I have been doing research on the net for buying a laptop.
I have found xps 15 to suit perfectly for my needs. Configurations :
RGB led screen, 8GBRAM, 9-cell battery, backlight keyboard, 750GB 7200RPM SATA, AUDIO upgrade, i5 sandy bridge processor, bluetooth mouse. $2000 (Indian Rs95,000)
I have also opted for DELL 3yrs service with complete cover (best available for this model). Is it worth it? i.e. is it necessary?
I am an Mechanical Engineering student & want this laptop mostly for CAD, HD Movies, MS Office, Internet Browsing, e-book reading, & off-course GAMING!!!
However, i have some doubts regarding this model :---
1. most of my friends have dell laptops(of various editions) & they have adviced me to not buy dell laptops because dell batteries are of a very low quality & get damaged frequently. i have seen my friend changing his laptop batteries every 2-3 months. that is why i am a bit afraid for investing $2,000 on a laptop! however i did not find any review mentioning bad batteries for xps 15.....???
2. again the same friends complain about over-heating. i wanted to know whether buying the 9 cell model would help this? i found some reviews mentioning heating issues....any solution?
3. most reviews stated issue regarding NVIDIA card. Has the issue been fixed? If not, should i wait till the issue is solved? Any idea when it might get solved? Also there are some reviews regarding faulty motherboard....has this problem been solved?
4. Is there any l503x coming out?
5. Please post your opinions if my configurations are incorrect (mostly for CAD)
6. Any other issues that you found annoying in this model?
Please do post your replies as $2000 is a big amount for me & i cannot afford to mess with it
Thank you for reading my post
The XPS15 L502X is a great laptop. I have it with the 9 cell battery - no problems. It has a very long use time on battery. I have gotten over 9 hours on battery.
Three (3) year service with accidental damage coverage is recommended. Reason is for any laptop it is by nature more likely to receive some sort of damage since it is easily carried around. More bounce, more potential damage. I apply this to any manufacturer's laptop, not just Dell. Regardless of what you see in the Forum, this second generation Intel Sandy Bridge processor is very dependable. Also if service is required, Dell is very good. Sometimes you may have to insist on escalating service to a special higher level to resolve an issue. Overall, Dell service has been excellent for me. I know enough about PC's to get to the right person. I see many coments from India about bad Dell service via India technicians. I am in the USA and many times I get India technicians. They are difficult for me to understand sometimes, but other than that they have been every bit as competent as USA Dell technicians.
Overheatinh can be a problem with any laptop. The XPS15 does seem to run a little hotter than my desktop (about 10C), but not a problem. Most overheating problems arise when the vents on the bottom are blocked. Make sure the vents are not blocked by bed covers, etc. Always operate on a flat surface. The better fan cooled surfaces help be making sure air is circulating past the laptop bottom vents.
You did not specify which NVIDIA graphics card you are considering. All the problems I am aware of have been related to the 540M card. I don't know what differences in the motherboards are other than components that are at the higher end of the manufacturers specs. I have the 525M and have had not problems in the nine (9) months I have had my XPS15. Always use the most recent NVIDIA driver rom the NVIDIA website. When installing a new driver, it is a good idea to use Driver Sweeper to clean any remanents after uninstalling the old driver first. I do this even though NVIDIA has included a "clean" install in the custom options. The NVIDIA "clean" option is supposed to remove any leftovers after it uninstalls the old driver. I have found items remain in the registry, etc.
If there would be a L503X, it would be for any future fixes from Intel. The L502X was to distinguish the second generation Intel Sandy Bridge processor and chipset from the first release (L501X) that had problems due to Intel. The Sandy Bridge-E is out now. I don't know if Dell will use it in a third generation XPS15 or just come out with an entire new series.
The only thing I would consider in your configuration is going to the Intel i7 processor. For CAD work, it will pay off. Also avoid the 540M NVIDIA graphics card. Get the GTX 560M, GTX 570M, or GTX 580M if available or the GT 550M or GT 555M. You want the best GPU available for CAD work and HD movies. You can check NVIDIA for the differences in the GPUs. Be sure to get Windows 7. XP is going away. Windows 8 is coming out (already in beta). Don't know if Dell is offering it yet or not. I am not familiar with Win 8 but the reviews and tests so far don't excite me. Seems to be mostly WIN 7 with tweaks.
Update all drivers and BIOS when you get the unit.
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XPS 15 L502X, i7 6230QM, 8GB, GT525M, 640GB 7200rpm, WIN 7- 64bit, Security: MSE, MalwareBytes free on both systems
XPS 720, Intel Q 6600quad CPU, 4GB, 750GB, 3@ 160GB, Nvidia 7900GS, WIN 7 64bit Home Premium Edition
I own the 502 with the i7 processor.
