In April last year we reviewed the Dell M3800, which was a slim, stylish, mobile workstation. You rarely see those words in the same sentence, because mobile workstation laptops have traditionally been essentially desktop computers crammed, rather uncomfortably, into a portable case. Now, it seems Dell has done it again...
The M3800 simply broke all the rules. In fact, when I visited Dell's headquarters in Austin, Texas, Dell proudly showed us the effort they'd put into virtually every aspect of this slim product.
Now, it's been upgraded. The screen is true 4K UHD resolution (3840x2160), it's got an up-to-date chipset, and - cue trumpets, choirs and fireworks - Thunderbolt 2.
More than anything, the thing that unlocks a laptop's ability to be used for video editing is its external connectivity. So now you'll be able to use very fast Thunderbolt drives and edit 4K in realtime (we haven't tried it of course and can't until we get our hands on the computer, but we'll be surprised if it isn't a very capable 4K editing machine).
Internal memory is now up to 2TB of SSD storage - double the maximum available on a Macbook Pro, and there's a 4th generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, professional grade NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics, and up to 16GB of memory,
The M3800 weights just 4.15lbs (1.88kg) and is still less than 0.71 inches (18mm) thick.
This is a very good move by Dell, who, as with the original M3800, are very much on the Macbook Pro's case.
When we tested the original M3800 (you can see our review below) we were really impressed with how it seemed like a nicely designed, well-crafted, complete product. Not, perhaps what you might have expected from Dell if you're more used to their "consumer" products. Dell Precision is a completely different division and has its own designers and engineers. We were were at their Austin, Texas facility, we were shown ideas they were developing for the future - strictly under non-disclosure - and it was clear from this that Dell is not just interested in shifting boring, grey boxes.
We've ordered our review unit and will bring you a detailed look at the new M3800 as soon as we can.
Full details in the press release over the page
Here are all the details, direct from Dell
Bracknell, UK – 27th January 2015 – Dell today announced updates to the Dell Precision M3800, the world’s thinnest and lightest true 15-inch mobile workstation, enabling video editors, graphic designers, engineers and other high-end users to create like never before with unmatched portability, breakthrough power and reliable performance. Dell has listened to its customers and responded by incorporating new features into its flagship mobile workstation, adding a 4K Ultra HD touch display option, introducing Thunderbolt™ 2 technology and offering an Ubuntu-based developer edition, among other updates.
“Dell workstation power is behind the work of some of the world’s top animators, film editors and visual effects artists, so at Dell we understand the pressure these professionals experience to deliver more creative output under increasingly tighter timelines,” said Andy Rhodes, global executive director for Dell workstations. “Whether it’s editing video while on location, presenting CAD ideas to customers, or doing 3D modeling, animation and rendering on the road, the Dell Precision M3800 delivers the ideal blend of form and function to meet rising demands for performance on-the-go.”
“Dell is proving to me that they are paying attention to high-end users and offering great performance specs in workstations built for high-end users,” said Cyprian York Sadlon, motion graphics artist and founder of Notch NYC studio in New York. “Now with the Dell Precision M3800, I have the processing power needed to go through all my footage and manipulate any photos that I'm currently working on no matter where I am.”
Starting today, the Dell Precision M3800 is available with 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) resolution and IGZO2 technology on its vivid 15.6-inch UltraSharp™ touch display made with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT, delivering rich, saturated colour and stunning brightness, and enabling customers to view their content in even greater detail than was possible before. With more than 8 million pixels, the 4K Ultra HD screen option is the highest resolution panel available on a 15-inch mobile workstation today, boasting 3.4 million more pixels than the Retina display on the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch and allowing customers to experience 59 percent higher resolution. The Dell Precision M3800 display also features ten-finger multi-touch, providing customers with an intuitive way to interact with the workstation.
Dell is expanding its ecosystem by adding a Thunderbolt™ 2 port to the Dell Precision M3800, so users can take advantage of transfer speeds up to 20Gbps, enabling viewing and editing of raw 4K video, while backing up the same file in parallel. Intel’s revolutionary Thunderbolt™ 2 technology delivers the fastest, most versatile connection, simultaneously supporting high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port.
As film, animation and design projects often require managing large graphic and data-intensive files on-the-go, Dell has added additional storage options and increased the total available internal storage on the Dell Precision M3800 up to 2TB, which is double the solid-state drive (SSD) storage capacity offered by the Apple MacBook Pro. Boasting the same unmatched portability and sleek design as the previous generation, the new Dell Precision M3800 has a starting weight of just 4.15lbs (1.88kg) and a form factor that is less than 0.71 inches (18mm) thick. Packed with a 4th generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, professional grade NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics, and up to 16GB of memory, the system delivers the power necessary to handle even the most demanding applications and workloads.
“Intel’s 4th generation Core i7 quad-core mobile processor, Intel Thunderbolt™ 2 technology and Intel SSDs in the latest Dell Precision M3800 provide professionals with a great balance between performance, power, professional I/O and slim design – outstanding capabilities for professionals on the go,” said Frank Soqui, General Manager of Intel’s Technical Compute Cloud and Client. “Thunderbolt docking completes the design for ease of expandability for professional workstation needs.”
To demonstrate the performance benefits afforded by choosing a certified mobile workstation for video editing and viewing, Dell commissioned a study from research firm Principled Technologies comparing the Dell Precision M3800 and the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display across a number of resource-intensive tasks commonly performed in Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud. The Dell Precision M3800 outperformed the Apple MacBook Pro, taking up to 26 percent less time to transcode video, rendering video sequences up to 30 percent faster, and dropping less frames during video playback. It also delivered lower surface temperatures when running an intensive workload, and unlike the MacBook Pro, the Dell Precision M3800 is ISV-certified for running professional software applications, guaranteeing optimal performance and support.
Creative agency Sparksight recently replaced its Apple hardware and Final Cut Pro software with Dell workstations and Adobe Creative Cloud software resulting in increased productivity and decreased costs. “With Dell Precision workstations and NVIDIA graphics, now we can turn around projects a lot faster and take on more clients, and that means we can grow and earn more revenue,” said Kelly Shores, CEO at Sparksight.
“When video professionals work with the latest advancements such as Ultra HD and 4K+, they don’t want to be held back by their hardware or software limitations,” said Simon Williams, Director of Strategic Alliances at Adobe. “Adobe’s collaboration with Dell showcases the continued innovations the companies bring to creatives, enabling them to be far more efficient, more mobile, and more fluid in their projects. The result: video professionals working with Adobe Creative Cloud including Adobe Premiere Pro Creative Cloud are now delivering amazing, cutting-edge projects that push all the boundaries. It’s an exciting time.”
The highly-configurable Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation gives customers the flexibility to build a system tailored to their individualized needs, and starting today the system will be available with Ubuntu as well as Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. This is the first time Dell has offered a developer edition of the Dell Precision M3800 and it is a direct result of feedback from the developer community. Developers have been asking Dell to include a larger, high-performance Ubuntu-based system to complement its popular Dell XPS 13 developer edition. For more on Dell’s solutions for cloud developers and what’s new, read on here.
In conjunction with today’s announcement, Dell is partnering with Pitchfork Media to host a two-day event in Park City, Utah celebrating the intersection of film, music and technology and showcasing the company’s technology solutions for the media and entertainment industry.
 Cyprian York Sadlon was selected for an upcoming Dell Precision marketing campaign and was seeded with a Dell Precision M3800 as part of the campaign.
The new Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation is available across the UK starting at £1,349.