From the outside the 17-inch M6800 looks just like a bigger version of the M4800. And in many ways it is. It features the same trademark Dell styling, solid chassis and easy maintenance of its 15-inch sibling. The big difference is what’s inside.
The M6800 places a big emphasis on high-performance graphics and only has options for mid-range or high-end GPUs. Our machine’s Quadro K3100M should be perfect for power CAD users, but you can take this all the way up to the K5100M should you so desire.
The 4GB GPU is partnered with an Intel Core i7-4800MQ CPU and 16GB of RAM, which comes in 4 x 4GB DIMMs. Unfortunately, this means there’s no room to upgrade to the maximum 32GB without swapping out memory.
It’s criminal for a machine of this class to be kitted out with such prosaic storage but the 750GB Hard Drive is crying out for an SSD to take the strain in day to day operations.
And it’s not as if the M6800 can’t handle it. With support for one solid state Mini-Card and three 2.5-inch drives (one in the optical bay caddy), there are plenty of options. Drives can be configured in RAID 0, 1 & 5, which is relatively unique.
The 17.3-inch UltraSharp HD display is impressive, boasting crisp lines and well-balanced colours. Unfortunately, there’s no upgrade to QHD+, which is a shame as the M6800 is more equipped than most in terms of GPU to throw around ultra hi-res models without unduly impacting performance.
It’s clear our test machine needs some tweaks to get the most out of the M6800, but it certainly has the foundations for a solid, enterprise-class desktop replacement.