Dell's XPS 13 Developer's Edition: My Missed Opportunity


2013-04-20

I recently got a new job at a different employer as a web developer. As with all new jobs, I went through the initiation period of acquiring new hardware and associated paraphernalia. My new employer was awesome enough to let me choose my work machine -- anything in the world, within reason. I'm a reasonable person, so I just asked what the other developers were using. Many of them had 15-inch MacBook Pros. I knew that those are fine laptops and I told my boss to order me one up.

After about a month with the MacBook, I have to say I'm really disappointed. It's an i7 at 2.0 GHz, with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. Not too shabby. Except the HDD spins at a leisurely 5,400 RPM... Now my personal machine is a P8600 Core2Duo matched with an 80 GB SSD. Running Ubuntu, my 7 year-old laptop puts the MacBook to shame. And little did I know that 4 GB of RAM is a snack for OS X. My Ubuntu/openbox set up can't even crack 1 GB of RAM usage with my full dev environment rolling. Mark my words: never again will I fall for Apple's beautiful trickery.

I was truly blown away that I regularly see the spinning rainbow wheel with an i7. So I thought, maybe the old Mountain Lion is bloated? Let's try Ubuntu. Well "try" is about as far as I could get. It installed relatively easily, but I was plagued with GPU lockups with Ubuntu 13.04 on the MacBook Pro that I can't seem to work through. And it wasn't as fast as my personal laptop with the SSD.

Today I saw a thorough review of Dell's XPS 13 Developer's Edition, a.k.a. Project Sputnik. Boy do I wish I could go back in time and request one of these from my employer. I remember when they were first announced and Dell was giving away review models to lucky developers. I entered for one, but needless to say I didn't get it. After reading that review, I now know that laptop is the Holy Grail for me...

So what should I do? Pony up the 15 Franklins and get my dream machine? Or continue to run Ubuntu in a VM on the MacBook with its relaxed HDD? I know MacBooks and OS X are great for some people. I just don't think I'm one of them.

p.s. If you have the chance to get one the XPS's -- do it. And grab one for me while you're at it :).