Updated Dell XPS 15 and 17 Laptops Bring New Levels of Performance


Last month, at CES 2011 we unveiled details on some machines we expected to bring to market. One of those machines was the XPS 17 laptop. Starting today, you can order it with the latest processor technology from Intel and a true HD display. Like its bigger brother, the XPS 15 is also getting upgraded processors and Intel chipsets. The new XPS 17 is available today in North America, Latin America and Europe. The XPS 15 is launching today in the United States, and will be rolled out in additional countries in the coming weeks.

Before I get into the fun details, one thing to make clear is that all configurations of the new XPS 15 and 17 laptops all feature updated hardware from Intel that is not affected by the chipset issue.

So, what’s new in these laptops? 1) Latest second-generation Intel Core processors. Both support a range of i3, i5 and i7 dual core and quad-core options. 2) New GPU options and 3) on the XPS 17, a new panel that brings 3D capability with a 1920 x 1080  screen. These new features translate into increased performance compared to the previous versions.

XPS 15 (speaker grill)The XPS 15 can accommodate up to 8GB RAM. The XPS 17 3D version can add up to 16GB RAM. Bottom line, either of these machine will be perfect for high-end computing tasks. Whether you are a gamer, or a high-end photographer or someone who does a lot of video editing stuff, these machines can handle it. Both also offer full support of Dell Stage software that’s designed to give you easy access to all your music, photos and videos.

One of the most frequent requests from customers interested in the XPS 17 was for us to offer a higher resolution display. That’s why XPS 17 customers can now opt for a 1920 x 1080 option. In addition to the higher resolution, it also adds great 3D performance to the mix. That means you can enjoy nearly 500 3D gaming titles, or watch Blu-ray titles in stunning 3D playback. When paired with the new 3GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 555 GPU, this laptop offers new levels of performance in 2D and especially 3D gaming, and beyond.

Both these updated systems keep the original features I blogged about that make these XPS laptops so cool—NVIDIA’s Optimus technology to give you extra GPU power when you need it, awesome audio via JBL speakers and Waves MAXXAudio 3, Skype-certified webcams that can stream in 720p HD, plus standard USB 3.0 on both machines.

Here are some specs both XPS 15 and XPS 17 customers can look forward to:

  • Support for a range of Sandy Bridge or Huron River CPU options: i3/i5/i7  Dual core and Quad core
  • The i7 version now supports Optimus, unless configured with the optional 3D FHD panel on the XPS 17– this uses the discrete GPU full time
  • Both support the full Stage experience on all panels
  • Both offer a wide WLED display (1920 x 1080 resolution) option
  • The i7 Quad core supports WiDi and can stream up to 1080p on both systems
  • Both feature the chiclet keyboard design
  • XPS 15: Starting weight with 6-cell battery = 5.96 pounds
  • XPS 17: Starting weight with 6-cell battery = 7.41 pounds
  • XPS 15: available with up to the NVIDIA GT 540M mobile graphics with 2GB RAM
  • XPS 17: available with up to the NVIDIA 555M mobile graphics with 3GB RAM
  • Both laptops offer all the other great enhancements the XPS line offers, like a Skype HD certified webcam, JBL speakers and Waves Maxx audio and USB 3.0

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24 thoughts on “Updated Dell XPS 15 and 17 Laptops Bring New Levels of Performance

  1. Lionel —

    Ben from Dell said the Sandy Bridge CPU option doesn't exist for the new XPS 15 and XPS 17.

  2. Hi Lionel,

    It is great and a relief to see that dell has finally started rolling out the 2nd gen sandy bridge processor notebooks with the updated chipset. This makes it very clear that dell has started receiving the updated mother-boards.

    although the options on this system are wonderful, I would like to know when will dell start shipping the Alienware M17X R3.

    Please Lionel, I am eagerly waiting to buy the system, when can I see it on display again?


  3. @SaltiMoPho

    There is a Backlit Keyboard.  If you go configure one, there is an option for it.

    Also Dell, hope to see a thinner XPS laptop in the future.

    from CNET: "We appreciate the spec bumps, but they're hardly surprising. Next time, we hope the XPS gets a much-needed design revamp, too."

  4. WHY there is no fullHD screen without 3D option?

    WHY, if I want the fullHD screen, do I have to lose Optimus and WiDi for a useless (for me at least) 3D option?

    Really weird marketing from Dell…

  5. Great another massive laptop to break your back carrying. OK I know there is a market for every model but when are are going to see some new lightweight laptops from dell?

    I plan to replace my xps m1330 this year, and I am holding out for a good 11" model, basically I want a pc version of the macbook air.

    People want something they can carry around with them.

  6. Can you please let me know which are all the other countries which are expected to be rolled out.

    In india xps 15 has been stopped online from receiving order (  www1.ap.dell.com/…/pd.aspx  )

    Please update me on this…..should i wait for this new configuration or go some other brand

    Looking for the status of new/updated xps 15 models in india !!!

  7. Okay, now that you've fixed the text problem, fix the actual problem – no full-HD option with WiDi support (and also Optimus), which is one of the main reasons for me to want this particular system.  While you're fixing that, add a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive option.

