📆 Post date: 2023-11-18

I have an XPS13. It is a constant source of rage and misery. So much so, that I have ordered a MacBook air, in hopes that I can finally have the workflow that I originally wanted.


My current laptop is a Dell XPS13 (3915) that is rocking an Intel i7 1250u CPU, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage onboard. Oh, and a touch screen.

It was not cheap (it was over priced)

When I made the purchase, I was intending it to be my ‘forever laptop’ in the sense that I would not need to think about upgrades for many years.

I did a lot of research and checked out on the Dell website, with confidence. Dell make a lot of machines, all of them are pretty sturdy devices, (I use a Dell at work and its pretty good.) The XPS series has always been thought of as a pretty elegant work horse. I was excited. I ordered it gleefully.

Then it took a little over 2 months to arrive. 😔

Soon after my new laptop arrived, I realised that there were some issues. Now, I have never put Linux on this machine, but given that I have two other Windows 11 computers in my house, I know the difference between Windows and ‘this machine’ problems. For the most part, anyway.

Last week, I took the decision to order a MacBook Air M2. All I just wanted trouble free computing and a Mac seemed like a good idea (we’ll see if it ends up being a solution.)

The major issues with my XPS


The fan screams. When I boot up, it screams after around five minutes. The fan noise is constant an irritating, and thats just in Word. If I load Obsidian, Spotify and a browser, after a few seconds it screams louder. If I do anything a little more taxing it begins to sound like a jet.

It is worth saying that I am not actually very noise sensitive. But this little git feels like its designed to piss me off.

Performance, general

Lets be real here, a i7 1250u CPU was never going to be a power-house was it? I knew this going in, I did not expect to be playing Doom Eternal on it.

What I did expect was snappy desktop performance and a consistent experience.

What I got was a machine that has inconsistent performance, insane thermal throttling (and believe me, I know the bloody fan is working!) and random application issues, that I am certain are related to CPU scaler.

Obvious CPU issues

Speaking of the scaler. On these modern intel CPUs there is constant, automatic, changing of the CPU scaling options (not sure that’s the right word, now I think about it.) On my machine, I can literally feel when it changes mode, its like it stalls just before it ramps up. A few seconds later the thermals go too high and it stalls for a moment again, while it lowers, to lower than before. I often wonder if the i5 would perform better than the i7.

Also, heat… Oh my gosh the heat!

Now, this will sound like a joke and I know no one will believe this but its true. I once had my laptop open on my desk, monitor plugged in too. I was in Word, had Obsidian open on the other screen and was also running a windows update. I reached over to press the escape key to dismiss a window in Word and it was so hot that my pinky recoiled in shock. Now I’m not going to say that it caused me injury because that is silly, but, it was hot enough that nursed my finger for a few minutes… Think about that for a moment, I pressed a key, and then nursed a finger… That’s not okay Dell.

I did contact their support team an apparently, it’s temperatures ‘should be high by design’ and, ‘it is nothing to worry about.’

I got this answer twice when I contacted them about the extreme heat. ✌️

The USB mystery

I have a rather nice Dell Dock, a HD22Q. It’s a wireless phone charger too, which I really like.

A while back, the USB ports on it stopped working. Just… Stopped one day. They still work with every other computer that I plug in to test, but with my XPS13, nope.

I got around this by plugging in separate dock. Now I plug two cables into my laptop. Good job I have two USBC ports!

I have literally tried everything I can think of to fix this, short of reloading Windows. At one point I video called a friend (it was Wing) and talked him through it, step by step, to make sure I wasn’t being an idiot. He was baffled too.

Steam deck, works. Daughters laptop, works. My XPS, broken.

Maybe its a Windows issue, but I can find basically no one else with this issue (there are one or two reports online, but they seem to end with “oh, it’s working now”)


I got these really nice headphones recently. Marshal Major IV’s. I love them they have an amazing battery and good sound quality. They also stutter constantly when attached to the Bluetooth built into my laptop. Also they cut out completely if I am at the far side of the room.

I solved this by disabling Bluetooth on my laptop and then buying a Bluetooth dongle. To be fair on this one, it seems like my trackball’s USB adapter causes the interference but still. I have never had this problem before!

Oh, and sometimes, not often, but sometimes my Bluetooth keyboard doesn’t auto connect and I have to click it in settings. Which is sort of nit-picking now, but what the heck!


If my Wi-Fi is turned on in windows and I am docked, I have to turn it off manually.

If I don’t, I have constant disconnects from my wired connection… And I don’t know why. If I leave Wi-Fi on and disable my wired connection, everything is fine!

Obviously, this means I now have to manually turn off Wi-Fi when I dock it.

While annoying, I shrugged and live with this problem. Because, at this point, its just one more thing that doesn’t work as expected.


When I press Win+e, I should get a file explorer window instantly. On every machine I have ever used, file explorer has been instant. On this machine I wait, for anything from 2, to 7 seconds for it to appear. This is a windows application which is baked into the OS, and, I use it a lot. I feel like it should work.

