Notebookcheck

Review Dell Precision M6700 Notebook

Tobias Winkler (translated by Liala Stiegitz), 11/28/2012

Silent. It is beyond question that a mobile workstation has to be powerful and Dell's Precision M6700 fulfills this very well. Another feature of our test laptop is that it enables a virtually silent operation in many work situations. We extensively tested when this is the case and what else you can expect.

Dell's Precision M6700 belongs to the high-performance workstation category and is available with an above-average amount of many different components. Beyond that, Dell also offers a very flexible laptop configuration in its online shop so that the laptop can be configured according to personal needs. Presently, nine different CPUs ranging up to Intel's Core i7-3940XM, four different professional graphics cards (FirePro or Quadro), four screen models and many storage device combinations are available. It is quite understandable that Dell charges a lot for this vast scope of product options, but it does not prevent the impression that Dell sometimes draws a long bow. The price for the Precision M6700 workstations currently starts at 1449 Euros (~$1874) net in the basic configuration (Core i5-3320M, AMD's FirePro M6000). Allegedly, Dell even originally demanded an extraordinary amount of 2190 Euros (~$2832). In addition to the prices listed in the online shop, VAT is added in the shopping cart. Our test laptop sports Intel's Core i7-3920XM CPU, AMD's FirePro M6000, 8 GB of RAM, a Full HD screen and a 512 GB solid state drive.

We ascertained a gross price of at least 5200 Euros (~$6726) for our test model in the online shop. However, a Smart Card reader, fingerprint reader or webcam were not available in conjunction with AMD's graphics at the time of the review.

Case

Minor fitting irregularities on the display lid
Minor fitting irregularities on the display lid

We already know the solid casing from Dell's Precision M6600 precursor. We did not discover any differences in quality or build. Even the minor fitting irregularities in the display lid's area were found again in the present test device. Otherwise, the casing is very solid and rigid; although the display lid can be warped marginally and the wrist rest can be dented slightly above the ExpressCard slot. One of the feet is still adhered to the battery on the bottom, so the laptop does not have a secure stand without it. As usual, the bottom cover can be opened after removing two screws and enables access to the vital components. The test weight of just below 3.75 kg is on class average and indisputably qualifies the test device for desktop use.

Connectivity

There is nothing new in this chapter, either. The wide scope of all available interfaces is extensively covered and does not leave anything to be desired. Even a 6-pin FireWire 400 port, including power, is found. Additional ports can be retrofitted via the ExpressCard slot should these interfaces not suffice. A DisplayPort, HDMI and analog VGA port are installed for connecting external monitors. In our opinion, the interface distribution has been solved perfectly and reduces space problems that cables create when peripherals are connected.

Front: Display latch
Front: Display latch
Left: Kensington lock, 2x USB 2.0, FireWire 400, audio jacks, card reader, Blu-Ray writer, Smart Card reader, ExpressCard 54/34
Left: Kensington lock, 2x USB 2.0, FireWire 400, audio jacks, card reader, Blu-Ray writer, Smart Card reader, ExpressCard 54/34
Rear: LAN, VGA, HDMI, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo
Rear: LAN, VGA, HDMI, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo
Right: Wi-Fi slider, 2 USB 3.0, DisplayPort
Right: Wi-Fi slider, 2 USB 3.0, DisplayPort

Communication

Intel's Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 a/b/g/n is installed as the Wi-Fi module and transmits in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Three built-in antennas ensure perfect reception and theoretically realizes transmission speeds of up to 450 Mbit/s. Although Bluetooth 4.0, a 720p webcam and Gigabit LAN cover the standard basic range in the test device, they are not all included in the basic configuration and cost extra. UMTS can easily be retrofitted since the necessary antennas are installed. Dell's Wireless 5560 (HSPA+) MiniCard is available for a surcharge of just under 200 Euros (~$258, gross).

