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Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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So the Dell XPS 12 comes highly recommended here? I'm gonna be getting an additional 17% discount through Dell thanks to my job in two weeks, and I'd been toying with the idea of getting something. For years now I've really liked the idea of having a psuedo tablet/laptop that runs Windows. Was happy to see that Microsoft felt the same way and came out with Win8. (Was sorry to see that they force poo poo like the 'Modern' Start menu on ALL users.) I have an Acer W500 that is running Windows 8.1 right now, but it's slow and not fully compatible with Win8. (The smaller resolution prevents use of things like the window split feature, and the accelerometer only works when you're using an old video driver from last year.) The AMD APU has nice graphics acceleration, the 1GHz CPU is just not enough.

I had fallen in love with the Surface Pro when it was first announced, but it looks like the XPS 12 will work best for me, especially thanks to the deal I can potentially get on it.

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Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Aww crap. I just saw that a new version of the XPS 12 is coming with Haswell, 'in the coming weeks'. Articles were saying that around June 3rd. I really hope it comes out by the time my employee membership bonus 17% comes in two weeks on July 6th.

Edit: Engadget article from June 4th says it begins to ship in most regions July 9th. That would work perfectly for me. So, to recap: XPS 12 with Haswell, that brings battery life from 5-6 hours to 8-9 hours and a "1.6 times" performance increase will tentatively release July 9th at the same price. Oh, and NFC.

Revol fucked around with this message at 22:42 on Jun 29, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Mutation posted:

Point is, I want to future proof my laptop to play entertaining future games at reasonably ugly settings.

That is literally impossible. The way to future proof a desktop is... well, it's inherent. Future proof is either upgradability, or buying an outrageous $1000 video card that is still only a few years ahead of what we have now. Otherwise, you can only get the best you can get now, and hope that it lasts as long as possible. For the kinds of games you're talking about, that can be very difficult. A few years ago, it would've been another story. But the next generation of consoles are influencing these new games, and we simply don't know what these games will bring to the PC.

I think the best game you can try to gauge this with is Witcher 2. The PC version of this game is, in many ways, a next-generation console game. So much of next-generation console graphics are going to be dealing with filters and atmospheric effects. Witcher 2 PC has this in spades, while the console version does not. I imagine the kind of graphics features that Witcher 2 PC saw are going to become standard for next-generation gaming, and will even be taken to the next level.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Torabi posted:

It's because I'm an idiot who wants a Haswell laptop and so far there are only gaming laptops with it so far.


Well that sucks. I like to fiddle with 3ds max and Adobe programs so an i7 sure would be nice.

Dell has several laptops right now with Haswell. Inspiron, but I'm sure we're all going to skip over that. Like I mentioned earlier, the XPS 12 is getting a Haswell refresh in a week or two, which is what I am personally looking forward to. It will apparently come with an option for the i7-4650U, which will include the high-level Intel graphics.

And if you want an i7 Haswell, Dell is already selling the Latitude E6540 at a discounted price.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Mega Comrade posted:

Most of my disappointments stem from the desktop processors, such as the frequency for the top model staying at 3.5GHz, which it was in sandy, 4 cores staying as standard etc etc. They claimed it would be the biggest generation leap they have ever done.

Thinking that performance is all tied into processor speed and number of cores is a huge mistake.

This reminds me of a customer I took a call on like a year ago. We were going to do a system exchange on her Dell Precision laptop. It was an older model, and it turned out she was going to be getting a newer model in exchange. (And I think it was more than just one model year upgrade, so I think she was skipping over an entire Intel generation.) That meant a newer processor. Problem was, the MHz was a lower number, and this worried her. I spent 30 minutes trying to explain that this was a mistake, and she was actually getting a really nice upgrade, but she just refused to listen to me. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I ever had at my job.

clonedrobojesus posted:

The new Air also has a bigger battery, although I'm not sure how much it it adds in terms of increased battery life.

2012 Air - 6,700 mAh, 7.3V
2013 Air - 7,150 mAh, 7.6V

That is incremental, really. The battery life increase is by far the result of Haswell.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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VorpalFish posted:

I just looked at the 11 inch model of that, and it's almost perfect, except they don't offer a processor option with the GT3 GPU configuration. Anyone know if the laptop I'm looking for exists yet? (probably not I'm really picky)

-Small; 11.6" is ideal, up to 14" acceptable
-under 3 pounds
-IPS panel with a minimum resolution of 1080p
-haswell with GT3 GPU configuration

I've seen a few things that are almost there, but nothing perfect. Am I out of luck? I don't care what it costs.

I hate to keep bringing up the same model time after time, but it's what I've been researching for myself: the XPS 12 refresh may fit what you're looking for, if you're willing a minor sacrifice on weight.

- 12" screen, 12.48" total width
- The current version is 3.5 lbs. The Haswell is reportedly 3.33ish.
- 1080p screen. Research tells me the current model is IPS. (I can try to confirm this when I'm at work tomorrow.) Logic would dictate Haswell version will have it too.
- There will be an i7 version with GT3. i7-4650U.

Problem is, you'd probably end up paying a bit of a premium for the convertable touch tablet design, which is something you aren't looking for. I suspect more and more laptops are going to be getting that kind of design, though.

