Dell looks to Core i5 and i7 to deliver cost-effective entry-level workstation

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This is an interesting move by Dell, who has just launched a workstation specifically designed and certified for AutoCAD. OK, so the fact that it’s designed for AutoCAD is unlikely to make most DEVELOP3D readers sit up and take notice, but what they might find interesting is that the Precision T1500 is based on Intel’s new Core i5 (or Core i7) processors. This is a first from a major workstation manufacturer, whose current lines are predominantly made up of Intel Xeon processors, which are more expensive but don’t offer much additional benefit.

The main difference between Intel’s Core i5 / Core i7 and Xeon processors is that the Xeon supports ECC memory, which is designed to correct any data errors that may occur, a benefit that is pretty hard to quantify. Xeon is also the only Intel workstation processor that is available in pairs, which is often required for CAE and rendering.

With a choice of entry-level graphics in the form of AMD’s ATI FirePro V3750 or Nvidia’s Quadro FX 580, the Precision T1500 is a bit limited in its graphics options. However, what it may do is push the other workstation vendors to launch price-conscious Core i5 or Core i7 systems that raise the graphics performance just a little, making them ideal for most mid-range CAD applications.

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