Dell Precision M4500 review

A powerful graphics workstation with a stunning screen, but its flaws are prominent

Dell Precision M4500
Finished with a ribbed, brushed-aluminium lid, the Dell Precision M4500 has a high-end look

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As far as the specification goes, of particular note is the Precision M4500's 15.6-inch screen. Calibrated to 100 per cent Adobe Colour Gamuts, image quality and colour reproduction is truly stunning and ideal for professional graphics use. It is also one of the brightest screens we've seen which, when combined with its non-reflective matt coating, makes easy to view in all lighting conditions.

Driving the screen is an Nvidia Quadro FX 1800M graphics card – a chip designed by Nvidia as a professional business graphics solution for CAD use, computer animation and video editing.

Performance is outstanding, with the Dell Precision M4500 powering through out benchmark tests with ease and delivering ample graphics performance for all requirements.

Dell precision m4500

Standard office performance of the Precision M4500 is equally impressive. While the 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and 4096MB of DDR3 memory of our test machine is not a particularly impressive specification on paper, we were amazed by just how quickly it dispatched the most demanding office tasks, even when running multiple applications.

Since the Precision M4500 can also be configured with a top of the range, quad-core Intel Core i7 920XM processor and up to 8192MB of DDR3 memory at the time of purchase, there's no reason to suspect that it can't fulfil its claim of being the world's most powerful 15.6-inch mobile workstation, as it's by far one of the strongest we've seen.

Dell precision m4500

Less pleasing is just how hot the chassis gets during use. While far smaller yet more powerful laptops such as Sony's VAIO Z-Series manage to stay cool at all times, the underside of the Precision M4500 quickly becomes uncomfortably hot, even when the system is not being driven to its maximum abilities.

This means it is better used on a desk than on your lap.

That's unfortunate, because the Precision M4500 provides a surprising level of mobility.

While its 3kg chassis is too bulky and heavy for daily travel use, it is compact enough to be carried on shorter journeys. Its 260-minute battery life is also particularly impressive, considering the amount of power on offer, letting you work for half a day away from the office.

Dell precision m4500

Storage is equally pleasing, with the Precision M4500 fitted with a 500GB hard drive – more than enough to hold large design files and thousands of business documents. A choice of operating systems is also available and while our test unit was installed with the 64-bit Windows 7 Professional OS, you can opt for Red Hat Linux software if you prefer.