XPS 15 (Haswell) Owner's Lounge

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

  1. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    Unfortunately no. Like I said, TrueCrypt was my go-to solution, but it won't work if your 8.1 installation is on a GPT rather than MBR disk, but using MBR on Win 8.1 means you give up some other OS features. The only other encryption solution I have experience with is PGP Universal, which that company I mentioned above was using before switching to SecureDoc, but that had its own problems that irked IT and end users (though after the SecureDoc train wreck we'd gladly have taken it back.) I haven't done much digging for other options, but I doubt there would be much. BitLocker used to be exclusive to Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs in the Vista and 7 days, but now that it's been brought down to the Pro level for 8.x and with Apple having FileVault available on all OS X installations, I don't see third parties thinking it worthwhile to develop alternatives, certainly not freeware. There might still be room for a GOOD solution that's cross-platform and has powerful centralized administration capabilities, but that would be an enterprise product, and if it such a solution exists, I haven't seen it.

    At the end of the day, even if you don't care about anything else Pro offers, if your data is important enough to encrypt, it's probably worth the $95 Pro Pack upgrade cost to encrypt IMHO. And for what it's worth, the upgrade process itself is easy. You just enter the key, your system goes through two regular-length reboots (no huge software installations or anything) and then you're on Pro. I did it myself on this system.

    EDIT: You do know about the Pro Pack, right? The reason I ask is that you mentioned SecureDoc standalone is cheaper, and on their website it lists at $110, which makes me wonder if you were looking at buying a full retail or OEM license for 8.1 Pro.
     
  2. devize

    devize Notebook Enthusiast

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    Can someone please look at my GPU-Z log and tell me if what I'm experiencing with throttling and overheating is normal? The only game I really play on this laptop is league of legends and I experience throttling constantly, dropping my fps to an unplayable 5-15 fps. It's getting really annoying. I often try to play on a flat surface and even when it is on my lap I'll put it on a flat surface as if I am on a desk.

    This log was taken while on a desk playing LoL. Should I contact Dell about this? It's gotten really annoying.
     

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  3. CCUser

    CCUser Newbie

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    I did see the pro pack, (in fact I think I can get it for ~$93 off amazon), but an earlier post made it seem that bitlocker wouldn't work with the 841 SSD, or at least not using the built-in encryption of the drive. I don't want to run a software encryption on every file access that slows down the machine. Is that assumption flawed?
     
  4. jphughan

    jphughan Notebook Deity

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    The 841 does not support BitLocker's hardware-accelerated encryption. It MAY support Class 0 (ATA password style) because the retail 840 Pro does, but I have no way to confirm that. I can of course set a hard drive password on my 841, but I don't have tools to then test prior to entering the password whether it's actually encrypted or simply has a password on it like a regular hard drive.

    Your assumption about the relative performance of software BitLocker vs hardware BitLocker isn't flawed, and I'm sure it would be noticeable on benchmarks, but I would argue that the performance difference is more academic than anything else in real world usage. I'm running software BitLocker on my 841 and at no point have I ever wished I had faster storage, even while running multiple VMs. Maybe if your system will be under a workload that involves significant sequential data transactions (such as recording live HD video) the story might be different, but otherwise I don't think it will affect you. A typical workload involves randomized access to storage in order to access smaller files rather than sequential access to access a few huge files, and the penalty of software encryption on an SSD is much less noticeable on the former.
     
  5. IceManKent

    IceManKent Notebook Consultant

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    UPDATE:

    I just got my replacement (system exchange) xps15 today.
    I set it up with no issues and installed all my apps, etc.

    When I run the My Dell app, all is well - which is a big contrast to my original XPS15.
    My original one looked like a Christmas tree of green, yellow!, blue, and RED X's on each and every day.
    This new replacement is so far, behaving well.

    My original one would report an "unexpected shutdown" whenever I did a normal shutdown - and then gave me a nice red X in the system events.
    This new machine does not have that erratic behavior.

    I was trying to figure out why my first one was so buggy versus this one.
    I remember the Dell support guy telling me that he thought it was a corrupt image on my SSD.
    They wanted to just send me a new SSD, but I opted to just get a whole new machine.

    One thing I did notice between the two machines is that my original had a Lite-ON SSD, whereas this new replacement has the Samsung SSD.
    Maybe that made the difference - who knows.

    So far I have not had any Blue Screens.
    The only negative I have noticed would be that the Palm Rejection does not work as well as it did on my original XPS15.
    As I am typing this, the pointer is jumping all over the place - and I am at the highest setting.

    To SDeP58 - you also posted here that your system would sometimes do a shutdown when it was supposed to sleep, and also that you got a lot of red X's after a shutdown.
    Since this is what I experienced with my first one, can you confirm what kind of SSD yours has - is it the LiteOn or the Samsung ?
    Perhaps your machine has the same issue that my original had/has.

    In any event, so far so good - I am satisfied with the outcome from my exchange to a new replacement machine.
     
  6. GoNz0

    GoNz0 Notebook Virtuoso

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  7. BrodyBoy

    BrodyBoy Notebook Evangelist

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    I don't think there is a consensus...or a best option....it really depends of what configuration best suits your needs & usage.

    If you like the idea of a faster system drive (SSD) combined with a lot of storage space, then replacing the 32Gb with a larger mSATA SSD is the way to go. After performing a fresh Windows install on the new SSD, you reconfigure the HDD for storage, generally with a complete reformat. In this scenario, the XPS's single drive bay is still occupied, so you cannot use the larger battery.

    Alternatively, if you really don't need/want the storage space of the 1Tb HDD, then you have a couple different options:
    1. You could simply replace that unit with a 2.5" SSD of whatever size you need. In this case, you remove the 32Gb cache drive (the original SSD), and again, because the drive bay is occupied, you cannot use the larger battery.
    2. You remove both the 1Tb HDD and the 32Gb SSD, and install a larger mSATA SSD as your only drive. This is the configuration that allows you to also swap out for the larger battery (since the drive bay is unoccupied), but you do lose the option of a 2nd drive if you do that. (Personally, I can't see the rational with this one......by the time you buy a new SSD and a new battery, you're probably paying at least as much as if you just bought that model to begin with.)
     
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  8. devize

    devize Notebook Enthusiast

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    I think I'm going to go with this option. Is a clean install necessary? I'm going to go with the Samsung Evo 840, I've read here that they have a good cloning tool which I thought I could use to avoid a fresh install.
     
  9. N123

    N123 Notebook Consultant

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    Hello all,

    Has anyone ran into the issue where every now and then when booting their XPS 15 up, the computer seems to boot/login normally but all their wi-fi network passwords are forgotten and need to be re-entered? My XPS15 is great but this happens every now and then--when this happens sometimes I try to restart the computer but this often fails and I have to do a hard restart. I tried looking at Event viewer and googling for fixes but can't seem to find anything . . .

    Thanks,
    N123
     
  10. minor9

    minor9 Newbie

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    I wonder if this could be an error in Windows 8.1. My girlfriend owns a cheaper Asus ultrabook, it's a win 8.1 installation with exactly the same problem as you're describing. Perhaps there's a solution for it, I haven't tried fixing/googling it yet.
     
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