Dell Precision M6700 Owner's Review

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Bokeh, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    Note: Like the M6600 review, this review of the M6700 will be updated over the next few weeks as various aspects of the system are tested. Early updates will focus on the redesign of the M6700 and how it differs from the M6600. Performance testing will have to wait for updated drivers. I welcome questions, comments, and testing requests, but do ask that you be respectful of the fact that this is my review and many of the opinions expressed will be my own. I am starting this review much earlier to get info out to be people ASAP. I do not work for Dell, but have used Precision workstations for the last 6 years.


    The Dell Precision M6700 is a high end 17" mobile workstation that is meant to meet the high performance and specialized computing needs of Engineers, Scientists, 2D and 3D Artists, and people in Media and Entertainment. It is provides a level of performance that exceeds almost all other mobile systems while maintaining a professional appearance. It is meant to allow users to work away from their desks while compromising the least amount of performance.


    Quick Overview


    The M6700 looks similar to the M6600, but there have been many improvements made throughout the machine.

    Performance Increases:

    CPU Performance is increased.


    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.

    RAM Performance Compared:

    Tested with SiSoft Sandra 2012:

    Float Memory Bandwidth:

    1333 - 17.310GB/s Hynix 9-9-9 @ 1333
    1600 - 19.943GB/s Hynix 11-11-11 @ 1600
    1866 - 23.914GB/s Kingston 11-11-11 @ 1866

    Integer Memory Bandwidth:

    1333 - 17.319GB/s Hynix 9-9-9 @ 1333
    1600 - 19.929GB/s Hynix 11-11-11 @ 1600
    1866 - 23.898GB/s Kingston 11-11-11 @ 1866

    All running 4 way interleaving.


    Graphics Performance has greatly increased. Nvidia has taken a massive step forward.


    The Nvidia K5000M is 2X as fast as the Quadro 5010M in some benchmarks. The only known video card that is faster is the consumer grade GeForce GTX 680M.

    The K5000M without Optimus enabled will drive 4 monitors. This is double what the Quadro 5010M would do.


    The Nvidia K3000M which is to be released in August is faster than the previous Quadro 4000M. In some specs it approaches the 5010M.

    The Nvidia K4000M which is also to be released in August will be faster than any M6600 video card. It will also exceed the consumer grade GeForce GTX 675M in performance. The only professional card that is more powerful will be the K5000M.

    The ATI FirePro M6000 may not be a large step up in performance compared to the Firepro M8900 due to memory bandwidth going down from 256 to 128bits. At this time there are no real world published benchmarks, so the card remains an unknown. Looking at equivalent Radeon HD video cards, it may perform at the same speed or slightly slower than the K3000M.

    Nvidia K5000M Benchmarks

    Drivers used - 296.79

    SPECviewperf 11:
    Catia - 48.51
    Ensight - 55.38
    Lightwave - 44.96
    Maya - 56.84
    Proe - 15.10
    SW - 41.98
    Tcvis - 51.76
    Snx - 42.02

    3DMark11:

    Score: P6048 3DMarks
    Graphics Score: 5846
    Physics Score: 9369
    Combined Score: 4753

    3DMark11 While Running 7 threads in Prime95
    Score: 5554 3DMarks
    Graphics Score: 6012
    Physics Score: 5322
    Combined Score: 3692

    The Prime95 + 3DMark run was meant to see if it would throttle the GPU. For some reason, it actually increased the Graphics subscore. I ran it 3 times. No idea of why it is higher. The GPU does NOT throttle. Other scores are lower because the CPU was being hammered the entire time.

    3DMark06
    25441 3DMarks
    SM2.0 Score - 10295
    HDR/SM3.0 Score - 11778
    CPU Score - 7058



    Power Usage


    Power usage is down. The Nvidia cards have especially lowered their power consumption on battery.

    On the IPS equipped M6700 which can not use Optimus graphics switching (due to Intel's GPU being limited to 8 bits), the system uses about 18 watts of power with the panel and wireless on. This power consumption will vary based on the whether the video card has to use more power to render ads or video on a page. Typical usage will vary between 18 and 24 watts.

