Dell XPS 13 gets upgrade to Intel 11th-gen CPUs, Xe graphics, and Thunderbolt 4

nanoguy

Posts: 585   +8
Staff member
In brief: Dell's refreshed XPS 13 lineup is its best yet, with everything from a taller display to upgraded internals and Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. The laptops will arrive later this month starting at $999 -- but with soldered RAM and SSD, you'll have to look at the more expensive configurations.

Dell revealed a complete redesign of the XPS 15 last May, with a taller display and a firm transition to USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. The company also brought back the XPS 17 with powerful internals such as 10th-gen Intel CPUs and Nvidia RTX graphics in a slim body to compete with Apple's MacBook Pro 16.

These are great options for professionals looking to pack more power in their portable machines, but for everyone else, the XPS 13 remains the true portable king of Dell's prosumer offerings thanks to its smaller footprint. It's the same story with the XPS 13 2-in-1 that weighs only marginally less but adds in pen input and tent mode for better work and play.

It should be noted, the XPS 13 and XPS 15 made it to our recent list of the best laptops of 2020.

The company is refreshing XPS 13 with new 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPUs with Xe graphics. When the chip maker revealed the new processors, it used AMD's Ryzen 7 4800U as a reference point to showcase the relative performance more than its own 10th generation Ice Lake. Preliminary independent tests seem to confirm this, at least when it comes to single-core workloads, AI acceleration, and integrated graphics performance.

With the new XPS 13, Dell took the same approach as it did with the larger variants and integrated a slightly taller display, which is a boon for productivity. You can choose between 1080p and 4K, but to get anywhere close to the 19 hours of battery claimed by Dell you'll have to go with the lower resolution option. You get 100 percent sRGB coverage with either of these, and 90 percent of the DCI-P3 color space on the 4K version.

Base versions come with 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and you have a choice of up to 32 GB. They come with soldered RAM, so keep that in mind when you purchase one as you'll be stuck with that amount for the lifetime of that device. For storage you get PCIe SSDs ranging from 256 GB to 2 TB, which are upgradeable on the regular XPS 13, whereas the XPS 13 2-in-1 has a soldered SSD of up to 1 TB.

In terms of connectivity, Dell has integrated two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, an audio combo jack and a microSD card slot. There's also Killer Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and Dell includes a USB-C to USB-A adapter with every XPS 13.

The refreshed XPS 13 lineup will become available by the end of the month, with the XPS 13 starting at $999 and the 2-in-1 variant starting at $1,249. Dell says a Developer Edition is also on the way, for those of you who want a laptop pre-configured with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Overall, the new laptops are on the pricier side, but going by its predecessors, they're well-built ultraportables. The new models are also Intel Evo-certified, which means they support fast charging, quick wake from sleep, and can run for at least nine hours on a single charge on moderate use.

Permalink to story.

 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 460   +393
How can it be 1080p, it's 1200p as it's 16:10 1920 x 1200 and the 4K is not technically 4K it's 3840 x 2400, which IMO is way too much for a 13" laptop. I wish they would offer 2560 x 1600 for the top screen resolution nice compromise between battery and resolution. I would only get the 3840 x 2400 ion the 17" version.
 

Endymio

Posts: 621   +514
How can it be 1080p, it's 1200p as it's 16:10 1920 x 1200 and the 4K is not technically 4K it's 3840 x 2400...
There are quite a few different resolutions which are all loosely referred to as "4K". 3840x2400 is technically known as WQUXGA (or sometimes "4K UHD+"), whereas 3840x2160 is just 4K UHD.

To be really anal, there isn't a monitor in the world that's 1080p either, as that's a broadcast standard, not a resolution.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,453   +2,348
They do make great laptops.... but the lack of ports gets annoying... the thunderbolt docking station tends to Bork every few weeks, making you power cycle it in order to make it work again...
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 460   +393
There are quite a few different resolutions which are all loosely referred to as "4K". 3840x2400 is technically known as WQUXGA (or sometimes "4K UHD+"), whereas 3840x2160 is just 4K UHD.

To be really anal, there isn't a monitor in the world that's 1080p either, as that's a broadcast standard, not a resolution.
Ok if you are being pedantic. Whatever you call the resolution, the new XPS got rid of the pathetic 16:9 aspect ratio for 16:10 aspect ratios, so the screens are 1920 x 1200 or 3840 x 2400. Like I said mention of 1080p or 1920 x 1080 are irrelevant to the XPS 13.
 
