In keeping with Dell's plan to refresh its line of mobile workstations, on Nov. 6 the company is launching a new model, the Precision M2300, which will feature Intel's latest mobile processors and a 14.1-inch display.
Unlike some updates earlier in 2007 that were refreshes of existing hardware, the M2300 is a brand-new client and the first of Dell's Precision mobile workstations to offer a 14-inch display.
The fact that Dell has tried to bring several new and updated mobile workstation models to the PC market this year is a sign of the growing importance vendors are placing on mobility.
Richard Shim, an analyst with IDC, said his firm's numbers show that shipments of notebooks will outstrip desktop shipments by 2009, and OEMs are looking to move into the mobile market before those spaces become completely commoditized.
"The transition from desktops to notebooks is moving fast and a lot of players are looking into niches where there is the opportunity to do a quite a bit of business," Shim said, adding that Dell is willing to experiment more with technology and form factors in order to gain market share.
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"If you ask people, there's probably not a lot of demand for a 14-inch workstation, but Dell doesn't experiment with the market without doing some research," Shim added.
Dell will start taking orders for the Precision M2300 on Nov. 6 and the workstation has a starting price of $1,599. In addition to the 14.1-inch display, Dell is offering a choice of Intel's Core 2 Duo 7000 series processors, an Intel 965PM Express chip set, up to 4GB of RAM, a SATA (Serial ATA) hard disk drive with 200GB capacity, and an Nvidia Quadro FX 360M dedicated graphics card.
Currently, Lenovo also offers a mobile workstation with a 14-inch display, the ThinkPad T61p, which the company began offering earlier in 2007.
According to the Lenovo Web site, the ThinkPad T61p offers many of the same processor, RAM and hard disk drive configurations as Dell, but the starting price begins at $1,999. However, a configuration of the top-tier Intel Core 2 Duo T7800, an Nvidia Quadro FX 570M graphics card, 4GB of RAM and a hard disk drive with a 200GB capacity brings the price up to $2,644.
The Dell price will likely increase when additional features are added.
Chris Spencer, a product marketing manager for Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, said the company is planning to sell the M2300 to software engineers, digital content creators and animators, and workers in the oil and natural gas fields. Spencer said that since the M2300 weighs less than 5.5 pounds, Dell believes these types of workers will be open to putting aside a desktop workstation for a mobile one.
"When a lot of our customers think small, they think there is a tradeoff in terms of performance, but that is really no longer the case with a product like this," Spencer said.
By the end of the year, Dell will start introducing some additional workstations, including traditional desktop models that will sport a dual-socket configuration as well as models that will support Intel's new family of 45-nanometer processors, called "Penryn," which will hit the market on Nov. 12.
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