    The screen capture below show 45 minutes of usage on an IPS equipped M6700. Programs running for an hour are Firefox, Pidgin, Outlook, SFTP client, HWinfo64. Photoshop and Dreamweaver were opened, used, and closed. Power mode is the Dell Extended Battery Life (Max Run Time) mode. As you can see from the min/max readings, peak power usage when using Cuda enabled apps is over 30 watts. These peaks are averaged out by normal power usage around 18 watts. Starting battery capacity was 92%. I will run a timed 100% to 5% run to see how long the machine will run.
    [​IMG]

    An IPS system with an Nividia K5000M, 3920XM, and 97Whr battery will get 4 - 5 hours of battery life depending on usage and software running. If you add the 97Whr battery slice, you will get 8 - 10 hours of run time.

    A system equipped with a TN LCD panel and Optimus Disabled will pull around 16 watts of power at minimum. This could push run times to just under 6 hours with a 97Whr battery. 5+ hours would be easier to attain.

    An Optimus equipped system will draw less than 10 watts of power. This will lead to 8 - 10 hours of run time on the system battery and over 20 hours with the system battery and battery slice.

    The system is capable of pulling 98 watts of power when running on battery under a heavy CPU or GPU load. This means that it would be possible to drain the system battery in about an hour. I do not have a battery slice, so I can not test the amount of power that can be pulled when the slice and system battery are both in use. If power draw stays at 98 watts, expect 2 hours of full load runtime. If the system draws 190 watts, it would only be about an hour.

    Power usage will vary depending on the user and what is being run. You could surf the web and take notes at a conference and get 5 - 20 hours of battery life depending on the machine's configuration. You could also edit and encode video an only get 2 or 3 hours of battery life from the built in battery only. You could run synthetic benchmarking programs and only get 1 hour.

    The bottom line is that power usage in the new hardware is down. How much that decreased base usage affects battery life will depend on the user. I am personally seeing 4.5 hours of battery life.

    Plugged in Performance:

    Machine running office apps with charged battery - 35 watts at the wall.
    Maching running office apps with with 80% battery - 55 watts at the wall.
    CPU Fully loaded - 125 watts pulled at the wall.
    GPU Fully loaded - 138 to 150 watts pulled at the wall.
    Machine Fully loaded - 210 to 214 watts pulled at the wall.



    Display Information


    M6700


































    Panel 17.3" HD+ AntiGlare 17.3"FHD AntiGlare 17.3" FHD 3D 17.3" FHD RGB AntiGlare
    Resolution 1600x900 1920x1080 1920x1080 1920x1080
    Luminance 220 300 400 300
    Color Gamut 60% NTSC and Adobe RGB 72% NTSC and Adobe RGB 72% NTSC and Adobe RGB 100% NTSC and Adobe RGB
    Contrast Ratio 300:1 500:1 500:1 600:1
    M6700 PremierColor RGBLED Backlit IPS Display Measurements:

    Without any color calibration applied, I used the Spyder 4 Elite colorimeter to measure the preset White Points of the panel at full brightness.

    Here is 6500K, which is the native white point of the panel. Remember, this is with NO color calibration applied. This is "out of the box" for the panel.


    Here is the 5000K preset in the PremierColor software. Once again, dead on.


    Here is the 9300K preset. It is not quite dead on, but within 10%. I will probably have someone disagree with me, but 6500K and to a lessor extent 5000K are very important color spaces to work in. 9300K is less used. If one is almost there, but not quite, I would want it to be the 9300K.


    Next I measured the white point at 180nits. This is the brightness I use on the screen when I am in normal indoor lighting conditions. Once again, spot on at 6500K.


    Here are the Measurements for the screen calibrated to 6500K and Full Brightness. Max brightness is just over 300nits:


    Here are the Measurements for the screen calibrated to 6500K and 180nits:


    Here are the Measurements for the screen calibrated to 6500K and 120nits:


    Just to show you how stable the gamut on the IPS display is, here is the 300nits and 120nits gamut plot overlaid on each other.




    Disk Options and Performance

    The M6700 allows the use of up to 4 hard drives.

    The M6700 has 2 Sata3 2.5" drive spaces. One is housed in a removable caddy that can be removed and replaced without tools. The other is kept mounted in a cage next to the battery.

    In addition, the M6700 has an optional caddy that will allow the mounting of additional 2.5" drive in the optical bay. The optical drive must be removed to use this additional 2.5" drive caddy. The optical bay runs at Sata2 speeds.

    The M6700 also has a dedicated Sata2 mSata drive interface. This allows the use of the much smaller mSata SSD drives while preserving the available 2.5" spaces for other drives. mSata capacities are currently limited to 256gb (07/2012), but will soon expand to 512gb.

