- unaligned Jack socket, so that only one channel plays
- Flickering backlight, where only one rescue is to downgrade BIOS: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3519/t/...
- random freezes: Whole computer hangs, there is no error in Windows log, it's not related to nVidia card, it's not related to load.
We worked with Dell for months, and after we gave them our findings, they released about 5 BIOS updates week after week. The BIOS updates didn't really fix anything though... $3200 we were paying for these things. Very disappointed.
The flickering and freezes I thought are well known problems with the XPS15. Have those been finally fixed with the latest updates?
"Suffered" because if you have updated your BIOS Intel has automagically updated their driver, so Windows is good now. Debian testing and Ubuntu 16.10 are also good now. Ubuntu 16.10 is a recent thing, but Debian testing was good well before Windows.
Your problems are therefore caused by:
a. Intel issuing shitty Skylake GPU drivers for something like 12 months. This obviously effected everyone, not just Dell. But Dell released Skylake CPU's before most so they were hit hardest. Apple worked around the problem by simply not updating their Mac Book pro line.
b. Ubuntu not updating 16.04 LTS. The 4.8 Kernel plus bug fixes, plus new Intel X drivers, plus new GPU firmware is what is required.
I've owned a 9550 for about a year now, and it's been a world of pain. There is plenty of blame to share around, but Dell is right down my list. The only thing I blame them for is the shitty Mac Book like keyboard.
I'm not in a rush to upgrade to 16.10, but I'm also not opposed to it in the slightest. Maybe I'll give that a shot over the holidays here. Thanks again, cheers!
There are quite a few decent alternatives that are hundreds of euros cheaper for at least as much 'machine', but Time Machine and the ability to just go to the Apple store if something is wrong (especially with Apple Care) is probably worth that difference to me.
What seals the deal (again, probably, not 100% sure yet) is vendor lock-in, a great touchpad, iOS development, and a whole bunch of miscellaneous little things.
But I will say my next Mac upgrade will not be a happy one, which is a first for me. I hope it doesn't stay this way.
Problem is that, when you spend pretty decent amount of money for a device, you do have an expectation in terms of quality, partially you're paying for that.
Of course the list of drawbacks gets longer and longer…
What matters is the build quality, QA, battery life, screen, heat dissipation. All things you cant infer solely based on specs.
If you buy a laptop to watch youtube and read e-mails, sure, any dual core will do, but for a professional, performance matters. Speaking of performance, I wouldn’t buy this dell because the CPU has no L4 cache. Some tasks, like compiling C++, benefit a lot from that 64-128 MB on-chip DRAM found in some previous-generation CPUs.
Specs still matter. Battery life is measured in hours; screens are measured in pixels, inches and percentage of Adobe RGB.
Might be worth a try?
- The webcam is below the screen ... I don't want to join a video conference when the primary view is my nose hair.
- Why do "modern" slim devices only have two USB ports? There is room on the chassis for more (I don't know about the interior layout).
- We've tried several of the Dell docks with these ... while I love the fact that the laptop charges through the same cable that's used for everything else (video, audio, HID devices), it's a bit buggy. Two examples are that: 1) you have to plug speakers into the computer's audio jack after the computer is attached to the dock and booted and 2) you have to be careful the magnetic switch doesn't tell the laptop/dock your lid is closed - in my case the keyboard and mouse connected to the dock become disabled even when the laptop wakes back up.
/huge Surface Book fan
Best of both worlds, to me at least. (Except for when I need to do something irresponsibly inefficient like run three VMs and full screen video at once... which will work, but not be great.)
Desktops are a shrinking market, but innovation continues. I'm glad I looked into them.
Plus 4K screens make me squinty (the SP4 has a lovely screen, but Win10 often gets confused on scaling and does horrific things to Java subwindows... and it's small). I'm pretty much a 30 year old curmudgeon now.
Oh and I used to use |-| with two 1080s on the sides of an IBM 2560x1600 monitor. Gosh you could spreadsheet the hell out of things on that 30" screen. Kinda miss it.
And Mac does high resolution very well.
/saunters off to rethink his position on the Surface Pro
//wallet begins weeping in his back pocket
Depending on how well the SP4 can run Arch (well technically Antegros-and I'm sure it may still be a while for drivers to catch up), there's a very good chance I'll probably move to that platform and never look back.
Thought I may still get a new Macbook for work. Too much of the workflow I've developed and grown attached to include Mac productivity apps
I'm seriously considering getting one.
