Hot on the heels of confirming with Acer that it's working on a new Iconia W3 Windows 8 tablet, Dutch site Tweakers.net reports that Dell plans to launch a 15.4 inch notebook with a crazy-high 3200 x 1800 resolution. It will be a Dell Precision mobile workstation (opens in new tab), and likely have a starting price between $1,699 and $1,999, depending on the configuration.
According to the report, the laptop will have matte black surfaces and aluminum edges. It will also sport Intel's Core i7-4702MQ quad-core "Haswell" processor, a 2 GB Nvidia Quadro K1100M GPU, up to 16 GB of RAM, and storage options including a 512 GB SSD or a 1 TB HDD. The laptop's overall size will supposedly be just 0.71 inches at its thickest point, and weigh around 4.41 pounds. The base model will only sport a 1080p resolution.
Engadget reports that the laptop will be dubbed as the M3800, and will not have the integrated docking feature as seen on other Dell Precision models. It also won't feature an Ethernet port, so wired networking will have to be accomplished using a USB network adapter (if Wi-Fi isn't an option). So far an actual release date is unknown at this point, but Dell has confirmed that the laptop, "the thinnest and lightest workstation ever" according to the company, is in the works and will be available later this year.
"The Dell Precision M3800 is the first mobile workstation that is less than 3/4 of an inch, at 18 mm, weighs only 4.5 lbs and offers certified performance and dependability for creative professionals," the company said. "We are not releasing or confirming any additional details today but stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks."
Currently Dell offers the 15.6 inch Precision M4700 Mobile Workstation for a starting price of $1498 USD and the 17.3 inch Precision M6700 Mobile Workstation for a starting price of $2145 USD. Both models have multiple starting points actually, spanning three options for the smaller laptop and four options for the larger. Have fun there.
By comparison, the Retina display crammed into Apple's premium 15.4 inch MacBook Pro has a 2880 x 1800 resolution, and the cheapest model is priced around $2,199 USD. Thus it will be interesting to see if Dell really will sell a 15.4 inch laptop with a 3200 x 1800 resolution for under $2,000 USD. Then again, it would be an excellent way to undercut its fruity rival while also packing Haswell and Quadro graphics.
Unless you work all day with your laptop display stuck to your face though, there isn't much point going above 200ppi at a healthy seating distance.
What people forget when fawning over "retina" displays is that whether or not any given display meets "retina" criteria is determined in pixels per arcsecond which is as much a function of density as it is a function of viewing distance. 200ppi @ 2' (a fairly typical desktop/laptop viewing distance) is equivalent to 400ppi at 1' for a phone or tablet. (and not particularly healthy for your eyes.)
It depends, for office software, probably not, the extra resolution will probably make fonts look better. 200dpi over 100dpi should be noticeable in this regard. But 320 vs 200, you probably wouldn't notice.
However, for anything graphics related, you will need almost 3x the power to draw the 1 frame. Unless you have your face in the screen you wont see all the pixels, but extra pixels still need to be drawn. 3200x1800 vs 1920x1080 is 2.78x as many pixels, which means it needs a 2.78x larger GPU to draw them at the same fps. Or in other words your framerate will tank by 60% with the same GPU on the larger display.
The other option is for the GPU to not draw the extra pixels, but just render at a lower resolution then upscale the image, but this will make everything blurry. This still takes some extra hardware but not as much.
I'm hoping that since this is a Precision Workstation that the employed GPU can handle the display they're marrying it to well enough. Have the Retina'd MacBook Pros been shown to be struggling supporting their displays with typical workloads? Hopefully, Dell makes wise choices here in the GPU dept.