New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs. Apple MacBook

NEW DELL PRECISION M3800 MOBILE WORKSTATION VS.
APPLE MACBOOK PRO WITH RETINA DISPLAY
When selecting a notebook for multimedia editing and viewing, performance
counts. Demanding professional applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC and large
files can slow systems without powerful enough hardware to handle them. Should those
who invest in a new system choose a Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation with a
professional graphics card or an Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display?
To help answer this question, we compared a Dell Precision M3800 mobile
workstation with a NVIDIA® Quadro® K1100M professional graphics card and a 4K Ultra
HD touchscreen display (3840×2160), and an Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
(2560×1600), to see how well they performed on tasks commonly performed in Adobe
Premiere Pro CC.
The Dell Precision M3800 outperformed the Apple MacBook Pro, taking less
time to transcode video and render video sequences and dropping less frames during
video playback. It also delivered lower surface temperatures when running an intensive
workload, which can mean more comfort and less worrying when working, and offered
double the solid-state drive (SSD) storage capacity, which can be critical for storing large
multimedia files. These advantages make the Dell Precision M3800 a better choice for
users that would benefit from choosing a mobile workstation for demanding
professional applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
DECEMBER 2014
A PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES TEST REPORT
Commissioned by Dell Inc.
SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE SAVES TIME AND BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY
Those who work in media applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC know
that productivity depends on how quickly their systems can do work. To help with the
buying decision, we compared the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation with 4K
Ultra HD touchscreen and the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display, focusing on tasks
commonly performed in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Figure 1 presents the configuration information for the systems as tested, which
differ in some notable ways. While the Dell Precision M3800 and the MacBook Pro both
have 4th generation Intel Core i7 processors and 16GB RAM, only the Dell Precision
M3800 offers a NVIDIA Quadro K1100M professional graphics card. Another notable
difference is that while both systems include solid-state drives (SSDs), the Dell Precision
M3800 has two storage bays, each of which can be configured with 1TB SSDs. This
means that the Dell Precision M3800 can provide more SSD storage space than the
MacBook Pro, which can accommodate only one drive. Appendix A provides more
detailed configuration information for the two systems.
Processor
Memory
Storage
Graphics cards
Display size and resolution
LCD type
Touch screen
Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation
Intel Core i7-4712HQ (2.3GHz)
16GB DDR3 RAM
512 GB SSD
Intel HD Graphics 4600
NVIDIA Quadro K1100M (professional)
15.6″ 3840×2160
4K Ultra HD display: LED-backlit with
IGZO2 technology
10-finger multi-touch
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
Intel Core i7-4870HQ (2.5GHz)
16GB DDR3 RAM
512GB SSD
Intel Iris™ Pro Graphics 5200
NVIDIA GeForce® GT 750M (consumer)
15.4″ 2560×1600
Retina display: LED-backlit with IPS
technology
No
Figure 1: Configuration information for the systems we tested.
OUR FINDINGS IN DETAIL
In this section, we present detailed test results, and in Appendix B, we provide
the specifics for how we tested.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC performance
Adobe Premiere Pro CC is high-end video-editing software. We looked at tasks
commonly performed in Adobe Premiere Pro CC to see how the two systems handled
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 2
resource-intensive tasks. We looked at how quickly the systems completed various
transcoding and rendering tasks, and determined the number of stutters (dropped
frames) that occurred during video playback.
Rendering a video sequence
Rendering video sequences can be time-consuming. We created a project with a
sequence to represent a draft of a video project in Premiere and timed how long it took
to render the sequence using Adobe Media Encoder. In the export settings, we
downscaled the footage from 2400×1350 to 1920×1080. We tested this export with
maximum render quality enabled and disabled. The bottom two sets of bars in Figure 2
show our findings—the Dell Precision M3800 rendered the sequence up to 30.8 percent
faster than the MacBook Pro, saving over a minute total in just two tasks. A professional
user rendering video sequences in Adobe Premiere Pro CC could be more productive
with the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation than with the MacBook Pro.
Figure 2: The time the two
systems took to render
video sequences with
Adobe Premiere Pro CC, in
seconds. Lower numbers
are better.
The top two sets of bars in Figure 2 represent our findings when we created a
project with a sequence meant to represent a completed video project in Premiere.
With maximum render quality enabled, the Dell Precision M3800 rendered the
sequence 12.1 percent faster than the MacBook Pro; with maximum render quality
disabled, the Dell Precision M3800 was 22.7 percent faster.
Transcoding a video clip
When video editors want to quickly share or review their clips, they often
transcode their raw footage to a smaller file size for draft-quality previews. We
performed a series of transcoding tasks with the two systems. As Figure 3 shows, the
Dell Precision M3800 performed all of them more quickly than did the MacBook Pro. A
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 3
professional user transcoding video in Adobe Premiere Pro CC would save a significant
amount of time in a workday with the Dell Precision M3800.
Figure 3: The time the two
systems took to transcode
video with Adobe
Premiere Pro CC, in
seconds. Lower numbers
are better.
We first transcoded a single video clip from a lossless, camera raw format to a
standard compressed format. We took raw footage from the Blackmagic® Cinema