  8. "The i7 version now supports Optimus, unless configured with the optional 3D FHD panel on the XPS 17– this uses the discrete GPU full time "

    This contradicts the ordering screens.  This is what I currently have selected:

    "17.3" FHD (1080p) 3D Display with 2.0MP HD Webcam [Included in Price]"

    "NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 550M 1GB graphics with Optimus [Included in Price]"

    Please clear up the contradiction.  There should be no reason to disable the integrated graphics especially for those of us that have no intention of using either 3D or games as it's nothing but a waste of power and capability (WiDi).

  9. @iamnotjamesh First off thanks for the reply! but the new XPS 15 doesn't have a back lit keyboard (the previous i5 models do)…. not even an option. Spoke to a rep and there was nothing they could do to add one.

  10. Just found another potential problem.  The L702x manuals are not online (the US link is broken) but it appears that the version with the 1600×900 screen has only two SODIMM slots while only the 3D version has four.  Odd, if true, but I can't verify because of the broken manuals link.  Regardless, since the 3D technology fundamentally won't support Optimus or WiDi (it took a good explanation from NVidia to verify that), I would request a version with Optimus, WiDi, and four SODIMM slots – just like the L701x but for Sandy Bridge.  I can't figure out why this wasn't done in the first place.

  11. On the day the new laptops mentioned in this article came out, I placed an order for the new Dell XPS 17 3D. I canceled my order that same week when I was disappointed to suddenly discover that Optimus is not supported on the 3D laptops. Dell didn't disclose this.

    I never really cared about 3D in the first place, but I really want to purchase a Dell XPS 17 that has second-generation Intel Core, 1080p (no 3D), and with Optimus support.

  12. Can someone kindly explain to me what the loss of Optimus really means? I have a XPS 17 with the 1080 screen on order (from before they removed the Optimus ) and am wondering if this is a deal breaker for me.  

    Like many, the 3D is not important to me but I wanted the full 1080.

    I will use the machine for a lot of low graphic apps (word processing) and worry that it will be running in high gear the entire time generating heat and burning up energy.

    Dell tech support told me that I will easily be able to disable the graphics card (with a right click) for when I am doing simple things. Unless I was mistaken, I thought that was the point of Optimus.

    I've waited this long, if a 1080 non 3D machine with Optimus is just a short wait …

    I would appreciate some straight talk about this before I even open up the box when it arrives.


  13. The upshot of the 3D system being directly tied to the video card is that the internal graphics is never available, which means Optimus doesn't work.  That primarily means reduced battery life (perhaps 15-30%, depending on what you are doing) and no WiDi (Intel's wireless streaming video that allows you to wirelessly put video from your laptop onto compatible devices), but also slightly higher overall energy use over the life of the device.

  14. A new twist to the discussion of 3D or no 3D

    I received an email early this morning that my order for the NVIDIA 3D glasses had been cancelled (are no longer available).  These were part of my XPS17 1080p order.

    What is this implying?


    Between this and Optimus being taken away I now feel the need to cancel/return the system I have on order and re-group

    Any thoughts?


  15. I have a theory…this is a comment on my previous post – Why did they cancel the 3D glasses on my XPS 17 order?

    I talked to two people at Dell but neither knew why they were cancelled but both were anxious to confirm that they were still available.

    In looking at the customize section of the website, they have made a change. The glasses are no longer optional, a single pair is included in the system price. Here is my theory. The Dell order software couldn't understand this change and cancelled my  order.  Maybe  the SKU (stock keeping unit) changed?

    So I'm back to waiting and wondering about the loss of Optimus …see earlier post. I still welcome comments on that thread.


  16. I am very disappointed in Dell’s customer service. While I do love their products, I can’t for the life of me, understand how they can cancel my (and others from what it seems) 3D Glasses order while continuing to accept new orders for the very same glasses for new PCs? I ordered my laptop the very first day of the new model. I should be one of the first to receive these glasses from Dell but people ordering today will likely receive their glasses before me.

    I used to be one of Dell’s biggest cheerleaders. Now I’m not sure if I could recommend them to my friends without warining them that it could be weeks or months before they get their product…I still feel that when it comes to bang for your buck no-one beats dell. There sales reps are extremely helpful before you place your order, but once it’s placed they don’t return your emails or calls (at least they haven’t returned mine).

    I also think that there online order status is effectively useless. The shipping date doesn’t get updated regardless of delays. Even if an item ships early the shipping date remains in the future (I received my backpack before the estimated shipping date). They also use the blanket “In Production” to cover EVERYTHING right up until shipping. This makes it look as if nothing is being done with your order. Why not break this up into 3 or 4 steps so we can see some progress prior to shipping. Also try updating the shipping date to reflect the real progress!

    I haven’t decided if I will recommend Dell to my friends in the future. Again I love the products but the post sales service is horrible! I guess that depends how they handle the 3D glasses fiasco but right now I don’t think I will.

    p.s.I hope my laptop ships soon. Has anyone received their XPS 17 3D Yet? What about the glasses? I'm not even sure I will ever get them…

  17. Lionel,

    I wanna buy an XPS 15 i7 but dell website says it isnt available……how long am i supposed to wait?nd were i to opt for xps 17 when will it arrive in india???

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