Naffer posted:

You should take a look at this Anandtech article:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7072/intel-hd-5000-vs-hd-4000-vs-hd-4400

The quick summary is that the 5000 in the low power packages used in the MacBook air barely outperforms the old Ivy bridge 4000 in most benchmarks, even though it's more than twice the GPU on paper. It's limited by power usage when part of the lower-power chips. That's probably why you're going to see a lot of 4400's out there and few 5000's. I suspect that the reason Intel gave the Iris 5100 chips a different name (when they really differ only by allowed TDP) is that the GT3 GPU configuration is really power constrained in the 17W chips and will perform much better in the 28W chips.

...huh. That's weird. Why such a varying distance in the MBA review? Borderlands 2 gets a few percentage points, but Tomb Raider gets 40%?

Revol fucked around with this message at 02:52 on Jul 3, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Delta-Wye posted:

Yeah, the only reason not to wait is I can get this for ~1k

Not a bad kit for the price even if it's not the newest and shiniest.

The question is whether the additional price (and potentially long wait time) of waiting for a Haswell XPS 12 is worth it, or if you should act on the cheaper pricing on the current model. And really, you're the only person who can make that decision. Just gotta look at what you get. For an additional $200ish (and potentially weeks of wait, who knows when the new model will ship? July 9th might just be sale date), the real benefit is battery life, from 6 hours idle to 9 hours. Performance increase is... okay, but I keep reading that to take real benefit of performance increases, software needs to be developed for it.

I think the only reason I'm going to (try to) wait for the Haswell version is because it is supposed to start going on sale when I get a bonus to my employee discount. Hopefully I'll be able to buy a Haswell XPS 12 closer to $999. If it weren't for that, I'd probably either take benefit of the current lower prices, or look at a different system.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Naffer posted:

I was just looking at customizing a Dell Latitude 6430u through my University's Premier site and I couldn't believe the difference in available options versus the regular Dell website. I can configure one with an i7 and 16 GB of RAM and neither are options on the regular site. There's also a choice of 5 different wireless cards plus 4 different mobile broadband options.
Who knew?

Sometimes at work, I'll explicitly tell my customer to order something through Dell on the phone, because the website will be missing stuff.

But that's for spare parts. I just checked now. You can order what you want through Dell.com no problem. Just click on the top 'Customize and Buy' green button found on this page. You've got all the options you want. Just don't pick one of the pre-made options. It is surprising, though, that none of those pre-made ones has an i7 or 16GB RAM.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Yeesh. I can't imagine using Adobe software with that low a resolution.

Hadlock posted:

If he's doing graphic design work, he's probably plugging the laptop in to an external display, otherwise his primary graphic design clients must be ants or something.

Why use a laptop at all?

...is a question I end up asking myself for about one out of every three laptop calls I get. So many Dell Workstation laptops never, ever leave their docking stations.

Revol fucked around with this message at 02:37 on Jul 7, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Delta-Wye posted:

Should we be expecting a XPS12 refresh tomorrow?

My internal Dell training page for this system has tomorrow's date on it, but that is far from a confirmation. But I do see somebody on the Whirlpool AU forums saying that it is possible to order the system on the phone today, and it should be online tomorrow.

After some issues, finally got my 17% off coupon code. Maybe order it tonight on the phone after I get off work.

Edit: It's on sale on the Dell AU website.

Revol fucked around with this message at 21:17 on Jul 8, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Delta-Wye posted:

I spent a little time reading about the XPS12 and I'm laughing pretty hard about the hundreds of sites that put out a 'review' of the upcoming XPS 12 refresh June 4th and 5th. Yessir, these are certainly reputable review sites and not lovely pr-reposting blogs that all happened to get the same set of details at the same time. Yessir, I'm sure that 20% increase in battery life is not at all made up by Dell's marketing department and completely unverified by the people repeating it.

If the XPS 12 does drop the next few days, I will probably buy one over a thinkpad just for convenience. Should I expect the XPS 12 to have user replaceable RAM and HDs? I'm a big fan of saving money up front and DIYing those parts later.

It isn't a stretch to believe them on the battery life. It's all due to the Haswell chip, not anything that Dell is doing. And it looks like the official stat is going to be 8 3/4 hours, which is still a really nice improvement.

I don't see why the RAM and HDD wouldn't be user replaceable. I can double check at work tomorrow.

Moltke posted:

I'm looking for a laptop in the $640-$800 range for word processing and general internet-ery that can also do a little light gaming (Civ 5 at the most graphically intense). Portability and long battery life are also important.

The T430 looks great but I'm worried that it's a little bit more laptop than I need. Ultrabooks just don't seem durable enough for how often I will be on the move with it. Any recommendations?

I wouldn't think that Ultrabooks are inherently less durable. That is more reliant on build quality than anything else. Anyways, at that price you're looking at Intel 4000 graphics. Here's how Civilization 5 handles it.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Delta-Wye posted:

Should I expect the XPS 12 to have user replaceable RAM and HDs?

