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Dell's Precision workstation line-up gets an Intel Xeon refresh

Workstations also boast DDR4 memory and updated graphics
Wed Aug 13 2014, 13:06
Dell's refreshed Precision workstation line-up will be available from September

DELL HAS BECOME one of the first PC makers to announce systems based on Intel's upcoming Xeon E5 v3 processors.

Due to be available from mid-September, Dell's refreshed Precision workstation line-up will see new models based on Intel Haswell-based Xeon processors, both the two-socket Xeon E5-2600v3 and single-socket Xeon E5-1600v3 tower and rack systems.

Although Intel has yet to launch these chips, one of the new capabilities they will introduce is support for DDR4 memory at speeds up to 2,133MHz.

As well as offering a performance boost of 75 percent over the previous generation, the new Xeon chips will also enable configurations with up to 1TB of RAM in the case of the two-socket models, Dell said.

"The key thing is that for the first time in a very long time, the three core components are all being refreshed at the same time, not just the processors, because we're moving to DDR4 and also new graphics cards," Dell UK sales lead for workstations Mike Guinan told The INQUIRER.

"For the customer it's great, because for the first time in a long time, you can upgrade all the key components at once to take advantage of greater performance and scalability," he added.

Dell is also changing its naming conventions with this generation of workstations, so the existing T3610, T5610 and T7610 tower systems will be superseded by the T5810, T7810 and T7910 models, while the existing rack-mount R7610 system becomes the R7910 model.

As well as updated professional graphics adapters from both AMD and Nvidia, the entry-level T5810 systems will now be available with a broader range of options including the Nvidia K6000 adapter, Guinan said.

To differentiate its workstations from rivals, Dell is offering several features including a new version of Dell's Precision Optimiser tool, optional solid-state disk (SSD) caching and a built-in Teradici chip to accelerate remote access via the PC-over-IP (PCoIP) protocol.

The latter enables workstations to be centralised in a data centre rack and accessed remotely via another endpoint device to secure key applications and data, Dell said.

"We've partnered with Teradici in the past on a remote-access solution using software, but now we're offering this via a chip embedded on the motherboard to give an optimal experience at no extra cost to the customer," Guinan said.

Meanwhile, the optional cache solution is based on Intel's Cache Acceleration Software-Workstation (Intel CAS-W) combined with a 128GB SSD that is used purely for caching purposes and is not accessible as a logical drive by the operating system.

"With CAS-W, the size of the cache ensures that you can get your entire application and associated data files inside the cache, and you can manually flag key data to ensure it is always included," said Guinan.

Dell's Precision Optimizer, meanwhile, provides profiles that are designed to configure the system for optimal performance for specific applications.

"It's a bit like having a systems engineer sat at your desk constantly fine-tuning your workstation, constantly fine-tuning the performance," Guinan explained.

This announcement follows Dell's boastful claims that it received a Poweredge server order paid in 85 Bitcoin, worth $50,000. µ


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