Camera and timed how long it took to export using the H.264/MPEG-4 codec. As the
bottom set of bars in Figure 3 shows, the Dell Precision M3800 handled transcoding the
digital negative files 13.4 percent faster than the MacBook Pro.
Video projects are often shot at higher resolutions than the final video to give
video editors room to crop, zoom, and reframe their footage. Downscaling is also used
when exporting a large video to small dimensions for YouTube or online viewing. We
tested downscaling the test clip from 2400×1350 to 1920×1080 in two ways—with
maximum render quality enabled and disabled. Maximum render quality processes
footage at a higher bit-per-channel, making for more realistic results and finer
gradations in color.1 As the center two sets of bars in Figure 3 show, the Dell Precision
M3800 was up to 26.4 percent faster than the MacBook Pro.
We tested how the hardware performed using software-only acceleration with
the Mercury Playback Engine. When this rendering option is selected, only the CPU is
used in rendering and computing.2 The Dell Precision M3800 performed the task 16.4
percent faster than the MacBook Pro.
1
blogs.adobe.com/premierepro/2011/02/cuda-mercury-playback-engine-and-adobe-premierepro.html
2
blogs.adobe.com/premierepro/2011/02/red-yellow-and-green-render-bars.html
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 4
Figure 4 shows the results when we performed batch transcoding with
Premiere—transcoding a set of five clips simultaneously. The Dell Precision M3800 did
the job in 26.4 percent less time—over 32 seconds faster—than the MacBook Pro.
Figure 4: The time the two
systems took to batch
transcode five video clips
with Adobe Premiere Pro
CC, in seconds. Lower
numbers are better.
Video playback quality
When frames are dropped during video playback, the video appears to stutter.
When many frames are dropped, the video can be almost unwatchable, making it
difficult for a video editor to get a sense of motion or progression. Stuttering video can
also call the integrity of the source footage into question. Figure 5 presents the results
of our testing to measure the number of dropped frames.
Figure 5: The number of
dropped frames for the
two systems during video
playback with Adobe
Premiere Pro CC. Lower
numbers are better.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 5
We created a project with a video sequence and used Premiere’s dropped
frame indicator to determine the number of stutters that occurred during playback. We
configured the sequence to preview video at full resolution (2400×1350) and began
playing the video sequence on the program monitor. After 5 minutes of playback, we
stopped and reported how many frames each system dropped. When we previewed the
test sequence, the MacBook Pro dropped 30 frames and the Dell Precision M3800
dropped only 4 frames—86.7 percent fewer dropped frames.
We ran the same test with maximum render quality enabled for the test
sequence. When we previewed this test sequence, the MacBook Pro dropped 37 frames
and the Dell Precision M3800 dropped none.
Finally, we created another project with a video sequence and added effects to
simulate a finished video project in Premiere. We previewed the video again at
2400x1350 and played the footage for 5 minutes before recording the number of
dropped frames. The MacBook Pro dropped 35 frames and the Dell Precision M3800
dropped only 6 frames—82.9 percent fewer dropped frames.
Surface temperature
The temperature at which a system operates while running an intensive
workload can be significant. High operating temperatures can also cause hardware
reliability to degrade, and comfort issues can arise when workers place systems on their
laps—no one wants to hold an extremely warm system for long. With an eye to system
reliability and user comfort, we measured the surface temperature of the two systems
in our study. As Figure 6 shows, the Dell Precision M3800 was cooler than the MacBook
Pro when running an intensive workload—24.1 degrees cooler on the top and 5.9
degrees cooler on the bottom.
Figure 6: Surface
temperature of the two
systems, in degrees
Fahrenheit. Lower is better.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 6
CONCLUSION
In media editing, some of the most common tasks are also the most resource
intensive. Looking at tasks commonly performed in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, we found
that the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation outperformed the Apple MacBook
Pro across the board in rendering and previewing video—saving valuable time by
completing the tasks we timed almost 3 minutes faster than the MacBook Pro. The Dell
Precision M3800 also delivered a lower surface temperature while running an intensive
workload and offered twice the maximum SSD storage capacity. These advantages make
the Dell Precision M3800 a better choice for media editors that could benefit from using
a mobile workstation for demanding professional applications such as Adobe Premiere
Pro CC.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 7
APPENDIX A – SYSTEM CONFIGURATION INFORMATION
Figure 7 provides detailed configuration information for the test systems.
System
Processor
Processor frequency (GHz)
Processor cores
Memory amount (GB)
Memory type
Storage
Graphics cards
Display size and resolution
LCD type
Touch screen
OS
Ports
System dimensions (length × width
× height)
System weight (lbs.)
Dell Precision M3800
Intel Core i7-4712HQ
2.3
4
16
Samsung M471B1G73QH0-YK0
512GB Lite-On® IT LCT-512L9S-11 SSD
1TB Samsung PM851 SSD
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina
Display
Intel Core i7-4870HQ
2.5
4
16
Integrated onboard RAM
512GB Apple SM0512F SSD
Intel Iris™ Pro Graphics 5200
Intel HD Graphics 4600
NVIDIA GeForce® GT 750M
NVIDIA Quadro K1100M (professional)
(consumer)
15.6″ 3840×2160
15.4″ 2560×1600
4K Ultra HD display: LED-backlit with
Retina display: LED-backlit with IPS
IGZO2 technology
technology
10-finger multi-touch
No
Microsoft® Windows 8.1 Pro
OS X® 10.10.1
2 USB 3.0
2 USB 3.0
1 USB 2.0
1 HDMI
1 HDMI
2 Thunderbolt
1 Thunderbolt
1 SDXC slot
1 SDXC slot
14.65″ × 10″ × 0.71″
14.13″ × 9.73″ × 0.71″
4.34
4.38
Figure 7: Specifications for the two systems we tested.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 8
APPENDIX B – HOW WE TESTED
We performed all tests three times and used the median scores. For our Adobe Premiere Pro CC tests, we
loaded both systems with the same sets of test footage:

100GB of 2K camera raw video (Blackmagic Cinema Camera .DNG)

2GB of 6K camera raw video (RED DRAGON® .R3D)

10GB of transcoded video (H.264 .mp4)
Note: [bolded brackets] indicate options that we toggled within their respective tasks for different output
settings.
ADOBE PREMIERE PRO CC (2014) TESTING
Installing Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Dell Precision M3800
1. Log into Adobe.com and download the Creative Cloud™ installer (creative.adobe.com/products/creative-cloud).
2. Run the installer executable (CreativeCloudSet-Up.exe), and click Yes when the User Account Control dialog
appears.
3. When the download and installation is complete, run Creative Cloud.
4. Log in with your Adobe account.
5. Click Continue to accept the license agreement.
6. Next to Premiere Pro CC (2014), click Try, and the app will begin downloading.
7. If Media Encoder CC (2014) does not also begin downloading, download the app.
8. When the downloads are complete, click Start Trial to open Premiere Pro CC.
9. Close the Welcome dialog.
10. Close Premiere Pro CC.
11. Open Media Encoder CC and close the program.
12. Pin Premiere Pro CC and Media Encoder CC to the taskbar.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Log into Adobe.com and download the Creative Cloud installer (creative.adobe.com/products/creative-cloud).
2. Open CreativeCloudInstaller.dmg, and double-click Creative Cloud Installer to install.
3. Click Open when the warning dialog appears.
4. If prompted, type in the administrator password.
5. When the download and installation is complete, Creative Cloud will automatically open.
6. Log in with your Adobe account.
7. Click Continue to accept the license agreement.
8. Next to Premiere Pro CC (2014), click Try, and the app will begin downloading.
9. If Media Encoder CC (2014) does not also begin downloading, download the app.
10. When the downloads are complete, click Start Trial to open Premiere Pro CC.
11. Close the Welcome dialog.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 9
12. Close Premiere Pro CC.
13. Open Media Encoder CC and close the program.
14. Pin Premiere Pro CC and Media Encoder CC to the dock.
Rendering sequence (with/without maximum render quality)
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Sequence Test 1. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, right-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip locations. For this test, we imported 6 raw video clips:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0010_C0010

