Tim Sweeney, the main character in Epic's courtroom battle with Apple has been a hot topic this year. On Tuesday, however, the CEO revealed a different side to himself: He is a Dell XPS 17 customer.
Sweeney has a special affinity for the XPS 17 since September this year. Sweeney tweeted a link for Dell's XPS 17 purchasing page on September 19th. He commented that the laptop offered "great options", simple views, customer-friendly defaults and reasonable prices.
A new tweet almost two months later suggests that Sweeney is now an XPS 17 user. Although he does not directly mention that he purchased an XPS 17, his impressions suggest that he has at least had some time with it.
Sweeney writes that the Dell XPS 17 laptop is a "good but not great" laptop. Sweeney writes that the screen is amazing, with a good keyboard and pad but that the Home/End key placements are a problem for coders. But, his main concern is the cooling system. The CEO stated that the XPS 17 "[r]uns hot even while idle" and "constantly chirps RF noise from CPU activities through the speaker."
Tim, welcome! Welcome to the world portable workstations.
The Dell XPS 17 laptop is a decent but not exceptional choice. The screen is amazing, the keyboard and pad are great, but it's not very intuitive to use for coding. The speaker constantly emits RF noises from CPU activity and runs hot even when it is idle. https://t.co/7bS46meTrk -- Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) November 9, 2021
The Dell XPS laptops, which are great and well-worth their price, are also very inept at keeping their chips cool. Last time I tested an XPS 17, the chip was consistently at 90 degrees Celsius. The XPS 15 was a worse performer than its smaller sibling. I could hear the fans roaring in my testing room, and the keyboard was so warm that it was difficult to keep the device on my lap. The XPS 13 2-in-1 even reached 100 a few times. Sweeney is probably referring to coil whine. This has been a complaint about XPS laptops since years. It doesn't necessarily mean that a laptop is defective, but it can be annoying.
This is an amazing laptop configurator. You will love the simple interface, great options, and customer-friendly defaults. Now do workstations!https://t.co/Z9gjOJjWpT -- Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 20, 2021
Here, it seems that Mr. Sweeney is running into one of the biggest pitfalls of premium laptop shopping: the cost of thinness. The XPS 17 is a hybrid between a consumer and business PC. Its reasonable price and user-friendly purchase interface make it a viable option for single-unit buyers. However, it also offers the thin, light, and power that corporate customers are often looking for.
These benefits come with some tradeoffs. This is especially true for cooling heavy-duty chip. Even the most reputable manufacturers (aside from Apple's latest MacBook Pro models, which are in a league all their own), haven't managed to keep a thin, light and quiet workstation like the XPS 17 both cool and cold.
There are probably many engineers working on this problem across all OEMs. Engineers, please know that we all have your backs. My advice to Mr. Sweeney is to use the "Quiet", cooling profile in Dell’s power manager.