Product Notes: Dell Latitude (Ivy Bridge)
June 8, 2012
In late May 2012, Dell announced its next generation Latitude enterprise class notebooks, based on Intel's Ivy Bridge platform. These new models, designated E6230, E6330, E6430, E6430 ATG (ruggedized 14-inch), and E6530, became available on Dell's Premier Page for the University in early June 2012 along with the decontented E5430 and E5530 models. The lightweight but full featured 14-inch E6430s will be available through the Premier Page in July. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) sees these Latitudes as a significant upgrade, mostly due to the Ivy Bridge transition.
Design and Changes
The biggest single internal change for the new Latitudes is the move to Intel's Ivy Bridge platform, which brings improved general performance, significantly improved integrated graphics via HD 4000, improved battery life, and integrated USB 3.0.
A new configuration for this Latitude generation, the Latitude E6430s (pictured) essentially puts a 14-inch display into Dell's 13-inch Latitude notebook chassis. At 3.8 pounds, the E6430s is substantially lighter than the 4.4 pound E6430 but gives up some configuration flexibility in exchange; for example, screen resolution is limited to 1366 x 768 pixels.
Most of the new Ivy Bridge Latitudes are approximately the same size and have approximately the same configuration as the previous generation Sandy Bridge systems, with the only exception being the E6430s. All new Latitudes include multiple USB 3.0 ports. Most can be ordered with the latest version of Intel's vPro and 4G mobile broadband.
Windows Vista is no longer available as an operating system option for the new Latitudes.
The new Latitudes are EPEAT Gold-compliant and Energy Star 5.2-certified.
Several notes when ordering a Latitude through Dell's Premier Page for the University:
- Dell's Latitude configurators allow the selection of various models of Intel's current Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 processors. ISC believes that any Core i5 is appropriate for most users, with the Core i3 being an appropriate choice for a value notebook. If purchasing a Core i3, ensure that it is not the previous (second) generation processor.
- Having 4.0 GB to 8.0 GB of RAM is essential for the optimal functionality of any modern notebook, including the new Latitudes.
- Though solid state drives are available in the new Latitudes, ISC does not believe that they are currently an appropriate choice for many notebook users because the cost trade-offs are still too great. ISC is currently evaluating the solid state hybrid drives available in the Latitudes.
- An integrated web camera is optional on the new Latitudes. ISC suggests adding the web camera unless there is a specific local policy or security reason to exclude one.
- As with any notebook that has battery options, ISC suggests that LSPs consider purchasing both a high-capacity and a low-capacity battery along with an extra AC power adapter. Note that Dell is continuing to offer an extra cost 6 cell battery with a three year warranty instead of the normal one year warranty for batteries. Providers also may wish to consider Dell's range of port replicators.
- Connectivity options include various 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi cards, Gobi multi-vendor 3G and single-vendor LTE WWAN connectivity, and Bluetooth 4.0. ISC believes that Bluetooth is a relevant protocol for most notebook users and that WWAN connectivity is useful for users who travel frequently, though such users may want to explore a wireless hot spot instead.
- ISC believes that most providers will prefer that Dell not include any security software (such as Trend Micro) in the factory image.
- Many Schools and Centers at the University may wish to choose the "Keep Your Hard Drive" option, which allows the School or Center to retain a defective hard drive when receiving a replacement hard drive under warranty.
See ISC's Notebook Purchasing Guide for configuration suggestions. As of June 2012, configuring an E6430 in quantity one to the Midweight Notebook specification is approximately $1,500, while configuring an E6330 to the Lightweight Notebook specification is approximately $1,400. An E5430 built to the Value Notebook specification is approximately $1,000. Support providers may be able to generate significantly more competitive pricing for volume purchases, often with the assistance of the University's Computer Connection, which has many Ivy Bridge-based Latitude configurations available for order.
ISC sees these new Latitudes as good upgrades to the previous generation, but little is changed beyond the new chipset. ISC is particularly interested in the new E6430s configuration as the most differentiated. Support providers interested in Dell notebooks should be prepared to compare and contrast these new Latitudes with Dell's newly enterprise-savvy XPS notebooks, such as the XPS 13.
Latitude E6430s graphic courtesy of Dell
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (June 8, 2012)