Dell Precision Tower 7810

Starting at the low end, you can configure a machine costing a humble $1,500. On the grander side, it’s possible to build a system with a price tag of up to $35,000. With this range, you can build a 7810 with any need and budget in mind.

Review Machine

There’s a struggle when reviewing a computer because their configurations can be so drastically different within the same product line. The machine Dell delivered for this review was no exception. The configuration we reviewed has a street price of $14,480.98 — overkill to be sure — but far lower-cost configurations are possible. The way you configure your machine should always have the same goals: fast performance and reliability. The priority level of each goal will control the price of the machine.

The way you configure your machine should always have the same goals: fast performance and reliability.

This machine is a monster to put it bluntly. The dual 2.2 GHz Xeon Processors with 55 MB of cache have 22 cores each with 44 threads each — that’s a total of 44 cores and 88 threads. That’s some processing power. Each processor retails on the street for $4,115, so $8,230 of this computer comes from these two processors. If you’re building your own 7810 and need to cut some cost, a single processor should do well. This setup might be a bit of overkill unless you are doing some high-resolution spherical video stitching.

Multi-card reader
Easily removed side panel

The video card, also called the GPU or graphics processing unit, will dictate how quickly and efficiently many processes within your editing program run. As equipped, this machine has the NVIDIA Quadro M4000. M indicates that it has the Maxwell GPU architecture rather than the older K, or Kepler, GPU architecture. The M4000 has  8GB of GDDR5 GPU memory and will compute APIs like CUDA, DirectCompute and OpenCL R5. It has a max power consumption 120 watts.

One nice thing about building your own 7810 with Dell is that they won't let you build your computer with an insufficient amount of power, but in general, you should always pay attention to the power consumption of your hardware so you have the right power supply.

The video card is a place where we suggest spending as much as you can handle. The biggest change in performance for video production will come from your GPU.

The case is not too different from prior Dell Towers like the T7600. The Dell Precision Tower 7810 825W chassis is nice looking, offers great air flow and has easy to open side and front panels for service or upgrades. We liked the integrated card reader option because we don't need to have another USB device plugged in. For our use, we’d like to see a CFast 2.0 card reader included as an option. Overall, the case is very nice — no lights or gimmicks, just a straightforward, tough case.

Multi-card reader
Multi-card reader

This system came with 64GB (8x8GB) of 2400MHz DDR4 RDIMM ECC RAM. We recommend you put whatever budget you have left from your GPU in to your RAM. The amount of RAM you have will make your user experience much better. ECC RAM, or error correcting RAM might be unnecessary, but it’s nice to have if your budget allows.

Lastly, when configuring a computer for best user experience, speed and reliability, an SSD OS drive is a must. Having an SSD for your OS drive will allow the computer to boot up and open programs more quickly. This is something that seems like a little adjustment, but when you want to work, and the computer starts up fast and the programs open fast, the performance of your system will feel much faster overall. This system was set up with a PCIe SSD Boot drive, plus ­2 matching 3.5-inch SATA Hard Drives for 2TBs of internal storage.

It's a behemoth of a computer, but we assume most editors would have chosen a different configuration. For example, we’d pull some budget from the processors and invest it in the GPU. Although your renders will take longer, the editing experience would be improved.

Tests and Experience

For over a month, we tested this machine editing mostly 4K footage with a wide range of bitrates, working with footage like REDCODE RAW and  Cinema DNG Raw and even Apple ProRes 444 XQ. We edited bit rates of up to 250 MB/s using our normal workflow with in Premiere Pro CC 15.3, and there wasn’t a big difference between the 7810 and our normal editing machine’s user experience.

With that said, our normal edit machine has a much more appropriate configuration for our use and workflow. That machine is configured with Dual 2.6GHz Intel Xeon E5-2640 v3 8-core processors, an NVIDIA Quadro K5200 GPU and 32GB of DDR4 SDRAM.

We Benchmarked the two with PCMARK 8 using their creative benchmark test. The 7810’s score was only slightly better with a score of 6120 vs 5743 from our normal editing machine.

Recommended Users

Because the reviewed machine was built to amaze, we only recommend this configuration to those making a living as a post-production specialist, and even then, it’s probably overkill.

However, because the 7810 line can be configured many different ways, we’re hard pressed to find someone to whom we wouldn't recommend the Dell 7810 when configured to their needs and budget. Buying a computer that’s fully assembled and ready to plug and play will cost more than if you built the same system yourself, but depending on the configuration, the savings could be little and you’ll have someone to call if something goes wrong.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

With a $1,500 – $35,000 price range, your expectations for the 7810 should follow your investment. Be sure to research what configuration will get the best bang for the buck with your needs and wants. The unit we reviewed was costly and put a lot of that cost into the processors when it would have been better allocated to the GPU.

Overall, the 7810 line can fit just about every use case and if you have an extensive budget, it will blow your socks off.

Dell
www.dell.com

STRENGTHS:

Robust and flexible chassis
Many configuration options

WEAKNESSES:

CFast 2.0 card reader not included in Multi-card reader

SUMMARY:

The Dell 7810 series tower can be configured to fit any need and budget. The case is stout and good-looking. No matter what desire you have for your edit system, the 7810 can be built to fit.

PRICE:

As reviewed: $14,480.98
Range for Dell 7810 towers: $1,500 – $35,000

TECH SPECS:

Dell Precision Tower 7810 (as reviewed):
Processor: Dual Intel® Xeon® Processor E5­2699 v4  (22C, 2.2GHz, 3.6GHz Turbo, 2400MHz, 55MB, 145W)
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
Video Card: NVIDIA® Quadro® M4000 8GB (4 DP) (1 DP to ­DVI adapter)
Memory: 64GB (8x8GB) 2400 MHz DDR4 RDIMM ECC
HDD/Storage Controller: Integrated Intel AHCI chipset SATA controller (6 x 6.0Gb/s) ­ SW RAID 0/1/5/10
Internal Hard Drive Configuration: C12 PCIe SSD Boot, plus 0­2 matching 3.5" SATA Hard Drives
Raid configuration Connectivity: No RAID
Hard Drive: PCIe Solid State Drives: 1 x 1TB Dell 4*Drive PCIe x16 M.2 Solid State Drive Card (boot)
2nd Hard Drive: 2TB 3.5" Serial­ATA (7,200 RPM) Hard Drive
CD ROM/DVD ROM: 8x Slimline DVD+/­RW Drive
Sound: No Add­ in Sound Card (Integrated Audio)
Additional Storage Device: 19 ­in ­1 Media Card Reader
Network Card: No Add­ In Network Card (Integrated NIC only)
Thunderbolt Card: Thunderbolt PCIe Card
Keyboard: US English (QWERTY) Dell KB212­B QuietKey
USB Keyboard Black
Mouse: Dell MS111 USB Optical Mouse
Power Cords: US 125V Power Cord
Hardware Support Services: 3 Year Hardware Service with Onsite/In­ Home Service After Remote Diagnosis

Chris Monlux’s first experience with a computer was with an Apple IIe in 1985. His dad traded his prized 3-wheeled ATV to his grandpa for it. Chris is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor. 

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