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Freaking Stupid Dell botches the new XPS 17

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Bobby H, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    I've been in the market for a new notebook computer for a couple years, just waiting til the right balance of power and portability was finally built into the product. The new Dell XPS 17 notebook looked like a winner. And it can be upgraded too; the RAM and other stuff isn't soldered into the product (unlike Apple's over-priced notebooks). I had planned on buying an XPS 17 and upgrading the RAM myself to 64GB and adding an after market 2TB SSD in the second, empty M2 slot. But now, as actual retail products have now reached customers (and honest feedback can be delivered) a really stupid, deal-breaking (IMHO) flaw has been uncovered.

    Even if you have the XPS 17 plugged into a wall outlet via the USB-C connected 130w adapter it's still going to draw from the battery when hit with any sort of demanding loads, be it from playing games or doing creative work. And it doesn't just sip from the battery either, it will suck the juice level down to 50% in just a couple hours apparently. THAT SUCKS.

    A lot of customers are ordering the higher spec'ed "Creator's Edition" versions, featuring the 8-core Core i7 10875H CPU, NVidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q video board with the larger vapor chamber thermal setup and the 3840 X 2400 "UHD+" display. That config needs the full 130 watts the power adapter is supposed to provide. But apparently the AC adapters shipping with the XPS 17 are capped at 105 watts. BTW, the new XPS 15 AC unit delivers the full 130 watts even though it has a lesser GTX 1650 Ti video card.

    This battery draw issue with the XPS 17 might be a good hint why both it and the new XPS 15 were not initially released with a Core i9 option. That CPU option still isn't available, not even in pre-order terms.

    Why couldn't these idiots incorporate an actual dedicated power adapter port into the chassis? Why choose power via USB-C/Thunderbolt? That spec is limited to 100 watts. So they're already Jerry-rigging things by claiming to push 130 watts via USB-C only to really cap it at 105 watts. Minimizing ports numbers and variety only seems like something done for cosmetic reasons and/or to shave production costs. Maybe its sales droid bean counter types drinking the Apple Kool-Aid.

    I'm glad I hesitated at ordering one of these lemons. I was very close to hitting the "buy" button last weekend. I got side-tracked by a nasty lawn care accident that put me in the hospital.

    There isn't many good alternatives to the XPS 17 out there. Razer's 17 inch model is horribly overpriced. The new Alienware M17 R3 is considerably less expensive than the Razer Blade Pro 17, but its battery life is laughably lousy, almost as bad as the Alienware Area 51 laptop. BTW, I'm not at all interested in buying a desktop system. I sit in front of a desktop system all day at work. I'm not chaining my leg to another desk at home. I've wanted to move from a 15" to 17" notebook screen. The challenge is finding the right balance of features to get the job done.
     
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  2. netsol

    netsol Active Member

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    sorry, bobby
    dell is smart enough to know that quality doesn't sell
    they optimized for price, not performance (gee, we've never seen dell do that before)
     
  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I have the Dell G7 and its pretty good. It uses regular charger port 130watt. I think they have a 17" option.
     
  4. netsol

    netsol Active Member

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    bobby,
    i think i mispoke
    i meant to say dell optimized for maximum PROFIT not maximum performance
     
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  5. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    If you aren't finding what you are needing, why not build your own? Can find STL files for 3D printing the cases (or if you are good with 3D software and know about water tight 3D printing design, make up your own) and have at it?

    Otherwise, go with an OEM supplier, always have to make compromises. I wouldn't see this scenario any different compared to how the most on here build their own towers. Biggest difference here is cases are usually able to be had without 3D printing, the OEM BYO laptop cases though aren't going to be what you are after, but there is the glorious thing that is 3D printing.

    Just an idea, if you aren't finding exactly what you are wanting. I would speculate those that are in the laptop market that need massive power are a little less concerned about portability, they want it, just not quite as concerned about it. I know when I was in the market I sure wasn't.
     
  6. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    So what happened in the yard?
     
  7. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    I’m not going to 3D print a home-made notebook computer. The practical choice appears to be buying something like a Dell XPS 17 with a far less power-hungry graphics card and maybe even a lower resolution, less color-accurate screen OR a more powerful notebook with a proper collection of ports that stays plugged into a wall outlet much of the time via a correctly designed AC adapter setup.

