SolidSmack was on hand this past week at Dell’s Precision Workstation media event held at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. It’s been a few years since Dell has launched an update to their Precision line with the T7500, T5500, and T3500 coming out early 2009. This May, however, that all changes with the new T7600, T5600, T3600 coming out and with them a stylish new design, easier component access and a sweet Sandy Bridge-E pumping out the processing power.

The New Precision Workstations

Dell entered the personal workstation market in 1997. Since then they’ve developed a consistent line of desktop and mobile workstations tailored for designers, engineers, animators, and anybody else with a high demand for graphics and computing power. With lower tech spending and stiff competition from HP and yes, even Apple, Dell’s presence withing the desktop market wasn’t as strong over the past several years, but with this new line, their ‘customer inspired design + secure and managed = tailored solutions’ mantra is back in effect with what is definitely their most powerful and considered workstation to date.

Dell Business Desktop

Releasing this May, the new T7600, T5600, T3600, and T1650 are the newest additions to Dell’s long-running line of Precision Workstations. The T1650 being the entry-level computer and the T7600 being the high-end workstation with two, eight DIMM sockets and support for three PCI Express cards. One of the most significant improvements in this new family of towers is the redesigned interior that enables the user to quickly and efficiently modify their memory, hard drives, and other hardware specific to their computing needs.  Perhaps one of the most innovative approaches to designing a workstation for today’s compute-heavy user was Dell’s decision to have a tool-less, externally removable power supply and front accessible hard drives. Another industry first is the new Dell-patented Reliable Memory Technology (RMT). RMT extends the capability of ECC memory by detecting the location of the corrected memory error and prevents the system from writing to that spot again following a reboot. Additionally, the interior of the tower was specifically organized to maximize air flow thus creating one of the most quiet workstations to date.

By implementing these solutions, the amount of time it takes a user to upgrade and/or service their machines is dramatically reduced. This modular approach really shows how Dell has listened to the individual needs of their wide user-base and created a scenario for tailoring these solutions in the easiest way possible – even down to considerations on the design. From an industrial design perspective, this is the most aesthetically-pleasing machine Dell has produced by far. Even with its dark exterior, it would look great next to a Mac, but it’s definitely not trying to be a Mac. It’s blocky, with prominent edges, input ports and grill but as you can see, quite stylish as well. The top of the unit features a ‘tray’ for phones, cameras, or anything you may have plugged into the top-mounted USB ports.  Additionally, the ports are widely spaced providing plenty of room for a multitude of cords and thumb drives.

Dell Business Desktop

Ultimately, this new family of Precision Workstations will start creating conversations about the ever-complicated PC vs Mac debate for resource-heavy users.  While waiting for the official event to start, the media was shown a video of Dell’s recent attendance at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Music Festival in Austin, Texas. The majority of the video contained top-level designers, engineers, and visual effects specialists discussing their recent transitions from Mac to a Precision Workstation, perhaps setting the tone of what Dell’s market strategy approach will be for the new systems. “Dell Precision workstations are the number one recommendation I’ve made to other visual effects professionals over the years. We need cutting-edge technology and performance while working tough deadlines,” said Adam Watkins of Pixomondo (who recently did the visual effects for Oscar-Winner Hugo), “I have been delighted – and sometimes saved – by every Dell workstation I’ve ever used for more than 20 shows! It’s one technology that I know I can consistently count on and I’m looking forward to the new design and performance of Dell’s new workstations.”

Are you listening Apple?

Dell Business Desktop

Pricing, Availability and Details:

From the Press Release, the Dell Precision T1650, T3600, T5600 and T7600 workstations will be available for purchase worldwide starting in May. Pricing for the T1650 will be available in May.

  • The Dell Precision T7600 pricing starts at $2,149 USD
  • The Dell Precision T5600 pricing starts at $1,879 USD
  • The Dell Precision T3600 pricing starts at $1,099 USD

Dell Precision T7600 – Engineered for the utmost in compute and visualization performance, Dell’s most powerful and expandable workstation is perfect for video, animation, engineering, simulation and financial and scientific analysis of massive data sets. The advanced architecture of the T7600 features one of the highest performing CPU stacks, power supplies and graphics power for a dual-socket system. It offers up to two Intel® Xeon® E5-2687W 150 watt processors with a total of 16 computational cores, a 1300 watt 90 percent efficiency power supply, up to 600 watts of graphics, and up to four full x16 graphics slots which can power up to an NVIDIA Quadro ultra high-end 6000 professional graphics card and two NVIDIA Tesla C2075 processors at the same time.

Dell Precision T5600 – Designed for space-constrained environments that need substantial compute capability, Dell’s powerful and reliable dual-socket workstation is built for designing complex 3D models, creating film and video content and performing complex engineering and analysis work. It features up to two Intel® Xeon® processors each supporting eight processing cores, 128GB4 of quad-channel ECC memory, two power supply options of 635W or 825W and up to an NVIDIA Quadro 5000 high-end professional graphics card and NVIDIA Tesla C2075 processor.

Dell Precision T3600 -Built for performance for mid-range workstation workloads, Dell’s single socket workstation offers an excellent balance of performance and scalability for mainstream 3D, computer-aided-design (CAD), computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) and digital content creation applications.  Key features include Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 or E5-2600 family, two power supply options, up to 64GB4  1600MHz ECC or non-ECC memory and up to a single NVIDIA Quadro 6000 or two NVIDIA Quadro 5000 professional graphics cards, and an NVIDIA Tesla C2075 processor.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.