I can confirm that the new XPS 12 is the same as the old. Cannot replace memory, can replace the SDD minicard.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Just got off Dell chat. Supposedly the Haswell XPS 12 is slated to be released by August. Which doesn't make sense, since Dell Australia, Japan and UK are all selling this now. The rep said it is up to Intel on what countries are getting Haswell right now.

huhhhhh

Maybe I'll suck it up and get a 3rd gen for a lower price. Or maybe just get a Latitude 10 or something.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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The XPS 12 Haswell refresh is now on sale. There is no Intel Graphics 5000 option (but after that Anadtech article, I wouldn't want it).

July 23rd ship date. A bit earlier than I was expecting, honestly.

Revol fucked around with this message at 12:18 on Jul 10, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Brut posted:

Is it possible that the dell chat rep meant "by august" as in "When it becomes august it will already be on sale"? Or he was just clueless (more likely). I'm very tempted by that XPS12.

EDIT: Does the XPS12 have an IPS screen? I thought it didn't but I can't find "IPS" anywhere dell's page for it.

Yeah, I figured the August thing was an intentionally vague answer. Also, it probably also was meant for when it ships, not when it goes on sale.

It is an IPS screen. I'm looking at the part now on the internal list. Any other questions, let me know. I'll feel better about answering them now that it's on sale, so I shouldn't be breaking any NDA.

Sendo posted:

I just can't stand that combined bezel and frame on it.

I don't understand? You mean the LCD? Because the frame that the LCD spins on is separate from any bezel, I thought? It's literally just the frame by itself.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Brut posted:

Thanks. What model (or brand if you only know that) SSD is used in it?

They have multiple brands. Dell policy is that these parts are interchangeable. For example, say you call into me needing to replace a drive on your M6600. I'll order the same part number for the HDD you had on the original order, say it's a Samsung. But what gets sent out to you may be a different model/brand.

Brut posted:

What the gently caress is "Truelife"?

It's a marketing title for anti-glare.

Brut posted:

Is it possible to get the i5 model with 8GB of ram? (or 6GB or something I guess)

On the website, no, because they don't have custom build options. You might want to try putting a call in, though, and see if they have the ability to make a custom build. Looking at the parts, it doesn't seem like the i5 is locked out of using 4GB.

Brut posted:

Most importantly, how do I get it cheaper?

Wait for used models to come into the Outlet, or wait for a coupon/sale to come along. Myself, I'm going to get the base model for just under $999, because I've got a bonus 17% off employee discount this week. (I've also got free two-day shipping and a 5% back gift card.)

Which do you guys think I should get? The i5, 4GB, 128GB SSD for 999, or the i7, 8GB, 128GB SSD for around 1180ish? I really don't feel a need for a larger drive, and I even don't expect 4GB RAM being too small for me.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Brut posted:

Just called in, sales dude basically said they have no more access to customize anything any more than on the website, assured me he can't "upgrade the rams or the memory", then once I said that was all I wanted, stuttered "but sir don't you wanna buy a laptop today?". I feel like somehow I placed a phone call in to a scam email.

You know what? I'm a doofus. Both the CPU and the memory are soldered onto the motherboard, and looking at all the service kits we have, the i5 only comes in a 4GB flavor. Sorry. I'm so used to working on systems where the motherboard, memory and CPU are all separate parts.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Brut posted:

Oh, well that makes sense then.

Are any of the SSD models that can come with it OCZ? I don't want my SSD to suddenly brick itself.

No. I have never, ever seen Dell use OCZ. We more or less use the same SSD drives, either mini-card (like the XPS 12 uses) or drive, in a wide range of models. I've never seen us have a real problem with any SSD drives before.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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I just got my Haswell XPS 12 ordered, $1040 total after tax and free 2nd day shipping. Not supposed to ship until near the end of the month, though.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Delta-Wye posted:

What specs?

The base model. i5-4200U, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel 4400 graphics.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Malderi posted:

I am very disappointed by the XPS12 refresh. No 256GB SSD option. 128 isn't enough for me, and the only option above that is the $2K model with 512. If the $1400 had 256GB (or there was a $1500 model with it), that's what I'd be considering. But not $2000, that's total bullshit.

That is something that perhaps the phone sales people would be able to do for you. While I was wrong about the CPU/memory combo, I do know that Dell has 256GB SSD minicards. It's just a question of whether or not the phone sales people would be able to custom order it. I doubt it, since they're probably only selling these three pre-made ones, but it might be worth a try, if it's important to you.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Delta-Wye posted:

My Dell outlet order was delayed 3 days. I presume it is a prebuild machine in a box ready to go (returned, canceled order, whatever), how many days could it take to drop it in the mail?

I would think it would be built already, but I suppose you never know. Maybe they were double-checking the refurbish and found something wrong. Maybe they are incorrect about what they had in the inventory, and they are working to build something instead.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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^-- That link doesn't work. In fact, it made me lose video and flicker for a few seconds, what the hell?

InstantInfidel posted:

Also, the original XPS12 looked flimsy as hell and this one does too, I'm interested to see what review sites make of it.

How so? I played with it at Best Buy, and it seemed to be pretty strong. The body has a good build to it, and the convertible hinges were withstanding the damage they're sure to get for a system that lives at a Best Buy. And from my research from reading what owners have to say, I've never heard complaints of flimsiness.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Zalakwe posted:

Crap, sorry about that, and thanks for the tip on RAM as well.

