Dell unveils new Precision M4500 mobile workstation

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I’ve just been briefed on Dell’s Precision M4500, a brand new 15-inch mobile workstation, which will join its bigger brother, the 17-inch Precision M6500. On paper it looks rather good.

With a weight of 6lbs, a thickness of 1.1 inches and a claimed maximum battery life of 7 hours 40 mins, the Precision M4500 will now be Dell’s only truly mobile workstation. The Precision M6500 is too heavy and battery life too short to be used as an everyday laptop and Dell confirmed that it will not be producing a 14-inch mobile workstation to follow on from the Precision M2400, which was a little underpowered in the graphics department.

Underpowered is not a word you’d use to describe the Precision M4500 and it comes laden with six processor options. This includes three dual core chips (Core i5 520M, Core i5 540M, and Core i7 620M) and three quad core chips (Core i7 720QM, Core i7 820QM and Core i7 920XM). This choice is great for CAD users, who don’t always want, or need, more expensive quad core chips. Dell also confirmed that it will now be offering dual core processors as options in its top end Precision M6500.

For professional graphics there’s a choice of two 1GB Nvidia cards, the Quadro FX 880M and Quadro FX 1800M, which should be adequate for most CAD applications. And for memory, the M4500 only has two slots, up to a maximum of 8GB, so use them wisely.

The M4500 provides support for a solid State mini card drive up to 256GB in size, which means the system can have two drives without having to swap out the optical drive. In a typical setup Dell said the solid state drive could be used for OS and applications, while data could be stored on the standard mechanical hard drive (up to 500GB).

Compared to previous models, the M4500’s display has lost a few pixels, with Dell opting for a shallower aspect ratio of 16:9. This means resolutions up to 1,920 x 1,080 and not 1,920 x 1,200, but Dell said this is an industry trend.

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A neat feature of the M4500 is the ability to access to e-mail, calendar, and contacts within 5 secs of booting up the machine using a technology borrowed from its Latitude line up called Dell Precision ON. I’m not entirely sure of the ins and outs of this, but instead of Windows it boots up to a Linux OS. Other features include a 3mp camera, high security FIPS encryption and fingerprint scanner, and Gobi 2.0 mobile broadband support.

We hope to get our hands on one of these real soon.