Dell Precision M6500 Workstation Taps Intel's Core i7 Chips

The Dell Precision M6500 offers Intel's Core i7 processors, Nvidia Quadro FX or ATI FirePro graphics, as well as up to 16GB of memory and the option of four memory slots. There's also a choice of Linux or Windows operating systems, and up to three hard drives.

Dell has added a powerhouse-or is it a workhorse?-to its E-Family laptop product line with the Dec. 1 launch of the Precision M6500 mobile workstation, which comes packed with some of the latest technology from Intel, Microsoft and Nvidia.
The Dell Precision M6500 is one of the first mobile workstations to offer Intel's Core i7 processors. Users can choose between the Core i7 Quad Core and the Core i7 Extreme Edition Quad Core and pair these with the latest generation of Nvidia Quadro FX or ATI FirePro graphics, as well as 1,333MHz of DDR3 (double date rate 3) memory.
Another first is the coming availability of up to three hard drives-with the choice of a 7,200-rpm 500GB hard drive or a 256GB solid-state drive in each bay-with several RAID configurations.
"The M6500 is the result of direct customer feedback from panels, blogs, forums and direct input," Mano Gialusis, Dell's senior product manager, told eWEEK. "We also worked closely with ISV partners ... and gathered feedback about what they'd like to see. So we basically took all the feedback from the M6400 and built the M6500."
Gialusis said the M6400 was the first to have four memory DIMM (dual in-line memory module) slots, and that feature is continued on the M6500, offering memory scalability up to 16GB.
"It's all about having the right tool for the right job," Gialusis continued. "Customers who buy workstations buy software that can range from $1,000 to $100,000 for oil and gas companies. They need a platform that's not only certified to run those, but can do it in a timely manner."
There are operating system choices galore, including Red Hat Linux 5.3 and multiple versions of Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows XP, as well as numerous connectivity options-including 802.11a, g and n, mobile broadband with GPS, and ultra-wide band (UWB) and HSPA-EVDO Rev. A-in some countries.
Security features include an optional FIPS fingerprint reader, Wi-Fi protected access and a virtual private network (VPN). There's an 8-in-1 card reader, as well as ExpressCard 54 and PC card slots, plus four USB ports, VGA and Display ports, an Ethernet slot, audio in and out and eSATA, a six-pin firewire, and optional DVD or Blu-ray drives. The battery is nine-cell, though battery life likely depends on configuration.
There are two speakers, with optional dual-array microphones, and an optional 2-megapixel camera, with a 3-megapixel option on the way.
Creative types will be interested to know that the M6500 is the first Windows-based notebook to have Tier 1 certification for AVID digital design, and it can run 32 tracks of audio simultaneously. The M6500 measures 15.4 by 11 by 1.35 inches, and while all versions come with a 17-inch display, the version called "Covet" offers a backlit, RGB LED glass edge-to-edge display with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels and what Gialusis calls a "100 percent color gamut that's more vivid and true" than what other displays offer.
The Covet comes wrapped in blood-orange, and while an anodized aluminum version can be ordered with an anti-glare, RGB LED-backlit display, the edge-to-edge design is exclusive to the Covet.
All versions, however, are compatible with the docks and stands across Dell's Latitude line.
The Dell M6500 begins shipping Dec. 1-a day to watch out for new processor announcements-at a starting price of $2,749.