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Computing

Intel Arc Pro is real — three new workstation GPUs revealed

Intel has three new graphics cards coming up, but they don’t include the gaming Arc Alchemist that you probably had in mind. The company has just announced the Intel Arc Pro A-series, a new discrete graphics card line made for professionals.

Announced during SIGGRAPH 2022, the range includes the Arc Pro A30M for mobile workstations and the Arc Pro A40 and Arc Pro A50 for small-form-factor desktops.

It seems that the previous rumors were true — there is, in fact, an Intel Arc Pro lineup, and the company has just officially unveiled it. With three new GPUs coming soon, Intel is entering the workstation market with its discrete graphics cards.

Intel said that the new GPUs were made to meet the requirements of all kinds of professional software. This includes applications within the design, manufacturing, media, entertainment, architecture, engineering, and construction segments.

Although the exact specifications of these new workstation GPUs have not yet been revealed, we know that the Arc Pro A30M will find its way into laptop workstations and the other two will be installed in compact desktops. One more thing we know is that the Arc Pro A40 is a single-slot GPU and the Arc Pro A50 is a dual-slot model. Given the naming convention, we expect that these will be entry-to-midrange options, seeing as Intel’s flagship Arc GPU is the A770.

Intel promises support for all the latest technologies utilized by professionals. The new graphics cards all feature built-in ray tracing, AV1 hardware encoding acceleration, and machine learning capabilities. This includes the widely used Blender as well as various open-source libraries included in the Intel oneAPI Rendering Toolkit.

Intel is demo-ing the cards in a few different applications during this year’s SIGGRAPH, marking the first time that the Arc Pro is running live in public. The manufacturer will be showing off its new product, and more precisely its hardware-accelerated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, in Topaz Video Enhance AI, a software that enhances video quality and resolution.

Intel's demo of Topaz, comparing the quality of two images.
Intel

The GPUs will also be seen running Trimble’s SketchUp, a 3D designing app often used for architectural purposes. This will be done to show that even an entry-level workstation running an Arc Pro GPU will be able to perform these tasks due to hardware-accelerated ray tracing and hardware-assisted A.I. via Intel’s XeSS.

You don’t have to be there in person to see what Intel Arc Pro can do — Intel has little previews on its official website with sliders that let you compare the “before” with the “after.” The video enhanced by Topaz loses some of its colors and contrasts but turns out a whole lot less grainy. The SketchUp preview turns a drawing into a lifelike-looking render.

Intel Arc Pro A-series graphics cards will be available at an undisclosed time later this year. For now, there’s no info on pricing, though. Seeing as we’re also awaiting the official and global launch of the Intel Arc lineup made for consumers, it now seems that Intel will be releasing several GPUs before the year is done.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Dell cuts workstation laptop and desktop prices in half

There are a lot of excellent desktop computers and laptops to pick from, but it’s often hard to argue against the immense range and versatility of Dell’s offerings, especially if you’re going for high-end work machines that can handle things like Maya or AutoCAD. That’s why we always look forward to Dell’s Precision workstation deals, like these two — one on a desktop and the other on a laptop — so let’s dive right in and see what’s available.

Precision 3650 Tower Workstation — $879, was $1,767

If you’re looking through some great desktop computer deals, the Precision 3560 not only has some great base specs, but it also has a lot of room for customization. For example, while the base model comes with an 11th-gen Intel i5-11600, a great mid-ranged CPU, you can upgrade it up to an Intel Xeon W-1390P, a high-end server-grade CPU that will blow pretty much any CPU task out the water. The same goes for the RAM, which comes as 8GB non-ECC with the base model, but can be upgraded to 128GB ECC. Similarly, while there’s no GPU in the base model, you can upgrade it with either single or double Nvidia or AMD GPUs if you want to go for a graphics- or video-editing powerhouse. All-in-all, you can build this workstation exactly as you need it.

Precision 3561 Workstation — $1,399, was $2,807

The Dell Precision 3561 Mobile Workstation, with a graphics app on the screen.

If you need something a bit more mobile, then we’d suggest this as one of the better laptop deals for the day. The Precision 3561 is a powerhouse in a small and portable form-factor, with an insane Nvidia Quadro T600, 4GB, which makes it perfect for design and GPU-intense work. It also comes with an 11th-gen Intel i5-11500H, a great mid-tier CPU, and combined with the 16GB of RAM, it should see you handling most software easily, although you can always upgrade the RAM up to 64GB if you’re doing something like AutoCAD. The base hard drive is a 512GB SSD, with the option to upgrade to a 2TB SSD as well as grab secondary storage of either up to 512GB SSD or 2TB HDD. You can also change the screen to be touch-enabled, although you do lose out on sRGB coverage, so if you’re a graphics designer, it’s probably not worth it, although we think a battery upgrade is.