    Stupid accident with an electric hedge trimmer. Partially shredded the right side of my left index finger. An orthopedic surgeon had to work on it. Looking at the bright side, if my reflexes hadn’t been faster I’d be missing the whole finger, or a couple of them. Serves me right for trying to one-hand the tool while pulling a branch on an adjacent bush out of the way. The thing kicked out and got me. Lesson learned.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  8. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Ouch, self-inflicted are the ones that hurt most.

    With all the wrench turning, welding, and sign installing I have done the only time I have ever needed stitches was clearing jungle - managed to cut through a branch and sink the machete into my shin.
     
    • OMG / Wow! OMG / Wow! x 1
  9. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Ugh, shin injuries. I have a scar in the middle of my right shin obtained in childhood, thanks to a failed attempt at leaping from one concrete ledge to another across the front porch. That hurt like hell. Hacking into the shin sounds like pure agony.

    When I injured my finger it felt like I only jammed it. Then I saw the injury. The finger tip went mostly numb before the pain could fully set in. I ran in the house, grabbed a large rag to tourniquet and wrap the finger, pushed my lawn gear in the garage and drove straight to the ER. The thing that really hurt the most: the 4 nerve block shots an ER doctor injected into the base of my finger. The last, deepest shot was freaking brutal. It stung worse than any insect sting I’d ever experienced. And it had an electric, shocking aspect to it. I was apologetic to the ER staff and orthopedic surgeon for being there for such a minor injury. Then the surgeon told me it was actually pretty serious. Infection was a big risk; a bad enough infection could cost me the whole finger or even my hand. They had to remove a couple of small bone fragments and debris from the multiple deep cuts and try to clean and repair the damage as well as possible.
     
  10. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    And yet after a couple of yrs unable to find a computer that passes muster on what is deemed as a "practical choice"? After a couple of years and still can't find something that remotely fits the bill?

    I have to wonder about the selection process at that point, especially considering where everything is being lambasted for build quality. Regardless if it comes from OEM or something that you would have more control over.

    It appears, just based on this not being the first post about this, that you are more of a niche buyer, which means, if you want want you say that you want and only that, be prepared to pay out the ying yang for it, if it's even available. Cuz, I mean, after a couple of yrs looking, might be time to consider changing ones needs especially if OEM is the only way that you are going to go.
     
  11. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    While the DELL XPS line are great thin & light laptops (i own one myself and love them)
    There are better laptops for content creating out there.
    MSI & Asus & Gigabyte.

    Also went you the one telling me there's no point in an i9 in nothing but the thickest laptops?
    that i7-10875H is basically the same i9 9980h chip.

    if you did some extensive research, you would have found a Gigabyte Aero 17 series.
    17" 4k OLED screen
    i7 or i9 10th gen
    RTX2070 super or 2080 Super.
    up to 64gb of ram.
    supports 2x M.2 SSDs.

    and to poke fun at your "no point of an i9 other than a thick laptop" comment.
    Gigabyte use one of the best thermal paste in the industry. allowed much better cooling to the CPU and GPU.
    I run a Gigabyte aero 15s i9 9980hk. and i've overclocked from the 4.2GHz all core to 4.7GHz all core boost and it wont throttle at all.
    All that in a thin chassis.
     
  12. netsol

    netsol Active Member

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    bobby,
    to tell the truth, i haven't been following recent developments, has dell completely ruined the alienware line? it used to be if you needed real computing power and graphics, and had no regard for the value of money, alienware was the way to go!
     
  13. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    no they have not.
    And there's more than just "gaming laptops" for power.
    MSI creator
    Asus zenbook & art series
    Gigabyte Aero.
    Razer blade studio, pro & 15. as they all have 4k screens.

    All these are "content creation" laptops. they all have the top spec i7 or i9 CPUs 16gb or more of ram. RTX2060 - RTX2080 or even RTX quadro cards equiped in them.

    yes very similar spec to gaming laptops with top end CPU and GPUs as they both cater towards gaming & content creation but the difference is a 4k full adobe RGB screen, and not a gamer looking laptop that looks completely stupid in a professional environment.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Active Member

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    I suspect the obstacle you have is price. You may want to expand your search to include higher end systems. Doesn't make Dell 'idiots' because they try to pack a bunch of features into a consumer grade system with compromises. They will have plenty of takers who will live with the compromises. Of course Dell can build what you want, just not at the price you want to pay. Because I make my living spending a good deal of it on a computer, I always look at the various professional workstation lines. One current example (30 seconds of Google search) ; Dell Precision 7750 line. Pretty much build to your spec, 100% Adobe screen, external power, huge variety of drives, video cards etc. Expensive yes, but the best stuff usually is.
     
