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Dell unveils Haswell mobile workstation with QHD+ screen in Precision update, teases on super-slim M3800

09 Sep 2013
Dell Precision M4800 and M6800 mobile workstations

Dell has updated its Precision workstation lineup with new mobile and tower systems, including a laptop model with an ultra-high definition QHD+ display and the latest Haswell Core processors, plus desktop models with Intel's latest Xeon processor family.

Available from 12 September, the new Dell workstations comprise the Precision M4800 and M6800 mobile systems, plus the Precision T3610, T5610, and T7610 tower units, all boasting cutting-edge performance with the latest Intel processors plus other innovations.

The Precision M4800 is the model with the high-definition screen, offering a choice of 15.6in display panels, one an Indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) unit with a QHD+ resolution of 3200x1800 pixels, while 1920x1080 and 1366x768 options are also available.

Rik Thwaites, Dell's head of Business Development in EMEA, told V3 that the M4800 has the hi-res screen because that is where Sharp, which manufactures the screen, believes the demand is.

"We would offer it at 17in if we could, but they said the volume just isn't there," he said.

The M4800 also offers a choice of AMD FirePro M5100 or Nvidia Quadro K1100M/ K2100M graphics, all with 2GB dedicated GDDR5 memory.

The Precision M4800 is similarly based on Intel's Haswell 4th generation Core processors, up to a Core i7 Extreme Edition, and can be configured with up to 32GB of 1600MHz memory or 16GB of 1866MHz memory.

It can also be configured with up to three drives, with one 2.5in drive in an easy eject drive bay, another fitted in the optical bay caddy, and one solid state drive (SSD) on a PCI Express Mini Card.

The Precision M6800 has a larger 17.3in display, but only supports resolutions of 1920x1080 or 1600x900. It does, however, support 10-finger multi-touch input as an option.

This model also features 4th generation Core processors up to the Core i7 Extreme Edition, with the same memory configuration as the M4800.

Graphics options on the M6800 are an AMD FirePro M6100 with 2GB GDDR5 memory, Nvidia Quadro K3100M/K4100M with 4GB or a Quadro K5100M with 8GB memory. It can also be configured with up to four drives, adding an internal 2.5in bay to the options available on the M4800.

Pricing for the mobile Precision workstations starts at £1,152 for the M4800 and £1,380 for the M6800.

Thwaites also offered a teaser on the Precision M3800, Dell's ultra-slim workstation to rival Apple's MacBook Pro. This will be available "before the end of the year", he said, but declined to be more specific.

However, there is a lot of interest in this model from some customers, Thwaites claimed.

"It's powerful enough to interest professionals as well as being super slim," he said.

Meanwhile, Dell's new tower workstations are based on the latest Xeon processors and offer features such as Intel's Cache Acceleration Software, PCI Express SSDs and optional Xeon Phi coprocessor cards.

The Precision T3610 is a mid-range model based on a Xeon E5-1600 v2 chip with up to six cores and up to 128GB 1866MHz ECC memory. It can be configured with up to three 3.5in or four 2.5in Sata, SAS or SSD drives, plus up to two PCI Express graphics adapters, with various AMD or Nvidia cards on offer.

Both the T5610, and T7610 are twin-socket workstations based on Intel's Xeon E5-2600 v2 family, with the T5610 supporting up to 128GB memory and Xeons with up to 10 cores, while the T7610 supports up to 256GB memory and Xeons with up to 12 cores.

Thwaites told V3 that the high-end T7610 comes with an LSI Sata controller integrated on the motherboard, as this offers 6Gbps - twice that of Intel's controller - plus hardware Raid support. The same LSI controller is optional on the other models.

"We're moving away from using the built-in Intel controller because it maxes out at 3Gbps, and a lot of our high-end customers are starting to find this a constraint," he said.

The T7610 also supports more storage options, with up to four 3.5in or eight 2.5in drives, while the T5610 can have up to three 3.5in or four 2.5in drives.

Optional PCIe SSDs are supplied by Micron, and Thwaites said that Dell is working to bring the cost of this technology down so that more users can benefit from it.

Dell said that from October, the T7610 will also be available in configurations with up to three high-end graphics cards, including up to two Nvidia Quadro K6000 adapters.

All of the Precision tower models come with an updated version of Dell's Precision Performance Optimiser (DPPO), which tailors system settings for the specific application the user is running. This will come with new profiles for Siemens NX 8.5 and Dassault's CATIA, Dell said.

Pricing for Dell's tower systems starts at £796 for the T3610, £1,441 for the T5610, and £1,870 for the T7610.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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