Dell OptiPlex 9020M
Specification and Upgrade Options
The Dell OptiPlex 9020M is a pre-built business desktop computer first released in 2013. Although more than five years old, it is still a viable solution for home and office. The motherboard is using the Q87 chipset and supports 4th gen Intel Core processor, 16GB of SODIMM DDR3-1600 memory. Because of its size, this model cannot be properly upgraded for gaming.
Dell OptiPlex 9020M is a Micro form factor computer. Micros (also called Mini or Tiny) are one of the smallest size PCs available on the market. Dell OptiPlex 9020M is very compact and comes with external power supply. This device is easy to upgrade with additional RAM and storage but have little to no expandability. Usually models with this chassis have an optional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module and an M.2 slot for an SSD.
Can you upgrade Dell OptiPlex 9020M to play games?
Dell OptiPlex 9020M is a business desktop computer in micro form factor. It is using a processor that provides both the CPU and GPU functionality. While integrated GPUs are sufficient for basic gaming, they are not powerful enough to run demanding games. Dell OptiPlex 9020M has no space for dedicated graphics card.
Micro desktop machines like Dell OptiPlex 9020M are usually used as home theater PCs (HTPC), in home lab projects or a as home automation servers.
Please explore the sections bellow to find ideas and suggestions on how to upgrade Dell OptiPlex 9020M.
Windows 11 compatibility
No, Dell OptiPlex 9020M does not meet the Windows 11 hardware requirements. According to Windows 11 specification, all models with Intel 7th Gen CPU or older are not officially supported. Processor with TPM 2.0 and a UEFI Secure boot BIOS is also required in order to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 through Windows Update.
However, anyone with PC that does not pass the upgrade test can download the official Windows 11 ISO, make a bootable flash drive, and install the OS manually.
It is not possible to upgrade Dell OptiPlex 9020M with a dedicated GPU due to the lack of space and absence of a PCIe slot. However, you can still use the integrated graphics processor for gaming. There are number of games you can enjoy with an Intel HD and UHD iGPU.
The Dell OptiPlex 9020M supports Gen4 Intel Core technology. The 4th generation was released in 2013 and under the codename Haswell. They adopt the same 22nm manufacturing process as its predecessor. The performance improvement of Haswell compared to the Ivy Bridge is around 8%. The 4th gen comes with support for new sockets (LGA 1150, LGA 2011-3), DDR4 RAM and a new cache design.
Best CPUs for Dell OptiPlex 9020M upgrade:
|Model||Cores (Threads)||Base frequency||Turbo|
|Core i5 4690||4(4)||3.5 GHz||3.9 GHz|
|Core i7 4770||4(8)||3.4 GHz||3.9 GHz|
|Core i7 4790||4(8)||3.6 GHz||4.0 GHz|
Dell OptiPlex 9020M has two RAM slots. This is more than enough for most users. For those of you who need extra flexibility and RAM size, go for a model with 4 memory slots.
To cover the needs of your OS, games, and apps, Dell OptiPlex 9020M supports up to 16 GB of SODIMM DDR3-1600 RAM. For office work, home use, and light gaming we recommend 8GB of RAM. For everything else, use 16GB or more.
Faster RAM speeds permit your processor to access the data stored inside the memory faster. This is important for the overall speed of your system. The motherboard of the Dell OptiPlex 9020M supports RAM speeds of up to 1600 MT/s.
Dell OptiPlex 9020M supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo card with the on-board M.2 2230 (Wi-Fi/BT) slot. The card contains a Wi-Fi module that supports various Wi-Fi standards, as well as a Bluetooth module. It is small circuit board that is designed to fit into a dedicated slot on the motherboard.
Keep in mind that the card is not always included and you have to install one yourself.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless adapter upgrades for Dell OptiPlex 9020M:
|WiFi 6E (Gig+) Kit||3000 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||NGFF M.2 A/E Key|
|Rekong AX210||3000 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||NGFF M.2 A/E Key|
|Gigabyte GC-Wbax200||2400 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||PCIe|
|TP-Link Archer TX50E||2400 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||PCIe|
|TP-Link Archer T9UH||1300 Mbit/s||2.4GHz / 5GHz||USB 3.0|
Ports are important and often people don't think about them when buying a PC. For example, if you don't have enough USB ports, using external devices becomes problematic. Before you buy any system, considering your use case, check the number of external devices you are going to use and plan the number of the extension ports accordingly.
The Dell OptiPlex 9020M comes with six USB ports in total. Having more USB ports is always better, but also pay attention to the version of those USB ports. Higher version ports support faster transfer speeds. Unfortunately, this model doesn't come with a USB 3.1 port. If you need a faster connection for your peripherals, like external Solid State Drive, you will need to choose another model.
The DisplayPort (DP) is the most widely used digital interface for transmitting digital video and audio between display devices and PCs. It is good to see that the Dell OptiPlex 9020M is featuring a DisplayPort 1.2. The post version is important if you target higher resolutions with high refresh rate. Although, ver. 1.2 is completely fine for most users, if possible, aim for the higher versions DisplayPort.
The HDMI port is another digital video port you can use to connect external display. It has very similar capabilities to the DisplayPort with few exceptions. However, the Dell OptiPlex 9020M doesn't have one. This is not a problem if there is on-board DisplayPort.
*Please keep in mind in order to use the video ports available through the motherboard, you need a CPU with integrated graphics card. If you have a dedicated GPU, use his ports instead.
SSD storage - M.2 sockets and SATA ports
The SATA port is one of the places where you can connect a stora gedevice. The Dell OptiPlex 9020M comes with one SATA port(s). Not enough SATA ports might limit your options for additional storage devices. Think about your use case and decide if the SATA ports provided by this model will be sufficient.
Dell OptiPlex 9020M has also one M.2 socket(s) that supports only SATA drives with 600 MB/s speed. The SATA interface works well for gaming, but for work related tasks, like video editing, you are better off with PC that has PCIe NVMe support.
The M.2 PCIe SSD connector in combination with an NVMe drive allows for higher transfer rates, compared to the old SATA interface. In some situations, NVMe device connected to the M.2 PCIe socket can be more than 5 times faster.
The Dell OptiPlex 9020M comes with a 65 Watt PSU. Having a power supply with high power rating is important, especially if you are doing upgrade with addtional components, like dedicated GPU and more HDDs. Will this 65 W be enough, it all depends on your specific use. Please keep in mind that some models might have more than one PSU option. Whenever possible get the most powerful one, as it might make future upgrades easier.