04 Sep 2014

Dell Precision M2800 Mobile Workstation: Perfect Portable Power?

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As a Video Editor I need a computer that is fast enough to deal with all the post production software that I use.  Could Dell's low-cost Precision M2800 be the answer?

 Dell make a huge range of laptops, from skinny 11" traveller's clamshels to 18" Alienware monsters for gamers, but they also make a range of Mobile Workstations aimed at professional users in scientific, engineering and media creation, which pack usable power into a portable package.

A lot of these Mobile Workstations are fairly expensive, but now Dell ha released the Precision M2800 Mobile Workstation which provides portable prowess for a penny pinching price. I've been testing one as an editing and grading workstation and I'm very satisfied with the performance from such a small package.

The Precision M2800 has a good solid feel to it; it's not the lightest laptop in the world at 5.6 pounds (6.6 pounds with the optional 9 cell battery pack) but it is strong enough to pass US Military standards. I wouldn't want to carry it around all day but I'm happy to take it to a client or on location.

It has a clean stylish look with a black rubberised wrist rest and a keyboard with a good solid action and a separate numeric section. The keyboard is spill resistant and the whole machine is protected against dust and dirt. There is a touchpad with buttons above and below and even a pointing stick for those who prefer it.

It can be configured with i5 or i7 processors from Intel and up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM. The test machine had an i7 processor running at 2.8Ghz and 8GB of RAM and was running 64-bit Windows 7 Professional (which is standard rather than Windows 8 - a decision I approve of).

The 15.6" Ultrasharp display is available with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 so is perfect for showing HD material. It is clear and bright and is driven by an AMD FirePro W4170M GPU with 2GB GDDR5 memory. The GPU supports OpenCL acceleration of a wide variety software packages including those from Adobe and DaVinci Resolve.

m2800.jpg

Clear, bright and perfect for displaying HD


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Neil Roberts

I started out as a Video Tape Editor in the 1980’s and was one of the first editors to embrace non-linear editing at the beginning of the 90’s

I then went on to work for Lightworks and was instrumental in the development of their Heavyworks and Newsworks systems, sharing in the Technical Emmy that was awarded to the Heavyworks system.

After Lightworks I moved to Discreet logic (now part of Autodesk) where I was the European product specialist for Smoke and Fire.

I am an accredited Smoke trainer, I also do DaVinci Resolve training and I am an Independent Certified Expert for Sony.

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