First, I am not a gamer and I play one very lame game, which probably is not a test of the gaming side of this. When I went to buy a laptop I was orginally looking at the alienware, since I figured if it were a laptop which could do gaming, that it would do what I needed it for fairly easy.
The sales rep pushed to the xps over alienware.
I have owned just about every brand, and Vaio used to be my laptop of choice, and I was mad at dell for about 15+years.
Though the XPS 15 is one of the best laptops I have ever owned, and would choose it over a Vaio any day of the week.
Bought my wife an inspiron 15, and I have a 620 desktop from dell. I replaced 3 toshiba laptops this year. and I have a pile of older laptops, a bunch of vaio's laying around. My daughter has a hp dvr6t.
I run Mathematica on it, and Mathematica benchmarks it very high. ( you are an engineer so you can appreciate it ).
1. ) the xps has a solid chassis. yes it weighs a bit more than you would want for a 15inch laptop, but it is solid.
2. ) the video and sound are incredible. I am not a gamer, so can't speak to the capabilities of nvidia, ( i use the video more for openCL than anything else ).
3. ) overheating, I used a bamboo laptop desk which keeps nice airflow, and I am not overclocking.. ( at least I do not think I am ). it does get hot when I am running serious calculations with Mathematica, but not to the point where the machine shutsdown due to a heating fault.
4.) the only problem I have noticed, is fan noise, though it is not consistent, and I believe the bios upgrade fixed it
5. ) I question your choice of processors.. there is one major difference between the i5 and i7 sandy bridge, and that is the number of cores, the i7 has hyperthreading ( I think that is what they call it ). And I would strongly suggest the i7.
6. The comparisions between the xps and other dell models is probably not appropriate. The xps has a totally different battery than the inspiron, and from what I understand it does not lose life in the same way.
7. The major irritation I have is that it only has HDMI for video output, which is fine except that HDMI is problematic across various TV brands. My internet tv box has the same issues, some tv's simply implement the HDMI interface differently than the standard. I have not tried an HDMI to SVGA converter, but that is my next step.
I agree with Airborne,all manufacturers have problems,I had issues with Dell and Alienware,they will resolve your issue if they can,maybe better than most.My brother has a new xps15 l502x,with an I7 2760-gt540-8gb ram-500gb hdd,and the most important option,the b/rg 1080p led screen option.One of the nicest screens I have ever seen,and I see alot of screens.As far as games he plays most at med details,which still look amazing by the way,no problems.I think for the money the xps is a very hard to beat laptop.I have a new alienware and I miss the screen on my xps.It,s that good.
My everyday laptop=M18X dual 580gtx/16gbRam/sata3 ssd/killer 1103/wi-hd AWESOME! My everyday home PC=Custom 3960SBE ocd 5.27 on custom H2O/ tri sli 680gtx reference/dual Samsung 840 PRO ssd raid0/32GbHyperX OC Ram/Blu ray writer/Cosmos custom aluminum case.Ready for IVY BRIDGE when I get an Extreme edition CPU!
Every Alienware from M11X to M18X and still want more power!
@airborne18 thank you for your detailed informative reply.
@joegreen thank you too.
1. regarding OpenGL, does your GPU switch between the INTEL card & NVIDIA card? i.e. is the NVIDIA card useful? I will be using 3D CAD software which runs essentially on OpenGL....hence asking this question.
2. do you have the 9-cell model or the 6-cell one? I was thinking that 9-cell would be great for cooling the bottom of laptop while on a desk....your take on this?
3. I chose i5 because i found i7 becomes real hot in laptops. Also my job does not require much multi-processing (quad core is useful for processing of multiple EXE's..... not useful for processing a single EXE). Will think about this again. Thank You.
4. My most important query was regarding the 3yrs DELL service. Is it necessary to upgrade it upto 3yrs or is the basic 1yr sufficient?
First, I go out 2 years on warranties, and I get the accidential damage as well. My reasoning is this: I usually replace laptops at the 3 year point. By that time Microsoft has come out with a new operating system which requires more of a system than I have, and the software vendors have pretty much followed Microsoft. So my laptop has become ancient by its 3rd year. I also limit how much I spend on a laptop. I didn't get the top end xps.. and I kept the price below 1,000 USD.
I also get the accidental damage. I usually have some sort of accident which renders my laptop unusable before something occurs on its own.
Well the i5 vs i7 reallys boils down to whether the software you are using takes advantage of multi processing. I would check the 3D cad software you are using. Just because it is 1 exe does not mean it is not capable of taking advantage of multi core systems. LIke Mathematica will use the cores, and openGL. Several of the software packages I use daily will take advantage of multi cores. And Windows 7 will as well.
So do your homework before you just assume one exe, one processor.
Also the heating issue I think has more to do with whether you are overclocking, ventalation, and how much you are tasking your machine. I never use my laptop without a flat surface, like a lapdesk. And I also don't let dust block the ventalation ports. I have the i7 and I have never this overheating issue. Yeah it can get hot, but overheating, no.. I have never had an overheating fault. And with Mathematica I am stressing the processor. As I would expect a video game to stress it.
