We’re mobile. We want to be more mobile. Dell is unleashing their latest business class device with the new and improved Precision Mobile Workstations. With the release of the M4700, M6700 and the blazing red, fully-loaded M6700 Covet, Dell is reaching even further into maximum computing power with maximum portability. Available today, the updated Dell Mobile Precision line offers a number of ‘firsts’ that were highly emphasized at the press conference last week in San Francisco where SolidSmack was on hand to see the latest.

Building a Better Workstation

Incorporating the latest Intel Core i5, i7 and Extreme Editions processors with Turbo Boost Technology with multiple graphic including the NVIDIA Quadro K-series GPUS and AMD FirePro graphics, Dell has truly answered a calling for those demanding the most out of a portable workstation by today’s standards. Listen in to Dell’s Mano Gialusis give an overview at the release event.

Additionally, Dell provides DDR3 SDRAM with up to 32GB of system memory and 1600MHz of memory speed and up to 16GB of 1866MHz memory, the fastest memory available on a mobile workstation. All three workstations come with expandable options in the form of RAID 0/1/5 and three storage devices with up to 1.8TB of total storage in the M4700 and up to four storage devices with up to 2.8TB of total storage on the M6700. Additionally, both models can power up to three simultaneous displays when undocked and up to five displays when docked.

 

These hefty machines were designed for increased uptime and dependability while working in coffeeshops, airports, or your office. They feature a durable aluminum and magnesium alloy chassis that’s MIL-STD 810G tested, the lightest 17-inch design and “all-day” battery life options. The new workstations also have dual fans and cooling vents that were noticeably quiet during the demonstrations. Another first for Dell is the easily ejectable hard drive caddy for customers working with large volumes of data who may need to swap out that drive in the event of an emergency.

“Appalachian State University relies on Dell’s tower and mobile workstations in our IT, Building Science, Geological, Interior Design and Astronomy departments and they’ve proven to be bullet-proof for our varying high-performance and critical computing needs,” said Stephen Taylor, an IT Manager at Appalachian State University. “I’ve used Dell Precision mobile workstations for the past six years and the attention to detail Dell put into the look, feel and performance of these new systems elevates them to a new level. These are truly mobile workstations without compromise and they have changed the way I look at all Dell products going forward.”

But do all of these internal features amount to a piece of hardware worth paying +$2K?  While internal improvements are definitely a prominent factor for anybody in the market for a new beast, I was disappointed when the curtain was unveiled to reveal the physical design of these things.  Yes they are built to be rendering and graphical work powerhouses, but who is designing the bodies for these things? The classic rectangular brick is not the only way to design a portable computer!  As a heavy user of Dell’s previous M6600, I was disappointed to see that the edges are still razor-sharp, which hurts the wrists when sitting down for any period longer than twenty minutes to type something (or resting the hand for lightning-speed hotkey slappin’).  Our colleague, Adam O’Hern, who uses the M6600 as well, recently mentioned how horrendously hot the machine became after only a few minutes. How could Dell ignore these factors? While I believe the M4700 and M6700’s have the guts of the strongest lion in the jungle, the style and user experience from a hardware standpoint are merely that of a dingbat.

Graphic-Heavy Updates

Dell has noted that a large portion of their Precision Workstation market are those heavily involved with graphics and video editing. Due to this being such a heavy market share they have offered a slew of graphic options for a variety of purposes. Included are a variety of brilliant WLED and IPS RBG LED display options with a wide spectrum of colors including more than 100% Adobe color gamut. The M6700 will also be the first mobile workstation to offer optional ten-plus finger multi-touch in the coming months. In terms of video cards, another first for Dell is the introduction of the NVIDIA 3D Vision Pro, a combination of wireless active shutter glasses, an integrated RF communications hub, and advanced software. The technology transforms what’s on screen into full stereoscopic 3D to improve the usefulness of applications. The updated Covet edition in it’s brilliant phoenix red exterior finish brings an edge to edge display featuring Corning Gorilla Glass for those seeking a more durable and wide screen option.

Overheard

“Our new family of mobile workstations offer uncompromising performance, dependability and design,” said Kirk Schell, vice president of Computing Products, Dell. “We are continuing to build on our heritage of developing innovative workstation technology by offering the first NVIDIA 3D VISION Pro solution, Gen 3 graphics and 1866MHz memory in a mainstream mobile workstation, enabling our customers to bring their creative and design work to life faster regardless of their location.”