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Computing

Forget An iMac: This HP Workstation Is a Fraction of The Price Today

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Sure, your eyes might gaze at the Apple iMac longingly but it’s super expensive, especially when you’re on a tight budget as a student heading back to school soon. That’s why we’re highlighting the HP All-in-One 24-df1036xt as part of the HP back-to-school sale. An all-in-one desktop, it’s a smart-looking device that will fit into your dorm room nicely, giving you all the benefits of a desktop PC without taking up quite as much room as a traditional tower setup. Normally priced at $800, you can snap it up for just $700 as part of the HP sale. You’ll need to be quick though as stock is strictly limited and the sale won’t last forever. Let’s take a look into why you need this system.

HP has always had a good reputation for offering some of the best all-in-one computers and the HP All-in-One 24-df1036xt is no different here. Amongst the best desktop computers in the price range, it has an 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 256GB of speedy SSD storage, plus 1TB of regular hard drive space for storing files. Alongside all that, it’s all built inside a 23.8-inch full HD display so there’s plenty of room for you to see what you’re doing.

Everything about the HP All-in-One 24-df1036xt has been designed with convenience in mind so even if your dorm room or apartment is pretty small, you’ll be able to find room for this system. It has conveniently placed ports that help keep cords out of the way so your space feels clean and uncluttered at all times. With a three-sided micro-edge display, you can see more of the screen with other neat touches like a pop-up privacy camera that you can close when you’re not using it.

It’s even possible to remove the panel in three simple steps so if you feel like upgrading your hardware at a later date, you can. That’s great future-proofing in case your budget grows and you’re keen to get hands-on with your system.

The HP All-in-One 24-df1036xt will last you throughout school without a problem. It’s great if you don’t get on with laptops and simply prefer more screen space for your money.

Ordinarily priced at $800, you can buy the HP All-in-One 24-df1036xt for just $700 for a limited time only as part of the HP back-to-school sale. You won’t want to miss out on this one.

More computer deals

If you’re heading back to school soon, we’ve got some fantastic offers rounded up for you. Whether you’re keen to check out the best back-to-school laptop deals, or you’re thinking about going a little cheaper than this great HP workstation by indulging in one of the many Chromebook deals out there, or even if you’re thinking about checking out the laptop deals for some added portability, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading to find the right deal for you.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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Computing

Dell XPS 17 Review: A Mobile Workstation in Disguise

Dell XPS 17 review: A mobile workstation in disguise

MSRP $2,800.00

“The Dell XPS 17 is unrivaled in extra large, powerful laptops.”

Pros

  • Bright, beautiful screen
  • Fantastic build quality and design
  • Performance is impressive
  • Ultra-thin bezels
  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Poor webcam

If you work primarily from home, the idea of a large, 17-inch laptop might sound attractive. The screens on these laptops are only a few inches smaller than some external PC monitors, packed into a single package that can be taken on the go.

But the Dell XPS 17 is more than just that. It’s a powerhouse in terms of performance, hoping to replicate not only the large-screen format of a desktop setup, but also the power. The latest model comes with an Nvidia RTX 3060, an Intel Core i7-11800H, and a 4K resolution touchscreen. That particular configuration comes at a mighty fee of $2,800, but if you need the size and performance, the XPS 17 remains one of the very best laptops you can buy.

Design

The Dell XPS 17, opened in front of a window.

The Dell XPS 17 is a very large laptop. I start there, as it’s the most defining feature of this laptop from the rest of the XPS lineup.

The size of the XPS 17 is even unique apart from the XPS lineup. Other 17-inch laptops such as the LG Gram 17 or HP Envy 17 are much smaller than the XPS 17, but that’s hardly a fair comparison to make. These laptops run on lower wattage processors and can’t be configured with high-end discrete graphics cards.

The XPS 17 shares more in common with modern workstation laptops, such as the Asus ProArt Studiobooks or the HP ZBook Fury 17. But even there, many of the options you’ll find haven’t been updated in a while and aren’t nearly as slick as the XPS 17.

In terms of size (and performance), the Razer Blade 17 is the closest rival to the XPS 17. The XPS 17 is slightly smaller in most dimensions other than thickness, where the two laptops are almost equivalent.

