XPS 15 (Haswell) Owner's Lounge

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by mark_pozzi, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. winterwolf64

    winterwolf64 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Is there a wiki for this with problems and solutions or whatnot? This thread is ginormous.
     
  2. oldskoolgangsta

    oldskoolgangsta Notebook Enthusiast

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    so,

    my xps15 (top spec, 90w battery, and so on) arrived yesterday (germany), just one day before they said delivery was postponed to december 3rd, maybe the ship had a little hyperdrive over from china. anyway.
    so far i can't complain about anything - i'm coming from a sony vaio z11 (2010) which had a lot of problems with its internail ssd-raid and although it was a crazy expensive device it never worked reliable for me, many data crashes, tech support couldnt find anything - and that's why i'm realy relying on the xps now to be a brave companion to my workstation.

    right out of the box i let it run on battery and with all installing and windows setting stuff it was samewhat between 4-6 hours. furthermore i did the bios update, installed some drivers from the dell website. removed almost all the metro stuff, installed classic shell for explorer and start menue, disabled the touchscreen, calibrated the screen with spyder3, and repartioned the ssd. during that time the fan was roaring only once, while i did the bios update. then i installed battlefield4 to check the gaming power, ran pretty smooth on 1080p, fan was doing its thing, but very bearable (vaio z fan was ALWAYS doing something).

    since i use 24" monitors on my workstation and therefore dont need any dpi scaling in windows7 it was pretty tough to adjust to all the scaling in win8 on this highres screen at first, but i got used to it after a while. for the last couple of weeks i was working on a 15" MBPR in photoshop and other 2d/3d apps so it wasnt that much of a surprise. in some applications (skype for example) scaling looks horrible, so i excluded it from dpi scaling and used the internal font system to make the text bigger. what's really funny is that even windows itself has some dialogue boxes which look really ugly scaled up (with my 150% setting). colors looked a bit warm after calibration compared to my hardware calibrated NECs, so i went into the intel color settings and moved the red color to -4, looks almost the same now, but i will dive deeper into that color issue.

    didnt use the trackpad that much, so i cant say anything to that. the keys and the whole surface attrack finger prints and oil a lot, but which laptop doesnt. always bring a microfibre cloth along with the usb-ethernet-adapter and you should be fine. same was with my vaio, anyways. ah i measured the ssd with atto benchmark and i got read 450 and write 530, should be fine. any other tests and benchmarks i will do next week, so if you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to shoot!

    cheers,
    peter
     
    drfrank and manau_manau like this.
  3. asawyer13

    asawyer13 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Is there a way to convert the XPS 15 charger to the older style Dell adapter?
     
  4. kashing92

    kashing92 Notebook Consultant

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    What kind of settings would I have to have to get the battery life you're getting?
     
  5. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    Not that I know of. The only dongle I'm aware of converts the regular connector to the slim version so you can use Dell's standard chargers with this machine.
     
  6. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    What is this My Dell app? I wiped my system to do a clean install and kill those extra recovery partitions) and didn't see this app on the Drivers page of the Support portal. Does it do anything useful when it works or is it just an automated way to download drivers?
     
  7. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    A couple TINY quirks about this laptop I noticed immediately but forgot to mention:

    First, this laptop will ONLY output to the built-in panel until the Windows logon screen; there's no way to get the POST and Windows loading graphic to display on an external display, even when the lid is closed. Of course unlike dockable models, there's no way to power this machine on without opening the lid anyway, but at my desk I have a display that sits a bit over the lid, so I can open the lid enough to press the Power button but not enough to see the display without swiveling the external panel somewhat. So if you run whole disk encryption other than TPM-only BitLocker or will be doing anything outside of Windows (BIOS config, pre-boot repair, etc), you'll be using the built-in panel during that time. I imagine this could be fixed with a BIOS update, but for now that's the way it is.