Security

A number of security options are already found in the BIOS, which provide far-reaching possibilities. The system, various administration settings as well as the storage device can be password protected. There is also an option to only accept especially safe passwords. The Trusted Platform Module and Computrace service are inactive in our test laptop, but both can be enabled by simply "checking the box" when needed. Otherwise, a fingerprint reader, Smart Card reader and drive encryption are available to protect data against unauthorized access.

Maintenance

The fans and the vital components can be accessed easily via the base unit. Both RAM slots on the bottom are filled and two more underneath the keyboard are free. The empty UMTS slot, empty mSATA slot and empty 2.5-inch hard drive bay offer room for expansion.

Warranty

Dell includes a 36 month manufacturer's warranty with on-site service for the next business day (in addition to the 24 month statutory warranty). This extensive service can also be extended should it be needed. For example, a 5 year pro support is available for an additional 650 Euros (~$840, gross) when required.

Input Devices

Keyboard

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.

Touchpad/Pointstick

The touchpad is just big enough for today's standards and a bit more room, particularly for multi-finger gestures, might be desired. Otherwise, the gliding traits, response and the rubber-coated touchpad buttons are very good, which makes it an overall decent mouse replacement. The additional Pointstick including dedicated keys is on the level of HP's EliteBook and ThinkPad W series in usability. Being accurate and easy to use, it provides a good pretense to leave the mouse at home.

Keyboard overall view (QWERTY layout)
Keyboard overall view (QWERTY layout)
Keyboard left
Keyboard left
Keyboard right
Keyboard right
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

Dell offers four different screen options for its 17-inch Precisions. The HD+ screen can be seen as the entry-level model, which is standardly installed in the low-end basic configurations, and features a resolution of 1600x900 pixels. Beyond that, a Full HD screen with wide viewing angles, a Full HD RGB-IPS screen and a Full HD 3D Vision Pro screen are available. The standard Full HD screen is installed in our test device and is very balanced in terms of value for money.

309
cd/m²
330
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
251
cd/m²
278
cd/m²
271
cd/m²
257
cd/m²
273
cd/m²
269
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 330 cd/m²
Average: 284 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 76 %
Center on Battery: 279 cd/m²
Black: 0.548 cd/m²
Contrast: 507:1

We ascertained brightness rates from 251 cd/m² up to 330 cd/m² at nine different measuring points, which is a very good prerequisite for many application fields. The average brightness of 284 cd/m² is not only sufficient for bright rooms, but also for outdoors when direct sunlight is avoided. The brightness is maintained on battery power. Despite the rather varying brightness rates, clouding or bright spots are not seen on monochrome backgrounds. The brightness decrease toward the lower edge is also barely visible for the naked eye.

Mornings, overcast
Mornings, overcast
M6700 FHD vs. sRGB (t)
M6700 FHD vs. sRGB (t)

The assessed contrast of 507:1 clearly excels the usual laptop standard of below 200:1 and is also noticed in more saturated colors. This is extremely positive particularly in pictures, movies and games and ultimately leads to a more natural and vivid representation. The color spectrum nearly covers the entire sRGB color space. Just a few cyan and magenta hues are not quite covered. Users who require larger color space coverage can take the aforementioned optional IPS-RGB screen that should also feature more stable viewing angles and higher contrast (not tested).

The viewing angles do not quite achieve the level of previously tested IPS screens, but still stands out positively from the usual TN standards. The content virtually remained unchanged horizontally and was only affected by a minor discoloration with an increasing red part and slight brightness reductions. In return, color shifts are no longer noticed horizontally, but the image fades visibly when looking from above. The content inverts in the other direction, so when tilting the screen extremely towards the back, but it always remains sufficiently readable.

