Upgrading to the XPS 13 (9350)

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After five years with the same highly-upgraded Early 2011 MacBook Pro 15", and a recent trip to the Apple Store for a motherboard replacement, it hit me that my laptop is living on borrowed time and that I should probably get a new machine.

What I wanted was an Ultrabook, a lightweight machine with a decent CPU and can run several hours on battery. After a few weeks of research into quality vs. price, as well as Linux compatibility, I ended up purchasing the XPS 13. It really came down to this and the Thinkpad Carbon X1 3rd Gen, but the XPS has slightly better specs and a sexy bevel-less screen.

Dell XPS 13 (9350) @ $999

  • 8GB LPDDR3 (1,866MHz)
  • Intel HD Graphics 520
  • 128GB SSD
  • Broadcom DW1820A (AC) + Bluetooth 4.1
  • 56WHr Battery
  • 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6200U (3M Cache, 2.3 Ghz – 2.8 GHz)
  • 13.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080)

Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon X1 3rd Gen @ $1,272

  • 8GB PC3-12800L (1,600 MHz)
  • Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • 128GB SSD
  • Intel 7265 (AC) + Bluetooth 4.0
  • 50WHr Battery
  • 5th Gen Intel Core i5-5300U (3MB Cache, 2.3 Ghz – 2.90GHz)
  • 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080)

Aftermarket Upgrades

The hard drive size in each is pretty low @ 128GB. Luckily, despite most components in ultrabooks being soldered to the motherboard, these SSD's uses an M.2 interface and can be swapped out. The WiFi card in the XPS sucks and has horrible Linux compatibility. Luckily, it too can be upgraded to a quality one (the same the Carbon uses).

  • Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB M.2 3.5-Inch SSD (MZ-N5E500BW)
  • Intel 7265 IEEE 802.11ac Bluetooth 4.0

Once the machine arrives and I make the upgrades I'll write a few more posts on my findings, build quality, hardware compatibility, etc.

Tags: #laptop
Thomas Hunter II Avatar

Thomas has contributed to dozens of enterprise Node.js services and has worked for a company dedicated to securing Node.js. He has spoken at several conferences on Node.js and JavaScript and is an O'Reilly published author.