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Dell 17" XPS laptop for travel and Victron communication

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  • Dell 17" XPS laptop for travel and Victron communication

    I hope this is the right spot. Its technical, but not technical too

    SWMBO just gave me permission to order a new laptop for our trips. I thinks its to keep me from borrowing hers .

    Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    I am a computer dummy, but I know some of what I need. It must have Bluetooth and have Victron Connect loaded and talk to my trailer. I can do the software loading.
    I plan to have FORscan https://forscan.org/home.html loaded to talk with the truck (I already have the communications cable). I want a good 17" screen so my lousy eyes can see stuff. Other that being capable of good internet access for Route planing, weather forecast, and a few games the basics will work. Also space to store lots of travel photos.

    I have had Dell desktops for a long time without any major issues and thier customer service always helped fix the little stuff. I was planing on getting the 3 year premium service plan the covers accidental damage. It appear they also have local service folks around the country.

    So this is what I am looking at

    Dell XPS 17

    Tech Specs

    Processor

    12th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-12700H (24MB Cache, up to 4.7 GHz, 14 cores)
    Operating System

    Windows 11 Home, English
    Graphics Card

    NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050, 4 GB GDDR6, 60 W
    Display

    17.0" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflecitve 500-Nit Display

    I have been reading this is the display to get as its the best resolution out there.

    Memory

    32 GB, 2 x 16 GB, DDR5, 4800 MHz, dual-channel
    Hard Drive

    1 TB, M.2, PCIe NVMe, SSD

    Is this overkill? I will probably use it at home too in place of my desk top too.

    Last I think I should get a good protective carrying case. Any recommendations?

    Thanks
    Keith

    Should I go back to my corner now?
    2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

  • #2
    Yoda I prescribe to the if its worth doing its worth overdoing, so I am not a good gauge for overkill lol. That said I am a bit out of the PC laptop game as I use a Macbook now, but I can give you some things to think about:

    1. If you want to also be able to adjust the settings on the MultiPlus you will need a ethernet port. Those settings are not adjustable via bluetooth. That may mean a USB-C to ethernet dongle in the current generation of machines, which will work fine but you should keep that in mind. Looking at the specs on the Dell site it looks like it just comes with four thunderbolt (USB-C) ports, so you would need a dongle for anything not Thunderbolt. I keep this one in the camper mainly for connecting to the MultiPlus, but it also has conventional USB A ports in case I need to connect a legacy item (my GoPro etc). You can also get them with SD card slots for camera cards and the like. At home I have a full thunderbolt dock that has its own charger, SD slots, ethernet, and two monitors connected. All depends what you need to connect and how much you want to spend.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    2. Screen resolution: Higher resolution will mean a better picture for games, videos, etc, but can mean smaller text for most other activities. You can certainly manage that by zooming the text on websites and even using the accessibility options in the OS, but unless you have a compelling reason for the high resolution you might want to aim at a lower resolution system. The base system is 1920x1200 and I would think would be more than enough for the tasks you described.
    Neil Citro
    2018 Reflection 28bh
    2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ncitro View Post
      Yoda I prescribe to the if its worth doing its worth overdoing, so I am not a good gauge for overkill lol. That said I am a bit out of the PC laptop game as I use a Macbook now, but I can give you some things to think about:

      1. If you want to also be able to adjust the settings on the MultiPlus you will need a ethernet port. Those settings are not adjustable via bluetooth. That may mean a USB-C to ethernet dongle in the current generation of machines, which will work fine but you should keep that in mind. Looking at the specs on the Dell site it looks like it just comes with four thunderbolt (USB-C) ports, so you would need a dongle for anything not Thunderbolt. I keep this one in the camper mainly for connecting to the MultiPlus, but it also has conventional USB A ports in case I need to connect a legacy item (my GoPro etc). You can also get them with SD card slots for camera cards and the like. At home I have a full thunderbolt dock that has its own charger, SD slots, ethernet, and two monitors connected. All depends what you need to connect and how much you want to spend.