Viewing angles: Dell Precision M6700
Viewing angles: Dell Precision M6700

Performance

As mentioned in the intro, one of the biggest strengths of Dell's Precision M6700 is the extensive configuration options regarding the available components. It is possible to select the elements according to the modular principle and customize the laptop to match your needs. Two sections of our test device are almost perfectly equipped with Intel's Core i7-3920XM CPU and a 512 GB SSD. Although AMD's FirePro graphics card is positioned as the low-end entry-level model of this series, we found very competitive performance features. It is possible to configure up to 32 GB of working memory and additional storage devices can be installed into an empty mSATA slot and in an empty 2.5-inch hard drive bay.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info CPUZ RAM SPD
System info GPUZ
System info HDTune
DPC Latency
System information: Dell Precision M6700

Processor

MP3 converting via iTunes
MP3 converting via iTunes

Intel's Core i7-3920XM is currently the second fastest available mobile CPU. With a maximum clock of 3900 MHz or processing 8 threads at the same time, no application field will be a problem for this processor. The test results are accordingly good, or to be more precise, very good. Converting via iTunes was performed with record breaking x55.9. Video converting via MediaEspresso 6.5 was also quick using the CPU and our two test movies were converted into our iPhone test format in 130s and 146s.

The wPrime 1024m calculation was performed in 220s and the superPi 32m calculation took 531s. A score of 6495 points (single-core) and 24603 points (multi-core) was achieved in Cinebench R10 64bit (Cinema 4D benchmark). Those are all top rates that can only be excelled by Intel's somewhat faster Core i7-3940XM or desktop CPUs.

We did not ascertain CPU throttling even while both the graphics card and processor were loaded. Dell's concept of equipping the graphics card and processor with a dedicated fan has an extremely positive effect here. HWinfo64 recorded a consistent clock rate of 3600 MHz and a maximum core temperature of 95 °C in Furmark and Prime95. Of course, the fans run at maximum speed during this load.

The performance on battery power achieves nearly the same results as in AC mode. A drastic CPU throttling to a specific clock speed is not the case here; just Turbo Boost is either disabled or reduced.

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
10283
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
19710
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5045
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
7835 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
19756 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5132 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
68.27 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.11 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.58 Points
Help

System Performance

The single components work together perfectly and do not exhibit any serious system bottlenecks. The RAM configuration of 8 GB could get a bit tight in the long run depending on the application field, but it did not prove to be a problem in our tests. Video editors will likely upgrade the storage device soon so that they do not have to fall back on an external hard drive while editing. The graphics and processor power are in line and provide enough performance reserves for managing most tasks for a long time. Image processing, converting, video editing and extensive 3D projects are no problem for the workstation. As described in Graphics Performance below, the performance limits are found in the CAD field where AMD's FirePro exhibits a very different performance depending on the software.

6.4
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.7
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.4
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage21085 points
PCMark 75287 points
Help

Storage Solution

Crucial M4 mSATA (not included)
Crucial M4 mSATA (not included)
mSATA is limited to SATA II
mSATA is limited to SATA II

Extensive configuration options are possible regarding the storage devices owing to two hard drive bays and an additional mSATA slot, and there is a lot of freedom for upgrading the storage. Various RAID arrays are just as possible as SSD-hard drive combinations or an SSD-only configuration. Our test model sports Samsung's P830 solid state drive which has a very large memory capacity of 512 GB (gross). The surcharge for a 512 GB SSD is currently 943 Euros (~$1219, gross) in the basic configuration in the online shop. The mSATA slot is specified with SATA II speed in the manual and also only reached this in our practical test with a Crucial M4 mSATA SSD, which is limited to 270 MB/s (read, nearly 500 MB/s is possible on the SATA III port). In terms of pure performance, there is no reason for reproaching Samsung's installed hard drive. Only the current price might cause an irregular heartbeat in a negative sense.

Samsung SSD PM830 (512 GB)
Transfer Rate Minimum: 294.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 331.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 323.7 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 211 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

Graphics Card

AMD's FirePro M6000 is a member of AMD's professional midrange and features a 2 GB GDDR5 graphics memory with a 128 bit-wide memory bus. The graphics core clocks with up to 800 MHz and can dynamically adapt the speed according to requirements. The processor-integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 is not enabled.

