I've recently purchased the new Dell M3800 and am disapointed with it's performance with SW2012. I can hardly tell a difference between the M3800 and my 13" MacPro retina. I was expecting much smoother operation on the Dell, but such is not the case. I've run the SW benchmark test and on average I'm seeing ~360 overall. The M3800 is better at ~260. Was I expecting too much from the Dell? Maybe I need more performance than expected, or need to optimize GPU?
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (Bootcamp)
Video: Intel(R) HD Graphics 4000
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3520M CPU @ 2.90GHz
# of CPU: 4
# of Cores: 4
Total RAM: 8066
OS: Microsoft Windows 8.1 x64
Video: Nvidia Quadro K1100M
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4702HQ CPU @ 3.20GHz
# of CPU: 4
# of Cores: 4
Total RAM: 1600
In normal use, I see barely any noticeable differences in performance (including rendering times, simulation/meshing times, overall smoothness in xx sized assemblies). My conclusion to the benchmark test and daily use is that I either need to optimize my M3800 GPU settings, or that I actually need a machine more powerful than I thought.
Non Solidworks Related:
Windows 8.1 is complete garbage. I've reverted back to Windows 7 because I couldn't handle the weird scaling (blurry applications can be made sharper but text sizing is all different) and gimmicky "start page" thing. Worthless.
I read many reviews on how the M3800 is extremely well built with premium materials. Unfortunately I wasn't able to "touch" the machine before buying and trusted the many "reliable" sources these reviews came from. As a mechanical engineer in the tech industry, I can surely say the build quality is dissapointing given it's high marks in reviews. It's carbon fiber and aluminum (two of the lightest/stiffest materials) and yet when you pick it up it still flexes and feels "cheap". Not only does the machine feel "floppy" when you carry it around, I've also heard some disturbing harsh "crack" noises if not handled with extreme care. Perhaps one of the most frustrating downfalls is the lid/hinge mechanism. It's too difficult to open with one hand, and DOESN'T LOCK CLOSED (i.e. no magnetic latch...). This only adds to the "floppyness" of the entire machine when carrying it around. It's annoying for something that's supposed to be "sleek and portable".
The track pad is better than most, but feels decades behind my Mac. Touch screen is nice, but most windows applicatons aren't optimized for it so it becomes worthless and downright frustrating most of the time. Don't expect Apple/Samsung performance...it's performance with most applications is more on par with an ATM machine.
The ONLY amazing part about the M3800 is size/weight ratio. It's super light.
Overall, I would rate this machine a 5/10 for Solidworks performance (this could be higher if I'm not opening up the full potential of Quadro?), but 1/10 for anything else. The fact that it's super light is offset by extremely poor structural design. I only give it 1/10 because carbon fiber is cool.
For a machine that's supposed to be on par with the latest MacPro and similarly priced, it misses the mark completely.