Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF vs. Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT
Comparison and Differences
Differences between Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF and Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT
If you are looking for the smaller form factor the Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF is the right one for you. It is smaller than the Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT and will fit more easily under your desk.
Usually the newer the generation of the CPU, the better the performance and efficiency is. If your budget allows it, you should go with the Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT as it is running a newer generation CPU. This is not to say that Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF is bad - it can still run some powerful CPUs, albeit being an older generation.
The Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT has 4 RAM slots while the Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF has only 2 slot(s). This is not something to worry about. Just make sure you take it into consideration when planning how much RAM you are going to use.
The Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT is using the faster 1600 MT/s RAM. The Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF is slower by supporting RAM speeds of up to 1333 MT/s. Additionally, if you will be needing a lot of RAM, better go for the Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT as it has the ability to run 16 GB of RAM. The Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF can do a bit less at max 8 GB. Most of the times, this should be sufficient for the majority of users.
In total the Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT has 10 USB ports. The Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF is inferior in this regard and packs 8 USB ports. In any case, if you miss USB ports, you can always purchase a USB hub. None of the desktop models has a USB 3.1 port (10Gb/s), so if you need a fast connection to your peripherals, like external Solid State Drive, you will need to look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, only the Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT has a DisplayPort. The Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF does not have one? Don't worry though, nowadays video adapters are cheap and you can get almost any combination of conversion types.
In case your monitor supports HDMI only, you will be happy to hear that both models come with an HDMI port.
SATA ports are placed on the system board and it is where you connect your HDD, SSD and Optical Disk Drives. More SATA slots will allow you to have more drives running at the same time. In this regard the Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT is better equipped as it comes with 4 SATA slot(s), while the Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF has 2 slot(s).
If you want the fastest transfer speeds for your SSD, an M.2 interface is crucial. Thus, if the M.2 SSD slot is a mandatory requirement for you, go with the Dell OptiPlex 5040 MT. Sadly, the Dell OptiPlex 390 SFF has no such slot, and you will be forced to use the SATA interface instead.
Make sure that the available M.2 slot supports the PCIe (also called NVMe) interface. This is important as there are M.2 slots which support only the inferior SATA III interface. For comparison, the SATA III interface has max speeds of 6Gb/s, while the PCIe 3.0 x4 will support speeds up to 32Gb/s!
Looking at the Power Supply Unit (PSU) of the two models we don't see any differences. For either of them you get a maximum power of 240 Watts. However be careful, many models have more than one power supply option. When buying your computer, it is a good idea to get a version with the most powerful PSU. This will potentially allow you to upgrade to a more powerful GPU for example.