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Dell XPS 17" i7/3GB 555m/6 GB RAM/1920x1080

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December 30, 2011 8:29:49 PM

Hi, I have been searching for a laptop within my budget of £500-1000. Through various promotions I have set up the following:

English Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64 BIT)
2nd generation Intel® Core™ i7-2670QM processor 2.20 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz
1Yr Next Day Hardware Support
DataSafe Online Backup 2GB - 1 year licence
McAfee® SecurityCenter 15 Month Subscription
44 cm(17.3") FHD WLED AG (1920x1080) with 2.0 Mega Pixel Integrated Camera
3GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M Graphics Card
6144MB (1x2GB, 1x4GB) 1333MHz DDR3 Dual Channel SDRAM
DVD+/-RW (DVD, CD read and write)
750GB (7,200rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive
9-cell 90Whr Lithium Ion battery
Internal UK/Irish Qwerty Keyboard
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1000 (EUR)
Silver Anodized Aluminum Cover

in short. i7 2670QM/6GB RAM/3GB 555m/17" 1080p display/750GB HDD.

Price = £677.48/free delivery


I have been extremely patient in holding out for the best possible deal on a laptop. I understand this is a very good price though, according to the DELL website (to be taken with a pinch of salt of course) the original value was £1,447.99. The promotion will end soon so I should act quickly.

Massive saving, should I go for it/should I be patient and wait for further deals? I will certainly be investing in a laptop within the next few months.

General usage will be:

Adobe CS (especially After effects for video editing). For this a reasonable GPU will be required. Music production/Web design/Video editing/Photo editing/watching tutorials. No interest in laptop gaming.
December 30, 2011 10:13:49 PM

Any feedback? Just waiting for some impressions as I have not been following prices very closely for the past few months. Don't want to buy this and then find I could have got twice as much for the same price if I wait another month or so (worst case scenario!)
December 31, 2011 12:55:18 AM

After converting the price to US (didn't know the currency exchange rate) it would be cheap by about $100 for a laptop of similar performance. So for what is in it, Great Price. As for what you are planning to use it for: should be fine. As with most 2.5 inch high yield HDD, you may have poor write times, and bottlenecking because of it. Try to make sure that the HDD has a decent amount of cache, that should avoid the issue.

Hope it helps
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December 31, 2011 5:57:08 PM

The frustrating thing is that I can't find detailed specs for hardware such as the HDD. Fingers crossed it won't be an issue but I'm sure that if it was, I'd have seen remarks in the product reviews.

My final concern is whether the (upgraded) screen @ 1080p / FHD WLED AG is the best laptop display you can get. How does it compare to the "B+RG LED" screen? If the B+RG LED is largely superior I may have to wait until the next deal because I do a lot of graphic design
a c 572 D Laptop
December 31, 2011 8:19:20 PM

wildpluckings said:
Don't want to buy this and then find I could have got twice as much for the same price if I wait another month or so (worst case scenario!)
That certainly won't happen. Even though no one pays the "original value £1,447.99" price. It's a very good price for that level of laptop hardware.
The HDD is a 7200rpm model which is a nice step up from the typical 5400rpm drive.

You probably want to look into the WLED Anti-Glare coating vs B+RG LED a bit further. It's not the best laptop LCD screen available (although it IS the best in that price range). There is a difference and some people would call it a significant difference.
Then again, most people for whom that would matter are probably going to be using a high end IPS external monitor for their most demanding work anyway.
January 1, 2012 5:46:40 PM

This is correct WR2. For the most demanding graphic design/final calibration I can take it to my desktop.

I am left concerned about the portability of the xps 17. 3.6KG's... the term "desktop replacement" is used a lot in reviews for this laptop and that really throws me off. I own an i7 2600K/16GB RAM/2x 560ti desktop which I will work on mostly. The portability factor is important I don't mind some compromise but if the xps 17 is completely unfeasible as a portable computer I'd probably be better off with something else.

It is tempting because I was very close to buying 15" i7/6GB/1080p/500GB laptop from kobalt about half a year ago which would have cost around £1200. This is far superior hardware and an amazing price...
a c 572 D Laptop
January 1, 2012 6:44:48 PM

wildpluckings said:

I am left concerned about the portability of the xps 17. 3.6KG's
It might be a 'desktop replacement notebook' but it's not that heavy or large that you can't haul it around with you, if you wish.
On the other hard if you're hauling it around with you every hour of the business day, that would get old fast.
You know the size and weight of the laptop. You know how you plan to use the notebook. You should be able to figure out if it's too heavy or too large for your intended purpose.

