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June 2016

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Page 47 of 51

REVIEW 46 POST JUNE 2016 am no stranger to Dell's line of mobile workstations. My first review of one was in 2002, when I looked at the M50, in what seems like a lifetime ago. That was a 7.5-pound, black plastic hulk that brought to life work- station-class capability in a mobile form factor. Cut to 14 years later, and it feels like a whole new world. The barely four-pound, sleek Dell Precision 15 5000 Series (5510) work- station falls in Dell's mobile Precision line-up, promising "better" professional graphics performance and "best" display resolution and color from its 15-inch display (to use Dell's own "Good-Better- Best" Website comparison of the 3000, 5000, 7000 series). Since I own a one-year-old Dell M3800 for one of my side-jobs (no longer available), it seemed a no-brainer for me to compare these two machines in performance and subjective-use test- ing, and generally see how it stacks up against my monster home-built rig just for giggles. And the kinds of use I have in mind are all in the world of CG and digital content creation on a profession- al level, which is you! Hi! UP FRONT The 5510 is a solid, sleek, lovely looking machine. The setup is on the high-end of the company's 5000 series config- uration, with an Intel Xeon E3-1505M quad-core processor at 2.8GHz, 16GBs of system memory (up to 32GBs), an Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics sys- tem with 2GBs of GDDR5 video memo- ry and a 512GB M.2 interface SSD drive. The display is a gorgeous 4K, touch-en- abled 15-inch screen that is not quite edge-to-edge, but has a nice thin bezel around the sides and top. This is a nice improvement over the M3800, which has a much wider bezel. The first thing I set out to do was stress the 5510 system with several days of a punishing barrage of back-to-back SPECViewperf runs and renders through Maya just to see how hot and loud it can get. And, as expected, when under stress the fan does kick into high-spin mode, which actually wasn't too bad. It beats other workstation laptops I've worked with that sound appreciably louder. Plus, it's a definite improvement over the M3800's noise, since the M3800 fan kicks into high (loud) mode on a very regular basis, likely due to its super-thin chassis and a poorer heat dissipation. As far as chassis, the 5510 is strong and sturdy, despite its surprising light- ness and is easy to tote around in my Crumpler messenger bag. I was pleas- antly surprised to see (and feel) that the 5510 is about the same weight and only slightly thicker than my M3800 — which was billed at its debut as the 'lightest and thinnest' workstation to date. The M3510, which seems to be the M3800's replacement, is a different chassis than the M3800, and is hopefully better all- around as well. PERFORMANCE Overall, the performance on the 5510 is pretty good for a mobile worksta- tion. It won't be a desktop-replacement (perhaps the M7510 might?), but it does a nice job keeping up with reasonable graphics-professional needs on the road. CPU performance is quite good for a mobile machine, with the more powerful Xeon processor, and that helps the over- all feel that the 5510 is a zippy machine. DELL PRECISION 15 5000 SERIES (5510) WORKSTATION A SOLID, SLEEK MACHINE WITH SERIOUS CAPABILITY VITAL STATS MANUFACTURER: Dell PRODUCT: Precision 15 5000 Series (5510) Workstation PRICE: Starts at $1,399 WEBSITE: • Intel Xeon E3-1505M quad-core processor at 2.8GHz • Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics system with 2GBs of GDDR5 video memory • Gorgeous 4K, touch-enabled 15-inch screen I BY DARIUSH DERAKHSHANI VFX SUPERVISOR, LECTURER LOS ANGELES, CA KOOSH3D.COM

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