Just bought SP4. It is basically replacing my Chromebook. This will be my light weight laptop for work from coffeeshops and couch.
I have a 5 year old Dell XPS 15 for main dev work and some photo editing. Once it dies or gets too slow, I am going to replace it with a desktop. With SP4, I should be able to do a lot more work away from my desk. Chromebook let me ssh into my servers but sometimes it was not easy to be as productive in VIM as in real IDE.
Granted, it's not as seamless as it could be, but it's still new technology. There are issues with the USB-C connection cutting out when wifi is also on, so I've gotten in the habit of just turning off wifi when I'm docked. We're currently in the "first generation" of consumer USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 devices, so I expect those issues to get ironed out pretty quickly.
I grew up on mechanical keyboards but after testing a bunch in a computer store, I realized I no longer care what kind of keys I use. It could be that I just got used to the Apple chiclet keyboards, but who knows.
My keyboard has four switchable profiles and 22 programmable keys, which means I can have 88 combinations. I mostly use the keys for launching apps and Sublime Text shortcuts though.
Not bad for around $100.
I had one of those dodgy early 2011 15" MBPs, and if I didn't have AppleCare, I would have been stuck with a costly motherboard replacement when my GPU croaked the first time. Granted, my MBP did eventually die after my AppleCare lapsed, but knowing you can get decent support in a major North American city on your warranty is something I value. I'm not sure that Razer (or ASUS, MSI or Gigabyte, for that matter) is well equipped to provide that level of service.
The only laptop I ever had that needed warranty service was my Macbook Pro. Good thing I got it, the logic board replacement cost more than the AppleCare did. Not that it helped though, my model of MBP had a design defect related to the GPU overheating and my laptop died after the AppleCare lapsed. Apple "recalled" it and fixed it, but not until after I bought a new laptop.
I've never had any issues with my non Mac laptops... None that required a major repair under warranty, at least.
The thing with third party warranties is the "put to the test" part. You never know how it's going to turn out until you need it. The thing with AppleCare and warranties from Dell/HP/Lenovo is that they are lower risk in my opinion.
That's not to say that third party warranties are bad, I just don't have much interest in trying them.
I generally look for a quad core i7/HQ and a discrete GPU. I guess I could probably live without the discrete GPU, but if I'm going to buy a good laptop, I may as well spend a little extra to get it.
Battery life isn't a big consideration for me - I'm plugged in most of the time and I consider any battery life >3h to be gravy.
It's a few years since I retired my old Precision laptop, but it definitely ticked the thick, durable, huge battery, tons of ports and reliable Linux drivers back then. I'm not sure how the contemporary models hold up.
More recently, I think the W range might have been superseded by some certain models in the P range, though I'm not too sure about this.
Mine has an M.2 SSD and a big hard disk in it, a real GTX 960 eGPU via Thunderbolt 3, and only 32 GB RAM for now. Running Linux it has tons of overhead for multiple VMs (my Win10 VM has 8GB RAM), and lots of processing power. Unlike most laptops the Precision 7x series also is built to run flat out without throttling under load.
Yes, it weighs like 8 lbs, and I don't think the new "carbon fiber" ones feel as durable as the older tan aluminum ones, but it's definitely a worthy replacement for a desktop. I just take a netbook with me most of the time when I need portability, but it's great when I know I need horsepower somewhere other than my own office.
 Asus ROG: https://www.asus.com/ROG-Republic-Of-Gamers/ROG-G501JW/
 Razer Blade: http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-systems/razer-blade
There were other laptops I've been shown from Razer that looked way too much like a 'sexy' Macbook Pro style. Of course Razer / ASUS ROG are gaming specific laptops, so the specs and the prices will be higher than most laptops.
i was in a mall the other day and happened across a windows store. i was very pleased to see they had a range of xps laptops on display. i found them to be very attractive and well made. IIRC some of them had a power button on the side of the laptop instead of the top of the keyboard. my current laptop has a power button like this and i cannot fucking stand it. i press it by accident at least twice a day. any sane person would realize what a terrible idea that is -- it totally baffles me why they do this. its very sad to see such an obvious flaw on these otherwise great laptops.
e - i think that limit comes from airlines limiting the size of individual batteries they transport. https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/as...
The simple fact is that the FAA doesn't screen battery sizes. If you brought something the size of a car battery, they'd probably not allow it, but the difference between a 95WHr and a 140WHr laptop battery is something they're neither interested in nor capable of actively checking. Apple put a small battery in the laptop because it's more important to them to have a thin light laptop than it is to have more battery life. This random person unaffiliated with Apple then decided with no evidence that it was because of some basically unknown FAA document. That's all I meant.