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0011_C0011

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0012_C0012

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0013_C0013

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0019_C0014

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0020_C0015
7. Drag and drop the clips into the timeline and place them in the same order as listed above (a new sequence will
automatically be created when the first clip is added to the timeline). Ensure there are no gaps between clips,
and that clips do not overlap.
8. Save the project.
9. Close Premiere Pro CC.
10. Open Media Encoder CC.
11. Click File, Add Premiere Pro Sequence…
12. Navigate to the project folder and open the Premiere project.
13. Click the preset to open the Export Settings window.
14. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920×1080.
o
Render at Maximum Depth: [Checked / Unchecked]
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 10

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Use Maximum Render Quality: [Checked / Unchecked]
15. Click OK.
16. Start the timer and click the green play arrow icon.
17. Stop the timer when encoding is complete (a sound will play).
18. The resulting video will have the following properties:

Length: 01:49

Dimensions: 1920×1080

Frame rate: 24 frames / second

Audio: 2 channel VBR @ 48 kHz

Size: ~150MB (Will differ between OS X + Windows)
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Sequence Test 1. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, right-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip locations. For this test, we imported 6 raw video clips:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0010_C0010

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0011_C0011

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0012_C0012

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0013_C0013

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0019_C0014

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0020_C0015
7. Drag and drop the clips into the timeline and place them in the same order as listed above (a new sequence will
automatically be created when the first clip is added to the timeline). Ensure there are no gaps between clips,
and that clips do not overlap.
8. Save the project.
9. Close Premiere Pro CC.
10. Open Media Encoder CC.
11. Click File, Add Premiere Pro Sequence…
12. Navigate to the project folder and open the Premiere project.
13. Click the preset to open the Export Settings window.
14. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 11

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920×1080.
o
Render at Maximum Depth: [Checked / Unchecked]
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Use Maximum Render Quality: [Checked / Unchecked]
15. Click OK.
16. Start the timer and click the green play arrow icon.
17. Stop the timer when encoding is complete (a sound will play).
18. The resulting video will have the following properties:

Length: 01:49

Dimensions: 1920×1080

Frame rate: 24 frames / second

Audio: 2 channel VBR @ 48 kHz

Size: ~150MB (Will differ between OS X + Windows)
Rendering sequence (with effects and transitions) (with/without Maximum Render Quality)
For this test, we used our previously created project (Sequence Test 1) and added effects and transitions to
represent a completed Premiere project. We added the following clips to a sequence in this order:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0010_C0010

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0011_C0011

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0012_C0012

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0013_C0013

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0019_C0014

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0020_C0015
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Open the Sequence Test 1 project.
3. Select all clips in the sequence timeline.
4. In the project pane, select the Effects tab.
5. Click the arrow next to Video Effects.
6. Click the arrow next to Blur & Sharpen.
7. Drag and drop the Sharpen effect onto the clips selected in the sequence timeline.
8. Navigate to the Effects Control tab. Select each clip from the sequence timeline and adjust the Sharpen Amount
parameter to 15.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 12
9. In the Effects tab, under the Video Effects folder, click the arrow next to Color Correction.
10. Select all clips in the sequence timeline.
11. Drag and drop the Fast Color Corrector effect onto the clips selected in the sequence timeline.
12. Navigate to the Effects Control tab. Select each clip from the sequence timeline and in the Fast Color Corrector
settings, change the white balance to #EAEAEA, and adjust the Input Levels to the following:

0  10.0

1.0  0.9

255.0  254.0
13. In the Effects tab, click the arrow next to Video Transitions.
14. Click the arrow next to Dissolve.
15. Click and drag the Film Dissolve effect between each transition in the sequence timeline (for a total of five
transitions). A dialog will appear each time warning about repeated frames; click OK.
16. Click and drag the Fast Blur effect onto the second clip (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-0425_0011_C0011).
17. Navigate to the Effects Control tab.
18. Drag the play head in the Effects Control tab to the beginning of the selected clip.
19. Under Fast Blur, click the stopwatch icon next to Blurriness to toggle animation. Change the Blurriness
parameter to 100. A keyframe will appear in the Effects Control timeline represented by a diamond icon.
20. Drag the play head in the Effects Control tab to the end of the selected clip.
21. Change the Blurriness parameter to 0. Another keyframe will appear in the Effects Control timeline represented
by a diamond icon.
22. Check Repeat Edge Pixels.
23. Save the project as Sequence Test 2.
24. Close Premiere Pro CC.
25. Open Media Encoder CC.
26. Click File, Add Premiere Pro Sequence…
27. Navigate to the project folder and open the Premiere project.
28. Click the preset to open the Export Settings window.
29. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
[Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920×1080.]
o
Render at Maximum Depth: [Checked / Unchecked]
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 13

