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6/96 Reviews System: Dell OptiPlex GXMT 5166

Complete listing of June 1996 reviews

Speedy CD & Ready to Net

By Serdar Yegulalp

With a 166MHz Pentium, Dell's OptiPlex GXMT 5166 doesn't fool around when it comes to performance. In our tests, its speedy CPU helped it zip through MIPS and post some serious numbers on other low-level component tests as well as our macro-based Word 7.0 and Excel 7.0 application simulations.

The OptiPlex GXMT 5166 also stashes some impressive components into its minitower case. My evaluation machine had 16MB of RAM, but it can handle up to 128MB. It also had a 1.6-gigabyte Western Digital hard disk, an NEC 4X ATAPI CD-ROM drive, and a 3COM EtherLink III motherboard-based network interface for hooking up to a LAN. The GXMT 5166's audio system is socketed to the system board in the form of a wavetable-capable Creative Labs Sound Blaster Vibra 16.

There are plenty of slots and bays for expansion along with ample juice from its 230-watt power supply. Of the three external and two internal drive bays, only one of each is used (by the hard disk and the CD-ROM drive). It has two PCI card slots and six slots for ISA peripherals. One of the PCI slots is used by the Imagine 128 PCI Super VGA graphics card. Two PCI slots for a high-performance system seems stingy and, oddly, our system did not include a modem in its standard equipment configuration.

Getting into the GXMT 5166 is easy. Just twist off a few screws-with your bare hands or with a Phillips screwdriver-and you'll be able to remove the top and side panels independently. It's a neat and convenient arrangement, providing just the right access you need to perform specific upgrades or maintenance. The 166MHz Pentium processor is hidden under a heat sink, but the memory slots are easily reached for RAM upgrades.

The system includes a 17-inch Dell monitor with a 0.28-millimeter dot pitch. The monitor's picture quality was good except for some flicker when the displayed image underwent a significant change -for example, when switching between applications. The Energy Star-compliant monitor has convenient on-screen programming and front-panel button controls for selecting and adjusting display attributes, such as color temperature and degaussing. The monitor has no moir... adjustment.

The QuietKey keyboard, also from Dell, is comfortable, with sufficient tactile resistance. It includes Windows 95-specific function keys. A smooth-operating Logitech mouse completes the GXMT 5166's input equipment.

The OptiPlex GXMT 5166 offers notable performance. In WINDOWS Magazine's Wintune and application macro tests, the 166MHz Pentium CPU generated a score of 303MIPS, which would put it close to the upper crust of 166MHz-class systems. But the video combo of the Imagine card and the Dell monitor clocked an extremely quick 16Mpixels per second. The system's performance on the uncached hard disk throughput test was far less impressive at 2.75MB per second. The system did well on the macro tests, completing the Word macro in 18 seconds, and the Excel macro in an average of 29 seconds.

Despite omissions like a modem and more PCI expansion, the OptiPlex GXMT 5166 is another solid Dell performer.

Info File
Dell OptiPlex GXMT 5166
Pros: Performance; storage;on-board networking and audio
Cons: No modem
Dell Computer Corp.
800-BUY-DELL, 512-338-4400
WinMag Box Score: 4.0
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