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  15. AF

    AF Active Member

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    Why ask so much from a laptop. Build a proper tower and it will handle any load.
     
  16. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Because it is poor etiquette to walk into Starbucks and take over a full table by setting up a complete desktop system.....
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 3
  17. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    I think the design choice Dell made is a realistic one based on the fact that people don't use the total power potential of a computer for even a tiny fraction of the time they use a computer. That's the whole reason behind the cpu throttle and turbo characteristics, especially in laptop processors. The full power is only needed in short bursts. Well, that and fashion. USB-C/Thunderbolt is the "cool" thing so they chose that for marketability. You'd only run at max power for a couple hours when running benchmarks.
     
  18. Asuma01

    Asuma01 Member

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    Shouldnt you be looking at a work grade laptop instead of consumer?
    The Dell precision mobile workstations are what you are looking for.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Have you looked at the prices of the "creator's edition" versions of the XPS 17? They start out at nearly $3000 and go well North of that when certain options are upgraded. If that doesn't qualify as "higher end" then I don't know what does. I was looking at a getting a notebook in the $3500-$4000 price range after all the upgrades had been applied (after market 64 DDR4 RAM and a 2TB PCIe M2 SSD).

    As I said before, the real deal-breaking problem is the system continuing to suck on the battery even when it's plugged into a wall outlet. Again, THAT SUCKS. No laptop computer should ever draw from the battery while plugged into a wall outlet regardless of its price category.

    BTW, the "higher end" sister to the XPS 17, the Precision 5750 Mobile Workstation, has the same battery draw problem.

    Notebook computer batteries have a limited life span. You get only so many charge cycles on them before they have to be replaced. It's more difficult and expensive to replace batteries in newer notebooks. The prevailing product design mantra has been thinner and lighter above all other priorities. So all the batteries are "integrated;" you have to crack open the case with a spudger and use special tools for all the tiny screws used to mount the battery to the chassis. My old, circa 2011 Dell XPS notebook had a battery that could be removed externally.

    Important point: computer companies stop making replacement batteries for a given notebook model after only a few years. If you continue to use the machine, like I did with my 9 year old Dell XPS, it has to just stay plugged into a wall outlet. But it still works! With a machine like the 2020 Dell XPS 17 it wouldn't do so well in the same plugged-in scenario if the battery was dead or removed. It would throttle way down, that is if the machine would even work at all.

    I think my game plan for the time being is to upgrade the hard drive in the old notebook and keep using it. Thankfully they're still making 2.5" SATA notebook hard disks and form factor SSDs.

    The condition many users are witnessing is the XPS 17 is drawing the battery way down while plugged into a wall outlet. This isn't a once in awhile sip while the CPU or GPU is under max loads. It's happening frequently. That's going to translate into a battery wearing itself out over a short period of time. And ultimately it means a far shorter product life.

    I've looked at the 7740. It runs into the same problems as gaming notebooks. A decent configuration yields horrible battery life. Add in super high cost for good measure. The 2020 XPS 17 does not come with top tier video boards in exchange for greater portability and battery life. The machine hits the sweet spot big time in terms of balancing performance with portability and battery life. But Dell made a giant mistake by pulling an Apple-style move by ditching the dedicated AC port and forcing AC over USB-C.
     
  20. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    I did a little search for the problem, and it appears that there is something more wrong with this system that is causing it to use a lot of power and indeed people are discharging the battery playing games. They did design it to have to do short power draws from the battery, but not anywhere near as much as is happening. And if the battery fails, the laptop will still operate, but will throttle back to keep power consumption down.

    According to an article I read, the system is supposed to be able to draw 130W from the Thunderbolt charger, but stops at 105W and won't draw more. They have the same charging system in their XPS 15 9500, and it is able to draw 130W in that system. So it appears that they meant for it to be able to keep from discharging the battery, but there is a defect in the XPS 17 9700 that keeps it from drawing the full power.
     
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