The fastest silicon in the cheapest casing that would do the job was a reasonable strategy back when even the best hardware became obsolete within three years, but now this is much less dominant. People who are not willing to spend on build quality are likely to just stick to what they have.
Based on what I've been reading here on HN, most Apple users are pissed off by the choices that Apple made for the new MBP's, and are honestly exploring their options (as am I). That doesn't sound like fanboy behavior.
B) I believe Dell's sales volume is heavily inflated by all of the government and school contracts they have. Every computer I used in K-12 and most in college were dell machines, simply because that's what schools buy. That makes raw sales numbers irrelevant, because we're talking laptops for developers, not average office workers or students.
266 stood for the cutting edge 266mhz Pentium II that thing was rocking.
You don't have permission to access "http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/productdetails/xps-15-9560-laptop" on this server.
Incredible to see the price differential between the US and DE stores though, on top of the 18% VAT you expect
I bought my XPS 13 from Costco, which was a nicer experience in pretty much every way.
Supports up to 32GB of memory
Killer™ Wireless: The Killer 1535 Wireless-AC
The thing I think with those of us that do have their computers connected to cable network a lot ("all the time") is that it's usually in the same place (our desk) so it's not that big a problem to adapt the end of the network cable there.
In fact I'd prefer to use a usb-c brick with all connections (video, keyboard, mouse, lan) over the current one where I insert the network cable into one usb, then the monitor into the hdmi, and the monitor usb which has the mouse/keyboard in it's hub into a second usb. Of all the "docking flaws" with my current laptop I find the lack of RJ45 to be the least annoying actually.
Gbit ethernet isn't that much faster than 802.11ac, so I'm really having a hard time thinking of a realistic use case here.
EDIT: wrote this before I realised that the wifi card this laptop ships with is particularly bad.
I absolutely hate how the best machines are Gaming machines, which means you're stuck with all sorts of LED bling-crap.
The 13R3 looks like an absolutely killer machine for everyday work. OLED touch, quad core CPU (HQ series), fast GPU, physical touchpad buttons, ports out the wazoo, user serviceable RAM (up to 32!) and storage, etc.
With brands like Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo, I know I'll get at least OK support.
Because Razer is more of a niche brand without a mature support infrastructure like the aforementioned companies, I do have some concerns.
The only configuration options for me are the size of the SSD and if I want the 4k Touch Screen or the matte 1080p screen.
I think you are referring to the 17 inch Razer Blade Pro. Which is nowhere near 13 or 14 inches.
I want 32 and a quad-core, in an 13-inch form-factor. Both of which the Alienware 13 offers, but thats a gaming machine.
Sadly dell makes makes you pick on the XPS13:
No iris graphics
nice matte display
Iris 540 graphics
3200x1800 shiny/reflective display (that halves your battery life)
Sadly I was looking for the Iris 540, 1080P display, and 16GB ram. A very rare combination. Hopefully the new dell makes the 1080P option independ of the rest of the laptop.
Sadly the kaby lake + iris graphics won't be out for a few more months. So the 2015 XPS13 is WAY faster at graphics than the 2016 kaby lake.
It has Quadro M1000M 4GB graphics, 32 GB of ECC RAM, quad core, Linux certified by HP, 4k screen, can handle two external 4k monitors and drive the panel at about 4.5 pounds.
edit: It's also unclear whether the SSD in the ZBook is PCIe or not. It isn't stated, so I assume it's not, as PCIe performance is a differentiator.
Yeah, those are real sexy. Only downside is the terrible location of the webcam, I suppose you can use an external, though.
> It's also unclear whether the SSD in the ZBook is PCIe or not. It isn't stated, so I assume it's not, as PCIe performance is a differentiator.
From the quick specs, two drives: one PCIe SSD, the second M.2 2280 SATA-3.
Is there a substantial difference? This is a development laptop so I only cared about it being able to push enough pixels.
Perhaps there's a difference for gamers?
I want a laptop with Iris Pro 580/p580 and NO dedicated GPU. The 580 has a bit over a TFLOP of compute (plenty for games like DoTA) and more importantly, the drivers don't suck on Linux. The issue is that any laptop that ships with that processor also ships with a crappy dedicated GPU.
When I have a 45w processor, I want to pay a few hundred extra for a 55w Nvidia M2000m that has 10% more compute power (granted, more efficient at GPGPU) and horrible drivers.
