Is Dell OptiPlex 3020, 7020, and 9020 good for gaming in 2023?
Dell OptiPlex 3020, 7020, and 9020 are still a great 1080p gaming machines in 2023. Pared with a proper CPU, and GPU they run games with higher then 60 FPS easily. If you are into online competitive gaming like Fortnite, Overwatch, CS:GO, DOTA2 – PC from the xx20 series is the perfect budget build.
The popular approach is to upgrade a refurbished Dell OptiPlex 3020, 7020 or 9020 mini tower with a more powerful GPU. You can find these prebuilds on eBay or Amazon, or assemble one yourself. It is an easy DIY project and does not require many technical skills.
In terms of gaming performance, there is not much difference between them, except that the 3020 uses the H81 chipset and has a PCIe x16 slot that is gen 2.0 instead of gen 3.0. This is not an issue if you pair it with a GPU that makes sense for this build, such as GTX 1650 Super. However, if you use a more powerful GPU like the RTX 3050, GTX 1080 Ti, or the RTX 2060, it would be better to use the OptiPlex 7020 or 9020.
In terms of CPU, usually 3020 comes with i5-4690 and 7020 and 9020 with either Core i7-4770 or Core i7-4790. You can pair any of the models with better video card, CPU and 16 GB of RAM and run 1080p smoothly. For 1440p and up go with the i7.
For 1080p gaming
1080p 60fps gaming is where this configuration shines the most. Video cards like RX580, GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1650 are the most logical choice in terms of price to performance ratio. Even games released in last couple of years are perfectly playable with this setup.
For 1440p and 4K gaming
For higher resolutions at 60 FPS you can still use the same setup – i5 with GTX 1650. But for the best output performance – use GTX 1080 Ti with Intel Core i7-4790. This CPU will utilize the most of the GTX 1080 Ti.
Is the small form factor (SFF) variant good idea for gaming?
The the SFF variant of xx20 series will work for gaming but you will be limited only to a low-profile GPU. These GPU models are less powerful and slower than the their full size counterpart. The most popular display adapters for xx20 SFF are GeForce GT 1030 2 GB GDDR5 Low Profile, GTX 1050 Ti Low Profile (75 W, not supported but works) and the GeForce GTX 1650 Low Profile (75 W).
There is another drawback with these SFF models – their PCIe x16 connector is located immediately next to the power supply. Many GPUs will not fit here due to being dual slot. If you have 3020 avoid dual slot cards, they would not fit. However, dual slot GPU will fit in 7020 and 9020, but we advice you to measure the available spaced before you buy.
For additional info about Dell OptiPlex xx20 series upgrade read these articles:
- How to upgrade Dell OptiPlex 3020, 7020 and 9020 for gaming
- The best dedicated GPU for Dell OptiPlex