Main thing I want to do is decide whether this something like this is worth the £200 extra over the one below it, given that the main things she will probably do is watch movies etc. She probably doesn't need the graphics so I'm wodering trying to work out how much quicker the processor will seem and if the higher resolution is worth it. Is the build quaility that much better?

If she is going to travel, you want something a little more sturdy. That would eliminate the Inspiron. But the XPS isn't all that travel-friendly, weighing in at almost six pounds. Maybe take a look at an XPS 13 instead?

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Zalakwe posted:

Are Inspiron's pretty flimsy? She quite likes having an optical drive, I was thinking about a 14z although the processor is pretty crummy. Might just opt for the 13 and insist she gets a usb optical.

I wouldn't go out and say it's flimsy, but... let's look at it for what it is. It is Dell's basic line. The bottom. They're made for people who buy laptops at Best Buy or Walmart. XPS is (usually) going to be better.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Mu Zeta posted:

You can just disable the discrete GPU in settings to boost battery life.

As I've mentioned several times in this thread, I do tech support for Dell. I take calls on Latitude, Optiplex and Precision systems. My only experience with Optimus is only on Precision systems, so I don't know if it is different on Alienware systems, but I've never seen a Dell laptop with Optimus that can disable the NVIDIA. In fact, I thought with Optimus, you could only ever disable the integrated, until I saw otherwise mentioned in the thread just this week.

On Precision systems, the BIOS options you have is to 'enable' or 'disable' Optimus. Enabled means Optimus is working, with the two hardware. Disabled means Intel is disabled, and you only use NVIDIA. I won't be in work until Monday, but I can check to see if this is the same on Alienware systems.

And... doesn't it seem like overkill to buy an Alienware to play older games with a disabled discrete card?

I also just made use of a bonus employee discount from Dell. (But mine was only %17 percent, what gives?!) When you say 'specific subset', is it a specific selection of exact models? Or was it like mine, and they're the full 'consumer' laptop families? (Don't think mine included Alienware, now that I think of it...) If so, check out the XPS 12. It's got Haswell too. It's what I bought with my discount. (The Latitude E6540 is out with Haswell, but I'm sure that wouldn't be included in the discount. The Inspiron 15R has an option for 4th Gen processor, as well.)

Edit: I can't find any info for the new 14 model, except for a manual which makes it seem like Optimus can't be disabled in any way. For older models, like the 14x, it looks like there may be BIOS updates that added the option to disable Intel after the system was originally designed. I found this in a forum post: "On m14x, your display is connected to intel IGP. Even while gaming on nvidia, the data is first processed with nvidia and then transferred to intel IGP to display on screen. If you disable intel IGP, there wont be any display at all." That is exactly as how Optimus is designed on the Precision Workstation laptops I work on. For example: If you have an M6600 with an NVIDIA card, you must have Optimus enabled if you want to use multiple displays. I just had a call today with this issue.

Revol fucked around with this message at 03:51 on Jul 13, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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InstantInfidel posted:

Turn off Optimus and then disable the discrete card in Device Manager.

When Optimus is turned on, you've got both Intel and NVIDIA in the Device Manager. With Optimus off, you've only got NVIDIA in there. Best you could do is have the standard VGA driver installed.

But, I guess you could just configure the NVIDIA control panel to never use the discrete graphics in any programs. But, again... a good portion of the Alienware 14 price is gonna be that graphics card. You're just throwing money away.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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QuarkJets posted:

Reading my fine print further, if I make a phone call then I get a 16% discount on anything else outside of this short list. The Inspiron 15R with Haswell looks nice, and would be a lot lighter/thinner/cheaper. Are there any offerings here with Intel HD 5000 or higher? I had trouble finding them, all I see are Haswells with HD 4400 like the Inspiron 15R

As far as the Intel HD 5000, this article does not have me excited for it, at least when used in low-power processors. The Alienware has an HD 4600, the Inspiron and XPS 12 have HD 4400.
But, speaking of the 4600, I did find this: "According to benchmarks in 3DMark 11, the HD Graphics 5000 is up to 50 percent faster than the previous HD 4000. In games, however, the performance advantage is significantly lower. With simultaneous load on the CPU, the low TDP of the ULV models (15 W) limits the Turbo Boost of the GPU. Although the HD 5000 features 40 Execution Units, the graphics performance is still somewhat below the HD Graphics 4600 with only 20 EUs (HD 4000: 16 EUs)." The 4600 runs on a faster clock.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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QuarkJets posted:

Thanks for your help. Are there any particularly big problems with the Inspiron series? My previous laptop was an Inspiron, it was generally pretty good but after a few years of use the screen started getting weird tearing artifacts and nearly all of the screws had fallen out. And is it possible to customize some of the Inspiron 15R hardware or is it just a case of "what you see is what you get?" I'd really rather have a 1920x1080 screen, and it looks like the 15" Inspiron only comes with a 768 :\

Weird discount in mind, now I'm debating these two models:

Alienware 14
i7-4700MQ
14" 1920x1080
8GB dual channel DDR3L
Geforce GT 750M
750GB SATA 7200 RPM
DVD-RW
802.11n+Bluetooth
$1349 retail
$1011.50 discounted (25% off)

Inspiron 15R Non-Touch
i7-4500U
15" 1366x768 ()
8GB dual channel DDR3L
Intel HD Graphics 4400
1TB SATA 5400 RPM
DVD-RW
802.11n+Bluetooth
$1219.99 retail
$1024.79 discounted (16% off)

Okay, I'd actually be paying more for the Inspiron due to the differences in discount, and I'd have a lower resolution screen, a slower hard drive, and a weaker CPU in exchange for shaving off a pound from the weight. That makes this decision easier I guess, unless I hosed up something? I'm going to think about this for the rest of the day but I might end up jumping on the Alienware 14 (my discount expires on the 15th, so I've got a whole extra day to shop around and gather opinions)

Actually, that Inspiron is cheaper on the main site, and with a $50 off coupon found on the site, you can get it for $899. That said... I think $112 for a better display, faster HDD, slightly better processor, and dedicated graphics is worth it.

