Hardware

Dell Precision M6300 (First Look Review)

1 Oct, 2008 By: Ron LaFon

Mobile system provides true workstation-level performance.


The Dell Precision M6300 mobile workstation is designed for high-end performance, making it an ideal choice for engineering, design, analysis, and digital-content creation. Cadalyst reviewed a system configuration based on an Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000 (2.8 GHz) processor with 6 MB of L2 cache that was loaded with 8 GB of DDR2 667-MHz RAM. It featured an 800-MHz front side bus and came with Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 with Service Pack 2 installed. A speedy 64GB Dell Flash Ultra Performance SSD hard drive was installed, and graphics were accommodated by an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3600M card with 512 MB of onboard memory.



Measuring 15.5" x 11.3" x 1.6" (W x D x H), the Dell Precision M6300 weighed in at 8.6 lb. The case is well designed with all controls readily accessible, and the system is very quiet in operation and doesn't generate a great deal of heat. The screen is a bright WUXGA 17" panel with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. A DVD/CD optical drive also was included. Connectivity options included a FireWire IEEE 1394 connector and six USB 2.0 connectors, as well as DVI and VGA output connectors.

I ran the usual Cadalyst benchmark test suites, using 64-bit versions of AutoCAD 2009 and 3ds Max 2009 Design, followed by the 64-bit version of SPECviewperf 10, all running under Windows XP Pro x64 with Service Pack 2 installed. NVIDIA's 64-bit graphics drivers v.6.14.11.6757 (dated December 30, 2007) powered the NVIDIA card. All benchmarks ran without difficulty; I noticed that the various operations performed by the benchmarks were exceptionally smooth, thanks to the additional memory installed on the system and the greatly improved memory management afforded by Windows XP x64.

 Dell Precision M6300
Dell Precision M6300

Benchmarks included the Cadalyst C2008 benchmark (www.cadalyst.com/c2008) running under AutoCAD 2009. With the native OpenGL driver selected, the M6300 produced a C2008 total index score of 224 in 98 minutes. With the same software, but using the native AutoCAD 2009 Direct 3D driver, the C2008 total index score was 322, completing in 67 minutes. I ran two concurrent side-by-side instances of the C2008 benchmark, each using a separate version of the benchmark test, which is my typical method of testing systems that have multicore processors. The combined C2008 total index score for the concurrent sessions was 532, with a completion time of 71 minutes.

 The Dell Precision M6300 mobile system is optimized to provide the brute computing power of a desktop workstation.
The Dell Precision M6300 mobile system is optimized to provide the brute computing power of a desktop workstation.

For the next benchmark, I ran the MAXBench4 benchmark with Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 Design with the native OpenGL drivers, which produced an averaged high/low score of 80.41. I changed to the 3ds Max Design 2009's native Direct3D drivers, and that test produced an averaged high/low score of 156.88. Finally, I tested with NVIDIA's MAXtreme 64-bit accelerated driver and was able to produce an averaged high/low score of 185.74 on the M6300.

Next up was the 64-bit version of the full SPECviewperf 10 benchmark (www.spec.org), which produced the following results: 28.59 for 3dsmax-04, 38.49 for catia-02, 38.49 for ensight-03, 159.99 for maya-02, 38.71 for proe-04, 78.84 for sw-01, 23.77 for tcvis-01, and 24.26 for ugnx-01.

Next came the battery life tests. With the nine-cell lithium ion battery fully charged and the system idle — and with polling processes disabled wherever possible — the time to hibernation was 3 hours, 50 minutes. With the battery fully recharged and the Cadalyst C2008 benchmark running in a continuous loop, the time to hibernation was 1 hour, 51 minutes. These numbers are very good for a mobile workstation with this level of performance.

The Dell Precision M6300 starts at $2,049, although the configuration received was just more than $5,931. The price includes the standard Dell three-year warranty.

Its high performance, combined with superb engineering, makes the Dell Precision M6300 well worth evaluating for those who need a top-level mobile workstation.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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