I have the 6-cell battery. and I am happy with it. Battery life really is more of a function of how hard the machine is working. and sometimes I really drain the battery. As far as heat,, if you are using the laptop on a surface which allows ventalation, then I would not worry about the battery providing clearence.
OpenGL, I went with Nvidia for reasons above OpenGL, and it was more to insure complete compatibility with software. I got tired of my older laptop not being 100% compliant with nvidia, so this time I just got Nvidia. I went with nvidia for 100% Directx (10+) and opengl compatibility.
Opengl is really transparent to the end user, if your software supports it, then it will be transparent to you when using the software. If you know you need 3d , and specficially pixel shader, ,then go with nvidia..
XPS 15 a great system when it works, but pray you get one that never needs technical support.
I had a support nightmare also but I have to be honest in the end a great rep from Dells social media took ownership of my account and fixed the issues and I had a few big problems.not so much with the laptop as parts failI know that.But getting a good tech or rep to handle it was insane.But again giving credit where its due,Terry B is handling my issues quickly and with the respect and attention every customer deserves.A month ago I wouldve said Ill never buy Dell ever,but a good rep like TB goes a long way in restoring a once broken relationship.Good luck to all,and do not give up.And the XPS15 is a real nice laqptop with 2 standout features among others,but the 1080p screen,and jbl speakers are simply amazing in a laptop.
ok thanks MALREID & airborne18
how do you mark this answered?
This particular model is very good in performance and taking 3 years warranty is always safe and peaceful.
One caution. As you are a student, you may have to give powerpoint presentations in seminars. This has no VGA port. You have to depend on either HDMI or mini display port. HDMI does not give dual (clone) display due to NVIDIA technical issue. You have to purchase HDMI-VGA or Mini display-VGA converter and carry along as most of the projectors available in India would have VGA port only. Even if HDMI port is there in the projector, you can't have clone display. Except for this drawback, I am very happy with L502X with i7 and 3y warranty
-Rama Reddy Karri
I think every owner of the new XPS laptops has come to realize that Dell having only HDMI as video output is irritating at best.
Though I see alot of converters that will do HDMI->VGA.. does anyone have any experience with them and do they work?
The issue I have with HDMI is not Dell, I could live with it if the TV industry actually implemented the HDMI interfaces correctly. From what I understand it is a digital rights management issue, and also varying standards.
I purchased HDMI>VGA converter through ebay (India) and it did not work. I also purchased Mini display>VGA and Mini display>HDMI converters meant for Mac and those are functioning well with my Dell. However the contact pins at Mini display end get worn fast.
-Rama Reddy Karri
I use mine for similar work and there are some challenges and the battery is not one of them. However I only average about two and half hours fully charged and unplugged. Not an issue, mostly work plugged in. First thing get a quality notebook cooler. When you start hard-driving this laptop with 5 or 6 programs and apps open although the specs can handle the load, the reality is the it starts overheating and the fan comes on blowing sometimes for 15 mins. straight, load and annoying, and then there are the lock ups. I kid you not.
I operate the power setting in balanced with processor power management cooling on passive and cpu at 95% that has taken care of the blowing fan issue. Hopefully dell will work it out through a bios upgrade or some sort of fix. It is a solid computer in build quality and I prefer the other than thin wanna-be like the fruity modeled computers, this one has its own design uniqueness. There is no perfect laptop out there, I have checked all have some kind of issues or multiple. Just watched a video of a Sony laptop where a guy had to spray cooling agent under the cpu to prevent overheating. The Apple tech support let viruses run rampant because they were told to ignore them by management until they racked up 90,000 calls and an internal memo leaked to the press.Then they addressed the issue.
I have the XPS-15 L502X with i7 2630 processor. 8GB, 1080p, JBL sound. However, I've had problems and Dell XPS support is not very helpful. They started by telling me that IE 9 was the problem. They rolled me back to IE 8 and the problem recurred within 2 hours. My main problem is that my computer locks up intermittently without warning. I've had 4 calls with Dell XPS support with the last one going for 4 hours. That time they reinstalled my video driver, but it still happens. This is the last Dell I will buy!!!
Be sure you have the newest XPS15 L502X BIOS, A09 and From the Nvidia site search for the latest driver for your specific graphics card. Also search for and install SuperAnti Spyware (free edition). Update and run SuperAntiSpyware to remove any bots, trojans, viruses, etc. Your virus software may not do a complete job (regardless of what they claim). You should also have CCleaner and run it periodically as well. After running any of the cleaners, always reboot your system.
After all that you still have a problem, Use Dell Support Chat so the technician has the opportunity to take control of your laptop and fix the problem. If he is not helpful, ask for the supervisor and insist on the supervisor or a higher level engineer to help you.