Dell is looking to upgrade its mobile workstation lineup with a new new model that offers the latest Intel Centrino mobile platform, a 17-inch display and an optional solid state drive.
The Round Rock, Texas, PC vendor is rolling out the Precision M6300 mobile workstation Sept. 4, which will eventually replace the older M90 model. Earlier this year, Dell began offering the Precision M4300, a new workstation that has some of the same features and options.
Although Dell has been steadily losing ground to Hewlett-Packard during the last year, workstations are still one area that the company can still claim some dominance. An IDC report released earlier this year found that Dell accounted for 46 percent of worldwide personal workstation shipments for the first quarter of 2007. HP held the second place spot with 33 percent.
At 8.5 pounds, the M6300 is not so much of a mobile workstation as a desktop replacement. The PC is geared toward users that want to run scientific and engineering applications. To date, Dell supports and certifies 66 different applications to run on its workstations that have been developed by ISVs and third-party vendors.
The Precision M6300 will support several of Intels new Core 2 Duo processors that were part of the new Centrino platform launch earlier this year. These include the Core 2 Duo T7300, T7500 and the T7700 processors, which offer clock speeds ranging from 2.0GHz to 2.40GHz. All three models offer 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz FSB (front side bus).
Dell is also the workstation with Intels Core 2 Extreme X7900 processors, which the Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker announced at the 2007 Games Convention in Germany in August. This dual core processor runs at 2.8GHz and also offers 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz FSB. The M6300 also uses Intels 965PM Express chip set and a Nividia Quadro FX 1600M graphics card, which will increase the PCs ability to support both CAD (computer-aided design) and digital content creation applications.
Dell is also offering the workstation with two memory slots with a maximum of 4GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) RAM and a number of hard drive options, including a standard SATA (serial ATA) drive with a data capacity of up to 200GB. The company is also offering 120GB encrypted hard drive and an optional 32GB SSD developed by SanDisk.
In the past few months, Dell has sought to expand SSD offerings to customers as a viable alternative to the traditional hard disk drive. While SSD do offer a number of benefits, including energy savings by eliminating some moving parts from the PC, a flash-based SSD can add between $300 and $500 to the base cost.
Dell is also offering an optional hybrid hard drive, which uses a large, 1GB cache memory. This allows for most of the operations to be performed on the cache memory, which also reduces the number of spinning parts and saves battery life. However, Dell officials said its only compatible with a Microsoft Windows Vista operating system using its "Ready Drive" technology. The workstation also uses Intels Turbo Memory, a NAND-based flash memory.
Although Dell supports both 32- and 64-bit versions of Vista, it is giving customers the option of choosing Windows XP. In November, it will offer the 5.1 version of Red Hat Linux.
Other features of the Precision M6300 include a 17-inch display, six USB ports and support for 802.11 a/g and draft-n wireless LAN technology. In addition to its own display, the workstation supports both a DVI (digital visual interface) and a VGA (Video Graphics Array) port, which allows the PC to support two, 27-inch displays.
The Precision M6300 is available Sept. 4 for a starting price of $2,069, according to Dell.