Is the Dell Optiplex 990 good for Gaming?
The shot answer is, Oh Ya! or it can be, with some mods. So a few months ago I picked up a Dell OptiPlex 990 PC for around $200. This was originally going to be used for an office PC but did not end up needing it. When I looked into the specs and found it came with powerful i7-2600 I decided to look into making it into an inexpensive gaming rig.
Processor: Intel i7-2600, 3.8Ghz Turbo Boost, 8MB L3 Cache, Hyper-Threaded Quad Core
System Type: 64-Bit
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Memory: 8GB PC3-1333
Graphics: Stock – Intel® HD Graphics 2000, Upgraded to MSI R7 265 2GB DDR5 265-Bit Dual-X: http://amzn.to/2pm8XGv (Now upgraded to a AMD RX 580 8GB)
Stock PSW: 254W – Upgraded to Corsair CX650M 650W: http://amzn.to/2FQ9qYu
Get your Dell 990 here: eBay.
The first thing I checked was the power supply that it came with stock. To my dismay it was a very small wattage power supply at 240 W which would not be enough to push even a halfway decent video card. I did some research to see if I could swap this out with the standard ATX power supply. And I found the answer was yes. I purchased a corsair 650 W power supply and it installed very easily. This power supply had a modular cabling so you could configure what you wanted and what you did not want, i.e. six Penn power or eight Penn power or both…. this power supply ran me only $65, not a bad deal.
After doing the power supply upgrade I installed a AMD R9 265 with 2GB on board. Then set up AMD’s Eyefinity three monitor configuration. I’m a big fan of the AMD R series card, not supper high end, but you can’t beet it in terms of bang for your buck, at around a $120 price point.
The 990 came with 8 GB of memory which was plenty for the gaming I was looking at doing. I may upgrade the RAM to 16GB later, the more ram the merrier. My goal was to make a gaming rig that would have a good performance but at the lowest cost. Once I got it up and running and ran the nova bench bench marking software it came back with a 1572 score which I thought was pretty impressive for a gaming PC with around $400 into it. I am running FarCry 4 at the second highest level at about 27 FPS. I know 27 frame isn’t out of this world, but is certainty playable and pretty impressive for $400. I would definitely recommend the Dell Optiplex 990 for a budget gaming rig!!
Rig Update 2/2018
One and a half years in and this rig is still kicking, when I said kicking I mean stomping. Everything I have thrown at it the Optiplex 990 has not even blinked. I have been running three monitors in the vertical position using Eyefinity at 3150×1680 and most games I am running on high or a mixture of medium and high graphics settings and average 35-40 fps. Whit a nicer video card, the sky’s the limit.
250GB SSD with 1TB 7200 Storage Dive
RAM: Upgraded for 8GB to 16GB
NovaBench Score with Upgrades
So as you can see not bad at all for a budget build. With a video card upgrade at some point I believe the Dell Optiplex 990 gaming rig will continue to service me well for years to come.
Rig Update 3/2018
Dropped in a Gigabyte GTX 660 Ti 2GB OC Version GV-N66TWF2-2GD (http://amzn.to/2FQpr0A), not a huge upgrade, but I got a smoking deal on the card and it did make a good difference on this PC’s NovaBench score. This card uses less power and runs quieter and 10°-15° C cooler then the AMD R7.
Rig Update 6/2018
I upgraded the 660 TI 2GB video card with a AMD RX 580 8GB, what a difference! I have to move the hard drives and remove the hard drive mounting cage in order to fit the new card in the case. This card it awesome and did not brake the bank either. RX 580 8GB