The rather wide dispersion of the ascertained scores in a few benchmarks proved to be unusual. While other devices show differences within the low, single-digit percent range after several runs, we partly established score differences of up to nearly 100%, for example in Cinebench OpenGL Shading. This may be due to not yet optimized drivers. In any case, we could neither provoke the downclocking feature in the benchmarks via Furmark nor overclocking in games using Crysis, which is possible via AMD's PowerTune function. We ultimately only recorded each ascertained high score.

The FirePro M6000 achieved 10283 points in Cinebench R10 32 bit (several measurements) and surprisingly only 7835 points in the 64 bit version (normally virtually identical scores are recorded here). The first score is enough for the top rank in our extensive comparison chart and the lower score is also still among the top 10. The score of 67.5 points achieved by Nvidia's Quadro K5010M is even slightly surpassed in Cinebench R11.5 with 68.27 points, which certifies the FirePro an overall very good OpenGL capability.

13761 points in 3DMark 06 and 10744 points in 3DMark Vantage were achieved in the consumer range. 3DMark 11 could not be performed, not even as the graphics card was updated to version 9.002 from 10/26/2012 that we installed just before the end of the test, in order to establish comparison rates for the SPECviewperf 11 benchmark

In particular, professional drivers recurrently exhibited considerable performance improvements with every version update in prior tests, which indicates that the performance potential is first exhausted with a corresponding optimization. Since the performance differences using the preinstalled FirePro driver turned out to be very high in Catia, ProEngineer and Tcvis compared with Nvidia's Quadros, we also hoped for the aforementioned performance effect. However, the exact opposite occurred with the latest version. Except for Siemens NX, all results worsened noticeably; Lightwave, Maya, Solidworks and Tcvis categorically caved in. Even the FirePro M2000 in the 14-inch EliteBook 8470w is faster with exception of Ensight. In any event, we would definitely advise against updating the driver version to 9.002 for CAD applications for the time being in view of performance.

However, we could first run Cyberlinks Media Espresso 6.5 using the new driver version. Before that, the converter froze reproducibly when starting the program and could not be used. The eventually ascertained results cannot compete with the performance of Nvidia's CUDA or Intel's Quick Sync technology. Nevertheless, the system load is reduced noticeably (5 - 45% CPU capacity) and thus enables processing other tasks alongside converting.

The graphics performance is only reduced marginally, if at all, on battery power. The somewhat lower test results (3 - 5%) are due to the slightly throttled CPU performance. AMD's System Monitor displayed a GPU clock of 800 MHz as was the case before.

Much lower scores with AMD's driver version 9.002
Much lower scores with AMD's driver version 9.002
Video converting in comparison
Video converting in comparison
SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Catia AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
14.86 fps ∼21%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
33.53 fps ∼48% +126%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
40.65 fps ∼59% +174%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
14.62 fps ∼21% -2%
1920x1080 Ensight AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
24.98 fps ∼31%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
18.21 fps ∼23% -27%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
24.33 fps ∼30% -3%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
12.23 fps ∼15% -51%
1920x1080 Lightwave AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
44 fps ∼55%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
45.69 fps ∼57% +4%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
48.11 fps ∼60% +9%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
42.25 fps ∼52% -4%
1920x1080 Maya AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
51.34 fps ∼46%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
46.94 fps ∼42% -9%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
50.82 fps ∼45% -1%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
36.89 fps ∼33% -28%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
2.62 fps ∼14%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
14.98 fps ∼79% +472%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
15.32 fps ∼81% +485%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
4.83 fps ∼25% +84%
1920x1080 SolidWorks AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
43.13 fps ∼67%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
35.59 fps ∼55% -17%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
40.03 fps ∼62% -7%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
33.19 fps ∼51% -23%
1920x1080 Tcvis AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
9.24 fps ∼15%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
29.26 fps ∼49% +217%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
35.47 fps ∼59% +284%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
10.99 fps ∼18% +19%
1920x1080 Siemens NX AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Dell Precision M6700
25.38 fps ∼40%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
24.67 fps ∼39% -3%
Fujitsu Celsius H920
31.44 fps ∼50% +24%
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD
14.19 fps ∼22% -44%

