4K screen retrofit for a Dell Precision M6800???

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by rlk, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. rlk

    rlk Notebook Guru

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    I'm looking to upgrade my M6500 (which I've had for 6 years) because I want faster image editing performance. I have a rather complex set of requirements, it seems:

    1) Resolution of at least 1200 pixels vertical (that usually means 3840x2160 these days) -- 1920x1080 just doesn't cut it. I like to use very small fonts, and I'm limited by font cell size rather than linear size (I'm using the equivalent of 6 points in my emacs and xterm -- I run Linux exclusively -- and I could comfortably read something quite a bit smaller if the pixel density were high enough).

    1a) I have more recently found out that a lot of high resolution displays are Pentile; a 3840x2160 Pentile display isn't really 3840x2160. In addition, Pentile displays have inferior color quality, a serious problem for image editing. Obviously, I'd also prefer an IPS/IGZO to a TN.

    2) At least 2 2.5" drive bays (I currently have 3 plus a minicard; I really want at least 4TB online without breaking the bank for an SSD of that size). Comments about cloud storage will not be useful; I have a 1500/368 DSL line (long story, but can't change that any time soon by the look of matters). This rules out the obvious M7710/M7720 (why on earth did Dell get rid of two bays, counting the optical???).

    3) Greatly prefer 17" screen; 15" might be an option.

    4) Fast mobile processor.

    5) ...and I want to keep the price down to $2000 or so.

    My ideal machine would probably be an M6800 with a top-end processor -- the Skylake and Kaby Lake mobiles aren't really significantly faster than the 49xx chips -- IF I could find a 4K display that would work with it. The M4800 has a 3200x1800 option, but only has two drive bays plus a mini card, and those don't seem to go above 512G capacity (vs. the newer M.2 cards, which many laptops have two of), but the M6800 doesn't have such a beast.

    I wonder if anyone has modded an M6800 with such a display...
     
  2. TriBeard

    TriBeard Notebook Consultant

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    Unfortunately, you can't do what you're asking. Even the displayport based m6800's don't have the right connector for 4k screens, and I don't know of any 4k screens using the same mounting method/form factor as the one in the M6800.

    The Lenovo P51 might be the only thing that can give you anything close to what you want. You can have 2 NVMe drives, a 2.5 inch drive and either an optical drive OR a second 2.5mm hard drive. The only other option would be external drives for the dell, but even then I wouldn't recommend it. The M6800 is a great machine, but it's starting to show its age and the screen was always a downfall to it in terms of color accuracy and quality and now even more so than ever.
     
  3. rlk

    rlk Notebook Guru

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    That's the picture I'm getting. The P70/P71 are also something I've looked at, but they're expensive and I don't know anything about maintainability of them.

    I seem to be leaning towards a used 7710 or maybe 7510, and sucking it up wrt the external drive.
     
  4. TriBeard

    TriBeard Notebook Consultant

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    I've got a friend who's company is largely on Lenovo at this point, and they seem to be just as reliable and serviceable as Dell, at least in general. Their dock compatibility isn't as good from generation to generation (need to get new docks for newer laptops more often) but otherwise they're pretty happy with them. It's something that I would look at. You can definitely find a P70 on ebay for less than 2k.

    If you do decide to go with the 7710/7510, make sure you get one that has the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port. The earlier ones did not. Here would be a good enclosure option for either of those (or anything with a usb-c/thunderbolt port:

    https://www.amazon.com/MiniPro-RAID-Type-C-USB-C-Enclosure/dp/B01GVVC59A
     
  5. alexhawker

    alexhawker Spent Gladiator

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    When I was comparing Dell/Lenovo, I ended up choosing Dell for the dual fan design (one each for CPU/GPU), vs. just one for the equivalent Lenovo model.
     
  6. TriBeard

    TriBeard Notebook Consultant

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    At least for the P70/P71, lenovo also uses dual fans. It cools itself fairly well, though there was some minor throttling when notebook check ran Prime95 and Furmark at the same time, but that is a highly unrealistic workload/thermal scenario. I doubt you'd see any throttling in day to day use.
     
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  7. rlk

    rlk Notebook Guru

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    The thunderbolt enclosure is overkill for photography work. The RAW images are about 25MB each; the JPEGs I output are about 10. On my M6500 it typically takes 15 seconds or so to process an image if I have to do NR; I'm hoping to get that down to about 5-7 (and lower if I can get OpenCL to work). 35 MB in 5 seconds isn't even breathing for spinning rust.
     
  8. vayu64

    vayu64 Notebook Consultant

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    Don't choose Lenovo. Their screens are inferior to Dells, they have always low brightness, you cannot get more than 280 nits.

    Whats wrong with the M7710/7720 ?
     
  9. rlk

    rlk Notebook Guru

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    Good to know about the Lenovo screens.

    The sole issue with the M7710 is the single 2.5" bay (see OP). Given the superior screen on the 7xx0 and my general experience with Dell (and the availability of nicely priced used ones), I'm leaning increasingly strongly toward the M7710 or perhaps M7510.
     
  10. TriBeard

    TriBeard Notebook Consultant

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    It's not really a thunderbolt enclosure, just USB3. I thought it might just be a more convenient package for 2 hard drives rather than having two separate external enclosures, but either way works.
     
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