Friday, 9 April 2010

My new laptop – A Dell Studio XPS 1645

Dell Studio XPS 16 Black OpenOne tool that I was lacking in my new role as a Senior Consultant for LobsterPot Solutions was a laptop computer. Back in my UniSA days, if you needed a laptop for a presentation or a conference you just borrowed one, so it was never a problem. Post-UniSA I borrowed my Mum's nice Toshiba, or more recently the small (but capable) HP Mini Netbook that I got from Tech-Ed last year.

Rob and I did a fair bit of research, compared brands and options (including the Sony Z-series which I see Nigel chose), and settled on the Dell Studio XPS 16 model. Being a "laptop-newbie" I particularly valued Rob's good experience with his previous Dell laptop.

The XPS 16 comes with:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-820QM Processor (1.73GHz, 4 Cores/8 Threads, turbo up to 3.06GHz, 8MB Cache)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 640GB HDD (will replace with SSD soon)
  • 15.6" Screen
  • ATI Mobility RADEON HD 4670 – 1GB
  • Backlit keyboard

The CPU and RAM are similar to the Hyper-V server I built – though happily, while this CPU is also a Core i7, unlike it’s desktop cousin it doesn’t require a great whopping heatsink/cooler stuck on top (which could make shutting the lid a bit tricky!)

Some nice things I’ve discovered so far:

  • It looks very nice, though the glossy surface does show up fingermarks very quickly.
  • You can do "two-finger zooming" on the touch pad – great for Google/Bing maps.
  • Windows 7 x64 runs very nicely.
  • Rob noticed you can disable battery charging when on AC power.
  • Doesn't seem to get too hot (though the AC transformer does)

After having a quick play I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dell had shipped it with the latest BIOS firmware - that is refreshing. Nevertheless, after a precautionary backup to my Windows Home Server, I did a clean install of Windows 7 x64 Ultimate and am proceeding to load up all the various "mandatory" applications (Office, SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc).

I'm also thinking I might leverage Windows 7's "boot to VHD" feature to have separate Win7 instances where I can try out pre-release/beta software without "polluting" my primary OS.

Dell Studio XPS 16 Red We chose the red ones, because a) they go faster (obviously!) and b) it kind of matches the red of the LobsterPot logo :-)

5 comments:

Ozziemedes said...

What was wrong with a fully cranked Alienware M17x? ;) Other than the fact that Rob will need to fork over a month of your salary to buy it for you?!

David Gardiner said...

I'm sure that would have been nice too!

I should have mentioned that I'm paying for it, though using salary sacrifice, which eases the financial impact a bit.

-dave

Ben Laan said...

Dave - As you may recall, I have the XPS1530, this machine's predecessor. I totally love it, except for one *major* failing, which would stop me buying Dell again..

The right-ctrl and context-popup keys are reversed.. MAJOR pain to get used to.. I've never seen this on any other machine, but looking at some product pictures from the link you included, I *think* it is still like that..

Hope I'm wrong, or you don't use the right-ctrl much (unlike me!)

David Gardiner said...

I don't think it's worrying me that much so far.

The order on the 1645 is:

ctrl fn win alt space alt ctrl ctx

-dave

Nigel Spencer said...

Nice choice Dave. I went for a lighter, more portable offering but can't help but be a little envious of an i7 with 8Gb.