Dell recently released a new generation of its "Precision" brand workstations, with a new case design and upgraded hardware specifications. Let's take a look at what's new...
Back in March I wrote about how new technologies were pushing the boundaries of PC performance. Well now I've got my hands on some of those new technologies in the shape of the Dell Precision T7600 Workstation and it's quite an impressive beast.
The exterior of the T7600 is a stylish matte black with two silver handles at the front and back which make it easy to move around. It can be used free standing as a tower or can be mounted horizontally in a 19" rack. The front is a latticed grille which allows for plenty of airflow through the case and it opens easily to reveal the hard disk bays, unusually mounted vertically and beneath the plane of the motherboard. There is space for 4 x 2.5" and 4 x 3.5" drives and they can be SATA or SAS.
The motherboard is based on an Intel C600 controller and supports two processors and up to 512GB of RAM. The review machine had a pair of Intel Xeon E5 2687W chips with 8 cores at 3.1Ghz, giving 16 physical cores and 32 cores with Hyperthreading. Needless to say it blew through every CPU based benchmark with ease.
The motherboard supports PCI express 3 graphics cards and you could easily fit three high end cards in the very neat interior. The review machine was fitted with a single Nvidia Quadro 5000 which is a little long in the tooth now but it was still no slouch. I would love to test it with a pair of the Quadro K5000's or the AMD FirePro cards. These are available as build to order options on the Dell website.
Overall impressions of the system are that it is very fast and remarkably quiet; the way the airflow goes from front to back means that the fans can run at a low speed and still keep the system cool.
The T7600 has a few tricks up its sleeve too, such as a power supply that just slides out so it can be replaced in seconds and "Reliable Memory Technology" which maps errors on the DIMMS and excludes them from use, much like mapping bad sectors on a hard drive.
With the ability to have up to 8 drives installed and plenty of spare slots for expansion this is an excellent machine for Content Creation. Of course power like this doesn't come cheap but Dell are currently running some offers which can take a sizeable chunk out of the cost.
They also have some excellent support plans including a "Mission Critical" plan that will have an engineer with you within 4 hours (!)
I was suitably impressed with the T7600 and would have no hesitation in recommending it as a workhorse machine for Video Editing, Motion Graphics or 3D Modelling. For more information about the Precision Workstation range you can visit Dell's website here