Dell Precision M6500 mobile workstation
Dell's Precision M6500 notebook is an extremely powerful mobile workstation
- Very powerful
- Expensive, heavy
There is no doubt that the Dell Precision M6500 represents the crème de la crème of laptops today. Engineers and power users who can abide the weight and the cost will find a blazingly fast laptop with superior screen and graphics, a full-size keyboard, and plenty of storage and RAM headroom. This machine's performance is nearly the equivalent of midrange desktop workstations.
Price$ 4,219.90 (AUD)
The screen is clear and sharp. This clarity is due in part to Dell's choice of a WUXGA RGB LED LCD panel. The RGB LED is a way of signaling that the system does not rely on standard white LEDs to form the pixels. The RGB aspect permits Dell to offer "100 percent of the Adobe colour spectrum."
We were told that this would be evident as deeper, richer colour, especially when the screen is bright. This is certainly true when we put the Dell Precision M6500 beside other laptops. However, the difference is not a revelation - had we not known to look for it, we're not sure we'd have spotted it. Nevertheless, for heavy users of multimedia or graphics, the 100 percent Adobe spectrum could be reason enough to get the M6500.
The Dell Precision M6500 comes in a brushed-metallic case that passes MIL-810 tests. Unlike former road-warrior systems that were thick and hard to hold, the Dell Precision M6500 is a uniform 1.25 inches (or 3.2cm) high. It sports four USB ports, one eSATA slot, one FireWire jack, a PCMCIA compartment, an SD card slot, and the usual external VGA port and Ethernet jack.
The nine-cell battery provides roughly 2 hours, 30 minutes of usage - enough for a visit to the field, but not more than that. Unfortunately, the power pack adds almost 2.2 pounds (985 grams) to be lugged with the system's already hefty 8.6 pounds (3.9kg). This load is most annoying when you're in motion. However, we were surprised to see how little it bothered me when the system was in use on my lap. This is due in part to the large form factor, which distributes the weight over a larger area, so you can work a good while before your legs become uncomfortable. In fact, system heat created discomfort before the weight did.
Dell Precision M6500: greased lightning
We ran a series benchmarks, including SPEC Viewperf, Cinebench, and an assortment of benchmarks from SiSoftware that are gathered in the Sandra XII suite.
Because SPEC carefully controls how Viewperf numbers are reported, the group's guidelines required us to use Windows Vista to run the test; the benchmark is not certified yet for Windows 7. So we ran all benchmarks on the 64-bit Ultimate edition of Windows Vista. The Viewperf guidelines show that the Nvidia card in the Dell Precision M6500 has performance that equals that of the desktop Nvidia Quadro FX 3800 card.
This is quite an achievement for a mobile graphics adaptor, which operates in much tighter thermal, spatial, and power constraints. The FX 3800 card it matches was used in midrange and high-end desktop workstations from Hewlett-Packard in my review of Nehalem workstations earlier this year.
Arithmetic computation on the x920 processor is slower than on the reviewed desktop workstations, primarily due to its slower clock speed (2GHz vs. 2.93GHz). The multimedia benchmark has no counterpart in our earlier tests, so is presented for information purposes and for future comparisons. Memory latency is comparable to the desktop systems, but bandwidth is significantly faster on the Dell Precision M6500 due to the higher clock speed of the RAM. In these benchmarks, only the M6500's disk speed is significantly slower than desktop workstations; for most uses, this is an expected and accepted limitation.
With the fastest mobile x86 processor and the fastest mobile graphics card on the market, there is no doubt that the Dell Precision M6500 deserves a top mark of 10 for performance on our report card - there is no faster notebook available today. The report card entries reflect our discussion here, but they cannot account for our concern that the size and weight will be too much for some users. Likewise, the price will suggest that prospective purchasers be certain they need the mighty firepower of this system. Those who can settle for less robust features can configure the system on Dell's website and end up with a lower price. However, the starting price is still a healthy $4199.00.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony finally back in the black (but not thanks to PlayStation)
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- FTSolution Architect l MS Exchange, O365NSW
- CCSenior Project Coordinator - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- CCSystem EngineerSA
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - PERMANENTACT
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorACT
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- CCTelecommunication Operations SpecialistTAS
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Database AdministratorVIC
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTSalesforce AdministratorQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTFinancial ERP Customer SME / Solution Consultant / System AccountantNSW
- FTJava Developer - Fixed Term ContractQLD
- CCSME in Openstack, AWSNSW
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)NSW
- TPLinux Desktop Support SpecialistWA
- FTMicrosoft ProgrammerSA
- FTLevel 3 Support AnalystVIC