Dell Precision M4800 review

£2210
Price when reviewed

And there’s plenty of room for internal upgrades as well. Our review model came fully stacked with 16GB of RAM, which occupies the two slots under the bottom panel. There’s another pair of DIMM slots beneath the keyboard, allowing expansion up to 32GB, and the hard disk, battery and wireless card aren’t tough to replace either.

Dell Precision M4800

Not that you’ll want to change anything right away: this laptop is rammed full of top-spec hardware. The processor is Intel’s fastest current mobile part, a quad-core Core i7-4900MQ, which runs at a nominal clock speed of 2.8GHz and Turbo Boosts up to 3.8GHz, and boasts 8MB of L3 cache with an L2 cache of 256KB per core. As mentioned previously, there’s 16GB of RAM, while graphics are catered for by one of Nvidia’s ISV-certified Quadro K2100M with 2GB of GDDR5. On the storage front, there’s a 256GB Samsung SM841 SSD and a slot-loading DVD writer. Rather frustratingly, it isn’t possible to specify more storage space in the top-spec SKU; you have to drop down to the Full HD model if you want 500GB, and it’s only a hybrid HDD, not a full blown SSD.

Just like the chassis, it’s a beefy line-up – and one that delivered a hugely impressive set of benchmark scores. In the PC Pro Real World Benchmarks, it achieved an overall mark of 1.01, which is faster than our quad-core reference desktop PC. It’s even more remarkable when you consider that the high resolution of the display held back the Windows-responsiveness element of our tests.

This powerful Quadro graphics setup also opens up the possibility of harnessing the GPU for compute-intensive tasks, such as 3D or video rendering. We put this to the test by running our standard video render on Sony Vegas Pro 12, with GPU acceleration turned on, and then with it turned off. It turns out that the card is no faster or slower than the CPU, completing the test in around 1min 56secs. The difference is that more CPU cycles are freed up when GPU acceleration is enabled, meaning you can carry on doing other things while your render is taking place.

Dell Precision M4800

The Precision’s weakest suit is, perhaps inevitably, battery life. Even with a huge 97Wh, nine-cell power pack under the hood, this powerhouse laptop only lasted 3hrs 28mins in our light-use test. This isn’t a machine you can take out on the road and expect to last a day away from mains power. Think of it more as a workhorse machine that’s best deployed in environments where a small amount of mobility is needed. A laptop to carry from desk to desk in a design studio, factory or warehouse environment, perhaps.

For those environments, though, the Precision M4800 is ideal, providing just the right blend of comfort, power, and portability. We’d hesitate to buy the 3,200 x 1,800 version purely because much of the Windows ecosystem isn’t high-DPI-ready yet, but there’s no denying this is a superbly crafted piece of hardware.

Warranty

Warranty 3yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 376 x 261 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight 3.200kg
Travelling weight 4.1kg

Processor and memory

RAM capacity 16.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 2
SODIMM sockets total 4

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 3,200
Resolution screen vertical 1,800
Resolution 3200 x 1800
Graphics chipset Nvidia Quadro K2100M
Graphics card RAM 2.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Spindle speed N/A
Hard disk Samsung SM841
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

eSATA ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad/touchpoint
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 28min
Overall Real World Benchmark score 1.01
Responsiveness score 0.84
Media score 1.15
Multitasking score 1.04

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional
OS family Windows 7

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