“Dynamic Graphics tests, certifies and recommends Dell Precision mobile workstations as the optimal platform for running CoViZ 4D software for oil field visualization,” said Art Paradis, president and co-founder, Dynamic Graphics. “Not only do Dell’s mobile workstations lead the industry in memory and hard drive capacities, they provide the portability and graphics performance to view and interpret oil and gas deposits in real-time while in the field.”

“Paired with AMD FirePro™ graphics, Dell’s newest mobile workstations are incredibly versatile rendering and digital design powerhouses that make it possible to turn virtually every countertop, every client site, and every airport lounge into the perfect place to develop the next digital masterpiece,” said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Graphics. “AMD FirePro graphics brings an important set of features to the latest generation of mobile workstations including support for industry standards such as OpenCL™, AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology, AMD HD3D stereo 3D capability and broad application optimization and certification, and we believe Dell customers will very quickly appreciate the expanded toolset and its productivity and creativity enhancing benefits.”

“Discovery and creativity is happening anywhere anytime and mobile workstations with powerful Intel® Core™ i5/i7 processors are helping engineers, artists, animators, analysts and scientists collaborate with their peers where they work– unlocking answers faster than ever before,” said Frank Soqui, Workstation Group General Manager, Intel Corporation. “Hardware and software technologies are combining to accelerate innovation and with solutions like Dell’s Precision M4700 and M6700 mobile workstations with Intel Core processors we like to think we are helping them do it faster than ever before.”

“NVIDIA Quadro mobile workstation graphics deliver unrivaled horsepower while conserving precious battery life with Optimus, and our 3D Vision Pro technology provides exceptional 3D application performance,” said Jeff Brown, general manager of the Professional Solutions Group, NVIDIA. “These new Dell Precision mobile workstations with Quadro GPU technology truly transform modern workflows.”

Specs, Pricing, and Availability

So in a nutshell, if you’re looking for a premium portable workstation, and are okay with sharp edges to rest your hands on and an extremely hot machine, then this guy is for you.

All three new mobile workstations are available worldwide today. The U.S. starting prices are $1,649 for the M4700, $2,199 for the M6700, and $3,579 for the M6700 Covet when all the configurations are available. Additionally, Dell Financial Services are offering a zero-percent financing option to small businesses when they spend $3,000 or more. For more information, head to www.dell.com.

Processor
Intel 3rd Generation Core i5 and i7 Processors
Up to i7-3920XM (4 x 2.90-3.80GHz, 8MB L3, 22nm, 55W)

Chipset
QM77

Memory
4 SO-DIMM Slots, Up to 32GB DDR3-1600 or 16GB DDR3-1866

Graphics
Intel HD 4000 (with NVIDIA Optimus)
AMD FirePro M4000 Mobility Pro 1GB GDDR5
NVIDIA Quadro K1000M 2GB GDDR3
NVIDIA Quadro K2000M 2GB GDDR3

Display
15.6″ Anti-Glare 16:9 768p (1366×768)
15.6″ Anti-Glare 16:9 1080p (1920×1080)
15.6″ Anti-Glare 16:9 1080p PremierColor IPS (1920×1080)

Storage
Up to three storage devices (2.5” bay, mSATA, Optical Bay)
7200RPM HDD or 128GB to 512GB SSD
RAID 0/1/5 Available

Optical Drive
DVDRW, Blu-ray Combo or Recorder, or HDD/SSD Caddy

Networking
802.11n WiFi (150Mb to 450Mb, single or dual-band)
Bluetooth 4.0
Gigabit Ethernet

Audio
Stereo Speakers
Dual Integrated Noise Canceling Microphones

Battery/Power
6-cell 65Wh
9-Cell 97Wh with ExpressCharge
9-Cell 87Wh with 3-Year Warranty
9-Cell 97Wh Battery Slice

Left Side
Headphone and Microphone jacks
2 x USB 2.0
1 x 1394 (FireWire)
Kensington Lock
10-in-1 Flash Memory Reader
SmartCard Reader
54mm ExpressCard slot

Right Side
2 x USB 3.0
1 x DisplayPort
Wireless Switch

Back Side
1 x VGA
1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
Gigabit Ethernet
1 x HDMI
AC Power Connection

Dimensions
14.80″ x 10.08″ x 1.29”-1.37″ (WxDxH)
(376mm x 256mm x 32.7-34.9mm)

Weight
Starting at 6.13 lbs (2.78kg)

Extras
Optional HD Webcam
Full Size Keyboard with 10-key
Optional Backlit Keyboard
Multi-touch Trackpad and Track Stick

Price
Starting at $1649

M6600 Unboxing and Review

For those of you wanting even more Precision Workstation insight, check out our post on the previous model of Workstation here!

Author

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.