XPS 15 (Haswell) Owner's Lounge

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

  1. M_Bos

    M_Bos Notebook Guru

    Reputations:
    8
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I've been using the laptop for a couple of hours now. A few things I noticed:

    - The enter and backspace keys do not consistently register presses.
    - The display exhibits some really bad ghosting. It actually looks like some pretty strong motion blur.
    - The sparkle on the display I noticed yesterday is much worse on the right than it is on the left.
    - I keep noticing additional specks of dust beneath the display. They're tiny, but annoying.
    - There's that high-pitched noise around the charging port. It's quite loud and bothersome.

    I'm hoping that none of this is normal, and that customer support should be able to help me out? The ghosting in particular has me a bit worried. It's pretty noticeable while gaming.

    On a more positive note, it performed really well on some quick gaming tests. And the sharpness and contrast of the display continue to impress.
     
  2. hephooey

    hephooey Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    6
    To conclude my story, I got my top spec Mac last week, I think it is somewhat better compare to XPS (more expensive as well). Here is some personal oppinions and comments. I installed linux on both machine with more or less the same configuration, so it is almost raw comparison between hardware, though I cannot rule out the chance Linux has better optimization for mac, even though the opposite is probably true.

    1. Mac is definitely quieter, maybe luck struck me this time, the machine is even quieter than XPS, and the fan is at minimal even when I watch h264 video. No coil whine of any kind. So I do not think the whine is due to some uncurable flaw in Intel cpu, since the two machine have similar ones (4850HQ vs 4702HQ).

    2. Now I have both machines, I can see the reason some review commented the keyboard backlight is not even for XPS. It does not matter if you look from the top vertically down, but when you look from some angle, the backlight leaking from the bottom of the keycap is not even, most of the keys you can see the white light directly, For large keys like capslock and enter, the backlight is blocked, not really a deal break, but if you really want to go nitpicking.

    3. Mac throttles a lot, when ever the cpu is under pressure, the package temp goes beyond 100 C and the frequency starts dropping, this only happens when the turbo is enabled, if I block turbo the temperature is around 90 C. XPS is usually around 95 C without throttling when the cpu is fully occupied. 4850HQ runs at a higher frequency compare to 4702HQ, so the average frequency is comparable: XPS runs at 3.1GHZ, and mac fluctuating between 3.3 and 2.9 GHZ, still I am not comfortable with having the warning all the time, so I disable turbo most of the time.

    4. Battery life is amazing on Mac. It consumes 9W when idle and 5W when screen is off, the cpu is only about 35C. On the other side XPS consumes 13W when idle and 9W when screen is off. I guess the main problem with XPS is the cpu, for some reason on XPS the cpu can only sleep in pc3, but Mac can sleep in pc6, which improves the battery life time a lot.

    5. The video card support of Mac is even worse than XPS in Linux, I managed force the system to use IGPU only after many hours of debuging and googling, and I still need to boot into mac to switch back to the nvidia GPU. And the intel one is not wired to the thunderbolt port, that means I cannot use external monitors when I am using IGPU, people complained about it for a long time but appearently apple do not care.

    6. A bonus for Mac is there are many accessaries to suck your money out of your wallet, like the shell case and keyboard cover, I do wish XPS has similar stuff, people spend 2000+ on it, so it make sense to spend a few bucks more to keep it look fresh, but I guess until XPS gain some large portion of the market the manufactures of those small gadgets will not be interested.

    In summary, XPS is good but Mac is bettery if you ignore the price difference. For me it is well worth the money, but because I am mainly use Linux and use external monitor extensively I am going to return this mac as well and get one with Iris Pro only. (Interestly the GT 750M is effectively free, if you start with the standard spec of the Iris Pro only version, match the cpu/memory/harddrive to the top spec one, the price is the same...)
     
  3. Zacpod

    Zacpod Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    1
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I'm coming from a 2011 MPB which I'm replacing with the XPS15.
    Yes, the MPB is beautiful hardware, but if you're running windows and gaming then do NOT get the MPB - driver updates for the GPU never work. You'll be stuck using whatever 2-year-old drivers Apple provides with Bootcamp. This is especially frustrating when a driver update gives FPS increases for specific games. On the off chance you spend the hours it takes to trick the Mac in to letting you install current drivers then all kinds of other things break - no more brightness control, for example.
    The hardware is beautiful, for sure, but for a gamer it's just not worth the headaches Apple causes with their almost total lack of driver updates.
    Ordered my XPS15 3 weeks ago, and it looks like it'll be another 2 weeks before I get my hands on it - the wait is killing me!
     
