The Pipeline

Dell redesigns one of its desktop computers; UniPrint eliminates the need to install specific manufacturers’ printer drivers

Editor's note: This is a special online-only edition of The Pipeline.

But do they have new hemlines?
Dell recently redesigned its line of OptiPlex business desktop computers to offer all the good stuff customers want: better performance, management, security, power savings and deployment services.

The two latest models strutting down the catwalk are the OptiPlex 740 and 320. They are among the new lineup that includes the OptiPlex 745, which was released in September.

The 740 is Dell’s first business desktop to offer AMD processors. It supports AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors and offers an 18-month product life cycle.

Security is top-notch with Trusted Platform Module 1.2-enabled password protection, secure e-mail and optional smart card keyboards and biometric readers.

The entry-level 320, meanwhile, offers Intel Pentium D dual-core processors and discrete graphics options with dual-display support.

Customer feedback has led to a number of enhancements included on both models. One is the Dell Client Manager software package that lets administrators remotely deploy and manage thousands of Dell client systems from one console. It can even manage systems if they are turned off.

Dell’s Direct Deployment Services is a suite of services that make image management and customization easier. The company offers various customization levels to suit different customers’ needs.

In the power savings department, Dell offers Energy Smart advanced power management that is factory set. Energy Smart offers features such as automatic sleep modes and more efficient use of processing power.

In addition, the new OptiPlexes use thermal-efficient Balanced Technology Extended chassis along with Dell’s HyperCool thermal-management technology for quieter, cooler operations.

Users can order both models in either desktop or mini-tower configurations. Pricing for a Dell Energy Smart-enabled OptiPlex 740 with AMD X2 dual-core processor starts at $725, and $585 for the OptiPlex 320 with a Pentium D 820 processor. Both carry a standard three-year limited warranty and support called Next Business Day On-site Service.

One size fits all
Despite dreams of paperless offices, the reality is that most of us still print to paper, a lot. All of this printing means lots of printers, especially for agencies with multiple office locations and workers who telecommute from home.

In addition, chances are that an agency purchased printers at different times and from different manufacturers, resulting in the need to store numerous different printer drivers on the network.

That’s a problem because sometimes numerous can mean hundreds, which can monopolize network bandwidth. This can reduce network performance and printing speeds.

Luckily there’s a product on the market that can fix all that. It’s called UniPrint and its maker, INGENICA, just released Version 6.0 and UniPrint for 64-Bit, which, as the name implies, is designed for 64-bit server-based environments.

UniPrint is a universal printer driver that eliminates the need to install specific manufacturers’ printer drivers. It’s also transparent to users and uses 80 to 90 percent less bandwidth than standard printer drivers.

UniPrint works in Microsoft and Citrix server-based environments and lets users print to any available printer whether it’s in the office, at home or at a remote site.

“One of the biggest headaches will always be when someone has a printing issue when they want to print from home [or another location] to a printer that isn’t supported by the printer drivers installed on the network’s Citrix/Terminal server,” said Arron Fu, vice president of software development, INGENICA Division.

UniPrint turns all print jobs into PDF files, which nearly all PCs and printers can read. And if you don’t want to print the job, the PDF format lends itself well to e-mailing because of its near-universal compatibility.

New features in Version 6.0 include full Microsoft Active Directory integration to make it easy to configure UniPrint settings using Group Policy, a new Microsoft Installer package that allows application deployment through Active Directory and a new management console.

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