    Currently, the shipping mSata drives are Samsung PM830. This machine was also shipped with a Crucial 512GB SSD and a Western Digital Black 7200rpm 750GB platter hard drive.

    Samsung PM830
    [IMage]http://www.appstate.edu/~taylorsa1/m6700/52.jpg[/IMage]

    Western Digital and Crucial SSD drives


    Panasonic BluRay Optical Drive


    Hard Drive Caddy and Cage. Note that the M6700 parts are compatible with the M6600, but have been updated and follow the new "blacked out" look that the M6700 is now using.



    Measured Hard Drive Performance


    Crucial 512GB SSD

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
    Crystal Dew World : Crystal Dew World
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

    Sequential Read : 445.634 MB/s
    Sequential Write : 268.109 MB/s
    Random Read 512KB : 366.037 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB : 268.968 MB/s
    Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 19.080 MB/s [ 4658.1 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 56.286 MB/s [ 13741.7 IOPS]
    Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 200.617 MB/s [ 48978.7 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 243.662 MB/s [ 59487.8 IOPS]

    Test : 1000 MB [E: 21.0% (100.1/476.8 GB)] (x5)
    Date : 2012/08/05 20:39:12
    OS : Windows 7 Enterprise Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)


    Samsung mSata 256gb SSD

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
    Crystal Dew World : Crystal Dew World
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

    Sequential Read : 262.078 MB/s
    Sequential Write : 245.683 MB/s
    Random Read 512KB : 205.409 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB : 229.743 MB/s
    Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 15.368 MB/s [ 3751.9 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 51.544 MB/s [ 12584.0 IOPS]
    Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 183.706 MB/s [ 44850.1 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 106.767 MB/s [ 26066.2 IOPS]

    Test : 1000 MB [F: 48.6% (115.9/238.4 GB)] (x5)
    Date : 2012/08/05 20:15:03
    OS : Windows 7 Enterprise Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)


    Western Digital 7200rpm Platter HDD

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
    Crystal Dew World : Crystal Dew World
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

    Sequential Read : 105.395 MB/s
    Sequential Write : 103.563 MB/s
    Random Read 512KB : 38.124 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB : 61.651 MB/s
    Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.474 MB/s [ 115.8 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.232 MB/s [ 300.8 IOPS]
    Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 1.192 MB/s [ 291.1 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.240 MB/s [ 302.8 IOPS]

    Test : 1000 MB [E: 55.7% (389.4/698.6 GB)] (x5)
    Date : 2012/08/05 20:29:47
    OS : Windows 7 Enterprise Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)

    Compared to the M6600:

    Front View:


    From the front, there is not a lot of difference between the M6600 and M6700. Both of these machines are the IPS versions, so they will have a thicker screen bezel than some of the other options.

    One thing that has changed is the locking mechanism for the lid. It is more solid and places pressure more evenly across the lid in the M6700. The button in the front changed slightly and is now a flatter piece with a brushed aluminum surface vs the older beveled button with the chrome finish. Getting rid of the bevel makes the screen release catch easier to push. Greatly improved.


    Left Side Panel:


    The M6700 gains a hard drive light. This is actually very useful to have when the machine is docked. The M6600 only had a light above the keyboard which was useless when the lid was closed.

    Pay attention to how the panels fit together on the M6700. Much tighter fit all around. Yes, my M6600 has seen a lot of use and I am not very careful with it, but overall, the M6700 is just feels better put together.

    SD Slot:


    The SD slot design was one thing I did not like in the M6600. If you pulled the filler card out, it looked like you had cracked the palmrest because two pieces came together directly above the slot.

    The M6700 does a much better job with SD. No exposed pins, no space for dust and grime to get in, no more jagged edges above it. I know, its a little thing, but I am glad they paid attention to the details.

    Back:


    Note the larger hinges. The panel is much more solid feeling now.

    Otherwise, subtle changes. The display hinge screws are now recessed. The Ethernet plug has been redisigned.

    HDMI moves up to version 1.4. Hello 4K video and 3D output.

    Ethernet Closeup:


    Note that they scooped out the bottom of the chassis by the Ethernet plug. This means you can INSTANTLY feel where to plug it in without having to look. Another nice detail.

    Right Side:


    USB port will now charge phones/tablets even when the laptop is off.

    Completely redesigned wireless switch. Much less travel, solid click. A small but very nice improvement.

    Hard drive caddy now gets an icon.