It feels premium and looks sleek, just like other XPS laptops.

Chances are, if you’re in the market for a larger creative-focused laptop, you’ll also be looking at 16-inch laptops. Following in the footsteps of the MacBook Pro 16-inch, laptops that fit in this category include the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, ROG Zephyrus M16, and the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus. The XPS 17 is thicker and heavier than most of these laptops, despite everything Dell has done to trim down the chassis, weighing 5.3 pounds and measuring 0.77 inches thick.

But Dell has stuck to its guns with the XPS 17, making it a fairly unique offering in 2021. The taller 16:10 aspect ratio screen makes the laptop feel even more expansive — even with the insanely thin bezels wrapping around the display.

The Dell XPS 17, open to reveal its carbon-fiber palm rests.

The XPS 17 is heavier, wider, and thicker than the MacBook Pro 16-inch, and is larger in almost every way compared to the LG Gram 17. But making size comparisons against laptops like these is hardly fair, especially considering how much more power you can pack into the XPS 17.

The XPS 17 otherwise looks nearly identical to the XPS 15. While much of the internal structure is unique, the aluminum shell, ultra-thin bezels, and black carbon-fiber palm rests will look very familiar. It feels premium and looks sleek, just like the smaller versions of this same laptop.

It’s one of my very favorite designs. I wish Dell offered the white variant (as seen in the XPS 13), but I’m not about to complain about the aesthetic. Ever since its initial launch, it has been one of the best-looking laptops you can buy.

Ports

The closed Dell XPS 17, being held in a hand.

The Dell XPS 17 keeps its ports simple: Four Thunderbolt 4 ports and a full-sized SD card slot. Those ports tell you a lot about where the XPS 17 gets its inspiration and who it primarily is for. If you’re annoyed by the limited ports in the MacBook Pro, the XPS 17 won’t offer you much help. Notably, there’s no HDMI port or USB-A.

Fortunately, Dell tosses in a USB-C adapter with both USB-A and HDMI for free, which makes me happy. Hard to complain when Dell does the dirty work for you.

The full-size SD card slot, of course, is there for photographers and videographers. Being able to go straight from a camera to a computer is hugely convenient, even for hobbyists and dabblers. Having one will make your friends and colleagues with MacBook Pros jealous.

Keyboard and touchpad

No surprises here — the XPS 17 has an excellent keyboard and touchpad. The keypresses are springy and don’t feature any tomfoolery around low-travel nonsense. Typing is quiet and comfortable.

The keycaps are the highlight of the keyboard though. They feel sturdy under your fingers, instead of wobbly. I also love how large the keycaps are, leaving very little empty space in between keys, and nice wide keys on the sides. You find wider Shift keys on another laptop.

The touchpad is similarly wide. Rather than just use the same-sized touchpad on the smaller XPS laptops (as other manufacturers do), this touchpad is designed specifically to make use of the 17-inch form factor. Tracking is precise and the click is nice and quiet.

Display and speakers

The Dell XPS 17 is all about its screen. The 17-inch screen is in the 16:10 aspect ratio, which is perfect for this size of laptop. It makes for a large workspace to expand windows on and multitask across. The resolution is 3840 x 2400, which is even more pixels than a standard 4K screen. The result is a superbly crisp display with touch capabilities.

The base model is a 1920 x 1200 model, and it doesn’t come with a touchscreen. It’s a $400 difference in price, so you’ll want to choose wisely. I don’t recommend prefer a 1080p resolution on a display this large, as you’ll start to pick out the pixels.

Like the port selection, this high-resolution screen is made with creatives in mind. It’s a bright and colorful screen with nearly perfect color saturation, hitting 100% in sRGB and 98% in AdobeRGB color spaces. Color accuracy is on point too, and max brightness was measured at 491 nits. It’s a bright, gorgeous screen through and through.

The temperature of the screen is rather warm, though. In many circumstances, the warmer tint is welcomed. But while watching videos or movies, I noticed some skin tones with an oddly orange glow. Dell includes just a single color mode in the Windows settings.

The 720p webcam, which is situated in the bezel above the display, is awful.

Speaking of entertainment, the speakers are decent. For a laptop of this size, I was hoping to hear more bass, but the XPS 17 does feature a nice stereo image and can get quite loud without crackles. If you’re wanting to listen to some background music or podcasts while working, these speakers should do the trick without too many complaints.

