XPS 15 vs Sager NP5135

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lotri

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So, my old Dell i9300 is beginning to crap out on me, so I've been looking at some of the recent releases from Dell and XoticPC. Right now, I'm considering the XPS 15 and the Sager NP5135.

Below are the configurations I'm looking at:

1. XPS 15
* Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
* Intel® Core™ i5-560M (2.66GHz, 4 threads, turbo boost up to 3.2GHz, 3M cache)
* 6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
* Backlit Keyboard - English
* NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 420M 1GB graphics with Optimus
* 500GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
* Silver Anodized Aluminum 15.6" FHD (1080p) B+RGLED Display with Facial Recognition
* Integrated 10/100/1000 Network Card
* Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0
* 8X Tray Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
* JBL 2.1 Speakers with Waves Maxx Audio 3
* Intel© Centrino© Advanced-N 6200
* McAfee Security Center with VirusScan, Firewall, Spyware Removal, 30-Day Trial
* 92 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
* 1 Year Basic Service Plan
* Dell Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
* Dell Bluetooth 3.0

2. Sager NP5135
* 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Glare Type Screen
* Standard Dead Pixel Policy
* Intel® Core™ i5-560M, 2.66-3.2GHz, (3MB L3 cache)
* IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
* nVidia GT 425M 1024MB PCI-Express GDDR3 DX11 with Optimus™ Technology
* 8,192MB DDR3 1066MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) - Special!
* Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Softwares
* 500GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
* Internal 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
* Internal Bluetooth + EDR
* Intel® Ultimate-N 6300 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
* Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
* Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
* Integrated Fingerprint Reader
* No Operating System Standard - Drivers & Utility Software Only (gonna get W7 Pro through MSDNAA)
* 3 Year Labor 1 Year Parts, Lifetime Sager Toll Free Tech Support

- I'll mainly be using this laptop for school (AutoCAD, Solidworks) and some gaming (WoW, MW2, etc).

Thanks for the input!

*EDIT*: Took out Envy 14, XPS 14 configurations as 720p isn't quite enough.
 
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I get this question a lot, watch this laptop guide http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qE5IQ9tyAE

If you're gonna do CAD or Premiere work, then you don't want the software to scream at you for buying a 1366x768 screen. So the HP is out of the race.

Now here's the bit I don't know about Dell. Do they solder the GPU to the motherboard or do they have a special slot-in GPU board. I've been told it's the latter in some laptops. This is crucial if you're thinking about upgrades.

Seems like if we want 1080p, your choice is the XPS 15, but I'd rather go for the XPS 14.
 
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@buwish Do you know if Dell XPS series have their GPU soldered to the mobo or do they come on special boards, like PCI-e ones?
 

lostandwandering

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Do you know if Dell XPS series have their GPU soldered to the mobo or do they come on special boards, like PCI-e ones?
Why does this matter?


Lotri: Go over to Anandtech and read the review on the XPS 15. They said the JBL speakers were about the best speakers in a laptop that they had ever heard (they haven't reviewed the Envy Beats edition yet). They also love the 1080p screen on the Dell: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3999/dell-xps-15-l501x-review
 
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Use your brain, why would anyone want to know if the GPU is upgradeable eh?
 

lostandwandering

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Use your brain, why would anyone want to know if the GPU is upgradeable eh?
Most people go into buying laptops knowing they aren't going to upgrade them. Even if you can upgrade it, good luck finding a replacement and then have fun paying for it. I know of one place to buy them new (not ebay) and they aren't exactly cheap.
 
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Well I know a lot of people who would disagree with that statement. 3 years down the line, not really playing games, they don't want to throw away a laptop that's working just fine. Then they ask me for upgrade tips.

I paid $100 for a new CPU and it really feels like a new lease of life for my laptop. Remind me, how much does a new laptop cost? Upgrade is the only way to stick it to those manufacturers. And am not spending on a new laptop just because a $50 game demands it. F-off Blizzard.
 

lostandwandering

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Yes, but keep in mind that we are talking graphics cards here and specifically laptop cards that can't be bought retail in most cases. Not to mention that I never suggested that you "throw away" the laptop. A new mid-level GPU is going to run you much more than $100. From the one place that I know of online that you can buy these cards new, you are looking at close to $350 for a GTS 250. Putting that kind of money into a 3 year old system isn't really up my ally. I'd spend the money on a CPU or RAM before I bothered with that kind of cash for the GPU.
 

buwish

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I guess it is a matter of personal opinion in regard to the GPU. Chances are because it is a Dell that the GPU is soldered onto the motherboard. You'll only find upgradeable slots on high end gaming machines.
 

lotri

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Well, here's the weird marketing thing with the Dells. If you want the 435M, you MUST upgrade to the i7, which negates the Optimus capability. So basically, I'm looking at:

1. Envy 14: smaller form, 720p, longer battery life, better graphics than the 420, no Optimus
2. XPS 14: smaller form, 720p, quad-core, good sound, no Optimus
3. XPS 15: good sound, 1080p, Optimus, lower battery life

If I take the XPS 14, would you guys recommend upgrading the battery. I have the 9-cell on my I9300, but I don't go portable that often. It's usually stuck into a wall due to CPU underclocking (and being too lazy to force it to higher speeds). The larger battery sticks out from the bottom, but that also allows for some airflow. I already do that to my laptop, using some blocks to lift the rear by about 1".
 