Speaking of... it seems like we all overlooked the simple answer to his earlier concern about Haswell's improved battery life being negated by the dedicated graphics card. We went back and forth about if NVIDIA could be disabled (likely not) and so on... but..

QuarkJets, do you know what Optimus is? In case not, let me explain. Typically, with a dedicated graphics card, the laptop only uses that card, and not the integrated Intel acceleration. Then NVIDIA developed Optimus Technology, which not only allows the system to make use of both the NVIDIA and Intel hardwares, but it dynamically switches between the two. When you're doing most tasks on the system, it'll just use the Intel acceleration, which is beneficial because of the lesser battery drain. NVIDIA isn't used until it is called for, when a program like a video game, or CAD software, or whatever, is launched. The Optimus kicks in, switches from Intel to NVIDIA, and you're now getting the full graphics power.

Yeah, you'll still get the added battery life bonus from Haswell. Launching a graphics-intensive program will cut down on those battery live savings, because you'll be using NVIDIA. But you have control over when that happens. In the NVIDIA control panel, you can manually choose which programs can use the dedicated graphics, and which programs should always use integrated. The default options may call for NVIDIA to kick in for something like video streaming, or a more basic video game. With the Intel HD 4400, you can fix it so the integrated graphics stay in power for those, to help battery life.

So.. get the Alienware. You should have no concern over wasting money on the NVIDIA card, because you should not outright disable it. The only reason you would really want to is for programs that are incompatible with Optimus, which I argue shouldn't be such a concern for you to force you to buy the Inspiron instead.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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InstantInfidel posted:

It's really easy to turn it off, there's not really a question about it.

How?

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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InstantInfidel posted:

The same way I posted twice in the last two pages, by turning off Optimus and disabling the dGPU in device manager.

And right after that, I told you: you can't do that on Dell laptops. Not any Dell that I've ever seen, at least. You can on a Lenovo, I believe. But on a Dell, 'disabling Optimus' only disables the integrated graphics, and you only get the NVIDIA card in the Device Manager, which makes it impossible to disable the dGPU. I'll try to verify this is the case with the new Alienware 14 when I go to work tomorrow, but I'm seeing forum postings about earlier Alienware models, where customers requested BIOS updates to allow for disabling of the dGPU only, and Dell engineering told them no. (This becomes a problem for some Linux users, especially, it seems.)

I echo what Phoenixan said, I think QuarkJets would be very happy with the Alienware 14. How else is he gonna buy an i7 Haswell laptop with 8GB of RAM and a 1080 resolution display for $1000? Along with that he gets a dedicated graphics card that isn't used except for whatever programs he wants it to. Otherwise, he's getting the better battery power savings of the iGPU.

Revol fucked around with this message at 01:30 on Jul 15, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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InstantInfidel posted:

You disable Optimus in the Nvidia control panel and you disable the dGPU in the Device Manager. Unless Dell has somehow hosed with the firmware in a big way, it's universal. The alternative is to tell every program to default to the IGP and then still disable the dGPU, but that's more work.

I have never seen an option inside the control panel to disable Optimus. There is an option to select a 'Prefered graphics processor', but I don't believe that would overrule the specific application settings. I'd imagine it would just work for the applications that don't have it set beforehand.

And you can disable the iGPU, to the extent of using it for graphics acceleration. I believe it is always used to actually display the image onto the screen, but that would be it.

I just checked Dell's guide for the Alienware 14 BIOS. I don't see any Optimus option at all, huh. I imagine they'll fix that in a BIOS update.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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It would be so odd for an M3800 to not have a docking station port. So many of my Precision customers have their systems live in docking stations.

Magic Underwear posted:

When will I be able to buy a 13" Haswell laptop with a 1080p IPS screen? How about if I throw "convertible" in there too?

If you're willing to go to a 12" screen, the Dell XPS 12 is an option.

I should be receiving my Haswell XPS 12 next week and will write up a report for you dudes.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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QuarkJets posted:

Except for games installed on the SSD portion, yes?

There aren't many games that load textures dynamically you'd be able to fit onto a 24GB SSD that already has Windows installed on it. You need at least 32GB, preferably 64GB.

Assassin's Creed III is 18GB.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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My Haswell XPS 12 just arrived. I plan to do a write-up for this thread, when it goes up depends heavily on how much activity I'm able to get through online dating over the next two days. (I should have something lined up for Thursday, and I may do something on Friday too. So maybe push it to Saturday. But if my luck holds out and prove me to be a loser yet again, maybe sooner.) Right now, I'm running Windows Update before I load a backup image of the system onto my USB flash drive.