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Use Maximum Render Quality: [Checked / Unchecked]
30. Click OK.
31. Start the timer and click the green play arrow icon.
32. Stop the timer when encoding is complete (a sound will play).
33. Close Media Encoder CC.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Open the Sequence Test 1 project.
3. Select all clips in the sequence timeline.
4. In the project pane, select the Effects tab.
5. Click the arrow next to Video Effects.
6. Click the arrow next to Blur & Sharpen.
7. Drag and drop the Sharpen effect onto the clips selected in the sequence timeline.
8. Navigate to the Effects Control tab. Select each clip from the sequence timeline and adjust the Sharpen Amount
parameter to 15.
9. In the Effects tab, under the Video Effects folder, click the arrow next to Color Correction.
10. Select all clips in the sequence timeline.
11. Drag and drop the Fast Color Corrector effect onto the clips selected in the sequence timeline.
12. Navigate to the Effects Control tab. Select each clip from the sequence timeline and in the Fast Color Corrector
settings, change the white balance to #EAEAEA, and adjust the Input Levels to the following:

0  10.0

1.0  0.9

255.0  254.0
13. In the Effects tab, click the arrow next to Video Transitions.
14. Click the arrow next to Dissolve.
15. Click and drag the Film Dissolve effect between each transition in the sequence timeline (for a total of five
transitions). A dialog will appear each time warning about repeated frames; click OK.
16. Click and drag the Fast Blur effect onto the second clip (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-0425_0011_C0011).
17. Navigate to the Effects Control tab.
18. Drag the play head in the Effects Control tab to the beginning of the selected clip.
19. Under Fast Blur, click the stopwatch icon next to Blurriness to toggle animation. Change the Blurriness
parameter to 100. A keyframe will appear in the Effects Control timeline represented by a diamond icon.
20. Drag the play head in the Effects Control tab to the end of the selected clip.
21. Change the Bluriness parameter to 0. Another keyframe will appear in the Effects Control timeline represented
by a diamond icon.
22. Check Repeat Edge Pixels.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 14
23. Save the project as Sequence Test 2.
24. Close Premiere Pro CC.
25. Open Media Encoder CC.
26. Click File, Add Premiere Pro Sequence…
27. Navigate to the project folder and open the Premiere project.
28. Click the preset to open the Export Settings window.
29. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
[Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920×1080.]
o
Render at Maximum Depth: [Checked / Unchecked]
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Use Maximum Render Quality: [Checked / Unchecked]
30. Click OK.
31. Start the timer and click the green play arrow icon.
32. Stop the timer when encoding is complete (a sound will play).
Transcoding video clip (no scaling)
For our test, we used 100GB of video raw video footage from a colleague’s personal project. We shot the project
at 2400×1350 using a Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, producing .DNG video files. We loaded each system with a
folder of the test footage.
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 1. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, right-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip location.
7. Select the first DNG file (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013_04-25_0030_C0020_000000.DNG) and click Open.
8. When the clip is loaded, right-click on the clip and select Export Media…
9. Click on the Output Name, navigate to the desktop, and click Save.
10. For our export, we used the following settings:
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 15

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:

o
Basic Video Settings: click Match Source
o
Render at Maximum Depth: Unchecked
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12
Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.
11. Start the timer and click Export.
12. Stop the timer when the Export window closes.
13. Close Premiere without saving changes.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 1. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, control-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip location.
7. Select the first DNG file (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013_04-25_0030_C0020_000000.DNG) and click Open.
8. When the clip is loaded, control-click on the clip and select Export Media…
9. Click on the Output Name, navigate to the desktop, and click Save.
10. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:

