3420 comes with not only a good number of USB ports, it also has an optical drive, a variety of display outputs, Gigabit LAN port, and old school PS/2 ports for both keyboard and mouse.

Inside, this desktop comes back with workstation grade hardware. There’s an Intel Core i7-6700 powering it, along with 32GB of DDR4 RAM, a Nvidia Quadro K620 GPU, and 2TB of HDD storage. This particular configuration is meant as a workstation, with the GPU ideal for graphics rendering for 2D/3D models.

The biggest advantage of this desktop, as opposed to many other pre-built desktops, is that almost everything inside the Tower 3420 can be replaced easily. Pulling a latch at the back of the case allows for removal of the side panel and access to the internals. From there, all it takes is some effort to remove the components on top, in order to do upgrades. Not only can the hard drive be replaced, so can the optical drive and the RAMs beneath the drive cage. It’s also possible to install a M.2 SSD on the motherboard, remove the CPU cooler to upgrade the processor (Kaby Lake, for example), as well as replace the Quadro K620 GPU.

Overall, we are quite impressed with the performance of this SFF desktop PC from Dell. Its computing performance is great and is particularly suited for rendering work, as expected. In operation, it’s as quiet as it can be and temperatures remain at about 78-degree Celsius, which is not too hot.

CHIP CONCLUDE: For a workstation, the Tower 3420 provides the performance required for rendering tasks that are not too demanding. Best thing yet, this package is relatively affordable, compared to more high-end workstations.

(previously published in issue August 2016)

Dell Precision Tower 3420