Anyone have any questions? For reference, this is the bottom-level $1200 model with the i5, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD. Anyone have a game they want me to test on the Intel HD 4400? Anyone want to give me free accessories that use NFC so I can actually make use of the feature? (Is there an affordable mouse that can do that?)

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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lostleaf posted:

I don't know how old you are but how does it handle taking notes using touchscreen? Or does it have any digitizer support? I'm deciding between the xps12 and vaio duo 13.

It has no digitizer, so notation is going to be a little more difficult without it. I do have an Adonit Jot stylus, though, so I plan to test it with that. Didn't get a chance to yet, since I wanted to get my Skinomi screen protector on first. But it looks like maybe the installation didn't take well, I have a lot of streaking/fog under the screen. And it doesn't look like the kind that is supposed to disappear a few days after application, either.

Brut posted:

Trying to use it on an XPS 12 Guess it's not "Any" after all.

A quick Google search shows that this is the Dell Outlet, so we're talking refurbished. Which means you wont't find the new Haswell XPS 12.

Revol fucked around with this message at 12:56 on Jul 25, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Iíve had my XPS 12-9Q33 for three days now. This new revision is essentially identical to the old model, with the new Haswell processor being the major difference. There are minor differences, as well. The system ships with Windows 8.0. Iím tempted to install 8.1 preview (my Acer W500 is running it), but I hear you have to do a full reinstall when the real version comes out.

BUILD

It seems as if the very first question anyone ever has on the XPS 12 will be able the LCD Ďconvertibleí hinges, which allow the laptop to transform to tablet. And I can understand why. My first ever laptop was a Toshiba R15, which was another convertable. This ĎTablet PCí had one hinge in the center, which controlled both the open/close hinge every lapop has, and then another axis for going tablet mode. On that model, you spun the screen clockwise 180 degrees, and then laid the screen down. This designed turned out to be poor. Working this on a single hinge means that all the pressure, all the work, is being done on one single piece of hardware. By the time the laptop was retired, my hinge was very loose.

I donít see this happening with the XPS 12. This laptopís convertible hinges are just that, plural. Instead of spinning on the Z axis like the Toshiba did, this spins on the Y axis. (XYZ axis example to get an idea what that means.) To accomplish this, there are two hinges on the sides of the LCD.



This feels really strong, really sturdy. The grey metal frame around the actual LCD is very strong, pure metal, not plastic.



These hooks are found twice on the bottom of the LCD and twice on the top. They lock the display into the frame. If there is any point of this convertable process that might be prone to failure, itís this. Not that it feels weak. Itís just that everything else feels incredibly strong. Iím not worried, though.

The rest of the system is built out of carbon fiber and aluminum. Best Buy sells this system, you can stop by there to get a real feel for the system. The model thatís been on display at my store seems to be able to withstand the damage it must experience from the masses.

POWER

Another big question is battery life. Thatís the big advantage of the Haswell processor. I wonít run any tests myself, because better tests have already been done. And they found some interesting results.

http://ultrabooknews.com/2013/07/23/dell-xps-12-haswell-battery-life-tests/

Power usage can get down to as low as 3.9W. Overall, it looks like power usage took a 25% decrease compared to the original Ivy Bridge XPS 12.

How long does the battery last? Iím not finding actual in-depth reviews, but here are some comments from users in the Notebookreview.com thread:

quote:

Yesterday on my flight back, I had maybe 4 hours of use, where 2 hours was heavy gaming, 1 hour was heavy web surfing, and 1 hour movie watching (1080P). The batter was at 38% as I was closing up shop on my flight descent into landing.

quote:

Also, to report in from a log plane flight (3.5 hours) on my usage.

About 45 minutes of Civ 5
20 Minutes of Halo Spartan Assault (worked extremely well with the XPS12 in slate mode - I guess it's called?)
100 Minutes of a movie
Probably 30 Minutes of just messing around?

Battery life is at 31% - Screen has been in auto mode the whole time (so don't know average brightness)

So what's that, 195 Minutes - let's call it an even 200 - basically three hours of medium to heavy use and it says I get another 2.5 on the battery?

(Revol: Thatís 3 ⅓ hours, and he speculates 2 Ĺ more hours left of medium/heavy usage.

quote:

oh and I finally got my battery life count I am at 11 hrs. of on time or ~1.5 days including sleep/rapid start sleep from unplug to plug in.

(Revol: Not even Dell says you can get 11 hours, so I donít know about this one.)

The battery is non-replaceable by the customer.

COMPONENTS

Iíve got the base model with the 128GB SSD. Itís a Liteon drive, so says my BIOS. I saw at least one other person on the Notebookreview XPS 12 owners thread also had a 128GB Liteon. But again, Dell uses multiple manufacturers for SSDs, and they will interchange them as stock dictates. I was asked before, so Iíll answer again, Dell does not use OCZ or Crucial.

The 128GB drive ships with a 98.97 OS partition. There are six partitions in total. Along with the OS partition, youíve got 500MB, 40MB, 490MB, 11.14GB, and 8GB. I believe two of these are for Intel Rapid Start (more on that later). Iím not concerned now, as Iím not close to filling the drive.

