Dell Unveils Specialized Workstations - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

Dell Unveils Specialized Workstations

Intel's Core i5, i7, and i7 Extreme Edition are among the options offered on the Dell Precision M4600 and M6600 laptop computers, and the Dell Precision R5500 rack workstation, which are designed for graphics-intensive computing.

Dell Precision M4600 Laptop Computer
(click image for larger view)
Dell Precision M4600 Laptop Computer
Dell just made life a bit easier for those working in high-resolution 2-D and 3-D graphics and large data with its next generation of Precision mobile workstations.

By taking advantage of the latest Intel processors and advanced graphic capabilities, the updated Dell Precision M4600 and M6600 laptop computers, as well as the dual-socket Dell Precision R5500 rack workstation, are designed for specialized, graphics-intensive computing. Engineers, software developers, computer graphics, and animation specialists can all benefit from the new workstations, said Don Maynard, senior product manager for Dell Precision Tower and Rack workstations.

"There's a very large demand for specialized workstations like this," Maynard said in an interview. "When it comes to our new Precision workstation, some customers have to have the most powerful thing out there to get the job done. The rendering work done two years ago that took about half a day, now takes an hour."

The Dell Precision M4600 includes Intel's Core i5 and i7 second-generation processors, with the potential to upgrade to Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition. The computer has an expansive DDR3 memory with four DIMM slots for up to 32 GB of 1333-MHz memory or up to 16 GB of 1600-MHz memory. The graphics options include ATI FirePro 5950, Nvidia Quadro 1000M or 2000M, with 1 GB and 2 GB of graphics memory available, and support for two to five monitors depending on the configuration. It also includes either an AMD or Nvidia discrete graphics card with up to 2 GB of dedicated memory.

"Because we have a unique chassis [with the Precision M4600 and M6600], we are able to offer the graphics our customer's require," said Mano Gialusis, senior product manager for Dell Precision mobile workstations, in an interview. "They can choose between an AMD or Nvidia graphics cards."

The 17.6-inch Dell Precision M6600 is similar to the M4600, but has higher scaling graphics options and additional storage with up to three options including an optional second HDD and 128-GB solid state drive (SSD) mini card with RAID 5 support. The M6600 also will offer the new flagship Nvidia Quadro 5010M mobile professional graphics with 4 GB of GFX memory in the coming months.

The 15.6-inch M4600 and 17.3-inch M6600 both are housed in aluminum cases designed to withstand temperature extremes, dust, and vibration.

Dell partnered with software vendors to create certifications on applications from Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, PTC, Siemens PLM software, and others to create software reliability for demanding applications.

Dell also introduced its Precision R5500 rack workstation that allows remote workers scalability while safeguarding and centralizing customer data. The R5500 rack features Intel Xeon processors and memory capacity up to 192 GB with dual-wide GPU slots that scale up to 450 watts. It also includes GPU options such as the Nvidia Quadro and Nvidia Tesla.

Dells new Precision upgrades follows closely on the heels of HP's release of its EliteBook w-series workstations, introduced on April 15. The EliteBook workstations are also targeted toward designers, animators, and engineers and feature similar hardware and graphics offerings. Dell first introduced the Precision laptops in 2009.

The Dell Precision M4600 starts at $1,678 and the M6600 starts at $2,158. The laptops will be available May 10. The Dell Precision R5500 starts at $2,551 and will be available in the U.S. on May 3.

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