Legend

 
Dell Precision M6700 Intel Core i7-3920XM, AMD FirePro M6000, Samsung SSD PM830 (512 GB)
 
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE Intel Core i7-3820QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Fujitsu Celsius H920 Intel Core i7-3720QM, NVIDIA Quadro K3000M, Micron RealSSD C400-MTFDDAC256MAM
 
HP EliteBook 8470w B5W63AW-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, AMD FirePro M2000, Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 HTS727550A9E
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
17152 points
3DMark Vantage10744 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The up-to-date games that we tested usually ran smoothly in medium and high settings. Limits were found when using maximum resolution and high quality settings in demanding games like Metro 2033, Total War: Shogun 2, Anno 2070 and World of Tanks. We did not ascertain any restrictions caused by the special graphics drivers of AMD's FirePro M6000.

low med.high ultra
World of Warcraft (2005) 21220387fps
Half Life 2 - Lost Coast Benchmark (2005) 261.74fps
Sims 3 (2009) 511237142fps
Anno 1404 (2009) 31965fps
Metro 2033 (2010) 132715818fps
StarCraft 2 (2010) 1521307837fps
Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) 291.861.824.4fps
Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011) 985339fps
Batman: Arkham City (2011) 1691255832fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 168744326fps
Diablo III (2012) 1721219369fps
Dirt Showdown (2012) 97906227fps
Torchlight 2 (2012) 125116108fps
F1 2012 (2012) 16712210151fps
World of Tanks v8 (2012) 112565133fps

Emissions

System Noise

The test laptop's noise development could hardly be better. Dell has done a great job here and created a silent laptop in many fields. Again: Dell's Precision M6700 is a very powerful workstation. The test device remained mostly silent during Office use, image editing (without computing-heavy filters) and while watching movies from the SSD. The fan only occasionally increased its speed for a moment and then shut off completely again. The test device even remained inaudible during a few benchmarks. Very low 34.6 dB(A) was reached in medium load, which roughly corresponds to converting or gaming load. The fans first increased to maximum speed as the processor and graphics card were fully loaded and the noise level reached an unpleasant 47.9 dB(A). The optical drive spun quite noiselessly with 34.6 dB(A) during DVD playback and should not be annoying in most situations.

Noise Level

Idle 29.6 / 29.6 / 29.6 dB(A)
DVD 34.6 / dB(A)
Load 34.6 / 47.9 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Although the fans are used very moderately and often remain idle, excessively hot casing temperatures are not an issue. Quite the contrary is the case. With a maximum of 42.1 °C during continuous full load and a maximum of 36.2 °C during permanent Office use; you will always experience an exceptionally cool casing that does not cause any restrictions.

Max. Load
 41.6 °C36.8 °C34.4 °C 
 31.1 °C34 °C31 °C 
 27.2 °C29 °C27.2 °C 
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 32.5 °C
33.6 °C42.1 °C37.5 °C
34.2 °C39.1 °C32 °C
26.8 °C30 °C29 °C
Maximum: 42.1 °C
Average: 33.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  39.1 °C | Room Temperature 23.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The built-in speakers surpass the usual standard equipment found in business laptops owing to a quite balanced sound quality. They provide bass and midranges alongside the somewhat dominant trebles. Presentations in a small group are quite possible since the undistorted maximum volume is high enough to reach all participants. The good volume control and the dedicated audio port, which also allow using standard headsets via two jacks, are pleasing.

Battery Life

Very slim PSU in comparison
Very slim PSU in comparison

Power Consumption

The power consumption of Dell's Precision ranged from 18.6 watts up to 134.9 watts in full load at the mains. The strong hardware with the disabled Intel HD Graphics 4000 was particularly the reason for only average results in low load and will also have a negative impact on the battery runtime. The consumption using a screen brightness of approx. 150 cd/m² and enabled Wi-Fi increased moderately by roughly 2.5 watts to 21.5 watts in real-life use, which is feasible for many Office and internet tasks. The maximum power consumption of nearly 135 watts is not practice-related since a simultaneous maximum processor and graphics card load can actually only be induced via benchmarks. The PSU's specified nominal power of up to 240 watts is more than sufficient and Dell has even managed to give it a relatively slim design. For example, the PSU of Fujitsu's Celsius H920 is almost exactly twice as large.

