Dell’s beefy Precision workstations

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Dell Precision M6800 mobile workstations.

Dell’s grip on the muscle workstation market could be set to tighten.

Overnight the company updated its Precision range with five new models including what the company describes as the world’s most powerful mobile workstation.

While the traditional PC market is in a tailspin, the shine has yet to come off the workstation sector. Earlier this year there were reports the market was growing five or six percent. Perhaps that’s not much, but with PC sales down 10 percent, it looks good for the companies making high-end kit.

HP leads the workstation space, but Dell is hot on that company’s tails. Between them the two computer makers account for about three-quarters of workstation sales.

Not to be confused with PCs

Workstations are distinct from PCs. They are used by computer professionals and other users who can’t realistically shift their workloads to tablets or smartphones.

Dell says its Precision M4800, M6800, T3610, T5610 and T7610 units are built to run the leading content creation, engineering and scientific applications. Developers and financial analysts also use them. In New Zealand Dell says it has a base in the movie production industry.

The company says the latest workstations are loaded with leading-edge technologies, especially when it comes to processors, graphics, storage and displays.

Dell claims highest resolution mobile displays, for now

This is most noticeable with the two portable models: the Dell Precision M4800 and M6800. Both come with 8GB graphics cards 15.6-inch QHD+ displays. That’s 3200 x 1800 pixel resolution.

Dell senior product manager Mano Gialusis says at more than 240 pixels per inch the dot-pitch on the display is higher than Apple’s Retina. He says the panels are from Sharp and are the highest quality available at the moment. “They are bright and have a thousand to one contrast ratio”, he says.

There’s also an optional 10-finger touch option and the first WiGig wireless docking, this means users can connect to monitors, speakers and other devices without cables. WiGig operates at about 50 times the speed of WiFi.

Application optimisation

Gialusis also talked up Dell’s Precision Performance Optimizer. It’s a tool for configuring workstations settings to get the best out of high-end professional applications. He says that in the past users would first select software, then buy hardware capable of running the software and tweaking for performance. For example, some apps can use hyper-threading, other apps slow down when this is switched on. Dell’s new tool automates this, so users can quickly switch between applications.