    And second, I noticed a quirk with the audio drivers. I have one song that exhibits about half a second of corrupt audio at a certain point. And yes I'm sure it's the driver and not the file, since I played this exact file through AirPlay to my living room receiver and on my iPhone without any issues. But I've been listening to a LOT of music since then and haven't found that garble anywhere else, so other people might never have a problem at all. I imagine a driver update will fix this. I thought about trying reference Realtek drivers but decided against it since I know audio drivers are tuned by OEMs for the laptop environment (HDMI audio, docking connectors, etc), so I'll just wait.
     
  8. spano

    spano Notebook Guru

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    So my high end XPS is on the delivery truck. Really hoping I dont have any dead pixels/screen pressure. Also, hoping no high-pitched noises. Think those are the two things that would probably annoy me most.

    I will be formatting right away with a fresh copy of win 8.1. Im not sure how I should go ahead with partitioning my drive. Should I just do one large partition or partition it in OS and Data partitions. In the past I have always used two partitions (as mentioned above), but it can get annoying having to resize the OS partition since the OS partition is primary and the Data partition is extended. I am thinking of two primary partitions, 60Gb/440GB (or whatever the remaining space after the 60gb partition is). Will I be able to easily transfer free space to the 60gb OS partition from the data partition using that configuration?

    How does everyone partition their harddrives, care to share? Always looking for a better suggestion....
     
  9. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    With one exception, I've never seen the point of data-only partitions unless you really expect to need to wipe your OS drive and want to use the Data partition to keep data intact without having to back it up elsewhere first (which is easy these days, come on) -- but even if you go for maximum operational convenience by using registry hacks to move user profile folders onto the D partition, that becomes more INconvenient when you reinstall Windows because you have to do all of that before the new installation will see the user profile folders over there. Every time I've had partitions I've ended up with more space than I needed in one volume and short on space on another, with no easy way to remedy that. The only time I've found OS/data partitioning convenient is when I set up this one server, because it allowed me to take a system image of only the OS+application volume as a disaster recovery mechanism without including the large amount of confidential data it stored, which I kept on a separate volume and backed up more securely. Windows System Image doesn't let you exclude individual folders from image backups.

    Also, the problem with shrinking and expanding is that you can only expand to or shrink from the "right" edge of the volume. So for example if you have the C drive first on the partition map and the D drive second, you'd be able to shrink the D drive, but it would only free up space on the right edge of the volume, in which case to expand C to fill that space you'd have to convert C to a Dynamic Disk, create a separate partition in the new free space, and enable spanning to bridge C over there. If on the other hand you wanted to shrink the C drive, you'd be able to but would then not be able to expand D to the "left" to fill it. Again, you'd have to go the Dynamic Disk route. Using full-disk encryption (absolutely no good reason not to these days) can also be more complicated with multiple partitions, especially if you expect to be able to resize them after they're encrypted.

    I used diskpart to clean my entire disk prior to Windows install and pointed it at totally unallocated space for installation. It created a small recovery tools partition, a mandatory EFI System Partition, and the OS partition. I then shrank the OS partition by the amount required to create the Intel Rapid Start hibernation partition, and that's it. Having THAT last in the map is great because if I add more RAM later (when 16GB DIMMs become available, assuming they work in this box), I can just destroy the hibernation partition, shrink my OS partition further, and create a new hibernation partition of the appropriate size. Or if for whatever reason I decrease RAM, I can do the same thing except extend my OS partition to fill the newly freed up space.
     
  10. spano

    spano Notebook Guru

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    Thanks for your suggestion jphughan. The reason I have preferred the two partition system in the past is for the ability to format the OS (if it corrupts/virus/slow) without worrying if I need to have anything backed up before doing so since I already know everything I want is in the data partition. But as you outline, getting the partitions sized right, and resizing them is a big pain. While windows partition tool only lets you add space from the right, there are a bunch of free tools which move the partitions around and let you add to the C (left partition) easily. Backing up is easy now and thats a good point as well, the two partition method usefulness then is limited to a benefit only when windows corrupts/virus that prevents booting. I guess in this case I can just use a live cd from linux to back up my hard disk. I am leaning to just one partition now that I think about it more.
     
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