Dell Vostro 3681 SFF Desktop
Review & Specs

By Dominic Chooper on June 28, 2021
Dell Vostro 3681 SFF Desktop
Dell Vostro 3681 SFF Desktop
PROS
  • Compact chassis fits easily in small spaces
  • Reliable performance for office and everyday tasks
  • Front USB ports provide convenient access
  • Configurable with a range of Intel processors
  • Supports dual monitor setups
CONS
  • Limited upgrade options due to small form factor
  • No USB-C ports
  • Older Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards
  • Base model lacks SSD storage
  • No dedicated GPU options
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Dell Vostro 3681 is a dependable and space-efficient desktop well-suited for offices and homes with basic computing needs. Its compact size, reliable performance, and front USB ports are highlights. However, the lack of USB-C, older wireless standards, and limited upgrade and graphics options may not meet the needs of more demanding users.

Design & Build

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The Vostro 3681's compact small form factor allows it to fit neatly in tight workspaces. The understated black chassis has a splash of color on the front. Convenient front USB ports and an optional SD card reader enhance accessibility. Inside, the case is a bit cramped but organized for basic upgrades. The desktop can be oriented vertically or horizontally.

    • Form Factor: Small Form Factor (SFF)
    • Dimensions: 11.42 x 3.65 x 11.53 inches (29 x 9.26 x 29.2 cm)

Processor

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Equipped with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10400 processor, Dell Vostro 3681 capably handles everyday productivity tasks and multitasking. The 6-core CPU has ample power for office work, web browsing, and media playback. While not designed for intensive tasks, it offers reliable speed for general use. The 4.3 GHz boost clock provides extra performance when needed.

    • Processor Model: Intel Core i5-10400
    • Base Clock Speed: 2.9 GHz
    • Turbo Boost: Up to 4.3 GHz
    • Processing Units: 6 cores / 12 threads

Graphics

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Dell Vostro 3681 relies on integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics, suitable for basic visual tasks and casual gaming. A discrete NVIDIA GT 730 GPU with 2GB GDDR5 is optional. Neither option is ideal for graphics-intensive work or AAA gaming. The integrated graphics suffice for office productivity, video playback, and light photo editing. Serious creatives or gamers should look elsewhere.

    • GPU Model: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630
    • Performance Level: Entry-level
    • Suitable Uses: Office work, media playback, casual games

Storage

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The reviewed config has a 1TB hard drive, providing ample space for files and programs. However, the lack of an SSD impacts system responsiveness and boot times. Fortunately, the motherboard has an M.2 slot to add a fast NVMe SSD later. This allows you to speed up the OS and key apps while using the HDD for bulk storage

    • an affordable best-of-both-worlds setup.
    • Storage Type: HDD
    • Capacity: 1 TB
    • Expandability: M.2 slot for adding SSD

Memory

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With 16GB of DDR4 RAM, the Vostro 3681 is equipped to smoothly handle typical multitasking scenarios. This is plenty for running multiple office programs and browser tabs simultaneously. The RAM can be expanded to 32GB using the two DIMM slots, ensuring headroom for more demanding workloads. Accessing the RAM for upgrades is straightforward once inside the case.

    • RAM Size: 16 GB
    • Type: DDR4
    • Upgrade Options: Upgradeable to 32 GB (2 DIMM slots)

Network

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The Vostro 3681 covers essential wired and wireless connectivity. Gigabit Ethernet provides a reliable wired connection for desktop use. The Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) enables reasonably fast access to home and office networks. Bluetooth 4.2 allows connecting peripherals like keyboards and headsets. While not cutting-edge, the networking features are adequate for general productivity in most environments.

    • Wi-Fi Standard: 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5)
    • Ethernet: Gigabit Ethernet port
    • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.2

Ports

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Dell Vostro offers a good selection of ports for connecting peripherals. 4 USB-A ports (2 USB 3.2 Gen 1, 2 USB 2.0) in the front and rear provide ample options for accessories. The HDMI and VGA ports support dual external monitors for productivity. A headset jack is conveniently located in the front. However, the lack of any USB-C ports is a notable omission on a modern system.

    • USB Ports: 4 USB Type-A (2 USB 3.2 Gen 1, 2 USB 2.0)
    • Video Outputs: 1 HDMI, 1 VGA
    • Audio Jacks: 1 headset jack
    • Other Ports: Gigabit Ethernet, optional SD card reader

Additional Features

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The Vostro Desktop comes with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled, suitable for business environments. Dell includes a basic wired keyboard and mouse to get started. A 1-year hardware warranty with onsite service after remote diagnosis provides peace of mind. Businesses can opt for Dell ProSupport for extended coverage and support. A Kensington lock slot allows physically securing the desktop.

    • Preinstalled Software: Windows 10 Pro
    • Security Tools: Kensington lock slot
    • Warranty and Support: 1-year hardware warranty with onsite service, optional ProSupport

Over the past few weeks, we've put this desktop through its paces with various tasks, from multitasking to photo editing and gaming. Overall, it's held up pretty well without any major hiccups.

For multitasking, the desktop handled everything smoothly, keeping up with our demands without any noticeable issues.

When it came to photo editing, it met our expectations, delivering satisfactory results. However, we did notice a slight dip in performance when dealing with 4K resolution images.

We also put it through its paces with some casual gaming sessions, including titles like GTA Vice City, Max Payne 3, and Call of Duty. Impressively, there was no lag to speak of during these gaming sessions.

However, when we pushed it with more demanding games, we hit a snag. The FPS dropped significantly, likely due to the lack of a dedicated graphics card and possibly some cooling limitations.

It's clear that this desktop isn't cut out for heavy-duty video editing. Even basic editing tasks pushed its limits, with noticeable performance issues and a rapid rise in internal temperature.

While it excelled in multitasking and handled casual gaming admirably, its weaknesses were exposed when faced with tasks like 4K image processing, high-end gaming, and video editing. The absence of a dedicated graphics card and potential cooling challenges held it back in these scenarios.