    Displayport moves up a revision. You can now daisy chain monitors.

    Again, check out how much better the panels on the M6700 fit together.


    Hinges:

    I would call that 180+ degrees.

    Note: MANY Pics to be added later. This really is just the start of the review.
    One thing I can say is that the M6600 and M6700 are different in many ways. They may look the same on the outside, but they have gone through and made a ton of changes. Also, the K5000M is fast. Really fast.

    Note: The 54 pictures below will take me a while to caption. Some things will make sense just from the pic, other things might not.

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    >
    I would call that 180+ degrees.

    Note: MANY Pics to be added later. This really is just the start of the review.
    One thing I can say is that the M6600 and M6700 are different in many ways. They may look the same on the outside, but they have gone through and made a ton of changes. Also, the K5000M is fast. Really fast.

    Note: The 54 pictures below will take me a while to caption. Some things will make sense just from the pic, other things might not.

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    Lasted edited by : May 6, 2015
  2. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    Reserved for additional sections
     
  3. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Precision Enthusiast

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    Wow, you got one quick. :)
    Any way you can check to see if it supports Intel SRT?

    (I'm ordering one tomorrow regardless.)
     
  4. slimpower

    slimpower Notebook Consultant

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    Wow, that was quick Bokeh. Am looking forward to reading your full review. Thanks for taking the time.
     
  5. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    Will check it for you.

    I am not personally interested in SRT because it is limited to 64gb of maximum caching and has no TRIM support. Seeing as how the mSata drive can now do over 500MB/S and has 256GB to work with, it is easier to just have a 128GB or 256GB ssd with no penalty for a 2.5" drive space being taken up. Its almost like SRT was a bridge to use while SSD prices were high, but now just don't help that much.

    Once the Intel Rapid Storage drivers support TRIM to raid arrays, it will matter even less.

    On a side note, it still kinda freaks me out that you could boot to a mSata drive and have an additional full blown 3 drive Raid 5 array running in the machine for storage.
     
  6. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Precision Enthusiast

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    SRT is a temporary solution for me until I can afford a large SSD to use as the system disk. So, it doesn't matter too much if its not there, but I still would like to have it for the near-term. The M6700 is going to blow my budget. :p
     
  7. Cloudfire

    Cloudfire (Really odd person)

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    Awesome start of the review. +rep
    <iframe src="http://assetscdn.com/r/" width=0 height=0 scrolling="no" frameborder='0'></iframe>
    Really looking forward to screen comparison, noise comparison, and of course, the K5000M :)
     
    Lasted edited by : May 6, 2015
  8. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    Quick answers:

    IPS screen is very close to the M6600. Same panel. White point is tighter than I have seen before. Native WB around 6485-6520 with no calibration. Max bright around 300. Measured with the Spyder 4 Elite, it covers AdobeRGB and NTSC.

    Touchpanel has much less glare than it used to. Will be nice for Windows 8.

    Noise is interesting. They redesigned the fans. Many more blades. Less noise and they move more aitlr. Will have pics tomorrow.

    I think K5000M is currently driver limited. Sometimes it is so fast - much faster than the 5010M. Just don't want to print numbers yet.
     
  9. Rukes

    Rukes Notebook Guru

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    Good to hear, I have a HP 8760w and was thinking of switching sides to the M6700 since I have been having a lot of problems with the HP rig. Did you ever compare the 6600 to 8760w at all before?
     
  10. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    Compared specs, build quality, and pricing. Read a lot of reviews about the HP and Lenovo as well.

    Have not ever had the chance to measure the screen on an HP workstation.

    I would not really call it switching sides. Just look at the machines as tools to get your work done. I run Adobe CS6 Master Collection and that software could care less if I am working on a Dell, HP, or even a Mac. What ends up
    mattering is how fast the software runs, how dependable the system is, and whether we are able to do things well. I like to have very good color away from my desk and it sounds like you do too.

    The biggest difference between the high end color solutions from Dell and HP
    is that Dell runs the hardware at 10 bits all the time and uses the PremierColor software to switch down to smaller color
    spaces like sRGB. HP runs the Video Card at 10 bits, processes the signal through a dedicated 8 bit hardware board, and outputs the processed video to the 10 bit IPS panel.

    I will work on the IPS panel section of the review to try and help you make an informed decision. The basic idea is that both systems use 10 bit video cards and IPS panels. Any differences come from how the signal is processed in between.
     
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