Things take time on this machine!

In the case of Spotify, I can watch it draw in, once the window appears.

Most applications need some ‘simmer time’ before they become properly responsive. Which isn’t acceptable unless its 1998 and I’m using a Compaq desktop.


I know, Discord is a crappy application. I 100% know, and I’m not arguing it. But, the fact that I am unable to stream my desktop to Discord without it making my laptop unresponsive within a few seconds, well, it really tugs on my beard, and not in a fun way.

I have constant audio dropouts from voice calls, very regularly. I have my mic randomly stop working and have to leave and re-join. It’s not the mic, the computer just stops using it… For some reason. The call dropping is regular enough that other people get pissed off with my laptop too!

My final gripe here is that about once a day, Discord will become sluggish to the point that it needs restarting. Great.


Microsoft Word is the only piece of software that I actually care about. Well, a word processor and my notes application (Obsidian) is all I really care about.

I write big monolithic documents. My last novel was 202 pages in Word. I have always accepted that it takes a few minutes to load and then become snappy enough to start using, in part because my grammar tool has to take a look at it too.

I have not been making pointless comparisons between my very recently arrived Mac and my XPS because I have not lived with the Mac for long enough to make a useful judgement on its performance. I do feel that I should tell you though, that when setting it up the other day, I installed word and ProWriting-aid. I then loaded the Nancy & Holmes manuscript. It was instant. I was actually surprised at its speed.

This is the one thing that’s important to me. I have been assuming that the issues were Word, and now I realised that my laptop has been abusing me 🐶


I have a laptop, and I also have a ‘u’ class CPU. I was never planning on playing a lot of games on it.

I did however expect that I would be able to play GeForce now on it while in a Discord call. I cant reliably do that. It gets hot and starts dropping frames.

I also hoped that I would be able to do some basic gaming, like maybe a bit of ‘Star Traders: Frontiers’ which is mostly a turn based 2D game. Or even some visual novels. All of these lock up my laptop after about 20 minutes. Which seems mad. I mean, Star Traders is less taxing that most web browsers!

Windows Standby

I know how things work. I know that if I leave a computer in ‘sleep mode’ the battery will drain. I know.

But I have always, in the past, with laptops, turned off automatic hibernate. I have always had it sleep indefinitely when I close the lid and only hibernate when I actually press the power key.

Windows took that options from me, which is not the fault of Dell.

However, my XPS goes into hibernate after about 40 minutes of sleep. I then have to go through a full boot up again, which is not the end of the world, but its annoying and makes me wait for things to get ready to use again. I hate it.

I can hack the registry to make it behave how I want it to, but its ‘corrected’ with each windows update.

Sometimes when its in sleep it will start a windows update and then reboot. With the lid closed, and not go back to sleep. This means that it can be in my bag, with the fan at 100% until it dies. Then, when I leave work and pull it out in a coffee shop (which I do a lot; that’s why I have a laptop!) It’s hotter than fire and has no battery left.

This is not just me. This is a known problem with some hardware configurations, including this model of XPS.

Operating system

I should probably say, making clear for newer readers: I know Linux. I know Linux really well. I used it as my only OS for almost ten years. I ended up back on Windows, not because Linux was bad, not because it was limiting me in any real way, but because my needs changed.

I began playing less games, being less interested in general technology. I began using my computer more and more as a writing/Discord box. Eventually I just wanted to use Word and not get distracted by system tinkering. When I got my new laptop, I just sort of stuck with Windows. And, honestly, it’s been fine (I’m pretty sure all my issues with my laptop are related to hardware, because my previous laptop was fine.)

That said, now that I have more options I’m likely going to drop Linux on my laptop to ‘give it a try’ and see if it does tackle my issues, at some point.

The main reason that I didn’t do this when it was my only machine, was because I really wanted offline-Word and contrary to popular memes, there isn’t a comparable word processor on Linux (trust me.)

The Mac.

As I said at the top of the post, all these problems let me to just scream at my laptop. I ordered Mac because I figured it would ‘do as expected’ at any given time.

It has arrived now. It’s a MacBook Air M2 with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

I have only had it a day and I have a lot of configuring and, well, lets face it, learning a new OS to do. But first impression are very good.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth all work as expected. Keyboard is great. Track pad is basically the best that I have ever used and the screen blew me away (aside from being way too glossy, screen protector ordered to ‘fix’ it.)

The OS has some oddities, such as the lack of edge snapping, right click being turned off by default, no MKV capable video player shipped with it and, maybe worst of of all, Safari doesn’t support a back button by default.

But that said, all these things can be fixed. The main thing is that I seem to finally have a reliable computer experience, at least, thats the first impressions, I will update you as soon as I have more.

Don’t by an XPS 9315!!!!


This Was written by HexDSL, if this was liked by you, you can email him at Hexdsl@gmail.com or use this link to join Discord