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Dell Precision M6500 review

Verdict

Massive, powerful and with every optional extra you can dream of, it's (almost) worth the sky-high price

Review Date: 7 May 2010

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £3,090 (£3,631 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

As mobile workstations go, Dell's Precision range is a pedigree breed and it comes with prices to match. The blood-orange Covet version of the outgoing M6400 came with a near-£5,000 price tag, and you can opt for the same on this new Core i7-equipped M6500 if you have deep pockets, but there are more affordable models.

It will still cost you - prices start at £1,349 exc VAT for a Core i5 system - but the sheer range of customisation on offer is staggering. Our review sample came with a 2GHz Core i7-920XM Extreme quad-core processor and four 2GB DDR3 modules (it supports up to 16GB), along with a pair of 128GB SSDs in a striped RAID array and ATI FirePro M7740 graphics.

With a nice big chassis there's plenty of room for a full-sized backlit keyboard and number pad, and it's firm and comfortable to use. The M6500 has a set of mouse buttons for both the trackpoint and touchpad, and the latter features a multitouch interface and a button to turn the whole pad into a jog shuttle for video editing.

Dell Precision M6500

The 17in screen comes in multiple flavours, including a TrueLife edge-to-edge panel on the Covet version, but it's hard to argue against the more austere silver backing and a 1,920 x 1,200 RGB LED panel. Colours leap from the screen in a way most laptops can only dream of, looking more like a giant OLED panel than a standard TFT. It might not be the best choice for colour-accurate work, but it's superb for anything else.

Churning through the SPECviewperf 10 benchmarks really showed off the quality of the image and evenness of the backlight, and it isn't only in specialist applications that this laptop flies. In our 2D benchmarks it scored 1.9, putting it right up there with Lenovo's latest ThinkPad T510 as the fastest laptop we've tested.

Specifying anything but the base model on Dell's website will get you a USB 3 port for your cutting-edge peripherals, and the M6500 also features DisplayPort and D-SUB outputs, a smart card reader (standard or contactless) and an optional fingerprint reader for added security. A slot-loading DVD writer comes as standard, with Blu-ray available, and video-conferencers will appreciate the integrated 3.2-megapixel webcam and dual microphones.

Of course, all this bulk and power comes at a cost, and not only to your bottom line. Dell has attempted to give the M6500 at least a shred of portability with a nine-cell battery, but don't expect to go on the road with this workstation laptop. It lasted just 2hrs 44mins in our idle test, and nowhere near that under full load - and it weighs a hefty 3.9kg, with a further 1kg for the power brick and cable.

That isn't really the point of the Dell Precision M6500, though, and in the areas that matter - raw power, customisation and build quality - it has few equals. Whether you're after a relatively affordable base unit or a tricked out orange Covet, the M6500 makes for a stunning workstation purchase.

Author: David Bayon

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User comments

Niccccccce

Yeahm prety good, but WHERE IS THE BLU RAY DRIVE? come on, DEll, super HD screen, amazing CPU, GPU, Memory, even SSD drive (which is good) but no lets spoil it by puting in a DVD drive, ha, plus the price, i could build a MUCH better desktop, in fact i am in the process of doing just that. 3600 pounds, do not really see the market for these even with extreme gaming , video, audio editing markets. but to say that i do not like this i cannot, looks good, if i suppose for people who need this kind of power on the move and have the money.... story continues

By mobilegnet on 7 May 2010

Configure as you like - Reply to above

I bought one without the Extreme processor (next model down) and 12Gb of memory, by the time you add monitor and 3 years warranty I found a desktop machine was not much less. You can choose Blue-Ray but not that useful to most professional at the moment.

By GeoffClark007 on 8 May 2010

Just supplied 2 covert versions for a client.

$12000 NZ$ + GST. each.

Customer is stoked, and for the price I am glad.

By RobElcombe on 9 May 2010

Big Problem with M6500 - Freezing or BSD / Bluescreen

Many people seems to have the same issue with the M6500 freeze / Halt / bluescreen / USB issue.

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop
/f/3518/p/19336090/19743938.aspx

By Kfiron1 on 6 Oct 2010

Lechat

Be warned that M6500 screens are easily damaged as rubber stops are not fitted and that Dell won't accept any liability. Avoid the orange base version in particular.

By lechat on 18 Nov 2010

DELL Precission M6600

what difference between Precission M6500 and Precission M6600?

By victorino on 14 Oct 2011

I got a good deal from a friend.

I got this laptop for as cheap as 900$ :D even though never liked Dell laptops but I did this coz i couldn't find the will not to buy it :D

By moh10ly on 22 Oct 2011

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