Dell is revamping its high-end workstation line with a notebook that will include Intels new Centrino Pro platform and enhanced graphics technology from Nvidia.
The Dell Precision M4300, which debuted on the Round Rock, Texas, companys Web site June 27, is immediately available and is the eventual replacement for the M65 workstation notebook.
In addition to the Centrino Pro platform and the latest Core 2 Duo processors, the M4300 will take advantage of Intels TurboMemory, a feature that allows applications and data to be stored in a NAND-based flash memory cache, which enables the laptop to boot faster. The notebook also uses Intels vPro technology—a series of management and security features that are built into the platform.
In addition, Nvidias Quadro FX 360M graphics chip set gives the notebook 100 percent better graphics performance than previous offerings, said Mano Gialusis, a product marking manager for Dells workstations. The enhanced graphics ability will allow Dell to pursue high-end customers and creative professionals.
"Its a Precision workstation notebook that is aimed at professional users, and it offers a platform for professional applications," said David Zavelson, a Precision marketing manager for Dell.
The M4300 will meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Energy Star 4.0 requirements, which call for an 80 percent efficient power supply and lower idle wattage ratings. The new Energy Star requirements will go into effect July 20. In the past two months, Dell has rolled out several desktop and notebook models that meet the new Energy Star requirements.
Dell will also offer customers an optional 32GB SSD (solid-state drive) with the M4300. Dell has been one of several PC vendors in the forefront of offering SSD options with some of its notebooks, including two Latitude models that launched in April. With no moving parts, these NAND flash memory drives offer greater stability and generate less heat and noise compared with traditional hard disk drives.
However, these SSDs, which are made by SanDisk, will add about $500 to the Precision workstation price.
While Dell has been working to reshape its consumer line of desktops and notebooks as a way to gain back some of the market share its has lost to Hewlett-Packard in the past few quarters, the company has also been moving ahead with offering more technology options for its enterprise customers, said Samir Bhavnani, research director at Current Analysis West.
"I think well be seeing a lot from Dell in terms of pushing the technology envelope," Bhavnani said. "In addition to the solid-state drives, the company has been offering free online storage in the last year. I think with a lot of its new models, Dell is looking to differentiate itself from other companies. They dont want to be known in the industry as just the low-cost PC provider."
Along with the Centrino Pro platform, Dell will offer a range of Core 2 Duo processors with the M4300, including the T7700, which offers a clock speed of 2.4GHz, an 800MHz front-side bus and 4MB of L2 cache. The workstation also offers a maximum of 4GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) RAM and a 7,200-rpm hard drive with a 160GB capacity.
Dell is also offering a 120GB encrypted hard drive as an option.
The M4300 workstation, which comes with a 15.4-inch screen, features support for broadband technology from different carriers and support for draft 802.11n WLAN (wireless LAN) technology. The notebook also supports a number of security features, including TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 1.2, an integrated feature that allows users to create and store encryption keys.
Dell is also offering both Microsoft Windows XP and Vista.
The M4300 weighs about 6.3 pounds and offers more than 5 hours of battery life. The starting price for a workstation with some of the more advanced features is $1,750, according to Dell.