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Dell XPS 15 w/following components. Good choice?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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June 8, 2012 9:43:38 PM

Hello! I need this computer to last 4-5 years as an engineering major. How might I better assemble it in terms of hard drive, RAM, and Processor?

I will need it for mainly engineering programs and school work, minor gaming, but most importantly I selected it in a way that it will last me a long time w/ the solid state drive, probably will pick up an external hard drive, high RAM (8 GB), and the i7 which runs both multiple and hyper threading, doubling capacities of both i3 and i5.

Is it a good choice by price? $ 1, 950 including 3 year warranty, Microsoft Office for students, USB transfer cable, and deciding on the 256GB SSD for extra $300 as opposed to 1 TB HDD, and sleeve.

Components -

SCREEN SIZE 15"

PROCESSOR 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2760QM processor (2.40 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.50 GHz

OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English

OFFICE SOFTWARE Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2010

HARD DRIVE 256GB Solid State Drive (I will most likely pick up an external hard drive)

VIDEO CARD NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 1GB graphics with Optimus

INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE 8X Tray Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)

BATTERY OPTIONS 6 Cell (56 WHr) Battery

SOUND OPTIONS JBL 2.1 Speakers with Waves Maxx Audio 3

Thank you everyone!
a b D Laptop
June 8, 2012 11:40:13 PM

get the 9 Cell battery for $40 extra

maybe even get the 540M 2GB graphics card

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a b D Laptop
June 9, 2012 1:10:11 AM

do not get the 540m graphics card. It is a 525m clocked about 10% higher.

The 525m clocks at 600 core, 1200 shader, 900 memory
the 540m clocks at 672 core, 1344 shader, 900 memory
10% increase is performance is not worth $100.
The 525m can easily be clocked higher. I have the xps 15 and can overclock the 525m inside using MSI Afterburner to 740, 1480, and 1025 memory easily (to 550m levels)

I would definitely reccommend geting the full HD screen. 1366 by 768 sucks. The xps 15 has one of the best screens on a laptop when upgraded.

the i7 2760 may be overkill, its only 200 mhz higher but significantly more expensive.

I would reccommend getting the 9 cell battery
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June 9, 2012 2:52:51 AM

Best answer selected by jxz23.
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June 9, 2012 1:18:59 PM

Emerald said:
get the 9 Cell battery for $40 extra

maybe even get the 540M 2GB graphics card



You're probably right about the 9 cell battery, I'm adding that to my purchase. When you think about these things in marginal value it really is worth it to put aside the little bit extra for certain purposes. Why do you think the 540M 2GB is necessary? Like I said, I don't do much gaming besides some occasional rome total war that came out 6 years ago, which my toshiba satellite with no game card could mostly deal with except for larger battles.

Thanks for the input!
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June 9, 2012 1:28:06 PM

whyso said:
do not get the 540m graphics card. It is a 525m clocked about 10% higher.

The 525m clocks at 600 core, 1200 shader, 900 memory
the 540m clocks at 672 core, 1344 shader, 900 memory
10% increase is performance is not worth $100.
The 525m can easily be clocked higher. I have the xps 15 and can overclock the 525m inside using MSI Afterburner to 740, 1480, and 1025 memory easily (to 550m levels)

I would definitely reccommend geting the full HD screen. 1366 by 768 sucks. The xps 15 has one of the best screens on a laptop when upgraded.

the i7 2760 may be overkill, its only 200 mhz higher but significantly more expensive.

I would reccommend getting the 9 cell battery


Emerald,

Thanks for the input. I can assume that your a happy owner of the XPS 15. Do you think the solid state drive is a cost appropriate choice with the intent of keeping the laptop effective for 5-6 years?

I tend to agree about the gaming card. As you just pointed out, it is clearly not worth the marginal value to go above the basic component offered.

I'm also looking into the screen.. I didn't give that much consideration since I don't usually watch movies or play intense games on my laptop but I was under the impression that the basic screen was decent.

Creating my laptop I noticed that purchasing an i7 over an i5 is only $120 more expensive.

About the i7, that's where my real concerns lie... my research shows that the i5 is capable of performing just about everything you want your PC to do now, but I also want to have a processor that in 5 years is closer to what will be the basic product. Ex) My dad bought a nice laptop 3 1/2 years ago and now it's significantly slower and I realize that it is a combination of age, but considering that it is NEVER used it is more probably my adjustment to the speed of processors being put into machines 3-4 years ago.

So the reason I like the i7 is that it enables hyper-threading and multi-threading for the dual-core processor, each core carrying 2 threads, so that it's capacity at any given time is 8 threads, whereas the i5 performs better at managing its 4 thread capacity than the i3, but both are stuck at 4. You seem to know more about the technology than I do... for running multiple large programs is the i7 still a waste of money, could I downgrade and save cash to a lower version of the i7, or should I just go with the i5?

Thank you
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