In Dell's online shop, you can select a 97 Wh battery like in the test device or an 87 Wh battery with a service life of 3 years (44 Euros, ~$56 net extra). A slim secondary battery with 97 Wh is listed among the configuration options but does not turn up in the online shop. It might be possible to order it via telephone. We did not discover any other battery options at the time of this review.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.3 / 0.7 Watt
Idle 18.6 / 23.6 / 25.6 Watt
Load 74.6 / 134.9 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Reader's Test
Maximum battery runtime (Reader's Test)
Classic Test
Minimum battery runtime (Classic Test)

The test model reached a surprisingly good 5.5 hours in BatteryEater's Reader's test (maximum runtime, minimum brightness, wireless off, energy-saving mode). That is a very good runtime for such a high-performance machine and confirms the installed hardware's good energy-saving mechanisms. We could still work for a good 4 hours on battery power in the practical Wi-Fi test (approx. 150 cd/m², energy-savings mode, wireless on). Playing movies using maximum brightness, energy-saving mode and Wi-Fi off was possible for just short of 3.5 hours. The battery was drained very fast with about one hour in BatteryEater's Classic test (maximum brightness, wireless on, high-performance profile). Unlike in many other contending models, only a minor throttling occurs on battery power and it is possible to take advantage of the still high performance.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 28min
WiFi Surfing
4h 13min
DVD
3h 37min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 03min

Verdict

Dell's Precision M6700 especially convinces with a silent operating noise in low load alongside its high performance. Office tasks, internet research and basic image editing projects can be performed on a virtually inaudible work device.

When it comes to the sheer computing and graphics performance, then the system has to give up in certain CAD applications, whereby apparently existing driver problems prevent a better performance.

Dell's good work with the casing, screen, expandability and support options makes the very complete bundle extremely attractive for the professional field.

It is no question that the price for Dell's premium workstation is high. The included on-site service for the next business day, which the competition usually only offers for a surcharge, does not change anything about that. In return, Dell offers an extraordinarily vast scope of configuration options that embraces almost all conceivable needs.

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In Review: Dell Precision M6700
In Review:  Dell Precision M6700