XPS 15 @ 2.7kg does have that B+RGLED TN 1920x1080 screen option.
HP Envy 15 has the IPS Radiance 1920x1080 screen option.

Dell Precision M4600 15.6" Workstation has a 1920x1080, PremierColor IPS with anti glare coating.
And I think Sony VAIO SE has an IPS display option.


January 3, 2012 5:12:35 PM

I notice this post is on the long side, but I've bought one of these (although mine only has a 2630QM and a 500 gig harddrive, otherwise similar) and I'm happy to share my thoughts. Let me first start off by saying that I really recommend this laptop as do-it-all powerhouse, but following here is a list with things you might want to know before you buy one.

Even though I like it very much -for the price it's a very good deal, certainly considering you'll get it for even less than I did- there are a few things that you need to know about this unit. First up is weight: You said you were concerned about the 3.6 kgs. Even though it is quite heavy, I wouldn't worry about that too much. "Desktop replacement" is a term wimpy people use for a truly big-ass laptop. Others refer to them as "barely portable computers." And even though with the required-for-the-gt555m 9-cell battery it weighs slightly more still, you won't care. Trust me.

It is quite big though, for a laptop. I'd assume that since you're a graphic designer that that would be something you'd want, but the problem is that the screen's bezel is quite wide and -you can't see this in the pictures from the front- there's a notch sticking out from the back. The bigger battery also sticks out a little. Overall, then, it's quite an ungainly shape that won't easily fit in just any backpack or laptop bag. Chances are you'll need to buy one that can accomodate bigger and -with that battery sticking out more importantly- thicker laptops. Also, the cooling air intake is on the bottom, so you may not want to put it on a soft surface like a bed.

The screen is what you pay for. It works, but the viewing angle isn't that brilliant. Color rendition isn't as good as it would have been with an RGB backlight, but more than adequate. The keyboard is lovely to work with, but when you type vigorously, you may notice it's somewhat deformable. The touchpad is appropriately sized, and uses proper buttons instead of the 'clicks anywhere' nonsense Apple and some others try to sell you nowadays, but as with all synaptics products, it does support multitouch. This one does seem unusually sensitive, tough, so you may want to disable tapping.

As for the included JBL soundsystem: it is very good. With some songs that have a lot off bass you may want to turn the volume down slightly, because the subwoofer will run out of travel, but the sound coming out of it is just so natural and pleasing... If you like to work while listening to some tunes, this is a definite plus.

Now for performance. You'll notice I've saved the best for last. A Sandy Bridge-based Core i7, especially a quad-core, is the best you can get in a mobile pc. And it shows. When you're not needing the power at a particular moment, most cores go into a lower power state, and the ones that keep running will slow down, so you will get extraordinary battery life, especially in combination with the Optimus graphics (I once just let it sit there, unplugged, to see what would happen and the following morning it was still going, but I was using Linux then and doing nothing is what every operating system, Linux in particular, does best). When you need the power, though, it's definitely there. A twenty minute video in vga size will convert to h.264 in about three or four minutes. It's not instantly, but it's as good as it gets. In the graphics department though, marketing may have gotten the better of them, but they are not alone. They have decided to give the gt555m 3 gigabytes of memory. Nobody needs that much. You're better off with less memory, but gddr5 instead of gddr3. But hey, nothing one can do about it.

Oh yeah and one more thing: Be sure to have about three DVDR-s handy when you buy it: Dell doesn't ship it with an install disk by default, but, instead, when you turn the pc on, it will ask you to burn a bootable backup disk.

I'd like you to think about these things. Yes, I mentioned all of the laptop's flaws I can think of, but then, you deserve to know them. Everything I haven't mentioned is just awe-inspiring. And then some. If you really think one of it's flaws will be a dealbreaker, at least consider the 15-inch version. Still an XPS. Still as good, but none of the drawbacks, and it comes with an ips-rgbled screen.

Hope I helped. Yours sincerely

Thomas Lust
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