What I want:
15.6", i7-6770HQ, 32gb DDR4, M.2 SSD, high-res IPS screen, Thinkpad-grade keyboard, good webcam, decent ports (At least 2x thunderbolt, 3x usb3, SD, 3.5mm, and ethernet), a little thicker for a battery that lasts a couple days, durable build quality, large trackpad with builtin wacom, NO dedicated graphics.
I guess that's too much to ask.
Albeit, I am biased, in that I intentionally avoid bleeding edge GPU hardware in general anywhere I can, but its hard to avoid Intel's latest because each year all the NUCs / notebooks / desktop platform switch to their latest CPUs. With AMD, since they have basically no market presence anywhere, I can get away with buying a 290 a year after it comes out for $240 and then having a great out of the box experience with it, whereas my 740SU notebook 4 years ago was only 6 months new when I got one and had massive Haswell GPU bugs on latest Mesa for about 6 months after buying it.
But even then, Intel and AMD are pretty much par for support times and when you should expect good stability in my experiences, but everyone memes AMD as being trash while Intel is the savior of consumer Linux.
I've had way less problems with intel than I did with my radeons. Not sure I'd say better than nvidia (who has a pretty good binary blob driver), but similar.
Even weird edge cases like rotating a display into portrait mode while logged in worked fine.
It's not a GTX 1070 killer, but it's quite a nice upgrade from other Intel GPUs. It runs a fair variety of 2d/3d stuff at 1080P quite comfortably.
The next gen looks promising though. Intel's already mentioned the kaby lake + iris for the NUC in Feb/March. I'm hoping that intel tunes the performance, power use, and price so it makes it into more devices. Iris graphics on laptops is pretty rare so far.
Hopefully they drop the price enough to make it more popular. As you mention it's a particularly attractive option for linux.
Has M.2 and all the other things you mentioned.
I've been using different models from the X-Series with Ubuntu since 08.04 and am currently looking at the T450s (14", but still an Ultrabook and light enough for me).
The X1 Carbon looks damn sweet as well.
I got it because i wanted a 14" laptop and it was the only one on the market. Screen size is perfect (15" is a bit big for travelling & carry on luggage)
This looks like the laptop i've been waiting for
The current model T460s is also interesting, quite a bit more performance than its predecessor, albeit in a different price bracket.
I'm mostly going for the 450 because there's tons of decent refurb available and I'm frugal that way ;-)
Looking for a laptop is pretty frustrating, there are a ton of models and each has a ton of versions, it's really hard to know what to get :(
They should have been fixed by the latest firmware (apparently still in 2015) but I can still experience them sometimes. I believe I have the latest fw (I'm surely >= 06A), but can't check ATM, so chances are I'm not on the latest.
Then again, I admit I can work with it almost seamlessly (dev-work from CLI mainly).
Dota 2 Reborn 2015
low 1280x72059.8 85 ~ 72 fps + Compare
med. 1366x76846.9 68.5 ~ 58 fps + Compare
high 1920x108029.2 39.5 ~ 34 fps + Compare
ultra 1920x108034.6 fps + Compare
Presumably Dota is easier on the GPU than Dota2. The kaby lake with iris graphics isn't out yet, should be Feb or March or so. The 2015 XPS 13 has the Iris 540. Sadly the 2016 XPS13 doesn't, yet.
Finally convinced support to take it in for warranty (expires in a few weeks), which means I'll be without it for a while, but hopefully they at least can swap out the mobo with a non-chirpy version...
Dell doesn't really care - they still sell loads, and as long as the online reviewers don't complain loudly enough so that their sales are affected it is just not worth the cost.
Suppose you order one through Amazon, other than doing a feature by feature comparison, can you tell it is the "latest" one?
Actually I'd be so happy with a laptop like that. An XPS 13 without webcam and mic.
I am curious which linux kernel version people (and your co-worker) are using though.
My biggest complaint about the XPS15 I had a little over a year ago was the spacebar. There was a manufacturing defect in mine where the touchpad ribbon cable pressed up against the spacebar and was causing unregistered keystrokes. I read internet forums where multiple people had this issue. Maybe Dell has fixed the manufacturing issue by now, but it was bad enough that I returned the XPS15.
At least, I think so...
And, well, I'm not too picky...
Just curious what makes you say that?
