Dell Precision M6700 is the world' s most powerful 17" mobile workstation, with the performance, battery life and storage for demanding work environments.
The entry quad core 3720QM is roughly the same speed as the 2960XM which was the top of the line in the previous machine. The 3920XM will be 10-15% faster than either of the two processors previously mentioned. The 3920XM may have a larger margin in real world use do to the M6700 allowing it to stay at max turbo frequencies 100% of the time.
We get tons of laptops at the Hardware.Info test lab, and in recent times most of those are of course the ultra-thin, light and sleek models. The Dell Precision M6700 is a completely different beast that way. It's a 17.3-inch laptop weighing in at 4.1 kg, a true workstation for the heavy-duty jobs. It's portable yet doesn't make any concessions in terms of features and performance.
Quality is reasonable: the matte finish helps under office lights, and we recorded brightness and contrast ratio measurements of 252cd/m2 and 523:1 - fine scores which are second to Apple’s Retina-toting MacBook Pro (333cd/m2 and 1,023:1). The average Delta E of 5.5 is a good score and confirms the good colour accuracy - ideal if you're doing colour-sensitive work such as graphic design. Again it's behind the MacBook, which served up a stunning Delta E of 1.4. Despite being trumped on all fronts by the MacBook Pro, there is no denying the Dell has a decent screen.
The power and network are both on the rear which is a good improvement, though I would have preferred the power to stay in the middle just to keep the cable out of my way when using it from a couch or chair. Running it with an i7 quad core, 16gb ram, and 250GB SSD + 500GB SATA drive and it really soars. As long as it holds up, I will be very pleased.
Port selection is generous, with two USB 3 sockets, FireWire, an SD card reader, ExpressCard slot and Dell Precision M6700 battery status lights on the left-hand side, two more USB 3 ports and a DisplayPort output on the right, and HDMI, D-SUB, Gigabit Ethernet and eSATA on the rear.
For workstation performance, I ran the Viewperf benchmark on the M6700. Focusing on graphics performance, this benchmark utilizes test data which is representative of professional graphics applications. The Viewperf benchmark is created and managed by specbench.org and is designed to provide performance-comparison data for graphics workstations.
Rounding out the trimmings, our review unit has Dell's PremierColor IPS display which is touted to offer the full AdobeRGB gamut; this is essentially to compete with HP's own DreamColor display. Unfortunately we did run into some issues with PremierColor and our calibration/measurement software, ColorEyes Display Pro, which we'll discuss later on. But Dell has a healthy number of choices for displays, including a basic 900p display, 1080p, 120Hz 3D Vision Ready 1080p, and the PremierColor IPS panel.
Like in the Precision M6600, the keyboard pleases with a medium key drop, quiet typing noise and high-contrast lettering. The surface's stability has improved noticeably. The keyboard only yields marginally while typing on the present test model and only dents in the right key area under moderate pressure. We only still really miss a backlit keyboard that our test device does not feature, but which can be ordered optionally. The necessary FN combinations, a few hot keys and the dedicated number pad round off the overall picture and make a very positive impression.
We did not ascertain a reduction of the processor clock rate in battery mode. However, the user will have to reckon with clock throttling after approximately 20 minutes of simultaneous CPU and GPU load. More about that under Emissions.
The Precision M6700 may not quite live up to Dell's claim of being the most powerful portable workstation ever, at least in this specification. But it has a huge amount of performance to offer for both 2D and 3D applications, which can be used for a reasonable time on the road, plus a heap of features. You pay a considerable amount for all these capabilities, but the price is pretty much on par for a portable with this level of capabilities.