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Dell Upgrades Precision Workstation

The refresh comes as Dell is nearing the halfway point of an 18-month restructuring launched in January.
Dell on Tuesday upgraded its Precision mobile workstation with Intel's latest mobile chips, an optional solid-state drive, and a Nividia Quadro chip for graphics-intensive applications.

The Precision M6300 laptop targets engineers, digital content creators, developers and other professionals. At 8.5 pounds, the notebook is meant as a desktop replacement. The system is available with 32- or 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate or Business, or XP Professional SP2. Dell plans to also offer Red Hat Linux 5.1 in November.

The M6300 sports a 17-inch display, and up to 4Gbytes of DDR2 dual-channel memory. The system is available with Intel's Centrino mobile platform, which includes a choice of the T7500 to T7800 64-bit Core 2 Duo processors, or the X7900, the latest Core 2 Duo Extreme Edition processor with a clock speed of 2.8 GHz. The chips include up to 4MB L2 Cache and 800MHz front side bus. The Centrino platform includes the 965PM Express chipset.

Dell certifies its workstations for more than 60 applications, and also offers software support. The system is geared toward running computer assisted design (CAD) and other graphics-intensive applications. For graphics rendering, the M6300 ships with the Nividia Quadro FX 1600M processor.

The workstation upgrade comes with the option of a Serial ATA hard drive of up to 200Gbytes, a 120Gbyte encrypted hard drive or a 32Gbyte solid-state drive. The latter is a flash memory drive that's faster and more rugged than traditional hard drives, but is much more expensive.

SSD prices, however, have been dropping and the technology that was once relegated to high-end niche applications is poised to go mainstream, according to IDC. The technology, which is showing up in a growing number of mobile PCs, is expected to generate revenues of $5.4 billion in 2011 from $373 million in 2006.

The M6300 also ships with support for the latest Wi-Fi wireless standard 802.11n, which has greater speeds and range than older specifications. Pricing for the Precision M6300 starts at $2,070.

Dell is nearing the halfway point of an 18-month restructuring launched in January with the return of founder Michael Dell to the post of chief executive. Dell's return followed a year and a half of declining market share to main rival Hewlett-Packard, and other rivals.

From April to June, Dell's PC shipments worldwide fell 5.5% from the same period a year ago, and 11.4% in the United States, according to Gartner. The company, however, shipped 7.3% more servers, which was more than the market average. The company says its workstation sales have also been strong.