XPS 15 (Haswell) Owner's Lounge

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

  1. ajax-jp

    ajax-jp Notebook Guru

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    Update the NVIDIA drivers if you haven't already. This could be a lot of things. If it continues to happen randomly, it could be a bad graphics chip, either intel or nvidia or bad video ram which would obviously require Dell assistance.
     
  2. tricky76

    tricky76 Notebook Consultant

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    will do when i get home, dont have machine...but dell tells me only update drivers that appear on their website...and i dont even see nvidia drivers on that list...what do you say to that?

    i mean, i understand you all have said before dont listen to those dell reps, and i even had a dell rep mirroring me on the screen when the nvidia driver update appeared, and he said they do not recommend any driver update unless it comes from them
     
  3. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    Ok, in order from left to right, I'm pretty sure your partitions are as follows:

    - EFI System partition (required, though by default Win8.1 makes that a 99MB partition, not 500MB...)
    - Dell system diagnostics partition (not required, but tiny and can be useful if Dell techs want you to run it before authorizing repairs/replacements)
    - Windows Recovery Environment (required)
    - OS
    - Dell System Image recovery (can be deleted)
    - Intel Rapid Start hibernation partition (can be deleted if you're ok not using Rapid Start)

    It's interesting that even your partition sequence is different from what Windows does on a blank drive. I have my 300MB Windows Recovery Environment partition first, then a 99MB EFI partition, then the OS. In any case, there's little point in deleting any partitions to the "left" of your OS partition even if you could because without third-party partition management tools, you won't be able to use free space that's on the left of your OS partition to expand the OS partition -- and they're really tiny anyway. Also, on disks with the older MBR partition layout, deleting earlier partitions on the disk would change the numbering of "later" partitions, so if your OS was later than the partition you deleted, it could become unbootable until the bootloader was updated to reflect that; I don't think that's still the case on GPT-formatted disks though.

    You also by default can't use non-contiguous space to extend, so for example if you wanted to keep the Dell System Image recovery partition but not the Rapid Start partition, you wouldn't be able to extend your OS partition in a way that jumped over the image restore partition.

    Getting the drivers you did from the places you did is fine. I don't think the chipset driver does much anymore these days, and Dell and Intel had the same Rapid Storage driver version, so that didn't matter. Still, I would install the drivers you're missing:

    - Audio (to manage the audio jack properly, though you may want to go into the Dell Audio app and disable the MaxxAudio "enhancements", especially if you're using external speakers)
    - Freefall Sensor (even if you're SSD-only, otherwise you'll have an unknown device in Device Manager)
    - Intel Management Engine (which is required for the NFC driver installation, otherwise it fails silently after stalling for a while)
    - NFC (again after installing Intel Management Engine)
    - Airplane Mode Switch driver (to make sure your radios are managed properly)

    As for the touchpad driver, people install it primarily to customize it, i.e. to use two-finger scrolling and other gestures (or explicitly disable them), disable tap-to-click (which I hate), etc. That said, I never install the software for external mice, but most of them aren't nearly as customizable as touchpads.
     
  4. zakazak

    zakazak www.whymacsucks.com

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    I also had to install "Intel Engine Managment Interface" and the nfc driver from the dell website.

    My laptop feels faster / more lagfree than before.
     
  5. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    Yep, those were on the list in my (recently edited) post above. :)
     
  6. Cincinnatux

    Cincinnatux Notebook Guru

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    PC Magazine has chimed in with their review of the XPS 15 (9530). To see a listing of currently-available reviews, consult the wiki's review page.

    In sum, PC Magazine's reviewer (Joel Santo Domingo) was impressed by the visual fidelity of the QHD+ display but disappointed by the high price, middling battery life, the high reflectivity of the Gorilla Glass, and the inability of games and other 3rd party programs to scale properly. Of interest to some buyers out there is Domingo's addition of the free space left on the hard drive after getting the system running: about 400 GB of the 512 GB SSD remains available to the user. I don't think I've seen that noted by any other reviewer, yet it seems a worthwhile datapoint.

