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Helping propel this performance was the ATI FirePro, which also earns it AutoCAD certification. With 400 streaming cores, this card has enough processors to run a small city. Its 30-bit color depth is capable of displaying more than one billion distinct colors on as many as three, 30-inch independent monitors. The v4800 is one of three video boards that Dell describes as suitable for entry-level 3D apps (the other two are the Nvidia Quadro FX 380 and Quadro FX 580. Dell also offers the Nvidia Quadro NVS 295 and ATI FirePro 2260 for "Professional 2D" design applications and content creation.
Despite its small stature, the T1500 is expandable where it counts. Memory maxes out at 16 GB (a 64-bit operating system is needed to address more than four) and there's room for one PCI Express x16 (150 watt maximum, taken up in the test machine by an ATI FirePro v4800 adapter), one PCI Express x1 cards, two legacy PCI cards plus two 3.5-inch internal and two 5.25-inch external drives.
Servicing the T1500 is a breeze, thanks to a side panel that's quickly removed with a pair of thumbscrews to expose the cabinet's roomy interior. It's spacious enough, in fact, to be capable of holding more than the two internal drives that the hardware is designed for. The motherboard supports a total of four SATA (3Gbps) drives. On-motherboard logic provides support for RAID 0 and 1 configurations.
The front panel is home to four USB 2.0 ports as well as mic and headphone jacks and a 3.5-inch blanking plate that could be home to a diskette drive (remember those?) or Dell- or third-party option such as a multicard reader. Another six USB 2.0 ports are rear-mounted, as are the GbEthernet port and pair of PS/2 ports. Dell low-cost options include FireWire and card reader, two common requirements when creating or handling digital content.
The CRN Test Center believes that Dell's Precision line of high-performance workstations is an excellent alternative to white box solutions, and recommends the T1500 Precision for its excellent performance, numerous customization options and small footprint. A three-year warranty is standard.
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