  4. hephooey

    hephooey Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I am using Linux and not a gamer, but I can use the official NVidia driver without any problem. With the discrete card on the machine when idle actually only take 13 W, but the power optimization of NVidia is not good enough, as long as there is any redrawing on the screen, the video card jump up the the highest frequency and stays there for another 15 sec or so, during that period the machine runs at 25 W or higher. The backlight works as well, I am actually impressed that the gradually dimming of the brightness is build into the gmux hardware, I thought it is part of the animation in OSX, until I see the same effect under Linux. Anyway I am more concerned about Linux support and battery life (and noise) so an intel only mac seems to me the best option for now.
     
  5. ZephirSt

    ZephirSt Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I'm having problems with the hdmi. I'm connecting the laptop to a samsung tv, everything works more or less fine (I have to do some resize otherwise the image on the tv goes out of the borders of the screen), except the audio.

    If I play a video (VLC), the audio is choppy.
    If I play a youtube video, the audio is not choppy but everything is accelerated (audio and video).
    None of those happens if the audio is routed to the laptop speakers - the video can stay on the tv.

    Anyone with similar issues or a possible dignosis?
     
  6. Allen_Akin

    Allen_Akin Newbie

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Here's a followup in case someone runs into similar problems.

    Some BIOS settings apparently interfere with the kernel's ability to recognize or configure the touchpad, even though they don't obviously have anything to do with the touchpad. Here are the settings for BIOS version A01 that seem to work for me.

    Advanced tab: Intel SpeedStep, Virtualization, USB Emulation, USB Powershare ENABLED. USB Wake Support DISABLED. SATA Operation set to Intel Smart Response Technology. Adapter Warning ENABLED. Function Key Behavior set to Multimedia Key. Intel Smart Connect Technology DISABLED. Intel Rapid Start Technology DISABLED on my system because I don't have an HDD; this might not apply to you. Battery Charge Configuration set to Adaptive. Under the Miscellaneous Devices heading, External USB Ports is ENABLED and USB Debug is DISABLED.

    Security tab: Computrace is set to DEACTIVATE. Under the TPM Security heading, TPM Security is ENABLE, TPM Activation is DEACTIVATE, and TPM ACPI Support is DISABLED.

    Boot tab: Boot List Option is set to UEFI. Secure Boot is DISABLED. Load Legacy Option Rom is ENABLED.

    Note that you'll need to power down the machine completely after changing some settings; simply restarting isn't enough to make all the changes take effect.

    I hope that's helpful for anyone else who runs into this glitch!

    Allen
     
  7. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    352
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    347
    Trophy Points:
    101
    For the video being chopped off the screen, some higher-end TVs have an option for 1:1 mapping (sometimes it goes by other names, like Dot by Dot), but many TVs default to overscanning in the way you're describing, so getting the borders right may not be possible. The Intel graphics properties may have some ways to compensate for it though, but I haven't looked.

    For the audio, try going to Control Panel > Sound and setting the HDMI connection as your default audio output device, then close and relaunch any audio app you've got open. You may also want to check the properties of that output device to confirm that the default output signal is compatible with your TV (e.g. 24-bit/48kHz, etc.)

    What touchpad issues did you run into that you feel you've solved with this set of BIOS settings? A few notes about them, as well:

    SATA Operation depends on your setup; for those using a full capacity mSATA SSD, it should be AHCI, not Smart Response.

    Some may obviously prefer setting the function keys to be function keys, not multimedia keys by default.

    Kind of random that you disabled ACPI support for the TPM -- why did you do that? I'm not sure what the impact of that would be, but it might interfere with apps that would use it, such as BitLocker.

    But most importantly, why did you disable Secure Boot and enable Legacy Option ROMs? That configuration should only be used if you're using Windows 7, which doesn't support the former and requires the latter. If you're on Windows 8, both of those settings should be reversed.
     
  8. tricky76

    tricky76 Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    31
    I thought I posted about this yesterday or the day before...but yes, I am connecting to a Panasonic wall mounted 50", and hard connecting via hdmi...using windows media player to watch .avi and .xvid tv shows...and each and every time I lose audio AND video at the very start of the show, around the 4 minute mark...and I lose both for about 4-5 seconds...annoying. then halfway through each show, I lose audio only for same amount of time, about 5 seconds.

    that's all I got
     
  9. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    352
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    347
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Strange. I connected to my father-in-law's TV (no idea what the brand was) over Thanksgiving via HDMI and Windows Media Player worked flawlessly. I was using the Combined Community Codec Pack if that matters. But I think I did have to set the HDMI output as the default audio output for it to work properly.
     
  10. dgently

    dgently Notebook Enthusiast

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Anyone notice the shipping date on new orders after this afternoon?
    March 4, yikes.
    Hope they still have parts to put my computer together... I was expecting it to be shipped in the next 10 days...
     
Loading...

Share This Page