I highly doubt the Dell campus store is going to give you free repairs after the 1 year warranty (or less if you're buying refurb) runs out on your machine. I'd suggest you do some careful research before you assume that they're just going to take care of your laptop for free for the next 6 years. (although I could be wrong and that the university has worked out some sort of deal with Dell)
In that regard, you don't HAVE to confine yourself to Dell (although they do make good laptops).
I looked at their policy and realized just how wrong I was. The 1 year warranty (that still comes free with this refurb) does cover unlimited repairs, but after it expires, I have to shell out $49 for a diagnostic and $88 per hour of labor. My hope is that buying a more popular product from the Campus store's parent company will be easier for them to fix (keeping in mind that fixing time does strongly depend on the nature of the fix required).
Hi all,I was searching around on Dell's outlet website
and managed to find a Dell XPS 13 9365 2-in-1 that managed to fit most of my criteria. It has 16 gigs of RAM, a 512 gig ssd, the QHD+ touch screen that dell sells (3200x1800), is convertible (like the names says), and costs $990. With the 17% off coupon that the outlet has going on right now, it gets down to $820: not a bad deal at all.
My only problem is that it is equipped with a last gen core i7-7Y75. In the future, this is bound to be my bottleneck, but I'm hoping that it won't be too limiting. Is this a bad purchase and should I try and find a model with the i5 or i7 8th gen CPUs or do the other strengths of this system more than make up for the processor's lack of power?
That's about the best price you're going to find for Dell's best laptop. For what you're doing now a 5yo Ivy Bridge or Haswell CPU will be adequate, as for the future...it really just depends. For manipulating large datasets with relatively simple math or sorting, a large amount of RAM and SSD will take care of most of your bottlenecks. If it comes to instensive transforms or multi-GB datasets then hopefully by the time you're in grad school the university will provide a desktop workstation or server with the necessary capabilities.
If it were me, I would add a docking port adapter and an external monitor. QHD on a 13" display will be an eye-burner when you're trying to finish a report at four in the morning. A 22-27" monitor with at least 1080P resolution is a nice place to be when working at your desk, and a port replicator allows you to have a better mouse and keyboard available if necessary (especially for data entry tasks).
This is why I like these forums so much. This is a great idea.
However, those docking port adapters can actually be more expensive than some monitors (the cheapest one Dell bundles is $160). Would I be losing anything if I just connected anything to a TB3 dongle ($60-70 max)? If not, then can you recommend any TB3 dongles?
Emulated games - may barely work depending on the games and emulator. Dolphin, for one, is liable to be pretty shoddy on that CPU.
3D printing - should be fine so long as you don't go for crazy polycounts.
Light coding - depends what light means, of course, but it should be at least servicable.
Excel - could be pretty slow, especially once you get to working with enough data that thermals become a problem.
If gaming chops may be a bit of a minus anyway, Excel sounds like the big reason to consider a quad-core and/or a bigger power budget. I'd look at the 15W quad-cores first, though; it sounds like a tight power budget is important to you, and if the workload multithreads well (which Excel purportedly does), throwing more cores at it will always give better perf/W than turning up the clocks at a fixed number of cores. Even the 15W quads have much higher base clocks than the 7Y75, too.
Emulating - I want to disincentive games anyway, so this isn't that bad. The emulators I'd probably be using (desmume and citra) I think are less demanding than Dolphin.
3D printing - I seriously doubt I'd be doing anything with super high polycounts.
Light coding - defined as "I don't want to be a complete coding noob when I get out of undergrad, so I'm going to take a couple of coding classes to keep my skills"
Excel - There are multiple other quad cores+HT computers that can be had for around the same price. However, almost all of them are a significant downgrade in RAM, storage, and lack touch functionality. Touch aside, would halving the RAM and storage be more limiting than halving the CPU for excel?