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.



Windows Laptop : Update

Some of the photos of me a nlOUG showed me with my MacBook Pro, which caused some amusement for a few people as I wasn’t using my new Windows laptop, so I thought I would give an update…

The new laptop got delivered while I was in Riga, so I had 4 days between picking it up and leaving for nlOUG. I picked it up from work at 21:00 on the Friday, but didn’t start playing with it until the next day. By the end of the morning it was my main computer.

As far as I can remember I only had one hiccup, which was down to a thunderbolt driver that meant my dock wasn’t working properly. I installed the latest driver from the Dell website and everything was fine.

All my test environments are built using VirtualBox, Vagrant and Docker, so rebuilding all my testing stuff was a matter of issuing a command and waiting. 🙂

So why didn’t I take the new laptop to nlOUG? Two reasons.

  • Like most new laptops, it has thunderbolt and USB-C ports and not much else, so I was waiting for a travel adaptor to arrive. The dock I’ve got is quite big, so I wasn’t going to take that with me.
  • At that point I hadn’t practised using the new laptop with a projector. I had used it with a second screen, but I wanted to try it out in a more realistic situation. I’ve since done that with a projector at work.

I don’t believe I’ve even turned on the MacBook Pro since I got back from the Netherlands, so as it stands, I’m planning on taking the new laptop to Oracle Code : Paris.

Now for some general thoughts…

Something that did surprise me a little was how weird it felt using Windows at home for a while. I use Windows 10 at work and I would often log into my work machine from the MBP when I was at home or away at conferences, so I expected there to be zero mind-shift from this move. I was really surprised how much my mind would just switch when I was working on my own stuff at home, compared to when I was doing my real job. So funny.

It’s nice to be able to use mapped drives reliably again. The MBP was terrible at dealing with my NAS. Didn’t matter what I tried, it would drop connections, and judging by Google I was not alone with this. The Windows machine is 100% so far.

As I’ve said before, most of my life is spent using a browser and a shell prompt connected to local or cloud VMs. As a result I am not tied to any desktop OS, but I’ve definitely been less frustrated with Windows 10 than I was macOS and Linux before it. I’m not sure why I stuck it out for so long.



PS. For context, you might want to read my post here before you tell me how great your preferred desktop OS is… 🙂

My Dell laptop lives again…

I’ve been having a little trouble with my Dell Inspiron 9400 laptop. Every few minutes the screen would go really dim, like it was in power save mode. Switching it to standby and back or remote desktoping to it would kick it back into gear, but that’s not exactly helpful.

Yesterday I rang Dell to see how much a fix would be (it’s out of warranty by 5 months). It’s a 17 inch 1900×1200 screen, so I knew it wouldn’t be cheap. The answer was £210 to get the screen fixed, or £120 to buy extended warranty for 3 years. I paid for extended warranty and the nice Dell engineer came this morning and replaced my laptop screen. So far, all is well.

Now the cynic in me says the screen shouldn’t have broken within 17 months of purchase, but on a positive note, it’s cool of Dell to let me buy extended warranty on a broken laptop and save £90 straight away, not to mention the cost of fixing anything else that might go wrong in the next three years. Pretty cool and it saves me having to buy a new laptop.