With Intel unveiling its shiny new Xeon processors this week, Dell could finally lift the lid on three new desktop workstations – the Dell Precision T3610, T5610 and T7610.
At the same time the company unveiled two new mobile workstations – the Precision M4800 and Precision M6800 – built around fourth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors (Haswell). Dell also revealed more about its new ultra mobile workstation, the Precision M3800, but users will have to wait a little longer before they can get their hands on one.
Looks wise Dell’s new Precision T3610, T5610 and T7610 desktop workstations are identical to the machines they replace. This means they benefit from the highly serviceable chassis that was a hallmark of the T3600, T5600, T7600.
All of the changes have happened inside the machine, centred on the new Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 and E5-1600 v2 processors.
But Dell maintains there much more to these new Precisions than just a processor upgrade – and we’d have to agree. It has also placed a big emphasis on accelerating access to stored data.
As of November, the new Precisions will include Intel Cache Acceleration Software – Workstation (CAS-W), the result of an exclusive partnership with Intel.
Based on technology originally developed for servers, Dell describes CAS-W as the first enterprise-grade caching acceleration software application for workstations.
CAS-W is designed to give users high-speed access to large datasets without having to invest in high-capacity Solid State Drives (SSDs), where the price per GB is high.
Users select which data type needs to be accelerated and this so-called ‘hot’ data is then placed into a fast SSD cache. Meanwhile, so called ‘cold data’ is stored on a low-cost, high capacity Hard Disk Drive (HDD).
Dell says it has tested on Siemens NX, AutoCAD, SolidWorks and other software applications and is claiming significant performance boosts. This sounds like an interesting technology for budget workstations. We look forward to checking it out later this year.
At the other end of the storage spectrum Dell has added the option of a PCIe Solid State Drive (SSD) for particularly demanding users. The 350GB Micron P320h uses the incredibly fast PCI Express bus to overcome some of the bandwidth limitations of the SATA 3.0 interface. Dell hasn’t released prices yet, but we expect it to be high. A quick search on Google finds the drive for sale at over £5k!
With support for up to two Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors with 12 cores apiece the high-end Precision T7610 is all about computational power. But for those who need even more, Dell has expanded its range of co-processor PCIe add-in cards.
In addition to the Nvidia Tesla K20C GPGPU, which forms the backbone to Nvidia Maximus, Dell is now offering the Intel Xeon Phi co-processor 3120A. This manycore x86-based card is designed to accelerate highly parallel workloads. Application support is still pretty thin on the ground, with Altair one of the few CAE companies with software that works with the Xeon Phi.
Other notable changes include going from four to eight memory slots on the Precision T3610, meaning a maximum of 128GB of 1,866MHz ECC RAM.
All of the new desktop Precision workstations offer a choice of AMD FirePro or Nvidia Quadro GPUs.
Meanwhile, for designers and engineers on the go, Dell has updated its mobile workstations with the Precision M4800 and M6800. The Precision M4800 stands out for its optional Quad HD+ IGZO display which, at 3,200 x 1,800 boasts an even higher resolution than the Apple MacBook Pro Retina display. The M6800 comes with a much more standard 17.3-inch HD screen.
Both machines feature fourth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors (Haswell) up to Core i7 Extreme Edition and a choice of AMD FirePro or Nvidia Quadro GPUs. With the M6800 this includes the Nvidia Quadro K5100M with 8GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory.