Right now, on my desk I have three fairly serious notebook computers. I’m typing this on my MacBook Pro 17” (running Windows 7), to my right I have my HP Envy 15” (running Windows Server 2008 R2) and to my left I have a brand spanking new Dell Precision M4500 (15”), which is also running Windows Server 2008 R2.
The Precision isn’t mine, I’m putting a base line configuration on it so that I can induct some interns next week into the way that a developer can/should configure their PC to be as flexible as possible. We purchased three Precision laptops for the interns to use. In the past we’ve had delivery problems from Dell, particularly with the XPS range of laptops and I was almost ready to go to another supplier to get the kit that we required.
I’ve spent a bit of time with the machine and so far and have been impressed by the sturdiness and build quality. Performance seems to be OK but the initial load of software isn’t that stressful. I’d expect most workstation grade laptops to work pretty well there – its definitely better than the HP Envy 15” as far as that is concerned which whilst boasting some pretty impressive specs doesn’t have as good build quality and possibly lacks some of the serviceability.
As I was using it though I made an observation that the Dell Precision M4500 is very much the Volvo of mobile workstations. It doesn’t look pretty, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in engineering. It has some other things in common with a Volvo.
- You aren’t going to get many girls whilst using it.
- If you got hit by one you’d probably regret it (heavy and sharp)
- It has plenty of luxuries that you might not expect (such as HSDPA modem).
Overall though, I know my new interns aren’t going to be left wanting for power, and we’ll be configuring them so they run Windows 2008 R2 (to support Hyper-V) and then doing a VHD boot to Windows 7 if they want a non virtualised office environment (with a few essential development tools).
Would I go for one over my MacBook Pro? Possibly. Whilst they are two very different animals I can see the appeal. If I rocked up at a customer and opened that beast they know I would mean business.