The previous XPS 12 had problems with its Wifi card. This model has a different card, and it doesnít seem to have problems. The one thing I had to do was to disable powering off the device when it isnít used, as this seemed to cause Bluetooth pairing issues. Thatís probably going to be a problem for any laptop that will power down wireless cards to save battery power, though.

The touchpad was another complaint from the past model. It seems like this one is an improvement. I donít have enough experience to give a real recommendation on it, but it seems to be in the middle of the road. It probably isnít stellar, but it certainly doesnít seem to have serious issues. I can tell you that the touchpad isnít good enough for gaming. Minecraft is pretty much unplayable with it.

I had to disable touch to click, but that was more because I like to rest my finger on the touchpad buttons. Which brings me to my one complaint: I like my touchpad buttons to be separate from the touchpad itself. But I donít care, I almost always use my Bluetooth mouse. Or tablet mode, of course.

Speaking of, the other ďbigĒ upgrade of this model over the previous XPS 12 is NFC. Which... I have absolutely no way of using. I doubt I ever will, unless the technology comes to iPhone. I donít see a use in NFC as a way to pair Bluetooth, which is how the technology is currently being sold on the Dell website.

One minor gripe: the two USB ports are loving tight.

Another point on the USB which I suspect absolutely no one cares about. This system is replacing my Acer W500, which was a pre-Windows 8 slate tablet. This meant it wasnít 100% compatible with Windows 8. One problem I had was getting my NES, SNES and N64 controller USB adapters to work on the W500. This doesnít seem to be a problem on this system. So... yeah.

The front webcam has a flash. Huh!

DISPLAY

Itís nice. High resolution, good viewing angles. Glare can be a bit of a problem, though.

While it has Gorilla Glass 3, I still want to find a screen protector for it, mostly because I want to use this with my Adonit Jot stylus. While the stylus itself is safe, particles can become trapped under its disc, which has caused scratching on screens with strong glass, like iPads.

No complaints with the touchscreen capabilities.

This doesnít have a digitizer. No active stylus. The previously mentioned Adonit Jot is a passive stylus for capacitive tablets.

Edit: The only external display capability is a Mini DisplayPort. This was a concern, because I previously used the HDMI port on the Acer W500 to play emulation games on the TV. Converting the cable to HDMI is no problem, but what about audio output? It seems you need to be careful what you use. I can confirm that this $6.50 HDMI/mDP cable from MonoPrice does include audio output. No setup required, it was plug and play.

PERFORMANCE

Itís running a dual-core i5 with an SSD, so basic performance is obviously great. Beyond that? Letís see how well this handles my Steam library.

For reference:

i5-4200U dual-core CPU, (3M Cache, up to 2.6 GHz)
4GB Dual Channel DDR3L-RS 1600Mhz
Intel Graphics 4400 (power settings at maximum performance)

Minecraft
10-40 FPS - Fullscreen, 1920x1080, Normal view distance, Minimum fancy lighting

Dark Souls
13-15 FPS - I failed to tweak it using DSFix, huh. Was trying to get the render resolution lower.

Project64
60 FPS - Ocarina of Time w/ high-res texture pack (Emulation is a bit uneven when emulating the texture pack. My desktop would be able to compensate, the XPS 12 canít quite do it. Might take some tweaking to fix it. )

Magic 2014 (This game is super disappointing. No real touchscreen controls, even though there are Android and iOS versions of the game.)
23 FPS - 1920x1080, 8AA, high shadows
36 FPS - 1920x1080, no AA, no shadows

Terraria
50-60 FPS - Maximized window

Other users:

Hard Reset gameplay video, average 30 FPS

Dragon Age Origins gameplay video, 30-40 FPS

Somebody claims 30-60 FPS in World of Warcraft. No idea which CPU/RAM build he has.

quote:

I spent 2 hours on my flight last night playing Torchlight 2 at 1080P - it worked flawlessly at 30-40 FPS on battery (also at power saver plan). I played the a little the night before and was getting 60FPS at 1080P while plugged in (dell plan). I also can play hard reset at 30FPS, although while not plugged in it may not be a "on battery" type of game. Civ5 works fantastic at 1080P, Borderlands 2, Dishonored all around 30 FPS.

I posted vidoes of Diablo 3 at 1080P, which might be playable at 30FPS with lower settings.

ISSUES

The first real issue with this system is that Intel Rapid Start doesnít work. The system wonít wake up from sleep. It seems to be a software issue, as you can disable Rapid Start in the BIOS and it works. Dell engineers are apparently aware of the issue. I expect a BIOS update to fix this.

Some people say the fan gets too loud, but others say itís pretty quiet. It doesnít bother me.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I would argue this is maybe one of the best convertible designs you can get. I'm really not a fan of the ones like the Yoga, where the screen just goes all the way back. This keeps the keyboard out in the open, which seems like an incredibly clumsy design. Of the systems that don't do that, I feel like Dell has the right idea here. Keep in mind, I'm not saying this is the best convertible laptop. Just that the design of the convertible-ness of the touchscreen is probably the best. So, if you don't think this is merely just a "gimmick" and find the idea enticing (like I do), this system should be at the top of your list.

It's got a high quality build. A lot of that factors into why I argue the convertible design is so good. I believe this system is going to last me a good time.

