Dell is rolling out three new Precision desktop workstations March 25 that utilize Intel processors based on the newer "Nehalem" microarchitecture that the chip company introduced in November.
Intel had previously announced that the first of its Nehalem-based processors, the Intel Core i7 chip, would gradually roll out into the market starting at the end of March. In addition to high-end PCs, the Nehalem chips are also being used in cloud computing architecture, most recently in Rackable Systems' new server rack cabinets.
However, Intel is expected to roll out newer Nehalem-based processors, including processors in the Xeon family, later in March. These chips are designed for workstations as well as server systems. Although Intel has not officially commented on these processors and their release date, Dell and Lenovo have now each offered workstations with these processors.
The Nehalem microarchitecture scales from two up to eight processing cores, and includes new power management and virtualization capacities and an integrated memory controller designed to rival features of Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processors. Nehalem clock speeds will be competitive with the current 45-nanometer Xeon and Core 2 Duo processors, according to an earlier announcement by Intel.
The new Dell workstations will become available through all Dell sales channels starting on March 26. The three systems are:
- the Dell Precision T7500, which will offer up to two quad-core processors and 192GB of three-channel DDR3 (double data rate 3) ECC memory up to 1066MHz or 1333MHz and will be priced starting at $1,800;
- the Dell Precision T5500, featuring a dual-socket Intel Xeon performance in a small-footprint system, with memory capacity up to 72GB, graphics slots that scale up to 300 watts (two 150W or a single 225W) and pricing that starts at $1,620; and
- the Dell Precision T3500, with up to 24GB DDR3 ECC memory and an integrated memory controller, starting at a price of $999.
In addition, the three models will feature an Intel Turbo Mode, designed "to adapt processor speed based on application needs," according to Dell; an E-SATA port for fast external storage; up to 1.5TB SATA (Serial ATA) hard disk drives for local storage; and Intel QuickPath and Direct Cache Access.
The T5500 and T7500 models will include support for Nvidia Tesla GPU computing solutions and the Nvidia FX 5800 graphics card.
Various configurations of the workstations will be Energy Star 5.0-compliant, with 85 percent efficient power supplies.
Workstations aren't all that's on Dell's agenda.
Speaking at Computerworld in Tokyo on March 24, Michael Dell confirmed that his company was working on a smaller form-factor mobile device, either a smartphone or MID (mobile Internet device).
"It is true that we are exploring smaller-screen devices," Dell said, confirming analysts' suspicions that the PC maker may be soon enter the competitive space currently occupied by the Apple iPhone, Research In Motion's BlackBerry and the soon-to-be-released Palm Pre.
Although unconfirmed by the company, analyst reports state that Dell has already built prototypes equipped with both Microsoft Windows and Google Android OS. However, Dell has encountered difficulties attracting interest from carriers, which reportedly viewed the device as dull.