Dell Mobile, Rack Workstations Powered by Intel Core i7, Xeon Chips

Two new Dell Precision mobile workstations feature Intel Core i7 processors, while its new quad- or six-core rack workstation offers one or two Intel Xeon processors.

Dell, the world's second- or third-largest PC manufacturer, depending on whom you ask, is introducing two new mobile workstations, the 15.6-inch Dell Precision M4600 and the 17.3-inch M6600. Designed for enterprise users needing serious muscle and scalable desktop performance in a mobile form factor - think designers working in 3D and engineers doing fancy math - they feature 2nd Generation Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition chips and 1600MHz system memory options.

And, while on the topic of facilitating hefty files for complicated tasks, the company on April 26 also rolled out a dual-socket Dell Precision R5500 rack workstation, for those who prefer that form factor to a tower. With optional PCoIP (PC-over-IP) hardware from Teradici, it enables companies to securely support remote workers.

Kicking off with the M4600, Dell is offering the option of discrete graphics from Advanced Micro Devices or Nvidia with up to 2GB of dedicated memory, as well as optional Nvidia Optimus technology, designed to help the machine extend battery life by being smarter about graphics performance.

Its 15.6-inch display has the option of being an UltraSharp with PremierColor technology-a plus for animators, designers or others wanting the truest color feedback-or multitouch technology with support for a stylus and four-finger simultaneous touch input.There are DDR3 (double-data rate) memory options, four DIMM slots for up to 32GB of 1333MHz memory or 16GB of 1600MHz memory. Optional AMD Eyefinity technology enables the workstation, when docked, to support up to five displays simultaneously, or three displays when not docked. There's support for just about every connectivity option-wired, wireless LAN, WiMax, mobile broadband, GPS, Bluetooth-niceties like an antimicrobial keyboard and noise-cancelling microphone to go with the Webcam and video-chatting software, and a slew of optional support services, including Dell's 24/7 ProSupport.The M4600 starts at 6.15 pounds and like the M6600 is built of aluminum and magnesium and is military-spec tested to put up with temperature extremes and things like dust, vibration and humidity.The M6600 similarly offers much of the same, but with a 17.3-inch display, a 9-cell battery (the M4600 offers the option of a 6- or 9-cell) and a starting weight of 7.77 pounds. Other differences include a boost in graphics, with options including an AMD FirePro M8900 Mobility Pro with 2GB of GDDR5 (graphics double data rate version 5) dedicated memory. Dell later will offer Nvidia Quadro 5010M graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 dedicated memory.Both offer SSDs (solid-state drives) from 128GB to 256GB, with a 512GB option on its way, as well as RAID O or RAID 1 storage. The M6600 additionally offers RAID 5, with the requirement of two 2.5-inch drives and one solid-state Mini-Card.The Dell Precision R5500 workstation, according to Dell, offers "voracious productivity ... rock solid dependability and harmonious manageability," making it sound like an ideal spouse. Plus, Dell officials added, it's cool and quiet, making it an ideal work companion.Should the work environment be crummy, however, it can be paired with the Dell FX100 Remote Access Device, enabling workers to access the rack workstation from anywhere. A Dell spokesperson offered the example of a Dell mining customer in Australia whose mine is hundreds of miles from anything more interesting than rocks and scrub. Given that it's difficult to find workers keen to work in the middle of nowhere, the company employs an FX100, and its workers head into offices in a major city and, relying on a solid LAN environment, are able to work as though they're on the workstation.The rack offers one-on-one remote access, PCoIP hardware-based compression technology that transfers only the rendered graphics pixel data over the network, so the user experience is quick, and a dedicated half-height PCIe slot for a PCoIP remote host card, so PCIe slots can be used for other purposes.Other features include Intel Xeon processor options with up to six cores, optional dual graphics cards or dual GPGPU (general-purpose computation on graphics processing units) cards, up to five SATA drives and up to six SAS drives, optional redundant power supplies and extensive support options.The Del Precision M4600 and M6600 workstations will be available worldwide May 10 starting at $1,678 and $2,158, respectively. The Dell Precision R5500 rack workstation will start at $2,551 and be available in the United States and Europe, the Middle East and Asia beginning May 3, and continuing on to Japan May 10.Earlier this month, Dell competitor Hewlett-Packard also introduced a new fleet of workstations.