Dell XPS-13 Laptop (Part-1)

O’l Sopwith finally decided it was time to purchase a new laptop. My personal laptops usually last 4-5 years before I part with them. In the past, I have owned Dell’s, Toshiba’s, and even an Azus. Most of my┬ácorporate provided units came from Dell, HP, or Lenovo. Sorry Apple freaks, Sopwith is not a fan – so a Mac is not in my future.

For a long time, I have had my eyes on the Dell XPS-13. In my humble view this is the finest laptop on the planet. You can read about it here:
http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-13-9350-laptop/pd?ref=PD_OC

dell-xps13

There were four reasons I waited so long before I bought one:

1) Price.
This unit is pricey. A fully loaded XPS-13 on Dell’s website is more than $2,000 USD. This is ridiculous. In the last few months, Toshiba and HP have figured out the 13″ form factor is a winner. Both offer competing products. This is putting serious price pressure on Dell. Dell needs to get real about pricing.

2) RAM.
Up until the 2016 model year, the most memory you could get was 8GB. There is no path upgrade because the chips are soldered to the motherboard. The latest models have 16GB on-board.

3) SSD size.
Up until recently, the largest SSD available was 256GB. This is simply not enough for me. I was resigned to have to upgrade with an after-market SSD. This was going to be a hassle. The newer units now ship with a 500GB SSD. This works for me.

4) Linux, particularly Ubuntu compatibility.
There was no doubt my next laptop was going to run on Linux. Microsoft’s assault on consumers to force a Windows 10 upgrade was the last straw. I have vowed to abandon Windows forever. My concern here is whether the latest version of Ubuntu would work with the QHD+ 3200×1800 touch display. There is also tons of chat on the Internet about compatibility with the touch-pad, sleep mode, etc. If I was going to spend the money for this laptop, I wanted to be sure I would not have to fight Ubuntu to get it to work.

Last week while shopping at Costco. There it was! A fully loaded XPS-13 (9350) for $1,399 USD. This is still a very expensive laptop, but quite a value compared to Dell’s pricing. Took one home and the fun began. I was figuring that it would take me a week of tinkering to get the laptop how I wanted it. I was way off. I put together the best laptop /OS combination available anywhere in less than a day.

Follow my adventure building this laptop in Part-2.

Sopwith

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