Dell Inspiron 3881 vs. Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF
Comparison and Differences
Differences between Dell Inspiron 3881 and Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF
If you are looking for the smaller form factor the Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF is the right one for you. It is smaller than the Dell Inspiron 3881 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 Inspiron 3881 as it is running a newer generation CPU. This is not to say that Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF is bad - it can still run some powerful CPUs, albeit being an older generation.
Both models have have equal amount of ram slots (2 RAM). Usually two RAM slots are more than enough for most cases. However, the count should be taken into account when planning how much and what combination of RAM you are going to need for your system.
The Dell Inspiron 3881 is using the faster 2933 MT/s RAM. The Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF is slower by supporting RAM speeds of up to 1600 MT/s. Additionally, if you will be needing a lot of RAM, better go for the Dell Inspiron 3881 as it has the ability to run 64 GB of RAM. The Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF can do a bit less at max 16 GB. Most of the times, this should be sufficient for the majority of users.
In total the Dell Inspiron 3881 has 8 USB ports. The Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF is inferior in this regard and packs 6 USB ports. In any case, if you miss USB ports, you can always purchase a USB hub. What is nice about the Dell Inspiron 3881, is that it has 1 USB 3.1 port(s) which allows transfer of up to 10Gb/s. Unfortunately, the Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF has no such port, thus restricting your transfer speeds significantly. For people who want to use external drives on regular basis, this might be an issue.
DisplayPort is crucial for any desktop machine. It is good to see that both models are featuring DisplayPorts. However, the Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF comes with 2 ports, while the Dell Inspiron 3881 has only 1. If you are planning to use multiple monitors, the Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF is the better choice.
The Dell Inspiron 3881 comes with an HDMI port, while the Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF does not support the interface. Of course missing HDMI port is something that can be easily fixed with a good adapter (e.g. DisplayPort to HDMI).
SATA slots are located on the motherboard and it is where SSD, HDD and Optical Disk Drives are connected. Each of the two models being compared have 2 SATA slot(s). Keep in mind that having too few SATA slots might limit your options for connecting additional memory drives.
When your goal is to have the fastest SSD transfer speeds, an M.2 interface is crucial. Thus, it is good that both models have M.2 SSD slots. Today M.2 SSDs are not much more expensive than the average SATA drives, so it really does not make sense to invest in SATA drives anymore.
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!
Having a Power Supply Unit with high power rating is important, if you are going to use components which require extra power. The Dell OptiPlex 9020 USFF comes with a decent 200 Watt PSU, but the Dell Inspiron 3881 has a more powerful one rated at 260 Watts. Choosing either one depends on your specific requirements and use case. Also don't forget that some models might have more than one PSU option - try to always get the most powerful one, especially if you plan to upgrade to a powerful GPU.