A few days ago, I snatched a Dell Optiplex 5040 PC off of Craigslist. The machine came with Windows 10 Professional which isn’t useful to me because I need this computer mostly for web design. I found several websites that describe in great detail how to convert any Dell Optiplex computer into a Hackintosh so I was tempted. On one hand, a more up-to-date machine that runs OS X would have been nice because my iMac is getting ready for the recycling bin.
Hackinitosh or Linux – THAT is the question
There aren’t many posts that confirm that a Dell Optiplex 5040 computer is able to run Linux. One of the advantages of the Optiplex line of computers is that Dell pays attention to BIOS security so finding a Linux distribution that would install without sacrificing that advantage would be next to impossible. The Hackintosh route was even more risky because converting the 5040 to OS X would most likely have lead to the grey days of computing when we installed all kinds of software (for free). For many reasons, I didn’t want that. So Linux it was.
About two months ago, I have installed OpenSUSE on my laptop so I started thinking about having a second machine running this incredible operating system. OpenSUSE checked all the boxes. If I was able to install it, then I could:
- Run a local web server
- Develop websites locally
- Have a backup in case the Laptop breaks down
Good news. OpenSUSE Tumbleweed installed flawlessly on my used Dell Optiplex 5040. A net install takes about 20 – 30 minutes and once completed, I had a brand new instance of OpenSUSE running which I could trust. The machine came with W10 which the previous owner installed and since I would have had to reinstall W10 anyway, I figured that I might as well chose a better solution.
My used Dell Optiplex 5040 came with an M.2 SSD and 16 Gig of RAM. The boot as well as shut-down times are impressive. The little Optiplex, although it has only only an i5 processor, is every bit as fast as my big Dell 12-core workstation. I am very impressed how snappy it is. The integrated Intel 530 graphics chip even handles an 28″ Asus 4K monitor at a refresh rate of 60 Hz. This saves me the additional expense of buying a low profile graphics card which would cost almost as much as the used Optiplex 5040.
Hopefully there won’t be another cheap Dell Optiplex on craigslist anytime soon because I am not sure if I can resist the temptation a second time. A Hackintosh would, in a way, come in handy. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want! 🙂
Thank you for reading. If you have a Linux-related question regarding comparability and small form factor (SFF) computers then leave a comment. I’ll do my best to provide as much genuine information as I can.