Specifications

Dell Precision M6700

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel QM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8096 MB, 2 x 4GB PC3-10700, maximal 32 GB, 2 slots empty
:: Graphics adapter
AMD FirePro M6000 - 2048 MB, Core: 800 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, atiumdag 8.951.6.1600/ Win7 64
:: Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LGD02DA, 97% sRGB, TN LED, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Samsung SSD PM830 (512 GB), 512 GB
:: Soundcard
IDT 92HD93BXX @ Intel Panther Point PCH- High Definition Audio Controller [C-1]
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 3 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: dedicated audio in/out, Card Reader: Broadcom SD/ MMC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Intel(R) Mobile Express chipset SATA RAID controller
:: Networking
Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN (a g n ), 4.0 Dell Wireless 380 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
MATSHITA BD-RE UJ252
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 36.5 x 417 x 271
:: Weight
3.74 kg Power Supply: 1 kg
:: Battery
97 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1V, 8.55Ah
:: Price
5200 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1 MP, Keyboard: standard, US layout, number pad, Keyboard Light: no, system DVD, driver DVD, 36 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The Precision M6700 is a high-performance workstation.
The Precision M6700 is a high-performance workstation.
A fingerprint reader can be configured optionally.
A fingerprint reader can be configured optionally.
The ramshorn hook
The ramshorn hook
keeps the display securely closed.
keeps the display securely closed.
The Smart Card reader is installed directly above the optical drive.
The Smart Card reader is installed directly above the optical drive.
The display has a wide opening angle.
The display has a wide opening angle.
The rectangular battery
The rectangular battery
provides a capacity of 97 Wh.
provides a capacity of 97 Wh.
The SIM card slot is in the battery compartment.
The SIM card slot is in the battery compartment.
A docking port belongs to the business standards.
A docking port belongs to the business standards.
The Precision does not have a secure stand without the battery.
The Precision does not have a secure stand without the battery.
Virtually all components are found underneath the base plate.
Virtually all components are found underneath the base plate.
The fans are then accessible.
The fans are then accessible.
Both an mSATA slot as well as a UMTS slot is available.
Both an mSATA slot as well as a UMTS slot is available.
Two RAM banks are filled.
Two RAM banks are filled.
mSATA limited to SATA II speed.
mSATA limited to SATA II speed.
The PSU provides enough reserves with a nominal power of 240 watts.
The PSU provides enough reserves with a nominal power of 240 watts.
It reads and burns Blu-Ray discs.
It reads and burns Blu-Ray discs.
Missing interfaces can be retrofitted via ExpressCard.
Missing interfaces can be retrofitted via ExpressCard.
Some gaps are too tight for oversized sticks.
Some gaps are too tight for oversized sticks.
You'll find an extremely swift CPU,
You'll find an extremely swift CPU,
a fast graphics card
a fast graphics card
as well as other very good equipment.
as well as other very good equipment.
The interfaces are diverse.
The interfaces are diverse.
The casing is very stable and high-end.
The casing is very stable and high-end.
The looks are restrained yet elegant.
The looks are restrained yet elegant.
The screen features a matte surface
The screen features a matte surface
alongside many other good qualities.
alongside many other good qualities.
Just the illumination and viewing angle stability have room for improvement.
Just the illumination and viewing angle stability have room for improvement.
A 6-pin version of FireWire 400 is installed.
A 6-pin version of FireWire 400 is installed.
The Blu-Ray drive spins relatively quietly.
The Blu-Ray drive spins relatively quietly.
The interfaces are all well-positioned.
The interfaces are all well-positioned.
The Wi-Fi slider is easy to reach.
The Wi-Fi slider is easy to reach.
CPU and GPU have a dedicated fan.
CPU and GPU have a dedicated fan.
The rear interfaces are least impairing when peripherals are connected.
The rear interfaces are least impairing when peripherals are connected.
The display hinge has a sufficient grip on the display.
The display hinge has a sufficient grip on the display.
The unwieldy power cord could get annoying, but is always nicely illuminated in blue.
The unwieldy power cord could get annoying, but is always nicely illuminated in blue.

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Pro

+Very good casing quality and stability
+Very good computing and graphics performance
+Very fast and high-capacity solid state drive
+Very good screen
+Very good expandability
+Very good connectivity and interface positioning
+Silent in low load
+Still good battery life
+Good keyboard
 

Cons

-Minor workmanship flaws in details
-Very loud during load
-Very high purchase price
-Test model lacks a backlit keyboard
-Not yet fully-developed AMD graphics drivers

Shortcut

What we like

That a workstation can operate silently in low load and nevertheless provides a lot of power when it's needed.

What we'd like to see

Fully-developed drivers for AMD's FirePro M6000 and a somewhat more reasonable price design.

What surprises us

That the driver updates for AMD's FirePro eliminated a few bugs, but causes a much lower performance in the majority of CAD applications.

The competition

Dell's Precision M4700, HP's EliteBook 8570w, HP's EliteBook 8770w, Fujitsu's Celsius H720, Fujitsu's Celsius H920, Lenovo's ThinkPad W530, Clevo barebones sporting Quadro graphics cards.

Rating

Dell Precision M6700
11/18/2012 v3
Tobias Winkler

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
97%
Weight
60%
Battery
82%
Display
83%
Games Performance
91%
Application Performance
99%
Temperature
85%
Noise
89%
Add Points
90%
Average
87%
89%
Workstation *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Dell Precision M6700 Notebook
Author: Tobias Winkler, 2012-11-28 (Update: 2013-06- 6)