Windows Laptop : Update… Again…


Just another quick update about how things are going with the new laptop.

I read with interest this post by Denis Savenko about his choice of a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th gen), which looks like a nice bit of kit. The ThinkPad seems to have almost as much loyalty as MacBook Pro. 🙂

The recent announcement about the revamped MacBook Pro range caught my eye in a, “Did I make a mistake?”, kind-of way. A quick comparison tells me I didn’t based on UK pricing. In both cases the Dell has a 3840 x 2160 resolution touch screen. There are cheaper options available, which makes the discrepancy even greater.

  • Dell XPS 15″ : Core i9, 32G RAM, 1TB SSD = £2,599
  • MBP 15″ : Core i9, 32G RAM, 1TB SSD = £3,689
  • Dell XPS 15″ : Core i7, 32G RAM, 1TB SSD = £2,048
  • MBP 15″ : Core i7, 32G RAM, 1TB SSD = £3,419

That price differential is crazy…

You may have seen the YouTube video by Dave Lee talking about the thermal throttling of the i9 in the new MBP, and that is really what I want to talk about here.

The XPS 15″ i9 runs hot! Like burn your hand hot. I had one incident when playing Fortnite where the machine shutdown as the internal temperature was so hot. Under normal workload, like a few VMs, it doesn’t get quite so hot, but it is still noticeable. I got a cooler pad, which helped a lot, but doesn’t do much if it’s under really high load. It seems all these laptops that try to look small and cute don’t have a cooling solution that can cope with an i9. On reflection an i7 would probably have been a better, and cheaper, choice.

I’m still happy with the purchase, and with Windows 10. If you are out in the market for a new laptop, I would seriously consider the i7 over the i9 unless you buy a big laptop with a great cooling solution. You will save yourself a bunch of cash, and I really don’t think you will notice the difference.



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

6 thoughts on “Windows Laptop : Update… Again…”

  1. I guess that glowing apple on the back of the screen is worth £1,100? At least it’s running Unix!

  2. I have bought last year’s XPS15 just now and I must say, I am very happy with the purchase. I have seen the video of Dave(subscribed to the channel from a long time) and I was glad that I didn’t wait for a MBP. May be the throttling and heating issues are only due to use of a certain software(Adobe Premier Pro in Dave’s case-Final Cut Pro runs fine) but still, the biggest deciding factor for me was the Dell XPS is “upgradable” after the purchase. I have gotten the base model and I shall be getting the upgrade done to 32GB RAM with Samsung Evo Pro 1TB SSD myself. I guess neither the Lenovo nor MBP or anyone gives this freedom.


  3. Hi Tim!
    I have read a handfull of articles regarding those newest laptops thermals, and two recurrent advices that I find, specially when it comes to the xps 15, are undervolting and repasting. I find the later one sort of a last resort, while undervolting have been shown effective to keep the performance while generating less heat. Not sure if you ever came across those sort of posts, if so, how have it worked out for you?

  4. Hi Tim I have the xps coming in two weeks with 32gb and i9 , I have opted for Windows 10 but am curious did you every consider running linux on yours ? You must me missing bash. I current have a Windows 10 machine and mobaterm

  5. Thank you for the promotion, Tim 🙂

    As of the top processors in super-thin ultrabooks – I totally agree with you that it seems their cooling systems are not enough to cope with the processors. It looks like marketing when they try to put over-the-top hardware in the business solutions. In fact, I was thinking between i7 and i5 when was choosing my laptop, but the sad fact – it’s almost impossible to get a device with adequate amount of memory and space, but without a top processor..

  6. Eric : So am I. I run Linux-like commands in MobXTerm and most of what I do is in VMs anyway.

    Aman : Some guys at work have the 2017 model and they say it’s really quick, so I think you made a good choice.

    Thiago : Not heard about the under-volting, but I’ve seen videos on the re-pasting. I don’t think I will bother for now. The cooling pad allow me to do most things without going supernova. 🙂

    Ger: I don’t miss Bash. I spend all day in MobaXTerm connected to Linux VMs on my laptop, or on the cloud. I hardly ever leave Bash. 🙂

    Denis: My previous work PC was an i5 with 16G of RAM. I ran multiple VMs as well as doing all the normal work stuff. I think a modern i5 is a good machine for most people if you add the memory. SSDs are always nice too. 🙂



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