The Dell XPS 17 is the largest, most powerful, and most expensive XPS notebook ever made. It's the first 17-inch laptop I've recommended for many, many years.
If you have already set your heart (and wallet) on it, you should be very careful when configuring it. You can spend between $ 1,400 and $ 3,600 on the XPS 17, but not everyone needs all the upgrades. Here you can find out which are worth the money and which can be skipped.
As always, the processor is the most important decision when configuring the XPS 17. You currently have three options from Intel. The Core i5-10300H, the Core i7-10750H and the Core i7-10875H.
The Core i5 is a quad-core processor that is not suitable for heavy lifting. It is a 45 watt processor, but with only four cores and eight threads it does not handle demanding video rendering well. It should be good enough for creating lighter content like Photoshop or Lightroom, as long as you're not editing extremely high resolution photos. The Core i5 has more than enough processing power for games, but you cannot configure this processor with a discrete graphics card, so this is out of the question. The Core i5 should only be considered for those who are mainly interested in the large screen of the XPS 17.
The other two options are the ones most buyers will be looking for. The Core i7-10750H is a six-core processor, while the Core i7-10875H is an eight-core processor. Your eyes may become glassy from the sequence of numbers and letters, but pay close attention to what you get. More cores and threads mean additional processing power for applications they can use. If you spend the whole day rendering 4K video in Adobe Premiere Pro, the jump between six and eight cores is significant. It is a must for creative people. If this is more of a hobby or something you only do a few hours a week, six cores are enough to get you through.
You can buy the Core i7-10750H from $ 1,900, while the cheapest Core i7-10875H model is available from $ 2,850. Of course, these are not apple-to-apple comparisons, as Dell has different graphics, RAM, and memory for these configurations.
A model with the Intel Core i9-10980HK will be released this summer, but is not yet available.
Dell offers three different graphics options that are tied to the three processors. The Intel Core i5 model has integrated graphics so that modern 3D games cannot be played. You also won't get any of the benefits of discrete graphics for content creation.
From there, Dell offers two discrete graphics upgrades: the Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti and the Nvidia RTX 2060. The GTX 1650 Ti ships with the Core i7 with six cores from $ 1,900. If you reject some graphics settings, you can play many games at almost 60 frames per second in 1080p. These include fast-paced shooters like Battlefield V or Fortnite. However, you will have difficulty playing harder games like Assassins Creed Odyssey. This configuration is very similar to the configuration of the Dell XPS 15.
The gaming ability of the XPS 17 is best when configured with the Nvidia RTX 2060. This is a gaming laptop-class graphics card, and the XPS 17 makes excellent use of it. Thanks to its new thermal system, the XPS 17 can bring the RTX 2060 up to 60 watts. This was the configuration I checked, and it made a big difference in both gaming and video editing. The combination of the eight-core CPU and the RTX 2060 was the fastest laptop for rendering videos in Adobe Premiere Pro that I have ever tested.
However, it is not cheap. The RTX 2060 is only available in configurations starting at $ 2,850.
Memory and memory
Storage is an area where Dell offers more flexibility. You can choose between 8 GB RAM and 64 GB, regardless of which processor you use. Configuring a Core i5 processor with 64 GB RAM is obviously not a good idea. Most applications that use this much memory cannot use this processor optimally. Jumping to 16 GB of RAM, however, can be helpful, especially if you're an extreme multitasker who wants to dock your laptop and fill your task manager with a long list of applications.
The Intel Core i7-10750H starts with 16 GB RAM, while the Core i7-10875H starts with 32 GB RAM. These are good places to start. I wouldn't recommend paying the extra $ 294 to jump to 64GB.
Storage is similar. All configurations can range up to a 2 TB solid-state drive, while the Core i5 starts with only 256 GB. If you are working on large multimedia projects, you need at least 512 GB of storage space, but Dell locks you up with a lot of storage space in its configurations.
Dell's prices for updated storage aren't fancy. However, keep in mind that you can add more storage yourself. The laptop has a free M.2 slot for an additional hard drive. Adding a second hard drive yourself will save you money if you want to open the laptop comfortably.
Dell only offers two display options on the XPS 17. The screen in the basic model has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, similar to a standard 1080p display. The reason for the strange resolution is of course the unorthodox aspect ratio of 16:10. The higher resolution option is 3,840 x 2,400, which has a higher pixel density than a typical 4K screen. This 4K + screen is beautiful, with almost perfect color precision. This is one of the best screens you can ask for, especially if you are a photo or video editor.
This entry-level display is standard in the Core i5-10300H and Core i7-10750H. However, the higher resolution option is available as an upgrade for $ 392. The Core i7-10875H and RTX 2060 are equipped with the 4K + screen standard.
The lower resolution is cheaper and offers better battery life. The 4K + screen suffers from a short battery life and only takes four or five hours on a single charge – depending on use, of course. The larger the screen, the more you appreciate a higher number of pixels. In this case, the higher resolution is definitely worth the upgrade.
Both displays are locked to 60 Hz. This means that frame rates of more than 60 frames per second are of little use. None of the screens offer G-Sync or any other screen crack protection.