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Dell Unveils M6400 Precision Notebook

The mobile workstation, powered by AMD's ATI FirePro M7740 graphics accelerator, is targeted at digital content creators and engineers.

Dell Precision M6400 Mobile Workstation
(click image for larger view)
Dell Precision M6400 Mobile Workstation
Dell has introduced a Precision mobile workstation powered by Advanced Micro Devices's new ATI FirePro M7740 graphics accelerator.

Dell and AMD showed off the M6400 Tuesday at the Siggraph 2009 conference in New Orleans. The system is scheduled to be available this month.

The workstation is targeted at digital content creators, engineers, and others who work with large models in Microsoft Direct X- or OpenGL-based computer-aided design applications. The product is designed to bring "desktop-like performance and power to a mobile footprint," Janet Matsuda, senior director of professional graphics at AMD, said in a blog.

The ATI FirePro is AMD's 3-D family of workstation graphics cards. Features include DisplayPort output for 30-bit image quality, a parallel-processing architecture with up to 800 unified shaders, and dual-link DVI output for driving high-resolution widescreen monitors. The card is PCI Express 2.0 compliant.

The M6400 workstation is available with an optional Intel Core 2 Duo Quad-Core Extreme Edition processor, up to 16 GB of 1066-MHz DDR3 memory, and up to 1 GB of dedicated graphics memory. The system comes with a 17-inch display and two hard-drive bays that can scale up to 1 TB of storage.

The M6400 is meant as a desktop replacement, not as a lightweight system for taking on the road. The computer weighs 8.5 pounds with a nine-cell battery.

In reviews on Dell's Web site, customers praised the system's performance, but complained about its weight. "This unit is like a portable desktop and sometimes it feels like it too when lugging around," one customer wrote.

Other features include built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a smart card reader, and two speakers. Pricing has not been released, but the M6400 with a Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M graphics card starts at $3,310.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on why businesses shouldn't shrug off Google's upcoming Chrome OS. Download the report here (registration required).

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