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


      2. Screen resolution: Higher resolution will mean a better picture for games, videos, etc, but can mean smaller text for most other activities. You can certainly manage that by zooming the text on websites and even using the accessibility options in the OS, but unless you have a compelling reason for the high resolution you might want to aim at a lower resolution system. The base system is 1920x1200 and I would think would be more than enough for the tasks you described.
      Thanks Neil

      I have the USB adapter already for the Victron stuff. I used my desktop USB port with the adapter to do the initial programming and l have lots of spare cabling. https://www.victronenergy.com/access...erface-mk3-usb. Am I missing something though? Are the new USB ports compatible with my proposed laptop or will I need the adapter you listed to use the mk3-usb adapter I have?

      Thanks for the screen resolution tip. I will need to check if I can set the resolution to different setting on the XPS depending on what I am doing. I do that on some programs for better visibility on my desktop now and even change the zoom setting on this site to be able to read better (right now 135%) The higher res screen is also touch sensitive which the std one is not.

      I was thinking of getting some action games too for the rainy day situation..

      It is also My hope I can get the Bluetooth signal from the trailer front bay to see if my DC_DC charger is working when driving.

      Thanks for the help
      Keith
      2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes you will still need an adapter, the "new" ports are USB-C whereas the ones you are used to are USB-A. The rest sounds good.
        Neil Citro
        2018 Reflection 28bh
        2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ncitro View Post
          Yes you will still need an adapter, the "new" ports are USB-C whereas the ones you are used to are USB-A. The rest sounds good.
          Does the Dell XPS 17 come with the USB-C to USB-A adapter? The Dell web site says "USB-C to USB-A v3.0 & HDMI v2.0 adapter ships standard". Does this mean it comes with the adapter?
          Home Base: Fairfax, Virginia
          2021 Grand Design Reflection 315RLTS Travel Trailer
          2002 Ford F350 7.3 Diesel 4X4 SRW

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          • #6
            If that's what they say it could be. Certainly I'd wait and see what's in the box when it comes and if it does not then order something. Just wanted him to be aware.
            Neil Citro
            2018 Reflection 28bh
            2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

            Comment


            • #7
              That sure seems like a lot of $$$$$ for a laptop for the use that you intend, unless you are getting into some video and movie watching stuff. I have a HP 17" for a lot less $$ that has been doing quite well for 3 years now. Not trying to talk you out of this but that seems quite the full on computer.

              Brian
              Brian & Michelle
              2018 Reflection 29RS Oct.2017 build date, EMS-HW50C , Lippert Remote
              2015 Chevy 3500HD CC LB Duramax , Reese Elite 18K

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Country Campers View Post
                That sure seems like a lot of $$$$$ for a laptop for the use that you intend, unless you are getting into some video and movie watching stuff. I have a HP 17" for a lot less $$ that has been doing quite well for 3 years now. Not trying to talk you out of this but that seems quite the full on computer.

                Brian
                Dang it Brian there you go making me look at other brands. Years ago CDOT (Colorado Dept of Trans) had HP as the sole vender. We engineers had nothing but fits working with thier computers - including a faulty math processor ( back on the 90's) - maybe things have changed. Ill check them out tomorrow..
                Thanks

                On edit here is a link to the Dell configuration site. It defaults to the base configuration, but shows the option available.
                https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell.../xn9720cto020s

                2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yoda Keith, we use HP's at work. I tend to have one of the newer less common computers and issues with them seem to be about average. I think when they took over Compaq their quality went up ( we had Compaq before the merger due to their warranty and they could send a courier to pick up the computer same day). Engineering (dept i am in) are running the Z book's.

                  The biggest issue we seem to have with the HP's are docking stations SUCK. They loose connectivity and burn up, but if you are not using a docking station (technical a USB-C port replicator) then you may be good.
                  Joseph
                  Tow
                  Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
                  Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
                  South of Houston Texas

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                  • #10
                    Yoda The systems we sell at work are Dell, and one of the products we are a dealer for uses HP. Honestly I think it's half a dozen of one six of the other. I think Brian's main point (and I would agree) is that an XPS seems like overkill for the tasks you mentioned.

                    For the tasks you mentioned an i3 processor would be fine, with at least 8GB of ram, 16 might be a good upgrade. Definitely get a SSD hard drive, it'll make a huge difference in speed and longevity.