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If you've used CAD or Adobe CS5 before, you'll know that you need a roomy screen. Will an external monitor do? Use the chat button on the HP/Dell site and ask if you can return the laptop based on unsatisfactory performance with the software/game you use.

Anyway, according to NoteBookCheck, HD5650 and GT 425M have pretty similar ratings with GDDR3 memory.

If you're looking at a desktop replacement, then I think battery life shouldn't be too much of an issue. I mean, there're more important things to consider here. Someone mentioned Asus G53, did u check that? It's 1080p, is butt-ugly but comes GTX 460M.



___________________________________________________________________
Laptop advice guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qE5IQ9tyAE
 

raza715

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In easy words: Dell XPS 14, because it has i7 processor and gt425 (which is slightly behind 5650 but it produces very good battery standby plus it can surpass 5650 easily because it has nice overclocking ability.
 

lotri

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If you've used CAD or Adobe CS5 before, you'll know that you need a roomy screen. Will an external monitor do? Use the chat button on the HP/Dell site and ask if you can return the laptop based on unsatisfactory performance with the software/game you use.

Anyway, according to NoteBookCheck, HD5650 and GT 425M have pretty similar ratings with GDDR3 memory.

If you're looking at a desktop replacement, then I think battery life shouldn't be too much of an issue. I mean, there're more important things to consider here. Someone mentioned Asus G53, did u check that? It's 1080p, is butt-ugly but comes GTX 460M.
Well, the thing with the 425M is that it requires the i7, which doesn't allow for Optimus. Is it annoying to keep having to manually switch between Intel and ATI graphics? I'm also worried about overheating with the i7. The XPS 16 had some heat problems, and I know some HPs have the same problem with i7.

Regarding the battery, I was looking at the bigger battery to improve air flow. I could probably do the same thing I'm doing now, so the 9-cell isn't a must-have.
 
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Actually yeah, I've read about heating problems with Core i7 and apparently when it switches to turbo-boost, the fan goes loud and stays loud. That's surely not good design.

Looking back at your specs, I have to agree with raza715, the XPS14 is better... Check if you can connect an external display to get the 1080p. I'm sure this will benefit your CAD experience. Adobe CS5 requires a min 1280x900, my 1280x800 screen is no good, will 1366x768 (720p compliant) be any good?

I don't know about the connection between air-flow and battery size. I thought laptops have standard designs. The big battery just sticks out a little. Maybe it's different with Dell laptops.
 

lotri

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Actually yeah, I've read about heating problems with Core i7 and apparently when it switches to turbo-boost, the fan goes loud and stays loud. That's surely not good design.

Looking back at your specs, I have to agree with raza715, the XPS14 is better... Check if you can connect an external display to get the 1080p. I'm sure this will benefit your CAD experience. Adobe CS5 requires a min 1280x900, my 1280x800 screen is no good, will 1366x768 (720p compliant) be any good?

I don't know about the connection between air-flow and battery size. I thought laptops have standard designs. The big battery just sticks out a little. Maybe it's different with Dell laptops.
I think the newer batteries for both HP and Dell stick out downwards instead of towards the rear. Thus, it helps with air flow a bit.

I wonder if taking the XPS 15 for the subwoofer and 1080p is worth the size increase and processor downgrade. The Core i5 should be enough for most applications.. and the two configurations have around $50 difference in price.
 
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Ah now I get it... I have a tic-tac box under my laptop to allow just that kind of airflow. :lol:

Hey am looking at the Dell XPS15 config page. If you can stretch that little bit for a Core i7 & GT 435M 2GB, then you'll be happy from Day-1. I can't believe they charge an extra $130 for 1080p, isn't how much an external monitor costs? ...their screen has facial recog too, lol.
 

lotri

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Ah now I get it... I have a tic-tac box under my laptop to allow just that kind of airflow. :lol:

Hey am looking at the Dell XPS15 config page. If you can stretch that little bit for a Core i7 & GT 435M 2GB, then you'll be happy from Day-1. I can't believe they charge an extra $130 for 1080p, isn't how much an external monitor costs? ...their screen has facial recog too, lol.
I guess I'm just worried about heat problems with the i7. I've been hearing about some memresistors that will revolutionize computers by making things so much faster.

Anyways, are there any engineers out there who might be able to chip in on i5 vs i7? If the i7 has heat issues, I'd rather just take the i5 and worry about power later when I build a desktop (eventually).

P.S. I took a peek at the Asus. It's a little out of my budget range and I'm sure it'll run super hot. I'm not looking to run games at native 1080p. Just something that will chug along at medium settings at 720p or 900p (like my 5-year-old laptop does). Oh, and something that will run CAD modeling smoothly as well. =P
 
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I've never done any research on Sager and this name keeps coming up in these forums, maybe i should look into it. Thanks.
 
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