Dell XPS 15 9570 vs Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro GTX (for low-end VR dev)

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Coffeeboi, Mar 21, 2019.

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Which laptop?

  1. Dell XPS 15 9570 i5

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  2. Mi Notebook Pro i7 GTX

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  1. Coffeeboi

    Coffeeboi Newbie

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    <1000€, flexible

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    14" to 16", currently using a 13.3" laptop that's too small but I don't want to carry a massive 17" laptop.
    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?

    UK or Bulgaria/EU

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: None
    b. Dislike: None

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    Yeah, that's fine. As long as it functions and lasts as much as a new one I don't mind.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    I'm doing research work on VR so being able to program, compile and test things using my Windows Mixed Reality headset is a necessity. The code that I'll run in VR is fairly optimized and mostly CPU-bottlenecked so I'm mainly after something with CPU horsepower and only the capability of outputting 2x1440x1440p @ 90Hz, i.e. HDMI2.0 or DP1.2+.

    For reference, currently I'm using a Intel Core i3-7100U powered ultrabook with an Intel HD 620 and my code runs okay @30-40Hz but it takes forever to compile.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    I would much prefer a highly portable system. My main goal is that on days where I have low-power assignments (like just typing stuff up in Latex or running simple C++/Scala programs) I can leave home with 100% power, do my work at the department, move around between the study room, social area and lecture theatres, then return without charging the machine.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)

    League of Legends and Osu!(unprofessionally) are what I mostly play these days which my current Intel HD 620 handles just fine. I've been slightly interested in Doom 2016 / Wolfenstien and some VR stuff using my research headset (I have spent way too much time playing Beat Saber in the department :| ) so those are nice-to-haves. Considering Beat Saber and SuperhotVR are playable on the Intel HD ultrabook (albeit at 30-40fps @ 20% scaling) I wouldn't consider that too much of an issue.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    As many as possible: see 7)

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

    I have a friend with an XPS who'll let me try it out once I see him in about a month. In general I'm in no rush as my deadlines for the project are late next year so being able to return if there are issues is enough for me.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.

    Windows 10 mainly as WMR headsets don't support Linux yet. Good support for dual-booting Linux or running a VM is a plus as I have to use GNU tools occasionally although WSL somewhat negates that need.

    I could also give Windows virtualization in Linux via PCIe passthrough and Looking Glass a try but support for that is simply a nice-to-have.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)

    As long as it's 1080p it's fine.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)

    Matte is better than glossy. Odds are if it's too glossy I'll have to look for a reflective coating.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

    Not at all.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?

    256GB of SSD storage should suffice although the more the marrier. I can swap it out myself if need be.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?

    Between a week and 2 months from now.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?

    At least 3 - 4 years.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?

    I am planning on keeping the old ultrabook (seeing as its resale value is less than 200 quid, man these things depreciate fast) so probably indefinitely.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?

    A week-long outage is fine, I have other computers I could use if necessary.

    # End of form

    After drooling over laptops over the last 1-2 days instead of doing actual work I've pretty much ended up with the XPS 15 and Mi Notebook Pro GTX as possible options. I'm planning on getting the i5 XPS 15 off the UK Dell Outlet for the equivalent of 918 euro using the student discount, then upgrading the RAM and storage myself (and maybe repasting considering all the thermal issues I've seen people have with this laptop) or getting the i7 Mi Notebook Pro off of TradingShenzhen and putting a second SSD inside.

    Both options will end up costing roughly the same in the end so here's a quick comparison I've mocked up:

    Pros of the XPS 15:
    - Bigger (but not necessarily better) battery at 97WHr
    - Slightly faster CPU, (roughly ~10% faster from what I've seen)
    - Non-MaxQ GPU, i.e. ~15% faster
    - Better display according to pretty much all sources online
    - Smaller chassis thanks to the infinity display
    - possibility of RAM upgrades
    - Dell support is local while I'm in the UK
    - Thunderbolt 3 with charging (I've been eyeing the Gigabyte Aorus box for a potential GPU upgrade)
    Cons:
    - More power draw because of the stronger CPU/GPU combo
    - Possibility of throttling issues
    - Heavier
    - Bad speakers
    - Bad webcam placement
    - Linux support is shoddy from what I've read (fingerprint sensor is broken, crashes in Ubuntu, etc)
    - Killer WiFi card
    - Maximum power usage is above the Thunderbolt 3's 100W limit
    Unknown:
    - HDMI version (might need to use Thunderbolt for the DisplayPort), some people say it's 2.0, others don't

    Pros of the Mi Notebook Pro:
    - More efficient CPU/GPU combo (should use less than 60 Watts on load)
    - Reports of the CPU and GPU being very undervolting/overclocking friendly due to well-done cooling
    - Slightly bigger trackpad
    - 2 M.2 NVMe slots, perfect for dual-booting or running a virtual OS
    - Fingerprint sensor works in Linux according to recent patch notes
    - Linux support seems more solid in general
    - USB-PD over Type-C and comes with Type-C charger
    - Displayport 1.2 over Type-C, i.e. the Type-C port can drive the VR headset
    - Lighter machine and better speakers
    Cons:
    - Less powerful specs
    - Worse screen
    - No Thunderbolt 3, i.e. no potential for GPU upgrades
    - Smaller battery
    - Buying it from a weird 3rd party company and depending on Internet opinions of their support so warranty can be dodgy
    - No RAM upgrades
    - Less popular laptop so it'll be harder to find spare parts like batteries if the time comes when I need to replace something
    Unknown:
    - again, HDMI version is a bit of a pickle so I might need to use a converter

    Well that was an absolute wall of text. If you've read it this far thank you and I'm looking forward to hearing some opinions from people who own either laptop or similarly spec'd ones.
     
  2. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I think you've summed up the pros and cons well. Now, you just have to make a decision as to what's more important to you. I haven't touched the XPS in a couple generations and have never seen any Xiaomi notebook or phone, so I'm not sure I can help much on this one. I would say perhaps the Dell is a more known quantity.
     
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