DELL Precision 2012: Workstations Re-Worked - The Completely New Professional Workstation Designs from Team-Texas
Dell chose the Autodesk Gallery in downtown San Francisco to showcase the completely new line-up of Dell Precision workstations. What did the Texans do this time around to increase the value of their Precision Workstations for customers around the globe ? To say that they made them faster and more reliable, while certainly true, would do a disservice to the extensive industrial design work and attention to customer feedback which went into the development of the 4 new workstation models.
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T1650, T3600, T5600, T7600 : Familiar monikers – just incremental bumps? No, … completely new designs. Dell has always been close to their customers & has developed their workstation expertise over the last 15 years by listening to those customers and building customer feedback into each generation of new designs. None-the-less, the 2012 models stand out in this respect. Across the board, the new models integrate countless customer-driven features and are also faster, more reliable, easier to service, and provide more capacity & expandability.
Starting the line-up, the Precision T1650, based on the Intel Ivy Bridge platform, delivers more speed and more memory as would be expected. Dell has also increased the number of software application certifications (ISV certifications) for this product .
The T3600 gives users 8 cores and an enhanced turbo-mode. This system also has expanded capacity, notably supporting the NVIDIA Tesla C2075 GPU computing cards for the first time in this class of workstation.
The T5600 is a compact dual-socket system supporting up to 128GB of main memory. It's big brother the T7600 provides more of everything in a cleaner, smaller quieter design – notably the T7600 provides up to 512GB of main memory and almost any combination of giant NVIDIA graphics cards such as a Quadro 6000 and 2 Tesla GPU computing cards – yes, you can put a super-computer under your own desk.
Dell delivers more reliability in some novel ways. Dell Reliable Memory Technology uses ECC memory for error correction and then Dell also notes and quarantines memory bits that fail so that the system will not try to write & read to failed bits. Finally, the user is notified of a potentially problematic memory module after 7 problems have been detected so that the problem DIMM can be checked and replaced before problems arise. This proactive and preventative system management feature provides a lot of value for mission critical systems.
Interestingly, customer feedback shows up in simple and elegant solutions. In facilitating how customers use USB ports, Dell has placed them at the top of the workstation for easy access, spaced them slightly wider than necessary to accommodate fatter or thicker USB devices side-by-side, and made the top of the workstation an non-skid surface to help protect external drives, phones, and other USB peripherals from accidentally falling to their demise.
Sensors are almost everywhere in the systems and often indicator lights are too. If an engineer has a potential problem with a power supply, for example, the green indicator light lets the engineer convey the “health” status of the device to the IT department. Among all the devices which might need to be exchanged or simply removed for security reasons, Dell has made it quite easy. Hard drives are all easily accessible from the front of the system – just pull them out and exchange the drive or lock it up for the night. Power supply – just pull and swap. Easy, simple, and your system is running again in minutes. All-in-all a powerful feature based on good design.
Need to move a system? All of the new designs have handles integrated into the chassis. In almost every way conceivable, the industrial design has been improved. And for every change, Dell can point to the customer benefit or specific feature associated with the change. Nothing has been done without a reason, justification, and end-customer benefit.
And every system is now rack-mountable. Yes, that is right. Any of the new systems can be installed in the data center which is a great benefit to customers needing to virtualize their workstations or protect their development environment.
An easy way to illustrate this is to look at the photo of the T7500 and the T7600 side-by-side. Left is the T7500, a classic chassis for a workstation and well designed. On the right the T7600, extremely clean design, rack-mountable, smaller, more quiet, and increased capacity for hard drives, memory, graphics, and faster. The T7600 is not only “bigger, better, faster” according to the specs, but simultaneously “smaller, quieter, simpler” in reality. This is the concrete evidence of Dell's efforts in industrial (re)design of the traditional, professional, workstation.
This doesn't even touch on the benefits provided by the new Intel E5 Xeon processors and the PCI Express Gen 3 integration, or the support for NVIDIA's Maximus technology. For that, CADplace will address more details in the coming articles on this new workstation family.
In summary, Dell's efforts in industrial design & engineering for the 2012 Precision workstations means that many good ideas from customers and Dell engineers have been implemented in the new, more compact, easily maintainable, rack-mountable, quieter, cooler designs with more performance, more capacity, more I/O, more graphics, and higher reliability than any other generation of Dell Precision workstations. Every business in design, engineering, architecture, or media has critical systems for the success of the business. It is clear that the new line of Precision workstations are designed to be the professional workstations for the company's business-critical systems delivering the highest possible levels of performance & reliability.