Dell: Our Workstations Can Be Apple Killers

As it launches the Precision M3800, Dell knows it needs to market hard if creatives are going to abandon Apple

Apple may have launched a slew of products last night, as it introduced the latest iPad and the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, but Dell made what it considered to be a major announcement with the uncloaking of the super-powered Precision M3800 mobile workstation.

It’s just 18mm thin and weighs 4.15 pounds (1.88kg), whilst promising up to 10 hours of battery time, Dell said, whilst offering 16GB of memory and a 4th-generation Intel Core i7-4702HQ 8 quad-core processor that can provide up to 3.2 GHz clock speeds.

It has a 15.6-inch display available in QHD+, which provides 3200 x 1800 resolution, higher than the Apple MacBook Pro Retina, according to Dell.

The other contender in workstations is of course HP, which updated its own desktop workstations in September.  The three vendors are chasing a group of high-end users for whom low-powered systems and cloud processing are not good enough.

Dell vs. Apple

Dell WorkstationAs for graphics, the M3800 is packed with an Nvidia Quadro K1100M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. There’s a stonking amount of storage on offer too, as Dell is offering up to 1.5TB if customers want to use two drives devices. There are three USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0, and an HD video webcam.

The machine will be available on 14 November, starting at £1149. The lowest end MacBook Pro has been priced at £1,099.

With all this, Dell has Apple in its crosshairs, as it seeks to get its workstations into creative environments.

Despite all the impressive specs, Dell knows it has a PR battle on its hands to have a chance of taking Macs away from creative types. It brought Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn and Ghost Town Media’s Brandon Parvini to a Dell Technology Camp event in Paris talk about how they ditched Apple products for Dell during the making of the ‘A Light That Never Comes’ music video.

Parvini said the power of the Dell workstations was superior to Apple Macs, although he had concerns around Windows when compared to Mac OS X.

“Windows has gotten a lot better, Windows 7. I won’t comment on Windows 8,” he told TechWeekEurope. “But I’ve been running Windows on my Mac using Bootcamp for seven months now because the software I need is on Windows.”

Dell executive director Andy Rhodes said the company had the full end-to-end offering, from the client to the data centre, which Apple didn’t have. But it had to do better at telling people why they should move away from Apple.

“What we have to fight is the mindset of people that love Apple for emotional reasons,” he added.

“Getting over that is going to take a lot of sales and marketing… we have to talk to the emotional side as well as the tech side.”

Dell is also exploring offering workstations from the cloud, although currently the bandwidth isn’t capable of delivering them.

“Not until Google Fibre is everywhere,” Parvini added.

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