Following its pretty-boy multicolored notebooks released earlier this week, Dell brought out the big gun of its laptop line today, showing us its Dell Precision M4300 Mobile Workstation with Intel's latest Santa Rosa chipset. Built in exactly the same form factor as its predecessor that it replaces, the M65, the M4300 offers a faster 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo dual core processor among other faster niceties, an optional 32GB solid-state disk, and the choice of a glossy display. But there's no LED-backlit display yet.
These Dell Precision laptops are built for speed, and this latest iteration doesn't disappoint. Those faster processor choices range up to the Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz T7700 with 4MB of cache. And it's not just that Core 2 Duo chip that speeds things up, either—these processors have an 800MHz front-side bus, giving this Precision M4300 a significant speed advantage over its M65 predecessor with its 667MHz front-side bus. According to Intel, that little mod will show you a 20% increase in throughput. Also helping out those who have the system maxed out with 4GB of RAM is its new 36-bit addressing, which allows those who are running a 64-bit operating systems to see and utilize all 4GB.
That Santa Rosa chipset also offers Intel Dynamic Acceleration (IDA), which allows the CPU to be smarter, jacking up its clock speed when it's working on a single-threaded application. For example, that means the 2.4GHz processor gets overclocked to 2.6GHz when only one of the cores is being used in a single-threaded application. Neat.
Dell has also fired up the graphics on this baby, upgrading to the latest NVIDIA Quadro FX 360M graphics card, resulting in what Dell calls a 110% speed improvement in graphics performance versus its M65 forebear. A 160GB drive spinning at 7200RPM also adds to the speedfest.
Then there's that 32GB solid-state disk, which we first thought would offer faster speeds and longer battery life. But no. Dell admits this is not so, at least not yet. It's not any faster than a normal 2.5-inch spinning drive, and uses roughly the same amount of energy, too, so you're not going to see increased battery life with one of these drives on board. Another downside is that if you choose the 32GB solid-state disk, that's it. There's no room for another drive inside. Dell says this solid-state drive choice is aimed at those who are looking for durability and reliability, and told us speedier and more efficient solid-state drives were on the way. Dell didn't say anything about the drive's pricing, either, and it's not showing up on the Dell store yet. But the Dellians said it will ship next week. More expensive, not faster, same battery life? Forget it. Looks like this SDD release was more for bragging rights than anything else.
Dell has also updated the line's Wi-Fi capabilities, now capable of optional draft-N, and they've mounted dual hyperband diversity antennas in the display back for what the company says is five times better performance for Wi-Fi and mobile broadband. And now Dell is offering a choice of the big three for wireless broadband: Verizon, Sprint and now AT&T. To hell with that EDGE shit—EV-DO Rev A, here we come.
Nice laptops. They're heavy (starting at 6.2 lbs) and not exactly beautiful, but you'll have a hard time finding a faster PC in this form factor. Pricing starts at $1750, but fully loaded with the fastest processor and largest disk will jack the price up to around $3200. They're shipping now.
Product Page [Dell]