Dell Precision M6700 Notebook Review: The Enterprise Splitby Dustin Sklavos on December 12, 2012 7:43 PM EST
Application and Futuremark Performance
The Intel Core i7-3920XM CPU that powers our Dell Precision M6700 review unit isn't just the fastest notebook CPU we've tested, it's also potentially as fast as a desktop Ivy Bridge processor. At the same time, the NVIDIA Quadro K5000M is based on the fastest mobile gaming GPU currently available, and the M6700 is also enjoying a Samsung PM830 SSD as its system drive. All told, this should be the fastest notebook we've tested thus far.
So what happened? It looks like PCMark slightly favors the Crucial m4 SSD the Clevo notebook uses. That's unfortunate, and frustrating, as once again PCMark shows it skews so hard towards the SSD that a system with a substantially more powerful CPU (lack of access to QuickSync notwithstanding), the Dell Precision M6700, is somehow eclipsed by a gaming notebook. But then I've been campaigning to remove PCMark from our testbed for some time now.
3DMark06 at least reveals the substantial performance of the i7-3920XM.
Inexplicably, Clevo's P170EM is able to produce better first pass results in our x264 benchmark, but in all other cases the M6700 is faster. For comparison sake, a stock i7-3770K (the one in the HP h9 Phoenix) is able to produce 100fps in the first x264 pass and 40.51fps in the second; that means that Intel's fastest (well, second-fastest now that the i7-3940XM is available) mobile chip is actually able to nip the heels of their fastest mainstream desktop chip. That also means that the 100MHz bump to the 3940XM is probably enough to get it to 3770K-level performance, which is frankly astonishing.
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headbox - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - linkYeah, but how many fps do you get playing Quake?
Anyways. Resale value/demand for the Precision line is very bad. I've had two that I paid over $2k for, and couldn't get more than $400 a couple years later. Meanwhile I had a Macbook Pro I paid $1800, and sold it over 2 years later for $1400. The quadro is about the only thing that makes the Precision line worth considering, and very few people will benefit from it. Modern 2D and 3D apps makes good use of the CUDA cores in the GeForce cards just fine.
Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - linkLook at the SPECviewperf results. Consumer GPUs are still woefully inadequate for a lot of workstation tasks that Quadros are geared towards. The GPUs in MBPs may be fine for video and image editing, but that's really about it.
Also, MBPs are ever increasingly locked down, making them poorer and poorer choices for enterprise.
Zodiark1593 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - linkFor once being reputed for the "Pro", you'd have thought Apple would have at least offered Quadro or FirePro GPUs as options.
Steveymoo - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - linkActually, the GPUs are nearly identical. It's the drivers, and the customer support that you pay extra for with workstation GPUs. You can even use forceware to install quadro drivers for consumer cards - but obviously you won't get any support if anything goes wrong.
aguilpa1 - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - linkexactly, it's not like the quadro line is really that much superior to the Geforce line it is just the Geforce line has been artificially handicapped through software and I would guess some hardware features disabled. Software and driver qualifications for the most part just mean that you will never be able to have the latest updates or features because your driver model advances at a glacial pace and you pay extra for that. Quadro workstations are a niche product and should be relegated to that. I think the only reason Apple likes to use Quadro's is because then they don't have to mess with driver releases and charge even more than they already do for a unique product most Mac users don't even understand they don't need.
RandomUsername3245 - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - linkCan you post a link on how to get quadro drivers to work with geforce cards? I know people could hack cards in the past to do this, but I haven't seen it work in the last few years. The Quadro drivers (and nvidia-enabled hardware) on Quadro cards make allow for huge performance gains in some CAD applications.
ananduser - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - linkApple's resale value has everything to do with the supply. You want to get an OSX capable machine from other place rather than Apple with lower prices you have no choice but to pay those high resale values. Good for you, bad for the purchaser but way better than buying straight from Apple.
Solandri - Monday, December 17, 2012 - linkThe high resale value is because Apple makes it virtually impossible to tell which year the laptop was made. They're all called Macbook or Macbook Pro. You buy a used "Macbook" off of craigslist and you pretty much need a tech guru with you to figure out what year it was made. (The label with the model number is hidden underneath the battery, and you have to cross-reference it with wikipedia since Apple's page of model numbers hasn't been updated in a year and a half.)
So basically, the prices are high because a bunch of computer neophytes (most Mac users) are buying 2-5 year old laptops thinking they are 1 year old. My cousin almost bought a new Macbook at his school store on sale for $900. He called me first and I talked him through how to find the model number. It was an ancient Core 2 Duo model when the latest were sporting Sandy Bridge CPUs.
If you desperately want to run OS X on a cheap machine, get the VMWare hack to unlock the limitation that only allows OS X Server to run. Then you can run vanilla OS X under Windows or Linux. (How you get the copy is another matter...)
robinthakur - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - linkThat's not really true though and is a gross over simplification. Perhaps just for uninformed people such as your cousin. The majority of smart people making an investment in the region of £1300-£2000 do quite a lot of research before parting with their cash. If you look on Craigslist/Gumtree etc. it will most usually say what the CPU and RAM are and you can work it out from this, or just look on the box label/System Information in OSX if you really can't work it out. You can also buy them reconditioned cheaper directly from Apple's website where it gives you a detailed system spec along with when it was originally released. I own a Macbook Pro retina and a Win8/Hackintosh which I built myself from scratch.
piroroadkill - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link.. Which is exactly why I bought a Precision on ebay! A fantastic way to get a great machine.