Some examples: The terminal is smart enough to know when you want to paste a command, and allows you to Ctrl-V without the Shift modifier if you have a terminal command in the clipboard. The terminal will intelligently auto-correct a tab completion when you use the wrong case (e.g. type "docu" and hit tab, and it will complete to "Documents" if there is no file/folder starting with "docu", instead of failing on the mixed case). Start a process in the terminal and minimize or send that window to the background, and you'll get a system notification when the task completes. That's awesome for when I start to compile something big, then load up Netflix or Vimeo to pass the time while it runs; I don't end up binging away my night on videos and forgetting about that build. There are a few more niceties in the terminal but this paragraph is already huge.
In the file manager, dealing with networked drives is much more seamless than even macOS. It has built in support for sftp, afp, nfs, smb/cifs. I can put in the ssh credentials for one of my VPS instances, and I can then browse that instance as if it's a local drive. Ironically, browsing a Windows share from Elementary is easier than from another Windows box, thanks to regressions in Windows 10's file sharing settings.
There's a bunch of functionality I won't go into as this is turning into an advertisement, but in my experience it is by far the best desktop Linux experience I've had, and the only one that comes close to the cohesiveness of macOS.
They aren't that expensive as a pro tool when you factor in a typical lifetime of 3+ years.
Also IIRC it is only the very first user that has this privilege by default. For extra users I think you'll have to explicitly enable it when you create the account (or at a later stage.)
"you should never run anything as root" yet on ubuntu everything as good as runs as root by default.
even windows ussually has a seperate password to create user accounts, but with ubuntu make the mistake of leaving your machine unlocked and unattended and any little script kiddy can own your machine in fractions of a second. worse even than windows, because they get remote access by default.
I understand why they did it. but if they are making those kind of changes I dont have the energy to track down what other things they "broke" to favor some (what i consider to be) misguided idea of useability over security.
you know, stuff like this
Wrong, I'd say. Only if you or the IT department specifically set it up that way.
Also, again IIRC but I think you have to type password the first time you use sudo un a session on desktop Ubuntu (or after 15 minutes).
which is also my experience.
having plenty of experience getting red hat fedora and centos set up just the way i like, i decided very quickly even getting ubuntu "safe" was more learning curve than reward.
you cant even copy files to a usb stick because mounting it requires a password.
that is very different to making the machine yours via remote access.
and very very different than letting browser plugins create user accounts that can be accessed remotely (that have root access by default).
then theres the fact that
selinux seems to be a right state on ubuntu
plus what everybody else said. basically put there are several nicer and more secure distributions of linux i would choose before ubuntu.
I don't know about where you live, but where I live it's nothing short of amazing. It usually really is Next Business Day, there are no arguments, the man comes out with parts does the deed on my desk, and if it doesn't fix the issue lodges a new support call for it.
When the warranty expired I purchased a spare part. Granted finding the part number was a painful experience. But the measly $100 or whatever it was for the entire plastic back of the screen including the HV electronics, and the 2 day delivery more than made up for it.
I often look at other laptops, but then I remember HP had to be prosecuted by our government here before they would honour warranty claims, and the utter lack of response from ASUS for out of warranty parts.
For me Dell hardware seems to be much of a muchness - the manufacturers all use the same parts after all. It's Dell's support that sets them apart for me - in an opposite way to what you say.
JBL Speakers that were genuinely excellent - I work at home and listen to music quite loudly so these were a huge selling point for me
Plenty of Ports
Easy to upgrade / repair - I think by the end of its life I had replaced or upgraded everything except the motherboard
All of the XPS systems since this one have paled in comparison, shitty speakers and an ultra book type.
The L502X was a chunky workhorse but it survived a years backpacking around Asia with me and then 4 years in Australia as my main work computer until it finally died enough that I couldn't be bothered to fix it (Would power on for half a second and die).
It also ran Linux like a dream - no incompatibilities!
On an Alienware 17 R3 now and it is a beast.... but it's speakers are no match for the L502X's :( Also absolutely cant get Linux to run on it so I am using Virtualbox with a dual head setup which has its share of issues
I was excited to buy a Kaby Lake Mac Book Pro. Especially when the Dell XPS13 is showing off >10 hours of 4k video playback on battery . I can get about 12-14 hours on my 2014/2015 MBP (coding with a dark background, low brightness) I really enjoy the added flexibility longer battery life gives me.
The real annoyance for me about the input devices is that the palm detection doesn't work for the touchpad (on Ubuntu), at least I couldn't get it working. So either typing suffers, or have to disable "tap to click", which is so weird I can't get used to it.