                    Sticking with the i3 or i5 processor will keep heat down and help battery life. I run the i7 in mine and it screams for the tasks I do but my battery life is crap.

                    Also I don't think you need the dedicated video card unless you're planning a lot of intense 3D gaming. One with onboard graphics should be cheaper, lighter, and use less battery.
                    Neil Citro
                    2018 Reflection 28bh
                    2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ncitro View Post
                      Yoda The systems we sell at work are Dell, and one of the products we are a dealer for uses HP. Honestly I think it's half a dozen of one six of the other. I think Brian's main point (and I would agree) is that an XPS seems like overkill for the tasks you mentioned.

                      For the tasks you mentioned an i3 processor would be fine, with at least 8GB of ram, 16 might be a good upgrade. Definitely get a SSD hard drive, it'll make a huge difference in speed and longevity.

                      Sticking with the i3 or i5 processor will keep heat down and help battery life. I run the i7 in mine and it screams for the tasks I do but my battery life is crap.

                      Also I don't think you need the dedicated video card unless you're planning a lot of intense 3D gaming. One with onboard graphics should be cheaper, lighter, and use less battery.
                      Thanks I appreciate all the suggestions. I have always gotten more than I need. Maybe this time I just need to get what will work and us the savings for software like Microsoft Office. The other software I need is a good PDF editor and a picture editor so I can draw on the pictures.

                      Keith
                      2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yoda Like I said always over buy as well, and it used to be that if you wanted it to last you needed to. It's my personal belief that now we've reached a point with processors that even a lower level unit will do ten times what the average user needs, sand the benefit is battery life. In my case I bought a i7 Macbook with dedicated graphics. The thing is a beast, plays any game I throw at it without blinking, as well as Autocad for work and as many tabs in my browser as I could ever use. It does this at the cost of a screaming fan that sounds like a 747 when it spins up and about a two hour battery life if I'm lucky.

                        My wife has the new MacBook with apples own chip, the base model so similar to an i3, and it'll run most of what mine will except the most demanding games (which if I'm being honest I don't really play anymore anyway) for less than a third the price, fanless cooling so dead silent and goes 12 hours of use (days in standby) on a single charge.

                        Now some of that is due to Apple optimizing the processor for their OS since they control the hardware and software, but I think the principle of lower power still applies to you.
                        Neil Citro
                        2018 Reflection 28bh
                        2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yoda Keith, you might just look at a cheap laptop. I found a Best Buy flash deal on a $400 that I used for programming drone flight controllers. Had no issues doing the task I ask of it.

                          Find what you need for the task, then think about what you plan to do with it otherwise.
                          Joseph
                          Tow
                          Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
                          Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
                          South of Houston Texas

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I just discovered something.The XPS no longer has a cd/dvd slot - It missing from other lines too.. Looks like I need to get a stand alone one - about $50. Is this the way things are going? I was trying to figure out how to load a few games I have. Good news is through EAA.org partner program they offer discounts on Dell. Now to check out the HP side.

                            I must be getting old - teck is passing my by.

                            Keith
                            2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Yoda View Post
                              I just discovered something.The XPS no longer has a cd/dvd slot - It missing from other lines too.. Looks like I need to get a stand alone one - about $50. Is this the way things are going? I was trying to figure out how to load a few games I have. Good news is through EAA.org partner program they offer discounts on Dell. Now to check out the HP side.

                              I must be getting old - teck is passing my by.

                              Keith
                              Yeah to keep cost and weight down they've been removing them for a while. Most everything gets loaded via download now or you have to get an external drive. Get one that's USB C to who'd a adapter.

                              Limited-time deal: External DVD Drive, Amicool USB 3.0 Type-C CD DVD +/-RW Optical Drive USB C Burner Slim CD/DVD ROM Rewriter Writer Reader Portable for PC Laptop Desktop MacBook Mac Windows 7/8.1/10 Linux OS Apple https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PV958PN...XCTK2HJ2QCZ6EZ

                              Neil Citro
                              2018 Reflection 28bh
                              2019 F350 6.7L Long Bed Crew Cab

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