o
Basic Video Settings: click Match Source
o
Render at Maximum Depth: Unchecked
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12
Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.
11. Start the timer and click Export.
12. Stop the timer when the Export window closes.
13. Close Premiere without saving changes.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 16
Transcoding video clip (1080p scaling) (Maximum Render Quality)
We selected a raw video clip to scale from 2400×1350 to 1920×1080.
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 2. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, right-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip location.
7. Select the first DNG file (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013_04-25_0030_C0020_000000.DNG) and click Open.
8. When the clip is loaded, right-click on the clip and select Export Media…
9. Click on the Output Name, navigate to the desktop, and click Save.
10. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920×1080.
o
Render at Maximum Depth: [Checked / Unchecked]
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Use Maximum Render Quality: [Checked / Unchecked]
11. Start the timer and click Export.
12. Stop the timer when the Export window closes.
13. Close Premiere without saving changes.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 2. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, control-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip location.
7. Select the first DNG file (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013_04-25_0030_C0020_000000.DNG) and click Open.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 17
8. When the clip is loaded, control-click on the clip and select Export Media…
9. Click on the Output Name, navigate to the desktop, and click Save.
10. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920 x 1080.
o
Render at Maximum Depth: [Checked / Unchecked]
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Use Maximum Render Quality: [Checked / Unchecked]
11. Start the timer and click Export.
12. Stop the timer when the Export window closes.
13. Close Premiere without saving changes.
Transcoding video clip (software only)
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 3. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Change the renderer to Mercury Playback Engine Software Only.
5. Click OK.
6. In the project pane, right-click and select Import…
7. Navigate to the test clip location.
8. Select the first DNG file (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013_04-25_0010_C0010_000000.DNG) and click Open.
9. When the clip is loaded, right-click on the clip and select Export Media…
10. Click on the Output Name, navigate to the desktop, and click Save.
11. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
Render at Maximum Depth: Checked
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 18

o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12
Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.
12. Start the timer and click Export.
13. Stop the timer when the Export window closes.
14. Close Premiere without saving changes.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 3. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Change the renderer to Mercury Playback Engine Software Only.
5. Click OK.
6. In the project pane, control-click and select Import…
7. Navigate to the test clip location.
8. Select the first DNG file (Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013_04-25_0010_C0010_000000.DNG) and click Open.
9. When the clip is loaded, control-click on the clip and select Export Media…
10. Click on the Output Name, navigate to the desktop, and click Save.
11. For our export, we used the following settings:

Source Scaling: Scale To Fit

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:

o
Render at Maximum Depth: Checked
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12
Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.
12. Start the timer and click Export.
13. Stop the timer when the Export window closes.
14. Close Premiere without saving changes.
Transcoding five video clips (1080p scaling)
We selected five clips to test scaling from 2400×1350 to 1920×1080.
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 19
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 4. We left the project and scratch disks locations set
to their default location.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, right-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip location. We used the following clips:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0010_C0010

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0011_C0011

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0012_C0012

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0013_C0013

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0019_C0014
7. Select the first DNG file for each set of footage and click Open.
8. When the clips are all loaded, select all clips, right-click and select Export Media…
9. For our export, we used the following settings:

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920 x 1080.
o
Render at Maximum Depth: Unchecked
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Maximum Render Quality: Unchecked
10. Click Queue. Adobe Media Encoder CC will launch.
11. Start the timer and click the green play arrow.
12. Stop the timer when the encoding is complete (a sound will play).
13. Close Adobe Media Encoder CC, and close Premiere.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Under Create New, select New Project…
3. Name the document. We named ours Transcode test 4. We left the project and scratch disk locations set
to their default locations.
4. Click OK.
5. In the project pane, control-click and select Import…
6. Navigate to the test clip location. We used the following clips:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0010_C0010

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0011_C0011

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0012_C0012
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 20

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0013_C0013

Blackmagic Cinema Camera_1_2013-04-25_0019_C0014
7. Select the first DNG file for each set of footage and click Open.
8. When the clips are all loaded, select all clips, control-click and select Export Media…
9. For our export, we used the following settings:

Format: H.264

Preset: Match Source – High bitrate

Video Tab:
o
Uncheck the tick box for Weight & Height and change the dimensions to 1920 x 1080.
o
Render at Maximum Depth: Unchecked
o
Bitrate Encoding: VBR, 1 pass
o
Target Bitrate [Mbps]: 10
o
Maximum Bitrate [Mbps]: 12

Effects, Audio, Multiplexer, Captions, and Publish tabs: leave at default.