I have plenty of complaints, however, about the webcam. The 720p webcam, which is situated in the bezel above the display, is awful. It’s part of the trade-off with having such a narrow top bezel. It’ll get you by on the occasional video call, but if you need to be on camera all day, this isn’t the laptop for you.

Performance

The Dell XPS 17 starts at $1,550. What you get in that base model is the Intel Core i5-11400H, integrated Intel UHD graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. That model is a bit more affordable, but it doesn’t lean on the strengths of the XPS 17.

Upping to eight cores (and adding in a discrete graphics card), the Dell XPS 17 becomes a much more capable performer. My unit came with the Core i7-11800H, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia RTX 3060, and a 1TB SSD. But in exchange for your $2,800, you’ll get a laptop that excels in heavy tasks such as creative application performance and gaming.

Laptop 3DMark Time Spy Cinebench R23 Geekbench 5 PCMark 10 Fortnite (1080p Epic) Civilization VI (1080p Ultra)
Dell XPS 17 (Core i7-11800H) 7039 1525/ 10145 1568 / 8801 6209 78 fps 104 fps
Dell XPS 17 (Core i7-10875H) 5801 13876 1315 / 7959 n/a 82 fps 90 fps
LG Gram 17 (Core i7-1165G7) 1408 1312 / 3912 1503 / 4606 4880 13 fps n/a
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (Ryzen 7 5800H) 9175 1430 / 11195 1460 / 7227 n/a 101 fps 114 fps

The XPS 17 was already a powerful laptop, but the bump to RTX 30-series graphics crank up the performance. It’s easy to see the benefits when comparing 3DMark scores, where the newer model is 18% faster in the same test. You might write off the RTX 3060 compared to the 3070 or 3080 featured in gaming laptops, but names can be deceptive. The system can deliver 70 watts of power to the graphics card, which is more than what many non-gaming laptops can do. To put things in perspective, though, the Razer Blade laptops can push up to 100 watts of power to the graphics.

That results in faster frame rates in the games I tested. Outside of the heaviest games, the XPS 17 can hit over 60 fps (frames per second) in games at 1920 x 1200. Outside of a lighter, more processor-heavy game like Civilization VI, you won’t want to attempt to play games at native resolution, of course. The 60Hz refresh rate is also a limitation on how enjoyable the gaming experience will be. For that reason, it’s not a laptop that should be purchased primarily for the purpose of gaming. But it’s one heck of a perk, that’s for sure.

The improved graphics as well as better performance in creative applications. I tested the laptop’s video editing capabilities in PugetBench’s Premiere Pro benchmark, which tests everything from 4K video playback to timeline exports. It outperformed the last Intel-based 27-inch iMac that I tested, which featured a desktop Core i9-10910. It’s the highest scoring laptop I’ve tested in this benchmark, and you’ll likely see comparable performance in many other content creation applications.

Of course, processor performance is also extremely important in these tests, and the 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H at the heart of the XPS 17 performs admirably. The CPU hummed along at around 3.2GHz, occasionally boosting up to 4.19GHz. Its PCMark 10 scores were fantastic, which tests daily tasks like web browsing, video conferencing, and spreadsheets. It should be noted, though, that laptops running on AMD’s Ryzen 5000 platform are every bit as strong in this benchmark, even on smaller 13-inch laptops like the Asus ROG Flow X13.

Much of the impressive performance of the XPS 17 comes from its good thermals. Surface temperatures never get too hot, and internal temperatures stay fairly cool. I noticed occasional jumps up to the max of 100 degrees Celsius (for both the GPU and CPU), but temperatures primarily stayed under 70 degrees during the majority of my testing.

Battery life

The battery life on the Dell XPS 17 isn’t great. Dell packed in a 97 watt-hour battery inside — you can’t safely pack in a battery much larger. Still, you shouldn’t expect all-day battery life. The combination of the large, high-resolution screen, 45-watt CPU, and RTX graphics are all power-suckers, and it shows through how long the battery lasts.

In our light web browsing test, the laptop lasted just over five hours. It fared much better during video playback, where it lasted almost 10 and a half hours in while looping a 1080p movie trailer until the battery died. It’s unusual to see such a big discrepancy between these two tests, but regardless of what you’re doing, you can’t expect the XPS 17 to last a full day on a single charge.

The 1080p model without RTX graphics will likely last longer, of course. The XPS 15 will also net you a couple more hours of battery life.

