“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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  • ElAngelo - Sunday, March 9, 2014 - link

    at the company we recently bought more than 20 of the latitude e6440's. If you'd look them up, you could see they look very much like this machine.
    I can tell you the build quality of these is so crappy that I would expect them to last a maximum of 6 months if you would really use the 'mobile' part of the workstation. The plastics they used on this machine are so cheap and vulnerable, the machine flexes like a leaf, the keyboard has *ZERO* feedback. When I saw the machines at first I thought they were budget laptops of about MAXIMUM 750 euro, unfortunately the real price was 1300 euro...
    Unfortunately we have a contract with Dell which prohibits buying us anything else but dell but if I could...
  • Black Obsidian - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    If your contract requires that you buy Dell, you should have bought Latitude 7440s instead. Assuming that the 6440s are somehow worse than the nearly-identical 6430s and 6420s before them (which were perfectly decent machines with none of the problems you mention), the 7440 is a fantastic alternative, and is, in my opinion, the best enterprise-grade ultrabook on the market, not that there's much competition at all in that category.
  • MichaelF - Thursday, March 20, 2014 - link

    Enterprise ultrabook, thats a new one to me. Ultrabooks seem to be about convenience above all else, whereas enterprise products are supposed to be about stability and security above all else; not necessarily contradictory, but I'd expect it to demand a premium of around 1500.
  • BubblesGump - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    Very interesting. It seems for the past year or so, I've spent an inordinate amount of time arguing with tech reporters that the PC/Laptop is NOT dead, the keyboard and mouse/touch pad are NOT legacy, the smart phone will NEVER replace actual computing devices and the tablet will be relegated to a niche accessory. For so many people, the touch screen is a non-starter. I'm glad to see Apple, Dell, HP and Toshiba still support the higher end market (businesses, corporations, professionals, power users and gamers). I would also suggest that most will wait for Win 9 and not embrace any gyration of Win 8. With TB hard drives and memory sticks up to 1 TB, the cloud will be unnecessary to most users. Today's laptops are extremely powerful and provide true mobility (not necessary to be connected 24/7), they are easily packed up, carried and setup. Most have all their business/professional software locally, incl MS Office, but not restricted to such, and don't need the cloud nor the internet to function. I for one, have acquired a massive iTunes library over the years with my music library and mostly my favorite TV shows (commercial free). I have also built an extensive DVD library that with today's universal CD/DVD RW + Blue-Ray, provides me with weeks of entertainment if I desire. Running a HDMI cable + audio cable to the back of a large flat screen LED, provides a near movie theater experience. With a 15-3/4" HD screen (non-touch) powered by a Radeon or NVIDIA graphics card, I can choose to view via the laptop alone. I am not going to regress to these smaller/tinier screens and put on a set of ear buds. In Engineering, Architecture, Science and Finance, high end PC's and workstations will remain for a long time to come.
  • errorr - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    I don't think anyone seriously means laptops will stop being made or sold when they say "dead". However, there is little to suggest that ultimately that people need more than thin clients for most use cases. We are still a ways away from making that worthwhile but I have used a virtualized windows desktop with an iPad and found it more than acceptable as an experience for many uses.

    There will always be niche cases where laptops or desktops will be the dominant paradigm. The laptop INDUSTRY is going the way of the desktop as it becomes increasingly commoditized and marginally unprofitable. Phones and Tablets are becoming the dominant computing device for most of the world because most people don't need much more. Tablets are becoming many peoples first computing device and it is slowly becoming the primary way to consume video media in the developing world. Television is increasingly being distributed through SD cards in much of Asia especially in places with poor infrastructure for broadcasting or uneven electricity.

    Truthfully I moved a year ago and still never set up my desktop again. My laptop has become necessary only for Office or simple data analysis and charting.

    So laptops are dead as the primary computing paradigm from this point forward. Someday I imagine that if I really needed more compute power I could more cheaply rent some cycles from Amazon.
  • errorr - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    This also dovetails nicely with the inexplicable reactions that some have to a perceived undervaluation of Apple. Most projections I've seen suggest that there will be somewhere around 850 million iOS devices in use when apple stops growing. They have made it clear that they don't intend to make any product that appeals to anyone beyond the top 15%-20% of the market. That is where the profit is and they seem content to capture the wealthiest customers and retain their image as a luxury brand. While growth is slowing there is no suggestion that it will pick up again given that Japan and China were the last location with a viable customer base that could afford their products. There is no signalling from Apple that they expect to provide products beyond that market. This is why Apple seems undervalued compared to Amazon. However, nobody has any idea how much more Amazon can grow. The limits of expansion are incalculable and until something happens that suggest there is no more places for Amazon to grow into then people will continue to assume they will keep growing.

    The finish line for Apple is in view, unless they come up with another truly revolutionary product there just isn't anything to suggest that Apple will be anything more than the just a wildly profitable business without strong growth beyond a certain horizon.
  • Gigaplex - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    They only need to release updated revisions of their existing stuff to repeat customers to continue making a decent profit. Eternal growth is unsustainable, so why are companies considered dead when they've matured?
  • Kutark - Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - link

    I think you meant to say "until they steal the idea for another truly innovative product..."
  • flyingpants1 - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Yeah. AKA a tiny minority.
  • evilspoons - Saturday, March 8, 2014 - link

    Glad to see this show up. I was considering a Lenovo W540 to replace my very old Dell D830 at work, but with the mediocre reviews it's getting perhaps this would be a decent alternative.

    My only immediate comment for both machines is that I hardly use the numpad, why should I have to cram my hands off to the side for typing? The keyboard's fairly easily removed on most laptops. Can I have a no-numpad variant?

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