    Curiously, he's clearly reviewing the top-tier XPS 15 but quoted the price of the mid-tier without mentioning the price of the top-tier. Let there be no mistake: if you get the top-tier XPS 15 for less than $2k at this point you are leveraging discounts (which you should, of course, be doing, but PC Magazine is claiming this price straight from Dell). Dell has not yet marked it down to that point and it seems mildly sloppy for PC Magazine to mess up such a simple detail. Inexplicably, they also think this pricepoint puts the XPS 15 $300 more expensive than the rMBP and for that reason plus 2 extra hours of battery life on a rMBP without the GT-750M they leave the rMBP as the reigning champ. PC Magazine does not explore driver issues or comment on any other potential points of frustration beyond HiDPI scaling - which on this forum seem to be the principle deciding factors for users selecting the rMBP over the XPS 15, not some fictional price advantage which Apple has never had. Bizarre. I'm not saying the XPS 15 is superior to the rMBP (or vice-versa), but Domingo's logic here completely disintegrates. He's pairing up the XPS 15 with a rMBP of equal pricepoint (but significantly diminished capability, as it is the entry-level rMBP against the top-end XPS 15), then magically awarding that rMBP a $300 price advantage and ignoring its lack of discrete GPU, 50% less SSD storage capacity, 50% less RAM, lower resolution screen, and a slower CPU. No wonder it has 2 extra hours of battery life.

    Admittedly, the rMBP does make much better use of its battery than does the XPS 15 (and the rMBP battery is a bit bigger, too), but the configuration PC Magazine used was a crippled variant of the rMBP, not an equivalently-spec'ed rMBP. Which is silly, given that they exist and that a side-to-side comparison of equally-spec'ed laptops is a much more interesting read than the match-up Domingo posted. If Domingo's rMBP is the right machine for you, then the top-tier XPS 15 is over-configured and you ought to be looking at the mid-tier XPS 15, which would be a more even match-up (and, in that case, the battery difference between the rMBP and XPS 15 would be a game-changer in the rMBP's favor, for sure).

    I can easily respect a reviewer or owner who concludes that the rMBP (even with entry-level specs) gives the superior *experience* and therefore deserves to remain king of the heap. But it sure ain't because it is the cheaper product.

    Thank goodness so many hobbyists take the time to post here and write their own blogs and shoot their won YouTube reviews. The professional press has been consistently missing the mark IMO, almost as if they are looking at different machines than we are buying.
     
  7. Cincinnatux

    Cincinnatux Notebook Guru

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    Hmm. It just occurred to me that many shoppers start with a purchasing budget and simply are seeking to get the best computer they can at that pricepoint. (Whereas I've always determined what specs I want and then budget my finances or schedule my purchase timing so that I can afford it.) From that perspective, it *would* be valuable to compare a $2000 Dell against a $2000 Apple and a $2300 Dell (plus $300 of extras) against a $2600 Apple. Too bad PC Magazine didn't do that, either. So much opportunity for excellence in journalism, so few examples of it in action.
     
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  8. Cincinnatux

    Cincinnatux Notebook Guru

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    As a heads-up to Costco shoppers, Costco is now offering the mid-tier XPS 15 but has declined to return the top-tier configuration to its current listings, but only at $150 less than DELL's MSRP.
     
  9. zakazak

    zakazak www.whymacsucks.com

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    Woops I didn't see your post until now. So first of all:

    I just deleted the 8GB Rapid start partition (didn't finish your whole post). And now I just found out: I can't extend my OS partition with those 8GB that are unallocated right now... so what on earth should I do with those 8GB ? :/ Same goes for the "recovery partition".. its ~16GB wasted.

    I didn't install the freefall sensor and still have no "unknown device".
    Audio driver.. meh.. so far everything works as always and I can manage everything via windows settings anyway ?
    Airplane mode - I really don't understand why I would need a switcher for smth that is built into windows already?

    Thanks
     
  10. zakazak

    zakazak www.whymacsucks.com

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    That review is laughable... the MBPr costs 600$ more than the XPS15. The review says the XPS15 is 300$ more expensive. Apple lover review?

    @edit: Or did that guy just seriously compare a 13" notebook with an 15" notebook? If yes then I will never trust this website's review again :D
     
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