They do make great laptops.... but the lack of ports gets annoying... the thunderbolt docking station tends to Bork every few weeks, making you power cycle it in order to make it work again...
We have 100's of the Dell thunderbolt docks in our environment. If you are using Dell's original thunderbolt dock (TB16), they were a real pain in the neck. The new WD19TB docks are much improved! Also, there are firmware updates for both of these docks that I highly recommend installing (especially the ones for the TB16).

Having said that, I agree with you about the lack of ports on newer laptops. I think that the quest of manufacturers to make laptops thinner and thinner has gone too far. They are now sacrificing ports and good thermal design all in the name of making things a little thinner. Its getting ridiculous!
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,453   +2,348
We have 100's of the Dell thunderbolt docks in our environment. If you are using Dell's original thunderbolt dock (TB16), they were a real pain in the neck. The new WD19TB docks are much improved! Also, there are firmware updates for both of these docks that I highly recommend installing (especially the ones for the TB16).

Having said that, I agree with you about the lack of ports on newer laptops. I think that the quest of manufacturers to make laptops thinner and thinner has gone too far. They are now sacrificing ports and good thermal design all in the name of making things a little thinner. Its getting ridiculous!
Yeah, I’ve installed the firmware update for the TB16 and it is far better - but still a pain...
Do the WD19s require power cycling? Because I might need to get one if they don’t :)
 
Yeah, I’ve installed the firmware update for the TB16 and it is far better - but still a pain...
Do the WD19s require power cycling? Because I might need to get one if they don’t :)
Yeah, as I mentioned before, the WD19TB docks are way more trouble free. We have had a number of workstations where we were just having endless issues with the TB16 docks, where we tried multiple TB16 docks and the problems persisted. Once we swapped in the WD19TB docks at these stations the problems just went away - Much improved dock! I guess the question that you have to ask yourself, is having to power cycle your dock every few weeks worth spending over $200 to get the newer dock.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Squid Surprise

Arbie

Posts: 110   +173
Both my XPS 13s had temperature problems. One required serious undervolting to behave - with the attendant hours of work trying to isolate the problem and test solutions. Now I hear that the Intel security flaws have led them to prevent even that recourse.

And - those were dual-cores when for the money they should have been at least quads. The last throes of Intel milking us.

I've had it with Intel CPUs. AMD all the way now, and if Dell can't manage that there are other choices.
 
The fact that they have soldered RAM is a non-starter for me. Why would I not want a future upgrade option. We all know what the nature of time and new operating systems are about: they'll need more resources. It adds to the pollution of our world and is pretty much on point work planned obsolescence.

Also the super large resolution on such a small screen is ridiculous. It would make sense in a 17 inch laptop... But might even be pushing it too. I think a max acceptable resolution would be 2560x1600

It's too bad, because there guys make great laptops.
 

tokyojerry

Posts: 7   +1
Yeah, as I mentioned before, the WD19TB docks are way more trouble free. We have had a number of workstations where we were just having endless issues with the TB16 docks, where we tried multiple TB16 docks and the problems persisted. Once we swapped in the WD19TB docks at these stations the problems just went away - Much improved dock! I guess the question that you have to ask yourself, is having to power cycle your dock every few weeks worth spending over $200 to get the newer dock.
FWIW and what I read elsewhere, OWC (One World Computing) will be coming to with an all thunderbolt 4 dock (3 ports I think) before year's end for around $150. Backward compatible with existing TB3/USB-C devices. So, it might behoove one to wait awhile and see what comes of that. Increasingly. Lenovo and other vendors are now incorporating TB4 ports into the design of their products.
 

poohbear

Posts: 495   +371
Hopefully they make a 15" XPS without dedicated graphics. It adds so much to the price and it's totally unnecessary for most people. If I want to game I'll use my desktop with its 34" monitor, laptops are for work on the go.
 

tokyojerry

Posts: 7   +1
Hopefully they make a 15" XPS without dedicated graphics. It adds so much to the price and it's totally unnecessary for most people. If I want to game I'll use my desktop with its 34" monitor, laptops are for work on the go.
All people don't just play games in life. There are those who need graphics processing OTG for 3D modelling, CAD, 4K video NLE production work or whatever their specialty might be. These tasks all require graphics processing power. If you want a big screen but don't want dGPU, then, simply target such models with only iGPU to suit your preference.