It's got a great processor with huge gains in power conservation and an improved integrated graphics accelerator.

It's a niche product. It's not going to be a gaming system, the Intel graphics just aren't that strong. It's not a workstation, you can't do CAD work. It's not for the everyday user, it's out of that price range. If you just want a great Ultrabook, you might be overpaying here. If you want just a tablet, you probably shouldn't be buying any Windows device to begin with.

So why buy it? Well, I bought it because I wanted both a laptop, and a tablet, but I didn't want two devices. I want something that I can write on my blog with, play Starbound during lunch breaks, read comic book scans using a touchscreen. I wanted a convertable laptop. I've loved the idea of that design for years now. Microsoft and the rest of the industry are just now catching onto what I've been looking for. And through my research, the XPS 12 is one of the best convertibles on the market. It just so happened that I was given a bonus discount through the employee member program the week that Dell released the new Haswell version. I bought the bottom-level $1200 model at about a 20% discount. That simply sealed the deal for me.

Revol fucked around with this message at 02:57 on Jul 27, 2013

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Delta-Wye posted:

Does yours automatically support flipping windows over after rotating the screen backwards while still in laptop mode?

No. Whenever the LCD unlocks from the frame from the laptop mode, it turns on the rotation feature. Otherwise, it seems to be off.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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InstantInfidel posted:

Just so we're on the same page, that's a dual-core i5 with two physical and four logical cores. Aside from that minor gripe, excellent writeup and definitely worth a direct link in the OP.

Yeah, you're right, I saw four listed in the BIOS I think, which would've been the logical cores.

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Revol
Jul 31, 2003

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Anniversary posted:

Because a fair bit of the purchase with these seems to be finding a tolerable conversion style and for that I'm thinking my best bet is to head down to Best Buy and put my hands on them.

Yeah, that is the best way to go about this. My Best Buy had the XPS 12 (non-Haswell), that Vaio, and the Yoga. From my research, these are my quick opinions on the build design of each (URL links are systems I didn't get to play with at Best Buy):

XPS 12: Obviously, my favorite. I don't know if it's the perfect design, maybe someone out there will be able to do better in the future. My one complaint is that the LCD only spins one way. Meaning, when in laptop mode, you push the LCD towards you at the top to bring the top down. If you're looking at the laptop from its right side, the LCD spins counter-clockwise. But it won't spin in the reverse. Sometimes you forget which way it spins, and you have to correct yourself.

Vaio Duo 11: I hated this design. More personal preference than anything, really. It's just... weird. Too weird.

Yoga: At first, this looks like it is a no-brainer for best design. Then you actually get it in your hands, and you realized... what the hell? My hands are all over the keyboard on the bottom when this is in tablet mode. Yeah, the keyboard is disabled in this mode, but it's still really weird. They even sell a little sleeve that you slide on to cover the keyboard while in this mode, but that really shouldn't be necessary.

Toshiba U920t: This seems like a really interesting design. At first glance, it looks like a better implementation at the kind of design the Vaio Duo uses. But, it also looks like something I would have to try in my hands before I purchase, and I have no idea how I'd be able to accomplish that.

HP Touchsmart TM2: One glance at this and I have to give a warning to everybody here. This is the kind of design that was used on my old Toshiba R15 Tablet PC. This hinge looks like it could fail on you, because it's only one hinge on one axis.

ASUS Taichi
: Very interesting, but you're paying for two LCD screens, when you can only use one at a time. And the outer 'tablet' screen seems like it's dangerously unprotected at all times. At least with my XPS 12, I can close the system like a real laptop and keep the screen safe.

One thing to keep in mind is that convertible laptops aren't the be-all end-all if you're looking for a system can do both laptop and tablet. It's simply what I would prefer, for the most part.

dorkanoid posted:

As for my preferences I'd like something like a Surface Pro with Haswell, maybe with a 12-13" detachable screen, but I'm not sure if anything like that exists yet (or will ever exist). The tm2 is really nice, but a bit heavy/poorly shaped for using as a tablet unless you have something to rest it on - which is why I'm initially not looking for a convertible where the keyboard stays connected, but that might not be a problem with today's laptops? Does a laptop where the keyboard doesn't contain anything of substance feel top-heavy?

I really like the Surface Pro. I fell in love with it when it was announced. When I was looking to make my purchase, it came down to the XPS 12 and the Surface Pro. Thanks to my employee benefits, the price was going to be the same. So, looking at the two equal, the XPS 12 wins out hands down. Haswell processor and larger screen (still at 1080 resolution). The Surface Pro only really has two things going for it: more portable, and digitizer with pen. But at the same price, the Surface Pro doesn't even have a keyboard. I have to pay another $130 to get the keyboard I want for it.

I'd be more interested if they came out with a new version with Haswell and perhaps a larger screen. But they would also need to lower the price to make it more competitive. With the trouble the Surface is causing for Microsoft, I don't think I see that happening.

Seamonster posted:

Thank you Revol for the XPS12 review. I'm now convinced of the quality but I'm still not convinced its worth the few hundred dollars over the Yoga 13 so I guess I'll be waiting for the Haswell version of that.

I think Dell might like to sell some of their systems, like this one, at a premium, and then have random coupons to bring them down to something more worthwhile.

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