Dell has refreshed – and added to – their entry level Precision workstations. Their two tower workstations, the Dell Precision 3630 Tower and the Dell Precision 3430 Small Form Factor Tower, both sport significantly improved performance, and the Precision 3630 has been reduced in size by 23 per cent. The other model, the Dell Precision 3930 1U rack workstation, is a complete net-new addition.
Dell’s workstations come in three series – 3000, 5000 and 7000 – which are essentially a ‘Good-Better-Best’ continuum.
“All three series perform well, which is how we increase our growth in this space quarter after quarter,” said Amit Bhaga, Client Technologist at Dell EMC Canada. “The bulk of the sales are in the 3000 and 5000, with the 5000 being the strongest. Typically, customers start with the 5000, and go up or down the stack as needed for compute storage and memory. Our release last October of the Precision 5820 did a lot for the portfolio.”
One theme running through all these new 3000 models has been the need to significantly upgrade the amount of compute capability at the entry level.
“We are now seeing a lot more compute being needed here, and it’s not just for the engineers and the guys who work with video, but for everyday offices and students as well,” Bhaga said. “Even standard image builds these days now typically require high-end GPU graphics, and virtual reality and augmented reality are showing up more. The 3000 series needs to be able to support all these things without breaking the bank.” The 3000 series still has limitations of memory and storage compared to the other models. The ‘Better’ 5000 level has twin graphics cards, while the 7000 series has dual CPU support and more memory.
“These new 3000 series models are very exciting from a performance perspective, because before you needed a 5000 series in order to support a higher-end graphics card, but now the 3630 and 3930 can support doublewide high-performance cards,” Bhaga stated.
“The Dell Precision 3930 1U rack workstation is a completely brand new chassis design, and is the first 1U performance workstation in the industry,” he indicated. “We decided to design it based on feedback from customers that liked our 2U rack-based 7920. There was pent up demand for this 1U rack, which wanted something that would provide the same capabilities as the Precision 3630 in a rack form factor.”
Even though both of Dell’s entry level tower models now have relatively small form factors, some customers just want the workstations off the desks completely.
“We see this in many areas,” Bhaga said. “Call centres don’t want anything on desks all. We also see this in multimedia and entertainment, and in gaming design companies. With OEMs looking to design solutions, we are also seeing a lot who just want to let a rack workstation be the brains of the operation.”
The Precision 3930 comes with either Intel’s new Xeon E processors, which supports Error Correcting Code for increased reliability, or their recently introduced 8th generation Intel Core processors. They can come with up to 64GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory, up to 24TB of storage, and support up to 250W of doublewide GPUs. A range of NVIDIA Quadro professional GPUs are available, as are AMD Radeon Pro graphics. There are three PCIe slots, including an optional PCI slot, and optional Teradici PCOIP technology with support for up to quad display zero clients. The 1U rack size itself provides the density and temperature advantages of its smaller size.
With the two tower models, while the Precision 3430, the industrial small form factor model, retains the same form factor, the Precision 3630 has had a full redesign.
“It has a completely new chassis design, which is 23 per cent smaller than the previous generation,” Bhaga stated. The processor options and memory options are the same as the Precision 3930. Its storage features SATA and PCIe NVMe SSDs, which can be configured for up to 14TB with RAID support. The Precision 3430 Small Form Factor Tower is similar, but its graphics support tops up at 55W of graphics and its storage at 6TB.
“We will have the same CPUs and GPUs from our suppliers as our competitors, but where we shine with these models is our unique offering around Dell Precision Optimizer,” Bhaga said. “It is a performance tuning application with AI-based optimization, that tweaks all the juice out of applications to allow them to handle peak performance.”
Finally, in a 5000 series announcement, Dell indicated that the Dell Precision 5820 Tower will now support the less expensive Intel Core X-series processors, in addition to the Intel Xeon W processor options it supported previously.
The Dell Precision 3430 Small Form Factor Tower starts at $USD 649 and is available now. The Dell Precision 3630 Tower starts at $USD 649 and is also available now. The Dell Precision 3930 Rack starts at $USD 899, and will be available on July 26.