Maximum Render Quality: Unchecked
10. Click Queue. Adobe Media Encoder CC will launch.
11. Start the timer and click the green play arrow.
12. Stop the timer when the encoding is complete (a sound will play).
13. Close Adobe Media Encoder CC, and close Premiere.
Measuring dropped frames during 5 minutes of video preview at 2400×1350 (Maximum
Render Quality)
For this test, we created a project file (Dropped Frames Test 1) with a sequence of clips arranged to be 10
minutes long. We were sure to maintain the same sequence arrangement across platforms. We measured frames
dropped during the first 5 minutes of playback from the program monitor.
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Open the project file.
3. Right-click the sequence in the Project pane and select Sequence Settings…
4. Under Video Previews, change the Preview File Format to Microsoft AVI.
5. Change the Codec to Microsoft Video 1.
6. Change the Width and Height to 2400 and 1350.
7. [Check Maximum Bit Depth. Click OK when the dialog box appears.]
8. [Check Maximum Render Quality. Click OK when the dialog box appears.]
9. Ensure that Composite in Linear Color (requires GPU acceleration or max render quality) is enabled.
10. Click OK.
11. Click OK when the Delete All Previews For This Sequence dialog box appears.
12. In the Program Monitor pane, click the wrench icon to open the settings menu.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 21
13. Click Show Dropped Frames Indicator.
14. Change Playback Resolution to Full.
15. Change Zoom Level to 100%.
16. Drag the play head in the Timeline pane to the beginning of the sequence.
17. Right-click the Program Monitor pane and select Maximize Panel Group.
18. Click Play, and start the timer.
19. After 5 minutes have elapsed, stop video playback, hover over the circle-shaped Dropped Frames Indicator, and
report the number of dropped frames.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Open the project file.
3. Control click the sequence in the Project pane and select Sequence Settings…
4. Under Video Previews, change the Preview File Format to QuickTime.
5. Change the Codec to Video.
6. Change the Width and Height to 2400 and 1350.
7. [Check Maximum Bit Depth. Click OK when the dialog box appears.]
8. [Check Maximum Render Quality. Click OK when the dialog box appears.]
9. Ensure that Composite in Linear Color (requires GPU acceleration or max render quality) is enabled.
10. Click OK.
11. Click OK when the Delete All Previews For This Sequence dialog box appears.
12. In the Program Monitor pane, click the wrench icon to open the settings menu.
13. Click Show Dropped Frames Indicator.
14. Change Playback Resolution to Full.
15. Change Zoom Level to 100%.
16. Drag the play head in the Timeline pane to the beginning of the sequence.
17. Right-click the Program Monitor pane and select Maximize Panel Group.
18. Click Play, and start the timer.
19. After 5 minutes have elapsed, stop video playback, hover over the circle-shaped Dropped Frames Indicator, and
report the number of dropped frames.
Measuring dropped frames during 5 minutes of video preview at 2400×1350 (with effects)
For this test, we used an existing project file from a previous test (Sequence Test 3). The project consisted of six
clips and a sequence with a specific arrangement of footage that is consistent between both systems. We added gamma
correction, color balance, sharpening, and transition effects to all the clips.
Dell Precision M3800
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Open the project file.
3. Control click the sequence in the Project pane and select Sequence Settings…
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 22
4. Under Video Previews, change the Preview File Format to QuickTime.
5. Change the Codec to Video.
6. Change the Width and Height to 2400 and 1350.
7. Check Maximum Bit Depth. Click OK when the dialog box appears.
8. Check Maximum Render Quality. Click OK when the dialog box appears.
9. Ensure that Composite in Linear Color (requires GPU acceleration or max render quality) is enabled.
10. Click OK.
11. Click OK when the Delete All Previews For This Sequence dialog box appears.
12. In the Program Monitor pane, click the wrench icon to open the settings menu.
13. Click Show Dropped Frames Indicator.
14. Change Playback Resolution to Full.
15. Change Zoom Level to 100%.
16. Drag the play head in the Timeline pane to the beginning of the sequence.
17. Right-click the Program Monitor pane and select Maximize Panel Group.
18. Click Play, and start the timer.
19. After 5 minutes have elapsed, stop video playback, hover over the circle-shaped Dropped Frames Indicator, and
report the number of dropped frames.
Apple MacBook Pro
1. Launch Premiere Pro CC.
2. Open the project file.
3. Control click the sequence in the Project pane and select Sequence Settings…
4. Under Video Previews, change the Preview File Format to QuickTime.
5. Change the Codec to Video.
6. Change the Width and Height to 2400 and 1350.
7. Check Maximum Bit Depth. Click OK when the dialog box appears.
8. Check Maximum Render Quality. Click OK when the dialog box appears.
9. Ensure that Composite in Linear Color (requires GPU acceleration or max render quality) is enabled.
10. Click OK.
11. Click OK when the Delete All Previews For This Sequence dialog box appears.
12. In the Program Monitor pane, click the wrench icon to open the settings menu.
13. Click Show Dropped Frames Indicator.
14. Change Playback Resolution to Full.
15. Change Zoom Level to 100%.
16. Drag the play head in the Timeline pane to the beginning of the sequence.
17. Right-click the Program Monitor pane and select Maximize Panel Group.
18. Click Play, and start the timer.
After 5 minutes have elapsed, stop video playback, hover over the circle-shaped Dropped Frames Indicator, and report
the number of dropped frames.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 23
MEASURING SURFACE TEMPERATURE
Test requirements



