Dell enters ultra-small form factor workstation market with new Precision 3240 Compact

The Dell Precision 3240 Compact will compete with the HP Mini and the Lenovo Tiny, at a new low price point – unless a customer opts for the high end NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 option, which will be available in October.

Dell has announced the Dell Precision 3240 Compact, a net-new entry in their workstation line. It is an ultra-small form factor [USFF] workstation which becomes Dell’s first entry in this category. It joins the Dell Precision 3440 Compact Small Form Factor workstation and the Dell Precision 3640 tower workstation model in the 3000 series.

“This compact competes in the ultra small form factor category, specifically with the HP Mini and the Lenovo Tiny,” said Tyler Bellamey, Product Manager at Dell Technologies. “HP and Lenovo have taken a divergence in nomenclature for this market, but that is the space we are addressing with this product design.”

Dell is offering a model specifically for this space to address that part of the market that wants a very small form factor workstation that is flexible to deploy and easy to mount, whether behind a monitor or under a desktop – and to do so at a very low price. The Dell Precision 3240 Compact starts at only $599 U.S.

“Customers are trying to make budgets stretch farther without compromise,” Bellamey said. “This has the lowest price point in the portfolio. We think it couldn’t be better timed.”

The Dell Precision 3240 Compact checks in at under five pounds in weight, and is slightly larger and thicker than the size of a hardcover novel.  It comes with 10th Gen Intel Core or Xeon processors and accelerated memory speeds of up to 2933MHz, with capacities to expand up to 64GB, and an ECC memory option. That’s enough to run Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and AI simulations, as well as up to seven 4k displays.

“It’s essentially similar to the SFF Precision 3440 as far as the processor stack goes,” Bellamey indicated.

The differences in performance compared to the Dell Precision 3440 are largely capacity related.

“It is designed to address the same kind of solutions as the SFF model, but for use cases and customers who don’t need the extra stuff, in order to get more bangs for the buck.” It has only half the capacity of the Dell Precision 3440, with two slots supporting 32 DIMMs each, compared to four on the SFF model. The graphics are also slightly different, with a more attenuated stack, and the Dell Precision 3240 has fewer storage options than the Dell Precision 3440, which can accommodate  3 ½ inch drives.

The unique Dell IP here – found in all Dell workstations – is the Dell Optimizer for Precision, AI-based optimization software that learns how a user works and automatically tunes your workstation performance using machine learning for a more personalized experience.

Unique for now to the Dell Precision 3240 because it is new is the option of an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 professional graphics option, which will be available in October.

“This will be the first time that the RTX 3000 will be available in any of the small Dell workstations, or in any of the small Tier One workstations.” Bellamey indicated. “The RTX 3000 is considered very premium, so it will be a big jump in price to get this performance. Plenty of customers don’t need that and can opt for Intel integrated graphics or a less expensive graphics option.”

The Dell Precision 3240 also has optional WiFi capabilities and a range of accessible ports, including front access USB 3.2

While the new workstation is being targeted at traditional workstation use cases, Dell is also emphasizing its suitability for COVID-created environments.

“We are pitching it at both the Work From Home and  Return to Office environments,” Bellamey said. “It’s really a Work From Anywhere solution.”