Dell brings remote desktop capabilities to workstations

Dell tries to consolidate workstations in the enterprise with remote computing capabilities.

Dell on Tuesday announced a desktop workstation that acts like a server from which remote client PCs can exploit graphics processing capabilities.

The Precision R5500 workstation renders and delivers pixels to client PCs over a network, said Don Maynard, senior product manager for Dell's Precision tower and rack workstations. Graphics can be delivered in 2D or 3D formats to Dell's FX100 thin client using the PC-over-IP (Internet Protocol) remote graphics protocol, or to standard desktops and laptops with VMware's View software.

The new feature extends the processing power of workstations to more computing resources in organizations, Maynard said. The remote access technology could reduce the need to deploy multiple workstations, while centralizing engineering and graphics applications in one location.

The workstation is targeted at organizations involved in design projects or content creation, Maynard said. The workstation can also be relevant in vertical industries such as mining and health care.

Dell already offers servers with graphics processors, but the workstation has specific features that make it more relevant to client PCs, Maynard said. The workstation runs client operating systems such as Windows 7, which support engineering applications such as AutoCAD. The workstation also has the ability to provide more dedicated graphics processing power for such applications.

The quality of images delivered remotely depends on the complexity of graphics and bandwidth, Maynard said. There could be some latency if the graphics are complex, or if a PC is far away from the workstation.

Beyond remote access capabilities, the Precision R5500 is also a high-end desktop designed to run complex scientific and graphics applications. The dual-socket workstation runs on Intel's Xeon processors, and can accommodate up to 12 CPU cores. The desktop supports up to 192GB of RAM and has multiple storage slots. The desktop is offered with optional Nvidia graphics cards.

The R5500 is priced starting at US$2,551 and will be available in the U.S. and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) on May 3. It will become available in Asia-Pacific and Japan on May 10.

Dell also announced new Precision laptop workstations that are desktop alternatives. The DM4600 and DM6600 include 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch screens, respectively, and run on Intel's latest Core i5 and i7 processors.

The laptops support up to 32GB of RAM, and 750GB of hard drive or up to 256GB of solid-state drive storage. They will be available with optional graphics cards from Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia. They also will come with multiple USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and multiple monitors can be connected through display ports.

The M4600 starts at $1,678 , while the M6600 starts at $2,158. The laptops will become available worldwide on May 10.

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