FLIR i7 Thermal Imaging Camera
Unigine Valley Benchmark
FLIR QuickReport 1.2 SP1
Setting up the test
1. Set the power plan to the manufacturer’s default setting.
2. Set the display brightness to 100 percent.
3. Set the remaining power plan settings as follows:
4. Dim the display: Never
5. Turn off the display: Never
6. Put the computer to sleep: Never
7. Disable the screen saver. On the MacBook Pro, disable the lock screen.
8. Place the system under test in a windowless, climate-controlled room.
9. Download Unigine Valley Benchmark for Windows or Mac from https://unigine.com/products/valley/
10. Install Unigine Valley Benchmark with the default options.
Running the test
1. Boot the system.
2. Wait 5 minutes before running the test.
3. Launch Unigine Valley Benchmark.
4. Select the Extreme HD preset, and run the test.
5. After 30 minutes, take an image of the bottom and top of the notebook with a FLIR i7 thermal imaging camera.
6. Record the results.
7. Shut down the notebook and let it cool for an hour.
8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 two more times, and report the average of the three runs.
Reporting the results
1. Open the result photos in FLIR QuickReport 1.2 SP1.
2. Double-click the photo to be analyzed.
3. In the Analyze window, move the cursor to the hottest spot of the drive area on the topside of the laptop and
record the temperature reading.
4. Repeat step 3 for the bottom side of the laptop.
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 for each test photo.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 24
ABOUT PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES
We provide industry-leading technology assessment and fact-based marketing
services. We bring to every assignment extensive experience with and expertise
in all aspects of technology testing and analysis, from researching new
technologies, to developing new methodologies, to testing with existing and new
tools.
Principled Technologies, Inc.
1007 Slater Road, Suite 300
Durham, NC, 27703
www.principledtechnologies.com
When the assessment is complete, we know how to present the results to a
broad range of target audiences. We provide our clients with the materials they
need, from market-focused data to use in their own collateral to custom sales
aids, such as test reports, performance assessments, and white papers. Every
document reflects the results of our trusted independent analysis.
We provide customized services that focus on our clients’ individual
requirements. Whether the technology involves hardware, software, Web sites,
or services, we offer the experience, expertise, and tools to help our clients
assess how it will fare against its competition, its performance, its market
readiness, and its quality and reliability.
Our founders, Mark L. Van Name and Bill Catchings, have worked together in
technology assessment for over 20 years. As journalists, they published over a
thousand articles on a wide array of technology subjects. They created and led
the Ziff-Davis Benchmark Operation, which developed such industry-standard
benchmarks as Ziff Davis Media’s Winstone and WebBench. They founded and
led eTesting Labs, and after the acquisition of that company by Lionbridge
Technologies were the head and CTO of VeriTest.
Principled Technologies is a registered trademark of Principled Technologies, Inc.
All other product names are the trademarks of their respective owners.
Disclaimer of Warranties; Limitation of Liability:
PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES, INC. HAS MADE REASONABLE EFFORTS TO ENSURE THE ACCURACY AND VALIDITY OF ITS TESTING, HOWEVER,
PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES, INC. SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, RELATING TO THE TEST RESULTS AND
ANALYSIS, THEIR ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS OR QUALITY, INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
ALL PERSONS OR ENTITIES RELYING ON THE RESULTS OF ANY TESTING DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK, AND AGREE THAT PRINCIPLED
TECHNOLOGIES, INC., ITS EMPLOYEES AND ITS SUBCONTRACTORS SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY WHATSOEVER FROM ANY CLAIM OF LOSS OR
DAMAGE ON ACCOUNT OF ANY ALLEGED ERROR OR DEFECT IN ANY TESTING PROCEDURE OR RESULT.
IN NO EVENT SHALL PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES, INC. BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES IN
CONNECTION WITH ITS TESTING, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. IN NO EVENT SHALL PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES,
INC.’S LIABILITY, INCLUDING FOR DIRECT DAMAGES, EXCEED THE AMOUNTS PAID IN CONNECTION WITH PRINCIPLED TECHNOLOGIES, INC.’S
TESTING. CUSTOMER’S SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDIES ARE AS SET FORTH HEREIN.
New Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation vs.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display
A Principled Technologies test report 25