Our take

The Dell XPS 17 is in a class of its own. If a large screen is all you want, the price and size of the XPS 17 might be overkill. But if you need a bigger screen and extra performance, the XPS 17 is hard to beat.

Are there any alternatives?

The closest real alternative to the Dell XPS 17 is the Razer Blade 17. These are the only two 17-inch laptops that can be configured with powerful graphics, 4K screens, and powerful 45-watt processors. The Razer Blade 17, though, is more expensive.

The LG Gram 17 or HP Envy 17 are both cheaper and more portable options, but they can’t be configured as high as the XPS 17.

Lastly, if you like the design and performance of the XPS 17, you should also consider the smaller XPS 15. It’s a bit cheaper, gets better battery life, and is easier to carry around.

How long will it last?

The Dell XPS 17 should last you four or five years, assuming you take care of it. The model includes the ability to swap out components such as RAM, storage, and the Wi-Fi card. Dell also allows you to add tons of RAM or storage while configuring it — but it’ll cost you extra. The XPS 17 can be configured up to 64GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD through Dell’s own store.

Should you buy it?

Yes, especially if you can make use of the extra performance and brilliant screen.

Editors’ Choice




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Tech News

Tactical Field Office is a portable workstation for very remote work

If you’re a photographer, conservationist, or someone who finds themselves having to work in very remote destinations, Helinox has a new product that’ll make your life a bit easier. The company’s Tactical Field Office enables users to trek with their laptop, batteries, and other hardware, then setup office anywhere they’d like.

We’ve seen a growing number of products that cater to people who are embracing their newly acquired work-from-home lifestyle and exploring the different environments in which they can take their projects. New RVs and camper vans that offer dedicated workspaces, for example, have hit the market in recent months.

The latest product in this niche market is Helinox’s Tactical Field Office. As its name suggests, the accessory is a portable workstation that can be toted into the field and then set up to operate as an ‘office’ anywhere you want, whether that’s at a cabin deep in the woods or a watchtower above the treeline.

The company says its Tactical Field Office weighs less than 5lbs, offers a 15-liter capacity, and has a folding table that can be attached to the bag’s aluminum frame. The table can be folded down from the frame so that the work surface and bag are right next to each other; alternatively, users can fully detach the table from the frame.

The bag is made from 600D poly fabric for extra durability, as well as MOLLE webbing for support and attaching accessories. Helinox claims the bag can withstand years of ‘heavy use.’ The bag’s interior is padded, plus there’s a shoulder strap for carrying the unit. The company also offers a laptop sleeve, compressor, and extra pockets for those who need additional items.

The Tactical Field Office is available from Helinox now for $199.95 USD.

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Computing

Dell Workstation Deal Slashes Over $1,000 Off — But Hurry!

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It’s not hard to look for laptop deals, but finding a machine that will be able to meet the requirements of power users is never easy. Offers that will also let you enjoy significant savings are scarce, but you might want to start your search with Dell laptop deals. Dell’s mobile workstations combine high-end specifications with features that improve efficiency, and fortunately, one of these laptops is currently on sale. The Dell Precision 3550 is available for only $1,429, after a $1,172 discount to its original price of $2,601.

The Dell Precision 3550 is equipped with the quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and the Nvidia Quadro P520 graphics card, which makes it capable of running the latest apps without any slowdowns and crashes, even while multitasking. The mobile workstation also comes with a 512GB SSD for storage, so you’d have enough space for your important documents and essential software.

The mobile workstation has a 15.6-inch Full HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, for a clear view on all kinds of content. For security, the laptop has a shutter to physically block the camera when it’s not in use, and for portability, it only weighs just a bit more than 4 lbs.

The Dell Precision 3550 also comes with the Dell Optimizer for Precision, which uses built-in artificial intelligence to learn your usage patterns, then adjusts settings to improve the laptop’s overall performance. The platform’s features include ExpressResponse, which quickens the launch of your favorite apps; ExpressCharge, which improves the laptop’s battery by adapting to your usual power consumption and charging patterns; and Intelligent Audio, which refines the overall sound experience by adjusting background noise and managing speech volume.

If you need a powerful laptop that won’t let you down no matter your workload, you should definitely consider buying a Dell mobile workstation such as the Dell Precision 3550. It’s currently available from Dell at $1,172 off, slashing the laptop’s price to $1,429 from its original price of $2,601. There are only limited quantities available though, so if you want to enjoy more than $1,000 in savings when buying the Dell Precision 3550, you should click that Buy Now button while stocks last.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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