Dell Precision M3800 Owner's Review

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Bokeh, Oct 22, 2013.

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  1. pipspeak

    pipspeak Notebook Deity

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    .

    Ah, two can play at that game... the term for this material is technically FRP, or fiber-reinforced plastic :D

    Interesting idea. Ideally I'd prefer a 1080 screen with quad-core CPU and Nvidia GPU, which is currently not a configuration option for the XPS, but no idea if it'll be an option for the M3800. How much more configurable are Precisions usually?
     
  2. tns

    tns Notebook Enthusiast

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    Bokeh, many thanks for all the info and replies to the forum!

    A few questions:

    BATTERY
    In the M4700, if you want to stretch your unplugged time, you can attach a 2nd battery pack, or otherwise just swap the battery pack.

    However, in the photos posted it doesn't seem possible to attach a 2nd battery or easy to swap the battery pack. How would you be able to extend the m3800 unplugged time? From what I've seen, probably only by plugging to an external battery brick (and only if the tip is compatible).


    mSATA
    Is it is easy/ allowed to access the mSATA, so it can be exchanged with a higher capacity mSATA in the future? I'd rather have more storage, but I would be willing to start with a larger battery, and later change to a larger mSATA.

    Can you confirm teh mSATA runs on SATA III? The M4700 is SATA II apparently.

    What is the mSATA brand/ model. I'll soon be on the market for a mSATA form my M4700. It would be interesting to know what the m3800 uses.


    LID
    Can you open the lid 180º so it lies horizontally. This would be great way to share a screen in a meeting.

    Many thanks!
     
  3. Cedricm

    Cedricm Notebook Consultant

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    I am extremely impressed with the quality of the thread and the amount of useful checked information. Congrats to Bokeh, Dell did a very fine investment in loaning you the M3800.
    The only way I can think of to even enhance the thread would be that you add additional YouTube videos ;-)

    As a longtime Dell user with years spent with M4400 & Alienware M17xR2 (at the time it had the best screen ever, only shared with the Thinkpad W5x0) and Latitudes before I am keenly interested in the M3800.
    My only regret is no support for active digitizer pen (please correct me if I'm wrong) and I have a serious beef against Dell offering almost no configuration options anymore and very few model variations, at least in France.
    I would have been interested for example in the new XPS15 but not with the monstruous price that came with 512GB SDD, or the E7440 if it was offered with FullHD screen for example.

    2 questions regarding the M3800:
    - How good is the sound?
    - Does it have 2 mics (I think it is mandatory for new ultrabooks for noise canceling but this may not be an Ultrabook) If you Skype/Lync on a regular basis how is the webcam?

    Also A more or less off-topic question - please feel free to pm me instead of posting if you think it will derail the thread, what do you think is the ideal tablet for users of big & heavy Dell mobile workstations?
     
  4. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    Battery - Since there is no E-Dock, there is no way to attach the usual battery slices. Not sure if there is an external brick that would work.

    Battery life - With the display at a little over 50% (this is a 400+ cd/l2 panel, so half brightness is not bad) and running Outlook 2013, Word 2013, Pidgin, and a Web Browser, I am seeing battery draw in HWInfo64 average out to around 12.5 watts. This ends up giving me about 5 hours of battery life with the 61Whr battery. This is what I would call a "real world" battery life measurement. You can easily get the power draw below 10 watts which would give you more run time. If you went with the 9 cell battery, 8 hours of life would be easy to get. If you tried, you could get more.

    mSata - If you buy the right tools to make sure you don't strip out the torx screws, and take ESD precautions, it should be relatively easy to replace the mSata. The mSata in this M3800 is a Lite-On model. It benchmarks at 480Mb/s, so I would say that it is Sata 3.

    Lid - I would estimate it as 90 degrees (straight up) + 45 - 50 degrees. It does not go to 180 degrees. The lid and exhaust system keep it from going further.
     
  5. changt34x

    changt34x Notebook Consultant

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    Hey Bokeh, thanks for your work here.

    Some of my colleagues are now getting M4800s (mine is coming soon too), and what I have noticed with theirs is that they actually don't have Optimus even with driver/BIOS updated. If you could check if there are switchable graphics options under the video tab in the BIOS, and whether both the Intel and NVIDIA cards show up in device manager, that would be great.
     
  6. winterwolf64

    winterwolf64 Notebook Enthusiast

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    He mentioned it used Optimus earlier.
     
  7. changt34x

    changt34x Notebook Consultant

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    Yes, I recall, I would just like to check the signs of it having Optimus between the M3800 and M4800.
     
  8. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    There is currently not a tab in the M3800 BIOS to disable Optimus.

    The HD4600 and K1100M both show up in the device manager.

    I can see the Intel settings and Nvidia settings when I right click. I can also add the Nvidia GPU activity monitor to the taskbar and see when the K1100M is working.
     
  9. mr_handy

    mr_handy Notebook Evangelist

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    Traditionally, extremely so.

    This is an entirely new kind of model for the Precision line (and it's been quite a while since there's been something similar as even a Latitude) so making assumptions on that basis is likely to have little value.

    My rep has hinted, but not confirmed, that the M3800 may be more configurable, within a narrow range (256gb SSD, most notably.)

    Not sure if it helps for France, but the configurable US-model E7440 is available with a FHD option:
    14.0 HD (1920x1080) Wide View Anti-Glare WLED-backlit
    +$87.72
    14.0 HD (1920x1080) Wide View Anti-Glare WLED-backlit, WIGIG/WWAN/WLAN capable
    +$87.72

    Of course, the E7440 tops out at an ultrabook dual-core i7, so very slow even compared to the dual-core XPS15 (and M3800, if the M3800 gets the same dual-core option.)

    Thanks for confirming that.
     
  10. changt34x

    changt34x Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks for this. I guess as of right now the M4800 does not have Optimus. Interestingly enough, Dell Tech Support is clueless, and I have already had to escalate the case to their 2nd tier Hardware Team with still no response yet. Can't believe it is this difficult just to find the features of a product they are selling.
     
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