24 July 2012: I was pre-briefed last Friday about Dell’s new mobile workstations. Today I am in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia writing this blog, taking time from all this natural beauty to keep you informed about the latest technology.
Today Dell is announcing the newest entries into its Precision line of workstations – the M4700 and the M6700 mobile workstations.
While these are hardly your ordinary laptops, weighing in at about 8 pounds, they offer a high degree of portability and an awesome display of computing power, incredible graphics options, high speed memory up to 16 GB or 32 GB depending on memory speed, disk capacities of up to 3.2 terabytes, and all this with a 10 hour battery life. Nevertheless, it’s better than lugging a desktop workstation and an external display to your next meeting. This is truly a machine that I would be comfortable to use as both my desktop workstation AND and mobile workstation.
They are not cheap. Starting prices range from $1649 for the Dell Precision M4700, to $2199 for the M6700, and $3579 for the M6700 Covet. Fully decked out I could easily imagine them coming in at 100% to 150% above their base price.
Why the covet name I asked? Mano Gialusis, Dell’s Sr. Product Manager, replied that after seeing the Gorilla Glass and edge to edge display, all users will covet it!
Last year TechniCom had the opportunity to benchmark software using the M6600 and that delivered excellent performance on Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks. While Dell was not able provide any specifics on the performance of the latest workstations, I estimate that the M6700 with the extreme I7 processor and the higher performance graphics cards should deliver from 2X to 5X the overall performance on compute intensive operations. The overall performance that users will see, naturally will depend on the specific applications being run.
A bit about the graphics options. The AMD card is new and these workstations are the first to have it. The specs are available on the Dell website. This card offers HD3D stereoscopic viewing. NVIDIA offers three cards, offering their Quadro GPU technology, 3D vision and power conservation techniques. See more details at http://www.dell.com/precision .
Dell was not able to use Intel Xeon processors because they are too big and power hungry for mobile workstations. Instead the Intel Core i7-Extreme Edition Processor provides outstanding features, such as: four 3.33 GHz cores for better multitasking and multithreaded performance, 8 MB of smart cache, an Integrated memory controller delivering high memory bandwidth, and a new Quick Path Interconnect for fast data transfer between the processor and chipset.
I am very impressed with Dell’s attention to the high end engineering and graphics markets. The previous announcement a few months ago of their desk-side systems show that they understand these market needs by offering well balanced compute speeds, amazing graphics, monstrous expandability, serviceability, and reliability. These mobile workstations expand on those offerings.
These babies are hot! If you need high end, portable workstations that are truly super-computers, there is no better way to go.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. All opinions are mine.