“Mobile Workstation” always triggers an ambivalent feeling in my brain. Workstation means performance and reliability, whereas a mobile part suggests compromise for the added benefit of portability. Both of these terms mean added cost, so when Dell starts to offer a new mobile workstation with Intel 4th Generation i5/i7 CPUs and AMD FirePro GPUs under the heading of ‘entry-level’ and a starting price of $1199, curiosity takes over.

This new M2800 is aimed at cost-sensitive customers who require workstation levels of certification with performance, particularly for mission-critical applications. The 15” M2800 is designed to bridge that gap between business-class laptops and regular mobile workstations with ISV certification and configurability. Dell will offer the M2800 with mobile Haswell Core i5 and Core i7 processors, FirePro W4170M graphics with 2GB GDDR5, up to 1 TB of storage and up to 16GB of system memory. Screen resolutions will be available in HD and FHD, along with external multi-monitor support.

The specifications list unfortunately is a little vague. While we were able to determine that the FirePro W4170M has 6 CUs (384 SPs), there is no mention of VT-x or VT-d on the CPUs (or if they are Xeons) and no mention of SSD storage, whether it is SATA, PCIe or M.2. The display is listed as an Ultrasharp panel, and thus an IPS, but no mention of PremierColor which might be more suited on the CAD/imaging side. When the M2800 website becomes fully functional, this data should become available.

In the Dell press release, a lot of talk on CAD, digital content creation and editing software was mentioned, particularly regarding the ISV certification. Applications such as AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, Solidworks and PTC Creo fall under this bracket. Dell is also drawing attention to their Precision Performance Optimizer, which will adjust the system settings for the certified applications to maintain maximum performance.

The device has a number pad, a DVD drive, four USB ports, a VGA output, a HDMI output, a Kensington lock, gigabit Ethernet, an SD card reader and a fingerprint scanner. The base device will ship with a 1366 x 768 panel to hit that $1199 price point. Availability is expected in the spring.

Source: Dell

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  • xinthius - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    I rather enjoy how Intel is not mentioned, only the product names. Got to love AMD sponsorship, what ever keeps the site running I guess.
  • SilAntoine - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    Really biased comment, especially considering the word Intel appears before Amd and Intel processor is mentioned before Amd gpu. Consiracy theory is a lie. :)
  • Ian Cutress - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    That was not my intent, honestly. Subconsciously whenever I say Haswell I assume readers know that it's an Intel product, but FirePro is not as well known hence I put the AMD in there. I have adjusted accordingly.
  • lmcd - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    I personally wouldn't have bent to that unneeded comment, but nice overall to see you guys listen to feedback :-)
  • xinthius - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    That's a very fair point, I completely agree that FirePro is by no means a widely recognised product. I didn't mean to sound rude, it's just something that I picked up upon instantly whilst reading the article.
  • Gastec - Sunday, April 13, 2014 - link

    Good thing I'm not the admin so trolls can enjoy roaming the Web freely.
  • ZeDestructor - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    @Ian: No mobile CPU has been badged as a Xeon to my memory (Talking P3 and newer), and no current mobile CPU is a Xeon.
  • dylan522p - Sunday, March 9, 2014 - link

    I don't think there are any Xeons that are explicit mobile, but it's not like there's much difference between the mobile CPUs and the desktop and the Xeons. Many Xeons have the TDP to fit in a notebook so that's not the problem.
  • MichaelF - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    As far as the mobile quad-core i7s essentially being downclocked desktop products, and Xeon E3s essentially being i7s (and occasionally i5s) with ECC you are correct. But it would never have even crossed my mind that they would use a Xeon branded chip in this product since even their highest end M6800 mobile workstations don't have them, and I don't think HP or Lenovo use Xeon branded chips in any of their mobile offerings either.
  • lilmoe - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    This Laptop is very appealing. I almost had my eyes fixed on the Thinkpad T540p, but I might wait for this puppy to pop just for the keyboard and the touchpad. I'm hearing/reading LOTS of negative feedback from Lenovo's users.
    A laptop like this should last me a GOOD 3-4 years.

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